Probate is the legal process by which a deceased 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.
The non contentious probate rules 1987 are a set of legislation that were 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 varies 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 applys for probate with the Probate registry to the time when either a settlement agreement or the final court verdict is given.