Disputed Wills and Estates
The days and weeks immediately following a death in the family can be times of intense personal emotion. It is the worst possible time to find oneself embroiled in a family dispute, whether as an executor of the estate or a potential claimant.
We are experienced in dealing sensitively with the legal issues which arise if there is conflict over the effect or validity of the Will.
The sorts of dispute most usually encountered fall into two broad areas: firstly where there is reason to suspect the Will is not legally valid, and therefore the previous Will (or, if there is no previous Will, the Intestacy Rules) ought to take effect. An example might be where the person sadly no longer had the mental capacity to make a Will. Please Click Here to view our flowchart which gives some very basic guidance on how to identify whether there a will is defective.
The other main area where claims arise is where the Will does not make any provision for someone who needs to be supported: an example is where the Will benefits a named child but the person making the Will later remarried and had more children in the second marriage. This type of claim is made under the Inheritance Act. Click here to see more information about Inheritance Act claims.
Although these two sorts of dispute are ones which we most commonly see, there are numerous other problems which can arise, such as confusion about what the words of the Will actually mean, or where the Will has not been correctly drawn up. Another area where difficulties occur is where it seems that family Trusts may not have been dealt with properly, or where there is concern that an Executor or Administrator is not carrying out their role correctly. We will be able to provide advice and guidance in all these cases.
We are committed to avoiding court action if at all possible and are experienced in facilitating settlement by a range of informal and formal techniques. If there is no alternative to a Court application, we will protect your position robustly. In many cases, however, a settlement meeting or formal mediation can produce an acceptable agreement without the high costs and uncertainty of a Court trial.