Our team deals with all forms of disputes relating to Wills, Estates, Trusts and also Court of Protection issues. In doing so, we act for a wide variety of people including private individuals, executors, administrators and trustees. We are also assisted by a highly experienced and knowledgeable Wills & Probate team whose expertise ensures that problems are identified early and can be dealt with swiftly by the Contentious Trust and Probate team.
We have substantial experience in handling Contentious Probate matters including:
- Bringing and defending proceedings where inadequate provision has been made in a Will, or where the Intestacy Rules do not sufficiently provide for a party, under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
- Claims regarding the validity of a Will, whether due to a lack of testamentary capacity, undue influence or improper execution of Wills.
- Disputes relating to the interpretation of the terms of a Will.
- Claims regarding agreements made with the deceased before death, particularly with regards to the disposal of the Estate.
- Disputes over the identification of beneficiaries.
- Claims for and against Executors, Personal Representatives and Trustees, particularly where there is alleged breach of Trust or in order to remove or substitute parties.
- Disputes relating to Trusts and Charity.
- Professional Negligence Claims relating to the negligent drafting of Wills and Trusts.
- Claims for the rectification of Wills and Trusts.
- Contentious applications to the Court of Protection, including applications in relation to Statutory Wills.
The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975
A large area of work for our team relates to bringing and defending proceedings where inadequate provision has been made in a Will, or where the Intestacy Rules do not sufficiently provide for a party, under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
In some cases, a Will or, where there is no Will, the Intestacy Rules do not provide reasonable financial provision for all those entitled to expect it. The law therefore gives certain people the opportunity to claim against an Estate if there is considered to be inadequate provision for them under the Will or the Intestacy Rules.
Accordingly, under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, you may have a claim against an Estate if you fall into one of the categories of permitted applicants.
You may have to demonstrate that you were dependent on the deceased at the time of their death, or lived with them for two years immediately before their death. If the claim is successful, the Court can make a variety of Orders which in effect rewrites the Will or the Intestacy Rules to ensure that reasonable financial provision is made for you.
Our Team Can Help You
You may think that instructing a Solicitor to assist you with a dispute of this kind will cost too much or not be necessary. However, invariably our Team can help either prevent a dispute escalating into lengthy and expensive Court Proceedings or ensure that any such proceedings are handled as professionally and skilfully as possible.
In most cases, the first step is to enter into correspondence with those administering the Estate to see if the matter can be resolved without the need for Court Proceedings. The majority of cases do result in Settlements being agreed between the parties. There are numerous cases where we have achieved such a resolution for our Clients by way of negotiations or through mediation.
However, where matters do escalate, our specialist litigators have the skill and expertise to handle a case all the way through to a Court Trial. We have successfully brought and defended a large number of cases in the County Courts and the High Court, building strong relationships with the specialist Barristers who practice in this area.
Throughout the handling of a matter, our Team adopt a friendly, helpful, empathetic and professional approach. Our understanding extends to the financial side of disputes and we hope that the highly competitive and fixed fees for initial aspects that we offer can assist individuals ascertain their position and be as well prepared as possible to take a matter forward.
A number of firms may offer to carry out this type of work but will lack the dedicated and specialist practitioners or hands-on experience which our Team possess.
Competitive and Fixed Fees
The financial aspect of contentious matters and, in particular, the potential cost consequences of taking action against another party is a key concern for Clients.
We understand this and therefore offer competitive fees for all the services we provide, together with fixed fees for initial aspects where possible.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to say thereafter how much any matter will cost, as each case is different. However, there are a number of options available to help you obtain access to justice at an affordable price and we offer substantial flexibility in our fee structures to assist Clients as much as possible.
You may, for example, be able to fund the case through legal expenses insurance, which may be tied in to your home insurance policy, for instance. If so, we are able and willing to liaise direct with your insurer throughout a matter.
Let Us Help You and Your Family
If you think that you may have a situation that falls into this area or with which we can assist, please contact us today.
It is important to seek specialist legal advice as soon as possible because there are strict time-limits which may be imposed. Any delay may therefore prevent you from getting the sums to which you are entitled.