When a parent has passed away and has either disinherited a child from their Will or provided inadequate provision for them it can be an distressing time. The circumstances surrounding the relationship between the individual who has been disinherited and the Personal Representative of the Estate can also complicate the matter.
We are experts in Contentious Probate, we help our clients through what can be an intensely challenging period of their lives, by taking the stress away from our client. If a client has been disinherited, they should consider the following steps:
It is important that the person who believes they may have been disinherited acts quickly, this is so that we are able to assess the merits of any potential claim at an early point in time. Where time has elapsed, evidence may be more difficult to obtain, there is also a risk that Personal Representatives may in the interim may have depleted estate assets or imposed statutory time limits. Although these issues often do not prevent us from bringing a claim, not acting quickly can have cause adverse complications.
We advise anyone who believes that they have been disinherited to obtain a copy of the Will. This is in order to confirm your suspicion that you have been disinherited and to identify the executors or personal representatives. In the event that you are able to identify these individuals, it may be worth trying to correspond with them directly to obtain a copy, which will minimise your costs. It may be that the Deceased provided you with a copy of this prior to their Death. If not, it is possible to contact the solicitors where the Will is stored, however do not be surprised if they are unable to provide you with a copy, deferring instead to the Personal Representatives appointed. In the event that there is not a Will, you can determine who is to benefit from the Estate by looking at the Rules of Intestacy, however this is not conclusive and you should seek legal advice because some assets do not pass under these rules.
Someone who has been disinherited from an Estate should consider whether lodging a caveat is appropriate. A caveat will prevent the personal representatives of the Estate from obtaining a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Letters of Administration. Without a Grant they will not be able to sell or distribute any of the estate assets. A caveat has the effect of freezing the assets, whilst investigations can take place, and the disinherited individual can be safe in the knowledge that the estate assets are not being depleted throughout the investigations. However, a caveat is largely limited to the following circumstances:
Please see the grounds for contesting a will and disappointed beneficiaries for further in-depth information with regards to the legal elements of each of the above claims and the work required.