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Probate Dispute Solicitors


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With over 200 years of experience, Hibberts LLP is a trusted and highly regarded firm of solicitors. We offer expert advice on a wide range of legal matters, including probate disputes. Our team has extensive expertise in dealing with disputes involving trustees, claims by disappointed beneficiaries and complex probate issues. We understand the emotional toll that these disputes can take on our clients and are committed to providing compassionate and supportive guidance throughout the process. Whether you need help resolving a claim or require assistance with the administration of a trust, our team is here to help. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can assist you.

Understanding Probate: Testate and Intestate Estates

When someone dies, their estate is distributed either testate – with a will, or intestate – without a will. Probate disputes can arise in both scenarios, often causing additional emotional distress during a time of loss.

In a testate situation, the deceased made a will detailing how they wanted their assets to be distributed among heirs and beneficiaries. However, disputes can arise if the will is challenged, for instance, due to concerns about the deceased’s mental capacity at the time of the will’s creation, or allegations of undue influence.

In an intestate situation, the deceased did not make a will, and their estate is distributed according to the rules of intestacy. This could lead to disputes among potential heirs who may feel they have not been adequately provided for.

Roles and Responsibilities: Executors, Administrators, and Beneficiaries

During the probate process, the roles of executors and administrators are pivotal. Executors, who are appointed in the will, or administrators, who are appointed by the court in cases of intestacy, have the responsibility of managing the estate. This involves settling the deceased’s debts, ensuring payment of any taxes, and distributing the remaining assets to beneficiaries under the will or intestacy laws. However, disputes can often arise if beneficiaries feel the executor or administrator isn’t performing their duties effectively or fairly, leading to contentious legal battles.

Probate Dispute Solicitors

Navigating Disputes Over Wills and Trusts

Disputes over wills and trusts are unfortunately common. They can stem from a variety of circumstances, such as doubts over the validity of the will, concerns about undue influence or coercion, or disagreements among beneficiaries regarding the interpretation of the will or trust. In some cases, the will or trust may be contested if it’s believed that the deceased lacked the mental capacity to make the will or establish the trust.

Hibberts LLP can guide you through these complex issues, advocating for your rights and interests.

Probate Claim: What to Expect During Estate Litigation

Probate proceedings can be a daunting prospect. The process involves submitting the will to the court, validating it, addressing any disputes, and eventually distributing the estate’s assets.  Where a will is contested or other disputes arise, the process can become a complex legal battle. It’s vital to have a skilled solicitor at your side who understand both the areas of probate and litigation. They will guide you through the court process, filing necessary documents, and representing your interests.

The Family Factor: Dealing with Grief and Loss During Probate Disputes

The death of a loved one is an emotional and challenging time. Compounded with probate disputes, the situation can become significantly more stressful. Family dynamics can add to the complexity, with longstanding relationships, emotions and frictions intensifying disputes. At Hibberts LLP, we approach such sensitive situations with the care, supporting you through the legal process with impartial advice while acknowledging the emotional turmoil you may be experiencing.

Assets and Debts: How Money, Property, and Taxes Impact Probate Disputes

Probate disputes usually revolve around the deceased’s assets, debts, and taxes. Disputes can arise over the valuation of assets, the payment of the deceased’s debts, and the distribution of remaining assets among the beneficiaries. Taxes can also become a contentious issue, particularly if there’s disagreement about who should bear the tax burden or if the estate lacks sufficient funds to pay the taxes. It’s crucial to have an experienced solicitor to navigate these complexities.

Why Engaging Probate Dispute Solicitors Is Crucial in Estate Disputes

Probate disputes can be complex, emotionally charged, and legally intricate. Engaging a probate dispute solicitor is crucial to navigating this challenging process as they provide much-needed guidance, represent your interests, and help you understand your obligations and responsibilities. With a deep understanding of both probate and litigation law and a commitment to client care, Hibberts LLP is well-equipped to support and guide you through estate disputes.

For those seeking clarity on the probate process and its implications, our detailed guide offers insights into what probate entails and the necessary steps for estate administration. Learn more about this essential aspect of estate management by visiting our What is Probate guide.

For more information regarding Probate Disputes
Probate Dispute Expert
Michael Ward
Partner & Head of Dispute Resolution
01270 624225
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Probate Disputes FAQs

Why it is crucial to engage probate lawyers in estate disputes

Probate disputes can be complex, emotionally charged, and legally intricate. It is crucial to engage a probate lawyer to navigate this challenging process. A probate lawyer guide you, represent your interests and help you understand the issues and your responsibilities. With a deep understanding of probate law and a commitment to client care, Hibberts LLP is well-equipped to support you through estate dispute cases.

