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tel.01642 493101

Acklam Hall, Hall Drive, Middlesbrough TS5 7DY

Can you still contest probate without a Will?

In England and Wales, there are strict rules which decide what should happen with an estate when there is no valid Will in place, or a Will that insufficiently covers all of the estate. The estate is distributed in a fixed order based on the deceased’s surviving relatives in the following order: –

  1. Married couples and Civil partners
  2. Children
  3. Parents
  4. Siblings of whole blood
  5. Siblings of half blood
  6. Grandparents
  7. Uncles or aunts of whole blood
  8. Uncles or aunts of half blood

The above is also the list of priority in which people can apply for probate.

These rules are quite strict based on family relationships and do not always take into account the intricacies of relationships. They may not follow the deceased’s wishes or consider their individual circumstances – for example an unmarried partner of the deceased has no statutory inheritance rights.

In addition, , a spouse or civil partner may not automatically receive all the estate if the deceased also has any surviving children. In such circumstances, if the value of the estate (including property) is worth less than £270,000, the surviving spouse or civil partner will receive all the estate. However, if the value exceeds £270,000, they will only receive personal possessions together with all the assets (including property) up to that value. The remainder of the estate will be shared between the surviving spouse and any surviving children.

Inheritance Act Claims

The Inheritance Act 1975 does make provision for certain categories of people to bring a claim under the Act if the Will or estate does not make reasonable financial provision for them.

Such claims can be brought whether there was a valid Will or not and that they lived in England and Wales at the date of death. Potential claims depend on individual circumstances and are not always successful. Legal advice should be sought as soon as possible, particularly given that the claim needs to be issued within 6 months of the date of the issue of the grant of probate.

Who can bring a claim under the Act?

  1. Spouse or civil partner
  2. Former spouse/former civil partners
  3. Cohabitants provided they were living with the deceased in the capacity of a spouse/partner for a period of 2 years immediately prior to the death of the deceased
  4. Children Including any children who were treated as a child but not biologically so.
  5. Any other person who was being cared for by the deceased immediately prior to the date of death.

If you’re based near Middlesbrough or Teesside or in the areas of Stainsby, Normanby, Stainton and Billingham or anywhere in the surrounding area, we can assist with this or any other probate, power of attorney or trust guidance you may require please contact 01642 493101 or email Please click here to learn more about Grant of Probate as well as more information about will writing.