contentious probate solicitors

Contentious probate in 2020

What is Contentious Probate?

Probate is the legal process by which a deceaseds 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.

Here is a short video explaining what probate is.

What Are Non-Contentious Probate Rules?

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.

Who is Responsible for the Deceased Estate?


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.

Who can Bring Forth a Contentious Probate Claim?

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.

non-contentious probate rules

What are the Reasons to Contest a Will?

  • Fraudulent or forged wills – if there is a reason to suspect that the will was either altered or forged, then it is a valid ground to contest the will.
  • Lack of testamentary capacity – for a person to write a will He/she must be of sound mind. If it can be proven that the person was not of sound mind then that forms a valid ground for contesting the will.
  • Undue influence – a person should write the contents of their will out of their own free will. If it can be proved that the contents ware coerced then this can be a valid reason to contest the will.
  • Incorrect execution of the will – this arises when the executor of the will does not do it in accordance with what was stated in the will.

Finally, if a will does not comply with the Wills act 1837 then it is invalid in the eyes of the law.

How long does probate take?

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.

What are the Avenues Used to Resolve a Contentious Probate Proceeding?

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.

  • Court – The contested probate is taken to court and the matter becomes a civil case.
  • Mediation – this is the most convenient way to resolve probate proceedings. It involves the appointment of a mediator to run the proceedings. The parties in the proceedings can choose to hire contentious probate solicitors, preferably one who is a member of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists.

Contested probate,

What is a Grant of Probate?

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.

Contentious Probate Costs

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.

Who is a Contentious Probate Solicitor?

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.

How Long Does Probate Take?

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.

Contentious probate proceedings

Who is Responsible for the Costs in Contentious Probate Proceedings?

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.

No upfront costs | Meet with you in your home | Fixed fees for peace of mind | No Upfront costs

The UK Care Guide has partnered with Co-Op Legal Services, the UK’s leading probate specialists, to bring our site users a cost effective but premium level probate service.  

We realise that for many it is essential that probate is completed quickly.  That is why our 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.

Our support can be broken down into 2 options.  This allows you to choose how involved you want to be in the probate process.

Option 1 – “Tell me what to do” – Initial advice using this service is ALL FREE

Using this approach means that we provide you with some support and tell you what you need to do.

Co-op Legal Services offer a Bereavement Notification Service, which provides practical advice and assistance following a bereavement. This then allows you to take on much of the work involved with probate.

The Co-op can help with financial matters, such as providing template letters for you to give to the bank, building society, pension provider and other financial institutions about your loss.

The service can also help with stopping unwanted mail, closing social media accounts and giving advice where there has been a referral to the coroner or there is to be an inquest.

For free initial advice call a Probate Specialist now on – 0800 029 4593

Or, you can you click here to book an appointment for someone to call you at a time that works for you.  

Option 2 – “Do it all for me” – Initial advice using this service is ALL free

Co-op Legal Services offers a complete Probate Service and will do all the work for you. There are no upfront costs for this service and a fixed fee can be agreed at the outset to give you peace of mind.

They will take full responsibility for getting the Grant of Probate and dealing with the Legal, Tax (excluding VAT), Property and Estate Administration affairs on your behalf.

A Probate specialist can meet with you in your home or another location (in England or Wales) to explain the Probate process and to answer your questions.

They will provide you with a Fixed Fee Probate quote which is based on the individual circumstances of your loved one’s Estate. The prices are some of the best value in the UK.

There are no upfront costs to pay as all Probate fees are deferred and will be taken from the Estate once it is in funds. 

For free initial advice call a Probate Specialist now on – 0800 029 4593

Or, you can you click here to book an appointment for someone to call you at a time that works for you.  

Co-op Legal Services is a trading name of Co-operative Legal Services Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Book a free consultation with a Co-op Probate specialist

If easier, you can book an appointment on this page, using the calendar below, with a probate specialist.  They will be able to help answer any questions you have and also provide you withmore information on the free bereavement support service that they offer.


Summary of the page

1 - How much does it cost to go through probate in the United Kingdom?

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.

2 - Who can help me through the probate process to make sure it's done correctly?

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.

3 - How much money before probate is required?

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.

4 - How long does probate take to do in the UK?

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.

5 - When is probate not required?

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.


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All probate advice is provided in conjunction with Co-op Legal Services, which is a trading name of Co-operative Legal Services Ltd, which is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

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