What is the difference between a testate and an intestate estate?

A testate estate is an estate where the deceased leaves a will setting out the distribution of their assets after death. An intestate estate is one where the deceased did not leave a will. In this case, the distribution of assets is governed by the ‘rules of intestacy,’ which prioritise spouses, children and then other close relatives, but are completely set in law.

Who is an executor or administrator, and what are their responsibilities during probate?

An executor or an administrator is an individual appointed to manage the estate of the deceased. An executor is named in the will, whereas an administrator is appointed by the court where there is no will at all, or an invalid will.  Their responsibilities include identifying and gathering the estate’s assets, paying off funeral costs, debts and taxes, and distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries according to the terms of the will or the rules of intestacy.

What rights do heirs and beneficiaries have during a probate dispute?

Beneficiaries have the right to be informed about the progress of the probate process. They can challenge the validity of the will if they have grounds to believe the deceased did not know and understand the contents of their will, it was made under undue influence, is fraudulent, was procured by a ‘whispering campaign’ or the deceased lacked the necessary mental capacity at the time. They may also have the right to challenge the actions of the executor or administrator if they believe their actions are not permitted or beyond their authority.

What common issues can lead to disputes over wills and trusts?

Several issues can lead to disputes over wills and trusts, including questions about the validity of the document, allegations of undue influence or fraud, interpretation of the will’s terms, disagreements among beneficiaries, or dissatisfaction with the trustee or executor’s management of the trust or trust.

How does the court process work when there is a probate dispute?

If it cannot be settled by negotiation, a party disputing a will or the administration of an estate will need to instruct specialist lawyers to issue court proceedings.  Depending on the nature of the dispute, the court may need to interpret the will, determine its validity, hear expert medical evidence and consider the parties’ evidence generally.  The same applies where the court is asked to consider the appropriateness of the executor’s or administrator’s actions. Proceedings are expensive and it is important to get things right whether defending or bringing a probate claim, and it is essential to involve lawyers with relevant experience.

How can family dynamics, grief, and loss affect the probate dispute process?

The probate process occurs during a time of grief and loss, which can heighten emotions and exacerbate family conflicts. Existing tensions can escalate into legal disputes, particularly over the distribution of assets. Grief can also impact individuals’ decision-making processes and perceptions of fairness, leading to disputes that may require legal intervention and objectivity.

How are the deceased’s assets, debts, and taxes handled during probate?

During probate, the executor or administrator is responsible for identifying and gathering the deceased’s assets and using them to pay off funeral costs, debts and taxes. Once debts and taxes are settled, the remaining assets are distributed to the beneficiaries according to the terms of the will or laws of intestacy.

Why is it important to engage a probate lawyer during a dispute?

Engaging a probate lawyer is crucial during a dispute. Probate cases can be complex and are subject to very particular rules.  A lawyer will provide guidance, help navigate the  process, and advance your interests. This may involve challenging or defending the will, managing negotiations, and ensuring the executors or administrators are fulfilling their duties properly.

What can I expect regarding funeral expenses during a probate dispute?

Funeral expenses are typically considered a priority debt of the estate. This means that they are usually paid out from the estate’s assets before other debts and before distribution to beneficiaries. Disputes over funeral expenses are thankfully rare.

How can probate disputes impact property distribution among beneficiaries?

Probate disputes can have a significant impact on the estate’s assets and distributions.  If a will is contested and found to be invalid, the estate may be distributed according to the terms of a previous will, or in accordance with the rules of intestacy.  Disputes will delay the distribution process, result in costs and almost invariably, emotional stress for the parties to the dispute.  Legal costs associated with the case frequently reduce the overall value of the estate, resulting in smaller inheritances.  For these reasons and more, it is essential to engage pragmatic, specialist and experienced probate lawyers with a view to settling probate claims on best terms as soon as possible.

What is a contentious probate?

Contentious probate refers to any dispute that arises regarding claims against a deceased person’s estate, or the administration of their assets following their death. At Hibberts LLP, we frequently manage these disputes, which often involve challenges to the validity of a will, concerns about the deceased’s mental capacity when they made their will, whether they were subject to undue influence or disagreements about the executor or administrator’s handling of the deceased’s estate. Navigating contentious probate disputes requires a combination of legal expertise, sensitivity, and practical experience – qualities that we at Hibberts are committed to bringing to every case we handle. We understand that such disputes can be complex and emotionally challenging, so strive to provide support and guidance through every step of the process.

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