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Rates of contested probate reaching UK courtrooms have risen significantly in recent years and according to, one in four of us are likely to contest the will of a loved one if we did not receive what we felt due. There are many reasons for the spike in contested probate cases. One explanation attributes the rise to an ageing and economically secure baby boomer generation leaving behind considerable wealth and assets. This coupled with rising costs of living, inflated property prices and the prevalence of modern family structures all contribute to making disagreement and contention more likely.

Challenging probate can be a tricky endeavour and many individuals will want to immediately know where they stand. Ratcliffes takes a personalised approach to every case, earned a reputation as the most trusted probate solicitors in Sheerness and North Kent. We understand that the process of contesting probate can be a tumultuous time between you and other family members and you will want to know what grounds you have.


Testator Was Not Of Sound Mental Capacity At Time Of Will

sealed will

Probate can be challenged on grounds that the deceased may have not been of sound mental capacity to set out the terms of the will when it was made. To prove that the will was invalid, this claim would need to be backed by substantial evidence that the deceased’s judgement was affected by a severe mental or physical condition. Lower mortality rates among the UK’s ageing population has lead to a rise in mental and physical conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. Consequentially, it is now very common to see probate being contested under diminished mental capacity as a result.

Undue Influence

Signing a will

Undue influence is a term used to describe how a will can be challenged if a person has been proven to have coerced or manipulated the testator into changing a will to include more favourable outcomes for themselves. Usually, this claim can be triggered on the basis that someone outside of the immediate family is left with a suspiciously large part of the deceased’s estate. Although one has the right to include whoever they wish in their will, a claim could be made that certain dictations were the result of someone trying to influence the terms of the will. The vulnerability of many individuals at old age often leads to undue influence claims being staked.

The Will Was Incorrectly Drafted

Writing a will

If a will is felt to be unrepresentative of the testator’s wishes due to negligent will drafting, then it may be challenged. There can be many grounds under which probate can be challenged including claims that the draftee has misunderstood instructions, omitted significant areas of the estate from the will or made clerical errors in the clauses that distort the deceased’s intentions or make them ambiguous. The validity of a UK will is set out by section 9 of the 1837 Wills act and insists that a valid will must be in writing, signed by and have the genuine intentions of the testator (the latter point of which is the basis of the majority of challenges).  This also highlights the value and importance of quality will writing services.

Probate Solicitors In Sheerness

Ratcliffes is a small practice that takes pride in providing a personal service to clients. The subject of contested probate and challenged wills is never an easy one which is why we strive to provide clear, honest and manageable advice. For experienced probate solicitors in Sheerness, visit our website for a quote or call today on 01795 8591470


Buying and selling property sounds like it should be one of the more straight forward processes in life ie. you exchange a sum of money for the property you have expressed interest in. However, big purchases should not be taken lightly and you need to be sure that the property you are buying is worth the price you are paying and that it is in an agreeable condition before your name is formally transferred onto the deeds. 

As one of the most experienced conveyancing solicitors in Sheerness and the Isle of Sheppey, Ratcliffes has helped local residents with the sale and purchase of property since 1997. We will effectively handle the entire selling and purchasing process on your behalf, allowing you to sit back and feel stress-free.

In recent times there have been instances of non-qualified individuals doing their own conveyancing or “DIYing” it so to speak. As qualified professionals, we know that anything less than total diligence could result in disaster. While it is possible, there are some serious points to consider:

You Could Be Personally Liable For Any Mistakes

Flooded house

Someone not experienced or without prior knowledge of what to look out for could miss a vital piece of information. Property searches are a significant part of the conveyancing process and require a great level of attention to detail as they are used to uncover any potential planning, structural or environmental issues within the property before you formally take ownership of it. The consequences of missing a significant issue can be devastating, you could find yourself having bought a property with a history of flooding or one next to a planned local authority development. Unlike a legal professional who has professional liability insurance, individuals without this are 100% liable for any eventualities. 

There Are A Lot Of Legal Terms

Conveyancing Solicitors Sheerness

Legal definitions can be a tiresome thing to contend with for the average person. Most conveyancing specialists have trained and carried out checks, document preparation and other conveyancing tasks on a daily basis for years and have a high level of understanding and fluency when it comes to legal terms and contractual definitions. If you are looking for conveyancing specialist in Sheerness then you can be sure that Ratcliffes can save you a lot of time and effort whilst guaranteeing a thorough and smooth service.  

Mortgage Lenders Will Not Let You Do Your Own Conveyancing

Mortgage Lender

Unfortunately, the majority of mortgage lenders will not let accept DIY conveyancing if you are buying a property. If you plan to buy mortgage-free, it is a different story as your investment alone is liable for any risk. Mortgage lenders by nature are looking to reduce risk which is why they insist on thorough surveys, inspections and examinations of a property before they lend out the money to those buying it. The last thing that a lender wants is to loan out a sum of money for a property that is not worth that amount due to structural or environmental issues. By insisting on using a professional conveyancer, lenders are essentially minimising the chance of any major issues being missed that may cause risk to their investment.

Conveyancing Solicitors In Sheerness

Selling a house can be complicated which is why we take pride in offering a smooth, easy and straightforward service for all clients looking for conveyancing solicitors in Sheerness, Sittingbourne and Rainham. We charge a flat fee for our conveyancing services so you can benefit from peace of mind safe in the knowledge that your legal costs will not spiral out of control.

Visit our website today for a free online quote or call our Sittingbourne practice on 01795 857958

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