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Help for beneficiaries

Below are some of the more common questions we are asked by beneficiaries when it comes to Disputed Wills and Probate. Please click on the questions below to find out more.

Is there a time limit for making a claim under the Inheritance Act?

Yes. You must commence proceedings within six months of the date of the Grant of Probate. It is possible to request that the court extends this time limit, but it is certainly not guaranteed. You can also apply to delay the Grant of Probate from being issued, which means you will have more time to look into any claim you may have. If you are concerned that the Grant of Probate is about to be issued please contact us and we can discuss the options available to you. Similarly, if you think you may have a claim, even if it might be outside the time limit, you should contact us so that we can discuss the options and consider whether you can bring a successful action.

Do I need to be a relative of the deceased to make a claim?

Not necessarily. We have acted in the past for a variety of people who were connected to the deceased. They range from husband or wife, son or daughter, girlfriend or boyfriend, friends, etc. There are various rules about who can make a claim and each situation is always different. If you are unsure about this please contact us for more detailed information about your particular circumstances.

Am I entitled to receive anything if my ‘common law’ husband or wife dies?

That depends if there was a Will or not. If you are included in the deceased’s Will you should receive whatever gift or portion of the estate you are left. If there is no Will the estate will be divided under the Intestacy Rules. This is a set list of relatives who receive a portion of the estate in a specified order. Unfortunately, many people wrongly assume that you can become a “common law” husband or wife if they have been together for a long period of time. This is not the case and there are no rights for a “common law” partner to inherit anything under the Intestacy Rules.

What can I do if I do not get anything from my “common law” husband or wife?

A “common law” husband or wife would have to consider bringing a claim against the estate. If you find yourself in this position you should immediately seek legal advice from one of our team, as you may be under a strict time limit in which to make a decision.

Can I make the executors give me a copy of the Will?

Not necessarily. However, you can certainly ask to see a copy, and if refused, you could ask them to provide you with an explanation. If they obtained a Grant of Probate you could apply for a copy of this from the Probate Registry. If you are having difficulties with the executors of the estate, please contact a member of our team to discuss any options available to you.

What can I do if the executor will not finalise the estate and pay me the money I am owed?

There are always a number of options available to you. However, the first question you should ask the executor is “Why will they not finalise the estate?” It may be that there is a perfectly good reason for this. However, if you are concerned that there is no reason for the delay our team could assist you in negotiating with the executors. If ultimately this were unsuccessful you could consider applying to remove them as executor.

Should you always be suspicious of a Will made immediately before someone’s death?

No. Some Wills made immediately before someone’s death are perfectly legitimate. However, sometimes a person may make a last minute Will when they are heavily medicated or have lost some mental capacity. If you are suspicious of this you should seek legal advice.

I don’t trust the executor, what can I do?

That depends on why you don’t trust them and whether they have done anything improper. An executor or trustee is in a position of responsibility, but it is a serious matter to suggest that they are untrustworthy or acting improperly. If there is a problem with the way the executor is dealing with the estate, you may be able to apply to remove them. It may be most beneficial for you to discuss your concerns with one of our team who have experience of these matters and can give you full advice based on your circumstances.

How much will it cost to bring an action or obtain a lawyers advice?

Prices vary depending on the individual circumstances of your case and it is always worth contacting our team to discuss the costs. Our team are always open and upfront with you when discussing the anticipated costs that you may be facing. We are always mindful that any costs are reasonable and proportionate to your case and will be able to give you a clearer estimate when we knew more about your situation. It does not cost you anything to contact our team for an initial quote.

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