Probate Disputes Solicitors in Belfast and Northern Ireland
Contentious probate involves conflicts and legal disputes concerning a deceased individual’s estate, and how that estate is administered.
Common probate disputes that often occur include challenges to a Will or Trust, or where the role of an executor is challenged. Probate disputes may also arise where dependents of the deceased are not properly provided for and decide to raise a claim under the Inheritance Act.
At SG Murphy, we understand that contentious probates are sensitive by nature. When you are grieving a loved one, this type of conflict can make an already traumatic situation all the more tense.
Our solicitors can promise sensitive support, helping you to address the practical legal matters and resolve things as smoothly as possible. Our experts can assist across all matters related to contentious probate, such as:
- Contesting a Will
- Trust related disputes
- Will executor disputes
- Inheritance Act Claims
Have a question about probate disputes? Please read our probate FAQS or get in touch to speak to a member of the team.
Speak to SG Murphy Probate Solicitors Belfast
We are here to help. Contact us now on 028 90 36 5595
Our probate disputes solicitors expertise
Contesting a Will in Northern Ireland
If there are any concerns about the validity of a Will, and if the document does not accurately represent the deceased’s wishes, our solicitors can assist you to contest a Will.
It is possible to challenge a Will where the document was incorrectly signed or witnessed, or if the deceased did not have mental capacity when creating the Will. A Will can also be disputed on the grounds that the deceased (the testator) did not have adequate knowledge regarding the Will contents, or if fraud has occurred.
The document may also be contested if the testator was unduly influenced to adjust their Will, or include things that did not accurately represent their own wishes.
For support with contesting a Will, please get in touch with our expert solicitors at SG Murphy.
Trust related disputes
Probate administration can be complicated, with many potential disputes that may arise, including trust related disputes.
Our experts can offer contentious probate legal support in a variety of circumstances, for instance, where there are disagreements between trustees, or disputes about how trust documents should be interpreted.
Will executor disputes
Taking on the role of a Will executor is a huge responsibility, and it is not uncommon for related disputes to arise. If the deceased did not leave a valid Will, disputes may arise regarding the estate administrator. In this case, our solicitors can provide comprehensive support with contested probate where there is no Will.
Related disputes may concern the conduct of estate administrators, or Will executors. For example, where a Will executor has not correctly followed the Will instructions, or where an estate administrator has not acted with the best interests of the beneficiaries in mind.
Disagreements may also occur where suspected fraudulent activities have occurred, for instance, where executors have misrepresented assets or altered the Will contents.
For more information about probate disputes and how long probate takes in Northern Ireland, our contested probate solicitors are happy to help.
Inheritance Act Claims
In Northern Ireland, individuals can make Inheritance Act Claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) (Northern Ireland) Order 1979.
It is possible to raise an Inheritance Act Claim if you were a dependant of the deceased, and their Will does not reasonably provide for you. Equally, dependants may apply where there is no Will, and under intestacy rules, they have not been left what you need.
Our solicitors can help you to assess whether you have appropriate grounds for a claim, and where you do, assist you to negotiate toward a settlement. Where your pursuit of a claim requires Court proceedings, we can offer robust assistance.
Frequently asked questions about probate disputes
What is a contentious probate?
A contentious probate is a type of legal dispute or disagreement related to a deceased individual’s estate, and how that estate is administered.
Probate disputes can arise in relation to many different matters, for example, challenges to the Will and its validity. Other common areas of dispute include Inheritance Act Claims, disputes concerning the conduct of Will executors, or disagreements between trustees.
On what grounds can you challenge a Will?
In Northern Ireland, there are various grounds under which you can dispute a Will. These include:
Undue influence: Where the testator was unduly influenced or coerced into adjusting their Will so that it does not accurately present their intentions.
Lack of execution: In order to be valid, a Will must meet specific legal requirements. Where these are not met, for instance, a Will is not correctly witnessed, it may be challenged on grounds of lack of execution.
Lack of testamentary capacity: Meaning that the person who created the Will (testator) did not have the necessary mental capacity to do so.
Forgery or fraud: Where there is evidence to show that the Will has been forged, or is fraudulent, it is possible to contest a Will on such grounds.
Lack of knowledge and approval: If it can be shown that the individual who created the Will did not fully approve of or understand the Will, a challenge may be raised upon these grounds.
What happens if a Will is disputed?
Where a Will is disputed, generally, those parties in dispute should first attempt alternative dispute resolution processes, to resolve matters without going to Court.
For instance, mediation is one common dispute resolution method. The involved parties arrange to meet along with an impartial mediator, attempting to negotiate and work towards a resolution.
If it is not possible to resolve matters out of Court, it is usually necessary to take the dispute through the Court proceedings.
Who can make an Inheritance Act Claim?
In Northern Ireland, those who can make a claim under the Inheritance Act include civil partners or spouses. Former spouses or civil partners can raise claims providing that they have not remarried and have remained financially dependent on the deceased person (until they passed away).
Cohabitating partners may also make a claim if they were living with the deceased for two years (minimum) before the deceased passed away, and were financially dependent on them.
Others who can raise a claim include financially dependent children of the deceased, whether biological or adopted.
Do I need a solicitor for contentious probate?
It is not a requirement to have a lawyer to solve a contentious probate, however, it is often incredibly difficult to solve probate disputes without legal assistance.
To protect your interests, and ensure that your rights are exercised, working with an expert solicitor is highly recommended.
Speak to SG Murphy Probate Disputes Solicitors in Belfast
To discuss your needs with our probate disputes solicitors, please contact us now on 028 90 36 5595 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.