Will and Estate Disputes

Will disputes fall within the category of a ‘probate claims’. They usually look like one of the following scenarios:

  • Dispute about whether the testator or testatrix (i.e., the deceased) had the mental capacity to execute the will.
  • Whether the deceased was pressured into signing the will.
  • Whether the deceased properly knew what he or she was signing.
  • If someone was telling the deceased lies about a potential beneficiary which is called fraudulent calumny.
  • If the will was properly executed and conforms with the formalities of the Wills Act 1837.

In practice, the above disputes are often run together and in the alternative. That means there could be a claim that the testator/testatrix did not have mental capacity but if the court rejects that, there is then an argument that the deceased was pressured into signing the will.

Estate disputes can include:

  • Burial disputes, how should the body be dealt with? Cremation? Funeral? Religious or non-religious.
  • Whether the personal representatives (i.e., executors or administrators) are doing their job properly.
  • Debts owed by the deceased particularly when they are from friends or other family members.
  • Problems with joint bank accounts where the account was funded solely or mostly from the deceased.
  • Unscrupulous ‘lawyers’ being paid by the personal representatives to administer the estate and charging an absolute fortune for the service.
  • Disagreements whether a property needs to be sold or not, usually in relation to settling tax.

Related blog posts:

  • A brief burial dispute
    Today I was instructed over a burial dispute on an urgent basis. I had wind that something might be coming my way for a few days, but nothing confirmed either way. At 08:29am this morning I received an email from my clerk that I was to be in the High Court District Registry in Birmingham […]