The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 allows someone to make a claim on the estate even if they have not been named as a beneficiary in the Will. The usual circumstances are when someone who has been financially dependent on the person who died and it would be reasonable for provision for their support to have been written in the Will.
Even if the named beneficiaries are in agreement with the claimant regarding the validity of their claim and there is mutual agreement about how much the claimant should receive, it would be wise to use a legal professional to create the Deed of Variation.
If there is no agreement between the people involved, the claimant will need to instruct a solicitor to act on their behalf. We would strongly recommend that the executor of the estate also instructs a solicitor to administer the estate. This is one of the situations known as contentious probate.
The solicitor acting for the claimant will apply for a caveat. This prevents probate being granted for a period of 6 months which can be extended for a further 6 months. A caveat can also be arranged by a private individual.
If the legal professionals are unable to mediate a settlement between the executor and the claimant, the dispute will be decided by the courts. The costs both financial and emotional of such a course of action may be very high. It is very easy for the legal costs of the dispute to exceed the value of the estate so everyone involved loses money.