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Can anyone explain probate to me please?

(11 Posts)
erebus Fri 01-Jul-11 08:38:30


I and a relative have been asked by our respective elderly parents to possibly contest a Will. I should add I stand to get nothing out of this!

The elderly person died in Feb. We heard nothing re: her Will but a couple of days ago, my relative emailed me a scan of it, saying he'd obtained it 'through official channels'. it is headed 'District Probate Registry' and dated mid April, so

- Can I assume it has gone to probate?
- What does this mean? Who do we contact to say yes, we feel x and y have a claim on this estate? Because my relative didn't state his 'official channel' I can't go through the process myself, or there's no point if he's already done it!

-Should we or do we engage our own solicitor at this point?

Tortington Fri 01-Jul-11 08:49:27

did the dead person have a solicitor?

erebus Fri 01-Jul-11 09:12:19

I don't know. The executor of the estate is the deceased DD who is keeping silent (which she perhaps would as the sole beneficiary...). Would the probate register have a publicly accessible record of who lodged the Will ie which solicitor?

erebus Fri 01-Jul-11 09:15:21

I guess I need to know how do you make a claim under Probate? Who do you actually apply to to say Yes, I feel I have a claim to that estate?

prh47bridge Fri 01-Jul-11 09:15:48

If you want to contest a will you should consult a solicitor who handles probate cases. However I am not clear on what basis you are being asked to contest this will, especially as you say you don't stand to gain anything.

erebus Fri 01-Jul-11 09:19:26

No, when I say 'I' I mean I and my relative (who is in exactly the same position as me in regards to not being likely to receive anything out of this!) have been asked to do all the research about what the claimants need to do (they are 78 and 80 respectively!). Their signatures will appear on 'the claim' but I need to help bring them to the point of having the required paperwork in front of them, iyswim.

Collaborate Fri 01-Jul-11 09:30:28

Not something you can do on your own. You need a solicitor -or rather your eldeerly relatives do.

Years spent at university and law college, followed by practical experience due to years spent on the job, is what they'll be paying for, and what you can't replicate.

Probate will have been granted. The will is a public document.

prh47bridge Fri 01-Jul-11 09:32:04

Under the Inheritance Act they can contest the will if they were financially dependent on the deceased and the will has not made "reasonable financial provision" for them. If they were not financially dependent they don't have a claim.

Probate will have been granted to the executor. You don't need to know which solicitor, if any, was involved. But you do need specialist advice from a solicitor who deals with Inheritance Act claims.

IDontDoIroning Fri 01-Jul-11 09:40:34

They want to disinherit the deceased's daughter? I am not a lawyer but unless they are her siblings or had a previous financial dependence on them I can't see how they could succeed,
I think it's very hard to contest a will, and you could be spending a lot of time and effort for nothing.
my df had something similar an uncle died without making a will he had 3 sisters all dead. 2 sisters had 1 child each one had 2. He had always told them he would split it equally between the 4 of them but when he died it was split 3 ways and 2 cousins received a third each and 2 a sixth. There was nothing they could do.

prh47bridge Fri 01-Jul-11 09:43:58

Sorry - got distracted and posted incomplete advice. The last sentence of my first paragraph should have said "If they were not financially dependent they don't have a claim under the Inheritance Act".

It is also possible to challenge a will on the grounds that the deceased was not of sound mind, someone unduly influenced them, the will is not in the proper form, the deceased did not know and approve the contents of the will or they have been tricked into signing the will.

Whatever the grounds for challenging the will you need specialist advice.

erebus Fri 01-Jul-11 11:29:40

Thanks all.

It would be true to say that the will was signed shortly after the deceased entered a nursing home, placed there due to their inability to cope alone as they suffered from dementia...

If it could be shown she was 'not of sound mind', would a previous will she'd made then be valid? I know that one was made previously but I suspect its contents would've been the same as this last will. I am somewhat mystified as to why she was- and I will call a spade a spade- 'persuaded' to write this last will if it was no different from her previous, but that's possibly neither here nor there.

It's my opinion that some legal claim should have been made 15 years ago when the deceased's husband died, apparently intestate (again, neither here nor there but not leaving a will could not have been more out of character for the person concerned, however, none has come to light) so I now understand that the 'aggrieved parties' now may have had some sort of recourse back then but chose not to exercise it.

Ironing - they don't want to disinherit the deceased's DD- they want their share of the estate!

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