Contentious probate

stevensdrake has recently brought to a successful conclusion a long running contentious probate case taken by the executors of an estate, against her elderly and frail client.

Whilst this was a complex dispute involving beneficiaries of an estate (family members, cousins, charities, and others), the case essentially concerned our client’s actions investing monies whilst acting under a Power of Attorney for his wife’s aunt on her behalf.

After our client’s wife’s aunt died, her executors had to apply to court for an account of what money was due to the estate from the investments, where the aunt’s funds had been put into a number of accounts and investments shared with our client’s own funds. After years of litigation before our involvement, a dispute arose over what legal fees should be paid for their lawyers work because the executors had not sought prior court approval to incur legal costs. The beneficiaries of the Aunt’s estate disputed the Executors right to be reimbursed costs, Whilst the Executors sought approval from the Court of their fees by a separate action against the beneficiaries (called a Beddoes Application). We were able to untangle the disputes for our client, and bring to a conclusion the account claim and the costs claims.

The client had been represented by several solicitors before coming to us, who had not been able to resolve the litigation. Costs had escalated and his family were becoming increasingly distressed about the detrimental impact that it was having on his health. We and they are delighted that after our involvement, the case has been concluded on satisfactory terms.

stevensdrake has wide experience in acting in contentious probate cases. For matters that require court proceedings Ian Price in our litigation team deals with claims for financial provision from estates.

We can help you if you are involved in any of the following types of dispute :

  • Making or defending claims by dependents for financial provision where either the Will does not make adequate provision or where no Will has been left, under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975
  • Claims over the validity of the Will, i.e. actions where Wills Act formalities have not been complied with e.g. it had not been executed or attested properly
  • Claims on the substantive validity of the Will, for example where the deceased may not have had testamentary capacity or where there was fraud or forgery
  • Applications to court for an order in respect of the testators intention where it appears unclear from the Will
  • Where disputes arise between the executors and beneficiaries

If you are concerned about the provisions of a Will in which you are a beneficiary, or are excluded from being, a beneficiary, or are a Trustee or Executor and require legal advice in relation to contentious probate proceedings, please contact Ian Price on 01293 596941