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Black Sheep wants to contest will


Mr.P
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Have been appointed the executor of an estate and am in the process of applying for probate. The will is fairly straight forward with just two named beneficiaries, so once all the assets have been identified, it shouldn't take too long to wrap up. However, one fly in the ointment turned up ranting and swearing to the point that the police were called.

 

The two main points of contention were:

 

  • The Black Sheep had not been notified of the funeral.
  • Nothing was bequeathed to the B.S. (the will specifically stated that he was to receive nothing).

His parting shot as he was escorted off the premises was that he would seek to contest the will. I suspect the deceased had anticipated this as a statement from her GP is included declaring that, in his opinion, there was no evidence of mental impairment. As there has been no contact between the B.S. and the deceased for over twenty-five years (not even a Christmas or birthday card), I don't see there is any grounds to contest the will. That said, I have come across a few (questionable) solicitors advertising a 'no win, no fee' service: I suspect the indemnity fee would be quite steep if they decided to take on a case.

 

Aside from having to challenge a caveat if one is lodged before probate is granted, what are the prospects of any legal proceedings holding up probate ?

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There are several grounds to contest a will, including:

 

1.lack of due execution;

2.lack of testamentary capacity;

3.lack of knowledge and approval;

4.undue influence; and

5.forgery/fraud.

 

 

Contesting a will is classed as hostile litigation and it can be very expensive. It is my understanding that the costs of litigation do not automatically come out of the estate, so your BS might find themselves with a huge bill - I don't see a NWNF company taking the case unless there is 100% certainty they would win.

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The testator had made a solo trip to consult a large, local firm of solicitors who prepared and witnessed the will. They would not release the will until a death certificate was produced and they have retained a copy of the will. That would rule out points 1, 4, and 5. The GP statement (dated a few days after the event) confirming mental capacity would negate points 2 and 3.

 

As the B.S. has never done a days honest work, it is highly unlikely he would have the funds to pay for an initial consultation, let alone enough to initiate court proceedings. I'm inclined to think that the shouting and threats was an attempt to get something out of the estate even if it was only a few pounds. But there are a few solicitors and paralegal "experts" out there lacking a moral or ethical compass, so I half expect a letter or two in the post before too long.

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  • 4 weeks later...
My OH is also dealing with an estate that has a couple of problems and these people have been very helpful.

 

I contacted the people you linked to and they offered to send someone round for a consultation. The meeting never took place and I have yet to receive a reason or a proper apology - The subsequent telephone call turned in to a sales pitch for their services, which based on form to date, I have no confidence in.

 

Looks like the B.S. is going through with his threat of contesting the will. Had a letter turn up last week from a solicitor demanding a copy of the will.

 

Question: Are we legally obliged to provide a copy, or do we instruct them contact the Leeds Probate Registry ?

  • Haha 1

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No, legally you don't have to provide a copy if the will.

 

What relationship to the deceased is the BS?

 

The B.S. is a deranged/disowned son (over 40) from a previous marriage.

 

I am currently inclined to reply and tell the solicitor to go whistle, and if they are desperate to see a copy of the will before probate is granted, go get a court order. If nothing else, it will incur a considerable legal bill for the B.S. which will have to come out of his own pocket. :violin:

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A court order wouldn't run veal the will. He isn't entitled to see it and the solicitor is Willy waving.

 

I am dealing with quite a large estate, only saw the solicitor on Tuesday and expected to swear oath 3 weeks from that Tuesday. Just crack non and ignore the bs for now.

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Send the ambulance chasing solicitor this:

 

In response to your letter seeking a share of the will belonging to the late xxxx xxx. I give my response as to:

 

Arkell v. Pressdram (1971)

 

It is noted that Mr Black Sheep attitude to a share of the estate will be governed by the nature of our reply and would therefore be grateful if you would inform us what his attitude to a share of the estate would be were he to learn that the nature of our reply is as follows: ‘**** off’

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Tempting but not a good idea. Would make the executor look extremely unprofessional and childish. All he/she needs to do is point out he's not legally entitled to a copy or ignore the sols letter completely.

 

 

 

 

Send the ambulance chasing solicitor this:

 

In response to your letter seeking a share of the will belonging to the late xxxx xxx. I give my response as to:

 

Arkell v. Pressdram (1971)

 

It is noted that Mr Black Sheep attitude to a share of the estate will be governed by the nature of our reply and would therefore be grateful if you would inform us what his attitude to a share of the estate would be were he to learn that the nature of our reply is as follows: ‘**** off’

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Tempting but not a good idea. Would make the executor look extremely unprofessional and childish.

 

Agreed. However, I am inclined to engage in a bit of letter tennis on the basis that each missive that the sols post will incur a sizeable fee for the B.S. Don't know how much a back water firm charges, but I suspect it isn't going to be peanuts.

