Probate Disputes – What Are They and What Are the Legal Remedies?

A probation dispute will relate to any dispute that relates to the administration of a person’s estate when they die.

To understand the issue better, we will first define What Is Probate? before moving on to discuss some examples of probate disputes and then legal remedies.


We can define probate as someone’s legal right to deal with the property, money, and possessions of another. This will be when they die and be legally termed their “estate”.

When no Will is made, the wealth amassed by the deceased should by right be passed to the next of kin. With or without a Will, there can be disputes.

We will look to discuss here the possible disputes that can result when a Will has been made.

Examples of Probate Disputes

A probate dispute might happen when someone lacked the mental capacity to make a Will. In another instance, a deceased might have been unduly influenced when they made their Will, perhaps to deliberately exclude an otherwise almost assumed beneficiary. Another scenario could arise if the deceased person lacked sufficient understanding or knowledge when they approved the contents of their Will, leading to a probate dispute.

If any of the above-mentioned things occur and a beneficiary believes they were unfairly excluded from a Will, he/she can contest it with the assistance of a probate attorney.

Also, there can be situations where someone believes fraud or forgery has played its part in the writing of the Will. This will be a police matter as well. Evidence will need to be gathered that proves this has taken place. Any police case that is happening will help with this. Lawyers are also good at knowing what evidence will be needed for a court case.

A Will can be contested simply because it has not been signed or witnessed correctly. Legal procedures are clear and this is why it is important to do these things completely through a lawyer as a preference, rather than someone else offering a Will writing service.

An original Will might be in existence but then a deceased might have revoked it. Only the up-to-date Will is going to count in a court of law when it comes to deciding who should benefit from the deceased’s estate.

Legal Remedies

It is not an easy job contesting a Will and you will certainly need a good lawyer on your side. It has been suggested that approximately only one percent of Wills that passed through probate were contested. Then out of this small percentage, a smaller percentage were successful in overturning the Will and benefitting from the deceased’s estate as they had hoped.

The procedure, with the evidence gathered, will be to put together a detailed letter that in legal circles you might have heard called a “letter of claim”. The legal process will then start from here. Patience will be required and legal advice from your Probate litigation attorney should help keep you at one with the process, and increase the chances of success.

The good news is that the costs of defending a contested Will are mostly paid out of the estate. Where reasonable grounds exist for opposing the Will, the losing party, although not granted their costs, will at least not have to pay those of the other party.

Are There Any Wills That Cannot Be Contested?

A revocable living trust cannot. This will allow someone to place all their assets into a trust during their lifetime. A trust does not pass through a court probate process and so, in most cases, cannot be contested.

This is an exception, but otherwise, Wills can be contested and a case is worth pursuing where there are reasonable grounds for a probate dispute.

Many situations may result in a probate dispute. The legal remedy is to hire a good lawyer to fight your case and obtain what is rightly due. The sums of money that can be involved make a case worth pursuing when all might seem lost. Usually, if there is a right to a dispute then some unfairness would seem to have taken place.