Probate is the legal process by which a deceased’s assets are all collected, valued and then distributed to the beneficiaries as stated in the will.
Contentious probate is a legal process where a person disputes the validity or the interpretation of the deceased’s will.
You can listen to an audio recording of this page on contentious probate if you find that easier than reading.
Here is a short video explaining what probate is.
The non-contentious probate rules 1987 is a set of legislation that was passed in 1987, and they came into effect in 1988. This legislation sets out non-contentious probate rules to be followed during probate proceedings.
The non-contentious probate rules 1987 are used by both the contentious probate solicitors and person acting as the representative.
Here is a short video that explains more about contentious probate.
In the event that the deceased left a will then the person named in the will becomes the executor of the estate. Their main duty is to share the estate as outlined in the will.
If the deceased did not leave a will, then the court will appoint an administrator. The administrator applies for a letter of estate administration that enables him to execute the estate.
The letter of estate administration is a court document that gives the administrator legal authority over the decease’s estate. An administrator can be anyone from a next of kin to the closest surviving relatives according to the contentious probate rules.
For you to be able to launch an inheritance claim you must fit the description of persons who can launch a claim as stated in section 1 of the Inheritance Act of 1975. These include the children and spouse of the recently deceased or a person who lived with the diseased for two years or more prior to their death.
The next step is to figure out, on what grounds you can contest the will. For example, was the deceased of sound mind when he made the will? If not you have a valid reason to file a claim.
Finally, if a will does not comply with the Wills act 1837 then it is invalid in the eyes of the law.
If you have grounds to contest a will, then you should do it early enough. This is done to place the executor on notice before the inheritance is distributed.
If you want to contest a will using the inheritance act, the time limit is 6 months from the time the probate is granted. If you want to contest a will on grounds of fraud then there is no time limit.
Whenever a person has a valid right to file a claim, then they are presented with several routes to take to arrive at a resolution.
Before the will of the deceased is executed a grant of probate letter is issued by the probate registry. A grant of probate letter is a document issued to the next of kin or to the executor named in the will to confirm their authority to execute the will. If the estate left behind is small then a grant letter is not needed. If the estate is big then the need for a grant letter is highly dependent on the limits set by the respective societies like banks or building societies.
The contentious probate costs cannot be approximated. A lot of factors go into the computation of the total cost. For example, the costs of contentious probate proceedings depends on the amount of time it will take to complete the proceeding.
Also, the costs of contentious probate vary depending on the size of the estate involved. The costs of contentious probate could get even higher if there are specialists involved.
This is a legal practitioner hired by a client to contest a will and follow through on any legal procedures necessary. A good solicitor should be a member of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists. Such solicitors are specialists in wills.
If a person files for Contentious probate then they should decide whether they will need a contentious probate solicitor. In England, a person can choose either to hire a probate solicitor or represent himself in the proceedings.
The speed to which probate disputes are resolved in the United Kingdom is very subjective. It all depends on the size, the complexity of the estates, the nature of assets and whether contentious probate arises.
For simple estates, the probate disputes will be resolved in less than 3 months. For large complex estates, it can take anywhere between 6 months to 1 year to get a resolution.
At the end of the Contested probate proceedings, the cost of the litigation must be met. There are two ways by which the costs can be met
• If the persons who made the will is the one found to have caused the probate proceedings the cost can be met by the estate
• If the court arrives at the conclusion that an investigation into the will was justified, then it will order that the costs of the litigation be met by the individuals who bore them.
It is recommended that you get a Probate solicitor who is well acquainted with contentious probate rules.
Follow up on proceedings once probate is granted, from the time the executor applies for probate with the Probate registry to the time when either a settlement agreement or the final court verdict is given.
The UK Care Guide has partnered with Trust Inheritance, one of the UK’s leading probate specialists, to bring you a cost-effective and premium level probate service. Trust Inheritance have won awards for their customer service and this is a key reason as to why we have partnered with them.
We realise that for many it is essential that probate is completed quickly. That is why their dedicated service is designed to speed things up as much as possible for you and consequently reduce the time it takes for probate to be completed.
The support can be broken down into 3 options. This allows you to choose how involved you want to be in the probate process and how much support you want. This really is one of the most flexible services that we have seen.
This option allows those who want to do as much as they can themselves, safe in the knowledge that there is a specialist on hand to help throughout the process.
This is an in-depth, comprehensive, online ‘Do it Yourself’ service, giving you everything you need to ensure you have dealt with the estate in line with your responsibilities and liability as a personal representative; while being supported throughout by our award-winning team of specialist Bereavement Advisers.
This toolkit can be used whether a Grant of Representation (also known as the Grant of Probate, Administration or Confirmation) is required or not, even if a Will was not left.
This option would suit someone who is busy with work or family life and still wishes to retain control of dealing with the estate. It would also suit those who are not familiar or confident with legal documents.
In addition to all the benefits of those in option 1 above, we will also Fast Track the Grant of Representation application.
As we are a Trust Corporation, less information is required by the Courts when we apply for the Grant on your behalf.
This means Court fees are reduced saving money against the estate and crucially, the Grant is expedited and issued within weeks of application, rather than months; quickly freeing up funds to cover costs and expenses, as well as allowing interim payments to be made to those who are due to benefit much sooner.
This option is ideal for those who do not feel comfortable with the processes and what is involved when dealing with an estate, or for those who simply do not have the time available to them.
Simply hand everything over to a specialist. You will be assigned a Solicitor, who will deal with the entire matter for you and will be on hand throughout. They will cover everything needed in order to finalise the Estate Administration and to ensure your legal responsibilities are adhered to.
You may already know which of the three options is best suited to your circumstances. However, we also recognise that this is likely a difficult time for the family and that you may not know what you want to do.
Therefore, please do get in touch for a free consultation to talk you through what you need to do next and what help they can provide.
Speak to someone to get the support and help you need with probate. Here is how:
The cost will depend on whether you use a probate solicitor, probate professional or a bank. The cheapest is a probate professional. For it to be done properly the costs can typically be anything from £1,000 upwards.
Firstly, you are able to undertake the probate process yourself. However, most people prefer to get help. You can approach a solicitor or probate professional. The bank can help but they tend to be very expensive. We work with Co-op Legal Services if you need help to do things quickly and cost effectively.
The threshold for Probate is usually around £15,000. However, this depends on which banks and financial institutions are holding the deceased person's assets. Therefore we recommend you seek legal advice to check whether or not Probate is required.
There is no fixed time for the probate process. However, it would typically take between 6 and 12 months. But there are many factors that impact this and when any potential inheritance is released. You can read more about these factors on our site.
When someone passes away, it is not automatic that you need to go through a probate process. Estates that have a low value or are made up of assets that were jointly owned do not always require probate.