Once someone has made a will, it is often thought that it is set in stone, incapable of change, however inappropriate it might seem to those who only learn of its contents after the testator’s death. However, there are many steps which can then be taken which might relate to the validity of the will or the manner in which an estate is to be distributed.
For example, the circumstances in which a will was made can be thoroughly investigated in order to determine whether the deceased had the requisite mental capacity, that they had full knowledge of the contents of and approved the will or had been subjected to duress or undue influence in making it. It is also possible for those who have not received from the estate sums which fairly reflect what they might have reasonably expected to review the manner in which it is to be distributed and, if their case fits the relevant criteria, to apply to the court for an order which effectively overrides the testator’s stated wishes.
Another difficult area is the administration of the financial affairs of individuals who have lost the capacity to deal with them themselves. These situations are often managed through the use of enduring or lasting powers of attorney (known as EPAs and LPAs) or through deputies appointed by the court but disputes can arise between family members and attorneys/deputies which require careful and sensitive handling by experienced professionals with excellent negotiating skills. Issues also arise with regard to the administration of trusts, with applications to the court required for the approval or determination of issues which cannot be resolved by other means.
In such matters, it is essential that we operate on the basis of a clear and empathetic understanding of our client’s concerns, coupled with specialist knowledge of the relevant law and practice. This helps us to advise them towards achieving a satisfactory outcome in the most cost-effective manner, while at the same time doing what we can to assist the parties to preserve or restore relationships which might well have been fractured as a result of the underlying dispute.
Services We Provide.
Advising on the circumstances in which wills have been made
Considering issues around the validity of wills and advising on potential claims
Claims relating to the distribution of estates pursuant to the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975
Advising on disputes arising from the administration of estates, including claims by and against personal representatives and in respect of their appointment and removal
Advising on the validity of EPAs and LPAs
Applications to the Court of Protection with regard to the registration/operation of EPAs/LPAs
Advising trustees and beneficiaries with regard to the administration of trusts.
Professional negligence claims arising from the above mentioned practice areas.
Please contact us if you have any queries relating to Litigation. We will check whether we can act for you and, if so, we will confirm the terms and conditions of our retainer with you in a client care or engagement letter
If you require advice, ring our Dispute Resolution department and arrange a meeting with a member of our team
We will give you clear and commercial advice, informing you of all the options available, and possible risks involved
Please contact a member of the Dispute Resolution Team.
We are happy to discuss any issues relating to Trusts, Wills and Probate disputescontact
Please see our Private Wealth Department for more information on Wills and Lasting Power of Attorneysfind out more