Contested probate solicitor Chris Holten answers the question, ‘What is an inheritance dispute?’
‘What is an inheritance dispute?’ In simple terms an inheritance dispute arises when the estate of someone who has passed away is legally contested. The term, ‘inheritance dispute’ includes cases where the legal validity of the deceased’s Will is being challenged, as well as claims made under the Inheritance (Provision for family and Dependants) Act 1975. It also applies to disputes between beneficiaries, executor disputes, and claims for a beneficial interest.
Inheritance disputes involving the legal validity of a Will
You can contest the legal validity of a deceased person’s Will on several different grounds. For instance, if the deceased did not have testamentary capacity or they were subjected to undue influence then the legal validity of their Will can be challenged. If the challenge succeeds then the Will is likely to be declared invalid and its provisions will not take effect. Other grounds for challenging the validity of a Will include fraudulent calmuny and ‘want of knowledge and approval’. A Will may also be invalid if it fails to comply with the legal formalities of the Wills Act.
Inheritance disputes and the Inheritance (Provision for family and Dependants) Act 1975
The Inheritance Act can be used where the deceased’s Will is valid, but you feel that its terms fail to provide you with adequate financial provision. The Act enables certain classes of people (such as the deceased’s spouse or their children) to challenge the way in which the estate is divided. It effectively gives the courts the power to determine how someone’s estate should be distributed, regardless of what the deceased themselves specified in their Will. Inheritance Act claims can also be made when there is no valid Will and the estate is being distributed in accordance with the intestacy rules.
How we can help with your inheritance dispute
If you are involved in an inheritance dispute and would like to know exactly where you stand legally then you can contact our free legal helpline for a case assessment. Call us on 0333 888 0407 or send an email us at [email protected]