Probate – Claims against Estate’s

Claimant’s often first approach us with questions about making a claim against an estate.

They often approach us with little information other than the relationship that existed between them and a Testator (the person making the will).

Often they explain the family history which means that they have not being in contact for various reasons with the testator for many years and they believe this may be a bar to any claim. We think over thirty six years we must have seen every reason why family communications have broken down.

We are governed by the Inheritance Act and what is known as case law in such matters. Estrangement (no matter how long)  between the parties is no bar to making a claim. Often it is the testator that has spurned any contact.

Claims under the Inheritance Act have a set time limit and immediate advice should be taken.

The claimant often has little information and certainly not copies of wills etc.

The law in these types of matters have evolved over a period of time and cases involving disputed wills very often feature a ‘Larke v Nugus’ letter.

There is a procedure where ‘the precaution’ protocol is used and this letter is usually sent to all executors and the firm who has prepared the will. It often asks a large number of questions relating to the preparation of the will.

Often contact is also made with any medical practitioners and care homes or indeed hospitals if there is concern over the mental capacity of the person making the will.

The ‘Larke v Nugus’ request letter carries judicial weight and any attempt by the testator or their advisers to resist this have severe cost implications if a full and clear reply is not made.

So the information is obtained and a decision can be made about the validity of any claim.

If you believe you have a claim against the validity of a deceased’s will on the grounds of lack of testamentary capacity, undue influence, want of knowledge or approval or forgery or fraud we can help.