Unfortunately, disputes over Wills, Trusts and Inheritance are increasingly common as families become more dispersed and their structures more complicated. Contesting a Will, Trust or Inheritance, whether you are bringing the claim or on the receiving end of it, is never an easy process.
Our dedicated Contentious Probate team, led by Hilary Buckle and Justin Sadler, is here to help. It includes a qualified member of ACTAPS (the Association of Contentious Trusts and Probate Specialists), which is the kite mark of quality in this area of law.
Initial advice can be given via a one hour fixed fee meeting for £95. Thereafter, we will give you an estimate and we will not exceed that estimate without getting your permission first. If appropriate, we will offer you a fixed fee for a fixed amount of work. We also offer Pay As You Go Legal Service, whereby you only pay for the legal services you actually want.
Out of court
We are delighted that most cases we deal with result in settlement rather than trial at court. It is often worth considering mediation in which we have considerable experience as well as in other alternative dispute resolution procedures and we can advise you on negotiation tactics and strategy.
Where matters do escalate, our specialist litigators have the skill and expertise to handle a case all the way through to a court trial.
Our team can advise you on all aspects in this area, including the following:
- The deceased has not made sufficient provision for you in their will; or the Intestacy Rules (where a will is invalid or does not exist) do not sufficiently provide for you. This could be because of a change in your circumstances or in your financial dependence on the deceased;
- The deceased made promises to you when they were still alive which have not been kept in the will, particularly with regard to the disposal of the estate;
- You believe that the deceased did not have the mental capacity to make a will;
- Someone has coerced the deceased into making a will;
- The will was not signed properly or is otherwise invalid;
- There is a factual error in the will, indicating a claim for amending the will or trust;
- The original will has been lost;
- Disputes over the identification of beneficiaries;
- Breaches of trust or a need to remove or substitute executors, personal representatives or trustees who are failing to act appropriately;
- Disputes relating to trusts and charities or statutory wills;
- Professional negligence claims relating to trusts and estates.
If you are concerned about costs, please be assured that we will always provide you with an estimate based on the details of your case and our previous experience. It may be possible to fund the case through legal expenses insurance, which could even be tied in to your home insurance policy.
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Case Summary: Probate Dispute and Professional Negligence
We represented the beneficiaries of an estate whose mother had died several years ago, but the solicitors who had been appointed as the executor had failed to distribute the estate.
As is often the case, the main asset of the estate was a property. One of the beneficiaries was already living at the property when his mother died and he intended to buy the property. He sold his own house and instructed our firm on the conveyancing.
We then discovered that the property was actually 50% owned by the beneficiaries’ father (deceased). Their parents had divorced and he had remarried and had other children. So now his present wife and their children were also potential beneficiaries of his estate.
It appeared that our client’s father had not left a will so we had to conduct an exhaustive search and discovered that he had made a homemade will, but that did not deal with his half share in the property, as he did not realise that he owned it!
We therefore had a potential dispute between the two beneficiaries (our clients), the solicitor acting as executor and our client’s father’s second wife and children.
The case became more complicated when the property flooded on Christmas Eve and the solicitor acting as executor and the property management company blamed each other!
From beginning to end, this case lasted 5 years and was eventually settled by mediation which finished at 12am midnight in London!
The beneficiaries did receive compensation from the solicitors as well as an apology and some money was paid to our client’s father’s second wife. Unfortunately, one of our clients died before the settlement was agreed, but the remaining beneficiary was extremely grateful that the nightmare that started over five years ago had finally been resolved.
Contentious Probate matters can be extremely complicated as can complaints against solicitors. Trying to deal with it all on your own can be overwhelming. We can advise on the next steps and what your options are and provide you with a clear guide to avoid you “missing the wood for the trees”.
– Justin Sadler