Dispute over a Will

If you’re involved in a dispute over a Will

Meet the team:

What is contentious probate?

After a person passes away it is not uncommon for disputes to arise relating to the distribution of their will.  This can lead to an incredibly stressful and time-consuming process around the administration of an estate.

Whether you are an executor or a beneficiary, our team at Kennedys is available to advise and guide you at this sensitive time.

We aim to resolve contentious probate disputes quickly and cost-effectively to ensure that you are supported throughout the process and get the best result possible.

Who can bring a claim?

The main piece of legislation for contentious probate claims is the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (IPFDA). The Act sets out the categories of those who are entitled to bring claims as follows:

If you meet the criteria and feel that you haven’t received what was expected, you may be entitled to bring a claim against the estate.

Why would a claim be made?

Typically claims can be in relation to the following:

Inadequate provision under the Will – IFPDA

Validity of the Will.

Interpretation of the Will.

Inadequate provision under the Will

Are there time limits for bringing a claim?

If you believe you were left out of a Will, or have not received enough, a claim must be brought under the IPFDA within 6 months from the date on which representation (Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration) is taken out.

It is therefore imperative that you seek legal advice regarding your potential claim as soon as possible.

The increase in contentious probate claims

The number of people contesting Wills has risen dramatically in recent years. The suggested reasons for this include:

How does the IPFDA work in practice? – A recent case

The IPFDA is the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975

Ilott v Mitson case concerned the claim of an estranged adult daughter (Mrs Ilott) under the 1975 Act for reasonable financial provision against the estate of her deceased mother. As a result of this estrangement, the mother left a Will in favour of three animal charities with which she had no particular affiliation with during her life.

Mrs Ilott appealed this decision and at first instance was awarded £50,000 by the District Judge. Following this, the Court of Appeal set aside the first instance decision. Mrs Ilott was awarded £143,000 in order to allow her to buy her home, together with a further £20,000 as additional income.

In early 2017 (and almost 10 years after the first instance decision) the Supreme Court decided in favour of the animal charities and reinstated Mrs Ilott’s original £50,000 award. The Supreme Court’s decision has been viewed as a win for testamentary freedom. Nevertheless, Mrs Ilott was granted £50,000 rather than nothing at all, which could be seen by some potential claimants as a sum worth fighting for.

Experience and incisiveness from specialist solicitors

Our expert Litigation team can provide immediate legal representation and support.  Depending on the particular situation of the dispute you are involved in, the Kennedys team can help with:

Get in touch with our team by calling, using the enquiry form or emailing contactus@kennedyslaw.com


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