How do I find a will?
It is easy to find a will if probate has been granted. By then, the will is a public document and you can secure a copy of the will and a copy of the Grant of Probate by completing the Probate Service’s online form at https://www.gov.uk/search-will-probate or by filing a paper application. The Probate Service charges a nominal fee for this purpose.
If probate has not been granted, then you have no entitlement to see the will unless you are the executor. You may be able to find a copy of the will at the person’s home, or with his/her bank or solicitor. Failing this, you may be able to secure a copy from Certainty – the National Will Register at https://www.nationalwillregister.co.uk/ . If these attempts fail, the executors may agree to give you a copy.
If all these attempts prove to be fruitless, you can apply to enter a “standing search” with the Probate Registry. It lasts for 6 months and if probate is granted within that timescale, you will be provided with a copy of the will and the grant.
Who can contest a will?
Not everybody can challenge a will, but generally, inheritance disputes can be contested by
- People who had a family relationship with the Deceased.
- People who were financially dependent on the Deceased.
- People who were promised an inheritance.
- People who feel that they have been let down or disinherited.
You do not have to wait for probate to be granted to challenge a will.
Can I contest a will without a solicitor?
The simple answer is “Yes, you can”. Many people want to know how to contest a will without a solicitor. But why would you want to contest probate or challenge a will without one? The legal rules can be complicated. The court procedures have to be followed to the letter. If you make a mistake, the cost of losing could be very expensive. If a specialist will dispute solicitor is prepared to act on a No Win No Fee basis, why not take advantage of that service?
On what grounds can you contest a Will?
We are often asked when can a will be challenged. There are a number of reasons why you may wish to challenge a will, which might include
- To seek reasonable financial maintenance from the Deceased’s Estate.
- When the Deceased has failed to fulfil a promise to you.
- When the Deceased has failed to fulfil a promise to someone else.
- When the will may be invalid due to testamentary incapacity, undue influence, a failure to properly comply with requirements, or by operation of law.
- To receive an entitlement that is being withheld.
- When the will is a forgery.
How long do I have to contest a will?
It is important to determine how long you have to challenge a will. There can be strict time limits associated with contesting a will. You should be prepared to act quickly. Depending on the circumstances, there may be as little as 6 months to commence your inheritance dispute case with the court. Missing the deadline may prevent you from challenging probate all together. You should not delay in seeking assistance to commence your contested probate case.
How much does it cost to contest a will?
It is sensible to ask how much would it cost to contest a will, and who pays to contest a will. An inheritance dispute can be an expensive process, and you may be required to pay substantial fees, especially if you lose. Legal Aid is not available to most people. That is why we recommend that you first seek out specialist will dispute solicitors who will act on a No Win No Fee basis. That way, you can pursue a claim without having to pay any up-front fees at all. We can source a solicitor who specialises in contesting a will, who will act on a No Win No Fee basis.
How does a No Win No Fee agreement work?
To explain how a No Win No Fee agreement will work in your contested probate claim, it helps to understand the way solicitors charge.
Without a No Win No Fee agreement, solicitors will wish to be paid an hourly rate for each hour, or part of the hour, that they work on your case. They expect to be paid regularly as your case progresses. If they incur any expense, they will ask for re-imbursement. Some solicitors ask to be paid up-front, whilst others will deliver a bill to be paid monthly, and they may stop working if their fees remain unpaid. At the successful conclusion of your case, you will likely be re-imbursed for some or all of the fees that you have paid, because the solicitors will seek to recover them from your opponent. If you case is not successful, you will not be able to recover that which you have paid, and you will likely become liable for paying your opponent’s costs in addition to your own.
With a No Win No Fee agreement, the solicitors agree to run your case, from start to finish, without asking you for payment at all. If your case is not successful, then the solicitors will not be paid at all. If your case is successful, then the solicitors will seek to recover their fees and expenses from your opponents. You can run a case to its conclusion without having to put your hand in your pocket. However, if your case is successful, the solicitor is entitled to charge a “success fee” which is deducted from your winnings. This is only paid from funds that you have won, and not from your pocket.
How long does contesting a will take?
The simple answer is “It depends”. If your opponents refuse to settle your inheritance dispute claim, and a trial becomes necessary, your case might last for 12 months, or even longer. However, our panel of specialist will dispute solicitors tell us that many cases are resolved successfully in a shorter time by negotiation or at a mediation (an alternative to going to court).
Can a will be overturned after probate?
Yes it can. Remember that there are strict time limits for doing this, so you must act quickly.