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You do realise my last comment was tongue and cheek and not to be taken seriously??

 

It is just the whole scenario is absurd that this chap even thinks he has any sort of claim

 

If he is not mentioned in the will then the executor has no statutory duty in passing a copy of the will to him

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I contacted the people you linked to and they offered to send someone round for a consultation. The meeting never took place and I have yet to receive a reason or a proper apology - The subsequent telephone call turned in to a sales pitch for their services, which based on form to date, I have no confidence in.

 

Looks like the B.S. is going through with his threat of contesting the will. Had a letter turn up last week from a solicitor demanding a copy of the will.

 

Question: Are we legally obliged to provide a copy, or do we instruct them contact the Leeds Probate Registry ?

 

Hello Mr P.

 

I'm disappointed to hear that because the people we've spoken to have been helpful and low key and cost us nothing. I shall bear in mind what you've said if I mention them again.

 

HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Strictly speaking an executor is not legally required to show anyone the Will, even someone named in it.

 

However the son could bring a claim under The Inheritance(Provision for Family or Dependants) Act 1975. There are strict time limits to do so and it can be very costly.Personally i would write to the Sol and remind them that their client had no right to a copy and as they are aware he can obtain one from the probate registry in due course with the appropriate fee.

 

 

 

You do realise my last comment was tongue and cheek and to to be taken seriously??

 

It is just the whole scenario is absurd that this chap even thinks he has any sort of claim

 

If he is not mentioned in the will then the executor has no statutory duty in passing a copy of the will to him

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It is extremely difficult to contest a will. It will be even more difficult in a situation like this where evidence was taken from a GP and where the will was executed in front of solicitors, and where the will is being contested by an estranged family member.

 

Personally I would be tempted to simply send his solicitors a copy of the documents. That may be the quickest way of putting this to bed.

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Unfortunately, there was a ruling from the high court overturning a will where an estranged daughter had been excluded from a will: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-12919694

 

Have been confirmed by the guys at the Bereavement Advice Centre that I don't have to provide a copy, so a short note to that effect will be on its way shortly. If nothing else, it will cost the B.S. a bit more if he wishes to respond :lol: Think of it as payback for having the police attend.

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You are under no obligation to show the will to anyone, even the beneficiaries. Copies can be obtained from the probate registry by anyone wanting one. When the estate is finalised, you will have to provide a copy of the estates 'statement of accounts' to any beneficiary who reqeusts one.

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That's why I mentioned the Inheritance Act. I think he would have 6 months from the grant of probate to use this act.

 

 

 

Unfortunately, there was a ruling from the high court overturning a will where an estranged daughter had been excluded from a will: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-12919694

 

Have been confirmed by the guys at the Bereavement Advice Centre that I don't have to provide a copy, so a short note to that effect will be on its way shortly. If nothing else, it will cost the B.S. a bit more if he wishes to respond :lol: Think of it as payback for having the police attend.

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You are under no obligation to show the will to anyone, even the beneficiaries. Copies can be obtained from the probate registry by anyone wanting one. When the estate is finalised, you will have to provide a copy of the estates 'statement of accounts' to any beneficiary who reqeusts one.

 

I believe only the residuary beneficiaries are entitled to a copy of the accounts.

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Letter posted:

The contents of the will is a confidential matter until probate has been granted. Once the document has been registered, you can obtain a copy through the appropriate channels.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Reply received. Reading between the lines, they didn't appreciate being instructed on the process of obtaining the will via the Probate Registry :madgrin:

Still demanding a copy of the will so that they "can advise their client accordingly".

 

I'll ponder on drafting a pithy reply when I have some spare time. Suggestions for some big words would be appreciated, the more arcane and obscure, the better.:razz:

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  • 3 months later...

Another letter dropped through the letterbox yesterday: We note that you have not applied fro probate yet...blah,blah.... We would like a copy of the will and value of the estate in the next five days.

 

Now, is that five days from when I received the letter, when it was posted, or originally typed up (not that it really matters). I'm of the opinion to reply pointing out that if they have had any experience of probate, they would know that these things take time.

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Your first posted May 20th and you haven't applied for probate? What on earth have you been doing? Just completely finished probate for someone who died in May and this included a significant amount of money and property. And yes, iv had experience of dealing with other peoples probate on a professional basis.

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Your first posted May 20th and you haven't applied for probate?

 

It has taken us a while to identify and value all the assets. There were quite a few stocks & shares scattered around, and even now, we are not sure if everything has been identified. Probate has been applied for, and the grants are expected to arrive shortly. As there is no Inheritance Tax to pay, and the beneficiaries are not in any immediate financial difficulties, there is no pressure to conclude matters quickly.

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