Probate solicitor demand increased
As recession takes hold of the British economy and eviscerates the value of assets, more people are calling upon the services of a probate solicitor to dispute a will. The trend of an increasing appetite for litigation that is being observed by probate solicitors is the same that lawyers in other practice areas will also testify too as a result of a growing number of people finding themselves in economic difficulty.
Probate solicitors witnessing a growth in disputes
Probate solicitors are receiving a growing number of requests from beneficieries for advice regarding the liability of the executors of a will for a drop in value of the assets that they were due to recieve. A probate solicitor can most commonly bring such a case on the grounds that the executor was not quick enough in obtaining a grant of probate and selling shares, leading to a loss in value for the beneficiery.
Research conducted by probate solicitors Wedlake Bell shows that the High Court heard 228 probate disputes last year compared with 83 in 2006. Fay Copeland, a probate solicitor at the firm, adds that the true number of disputes is in fact likely to be much larger as many are settled before reaching court. Wedlake Bell believes that additional reasons for the growing number of people turning to a probate solicitor for advice are the larger size of estates, more fragmented family setups and the diminished social stigma of taking family to court.
On a similar note, the vagaries of the current economy also mean more and more people are in need of a probate solicitor to restructure their estate as the value of their assets is dramatically altered from that at the will's inception.
What can a probate solicitor dispute a will over
There are a number of other grounds upon which a probate solicitor can also dispute a will. A probate solicitor can challenge the legitimacy of a will on the basis of the will-makers mental capacity, because the will-maker was 'unduly influenced' or if there has been some fraudulent activity. A probate solicitor may also be able to prove a will is invalid if the correct procedures of writing, signing and witnessing were not followed. A probate solicitor can also act on behalf of an individual who was financially dependent on the will-maker but did not receive adequate financial provision in the will.
If you feel you have grounds for disputing a will then it is worth consulting a probate solicitor although it should be noted that a claim can only be made in very certain circumstances.
NB: None of this information should be construed as legal advice
Use our free and confidential Matching Service to compare law firms and prices