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Despite the most careful planning and preparation, disputes can arise regarding the validity of wills or trusts. Sometimes this, combined with the complex nature of the probate process, gives rise to disputes about how assets are to be distributed, or who should benefit from particular parts of a deceased person’s estate.
These disputes may include:
- Challenges to the validity of Wills, trusts or lifetime gifts,
- Dissolution or administration of a trust
- Ownership of property
- Claims regarding inadequate (or no) provision in a will or due to intestacy (i.e. lack of a will)
- Disputes based on allegations of negligence, fraud and forgery, undue influence or mental incapacity.
Such issues can be emotionally fraught, especially when family relationships are involved. Our specialist solicitors will work to resolve disputes as swiftly and amicably as possible.
Although our Private Client team may initially handle probate, our Disputes Resolution team will normally be involved in the event of a dispute.
We typically seek to resolve claims through sensible negotiation or mediation, resorting to litigation only as a last resort. By taking a smart and measured approach to resolving claims we minimise distress for our clients and also legal costs.
Although the majority of our clients in this field of work are individuals from all walks of life, we also act for charities who believe that they should receive money from an estate.
Examples of our work:
Contesting a claim made by a family member against the executors of an estate relating to a provision in the will for a proportion of the estate to be left to charity. Our advice helped our clients to overcome the claim and ensure the smooth administration of the deceased’s estate.
Supporting the beneficiaries of a family will to claim their rightful inheritance. We helped our clients to defend a claim against them brought by the deceased’s partner concerning a property that constituted part of the estate. After an unsuccessful mediation, a settlement was reached that allowed our clients access to property that was rightfully theirs.
Defending a claim by our client’s brother that our client had pressured his elderly mother to change her will and leave her home to our client only. At the trial we called the solicitor (from another firm) who had prepared the will. She told the court that she had met alone with the elderly lady, who the solicitor described as ‘formidable’, and the lady had predicted to her that her disinherited son would try to challenge the change in her will after her death. The claim against our client was dismissed.
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