Probate/Administration of Estates and Disputes over Estates

Probate/Administration of Estates

Dealing with the estate of a loved one who has died can be an extremely upsetting task.  Shepherd Harris & Co can take away some of the stress by helping you to deal with the practicalities of the process.

We can assist you with all aspects of administering estates including the following:

  • Ascertaining the value of the estate;
  • Inheritance Tax matters, including completing the relevant forms;
  • Applying for the Grant of Representation;
  • Cashing in the assets of the estate;
  • Selling the property, if there is one;
  • Dealing with any outstanding income tax and capital gains tax matters;
  • Corresponding with the beneficiaries regarding their entitlements;
  • Preparing Estate Accounts showing everything that has come into and gone out of the estate; and
  • Distributing the estate.


This can help to take away some of the stress, and we can assist you as much or as little as you would prefer.

Disputes over Estates

In our increasingly litigious society disputes regarding the estate of someone who has passed away are becoming ever more common.

If you do not feel that you have been adequately provided for in an estate then you can either contest the validity of theWill, if you have sufficient evidence to do so, or if you are a member of one of certain classes of people then you can make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975.  These are discussed in turn below.

The grounds for claiming that a Will is invalid are as follows:

  • Capacity. This means that you claim that the person who made the Will did not have sufficient capacity to do so at that time.
  • Intention. The person making the Will must have intended to make a Will, and have intended to make the exactWill that they did make.  This means that they must have known what was in the Will.
  • Duress.  If you believe that the person was forced to sign the Will and have evidence to prove that this is the case.
  • Fraud.  If someone made a fraudulent misrepresentation to the person signing the Will in order to make them sign the Will, for example if they tell the person signing that the Will says one thing when in fact it actually says something completely different.
  • Due Execution.  The Will must have been properly prepared and correctly witnessed by two independent witnesses, over the age of 18.


If you think that you may have sufficient evidence to show that a Will is invalid on the basis of one of the above factors then we can advise you regarding making a claim based on that evidence.

The other main way of making a claim against a deceased person’s estate is under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.  Under that Act certain family members and other people financially dependent on the deceased can make a claim if they are not sufficiently provided for in the deceased’s Will.

The classes of people who can potentially claim under the Act are:

  • The spouse or civil partner of the deceased;
  • A former spouse or civil partner who has not remarried;
  • Children of the deceased;
  • A person who had cohabited with the deceased for at least two years immediately prior to the deceased’s death; and
  • Other people financially dependent on the deceased.


There are many factors to be taken into account when considering an Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act claim and we are able to advise you about these and how they apply to your particular situation.  They include detailed consideration of your financial circumstances as well as those of any beneficiaries under the estate, and anyone else who may have a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act.

If you are an executor appointed under a Will or an administrator dealing with a relative’s intestacy we are also able to advise you regarding dealing with one of the above claims if one were to be made in relation to the estate.

If you wish to discuss any of the above matters in more detail then please Contact Helen Phillips or telephone her on 020 8363 8341.

Do you need assistance contesting probate..?

If you have reason to feel that you have a case for contesting probate then the expert team of Wills and Probate solicitors at Shepherd Harris & Co solicitors in Enfield can assist you. Our Wills and Probate solicitors have vast experience of helping relatives with cases of contentious probate and can advise you as to the best way of contesting probate and your chances of success. For confidential advice then please Contact Helen Phillips or telephone her on 020 8363 8341.

Inheritance Tax

If you are concerned about inheritance tax and how to ensure that your loved ones or other beneficiaries of your Willare protected as far as possible then Shepherd Harris & Co solicitors in Enfield can help you. Our specialist team ofWills and Probate solicitors, with specific experience of inheritance tax and tax planning, can advise you on how to arrange your affairs in the most appropriate manner to limit your exposure to inheritance tax.

Next Steps...

For further wills and probate, contentious probate and enduring power of attorney in the UK advice or to speak to one of our expert team of wills and probate solicitors please contact Helen Phillips or Elizabeth Smith by telephone on 020 8363 8341.

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