Losing a loved one can be extremely distressing and stressful for the friends and family left behind. With tensions running high and emotions fragile, it is perhaps unsurprising that disputes frequently arise over the division of the deceased’s estate. Inheritance disputes include disagreements over the provisions of a will, the application of the Intestacy Rules, succession issues, and claims under the Inheritance Act. Our expert inheritance dispute solicitors understand that those seeking legal advice in such circumstances require clear, straightforward advice delivered with empathy and understanding. They have extensive experience in assisting clients involved in inheritance disputes and have an excellent track record for achieving favourable results for their clients in a swift, cost-effective way.
What Do Inheritance Disputes Solicitors Do?
Our team of inheritance disputes solicitors regularly advise clients on all types of inheritance disputes. They act for anyone involved in an inheritance dispute, including beneficiaries, those left out of a will and executors and administrators defending claims brought against an estate.
Some common issues which our inheritance disputes solicitors deal with include –
Whilst the wishes of the deceased are paramount, the law will sometimes intervene to override them in specific circumstances if a will is disputed. Will disputes can arise for numerous reasons. There may be concerns regarding the validity of a will – that the deceased was not of sound mind when they made the will, for example. A proven lack of validity may lead the Court to distribute the estate under the terms of an earlier will or pursuant to the Intestacy Rules. Occasionally, you may be able to challenge a will on the grounds that it does not make ‘reasonable financial provision’ for you. Claims of this nature are made under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents Act) 1975, which sets out the categories of people eligible to bring a claim and the criteria they need to meet. The terms of a will may also be challenged under the legal principle known as ‘proprietary estoppel’. Proprietary estoppel operates to remedy perceived unfairness and may apply where the deceased promised, during their lifetime, to bequeath specific assets to you but subsequently failed to do so. If you can prove that you acted to your detriment in reliance on that promise – by working for the deceased for reduced pay, for instance – the Court may order that the assets be transferred to you or award you financial compensation from the estate.
The law governing will disputes can be complex and difficult to navigate. Strict time limits apply, and it is crucial to take advice from experienced inheritance disputes solicitors as soon as a dispute comes to light to ensure your position is fully protected.
Claims Concerning The Mismanagement Of An Estate
Executors and administrators are subject to a number of legal duties. They must, for example, act honestly, prudently and in the best interests of the estate. If they fail to do so, they can be held personally accountable for any losses incurred and may be removed from office. Our expert inheritance dispute solicitors regularly act for both third parties affected by an estate’s mismanagement, and executors and administrators who have been accused of breaching their duties. They will swiftly assess and advise on the merits of any claim and guide you through the relevant procedure.
It sometimes transpires that the provisions of a will do not accurately reflect the wishes of the deceased, or that the will does not meet the validity criteria. If such issues have caused you to suffer financial loss, you may be able to bring a claim for professional negligence against the individual responsible for preparing the will. Strict legal criteria, time limits and procedures apply to negligence claims, so you should seek timely advice from inheritance disputes solicitors to avoid inadvertently jeopardising your case.
How Much Do Inheritance Dispute Solicitors Cost?
The nature of inheritance disputes varies greatly, and the costs involved depend on the complexity of the issues and the time required to deal with them effectively. Our inheritance dispute solicitors work tirelessly to achieve the best possible results for their clients in the most cost-effective way. They will always avoid the time and expense of Court action if possible, using proven alternative dispute resolution methods or identifying a practical solution in a bid to achieve your desired outcome in the quickest time. We are proud to have received feedback from clients praising how our ‘outstanding’ solicitors worked hard to minimise their costs whilst maintaining a ‘faultess’, ‘friendly and ‘helpful’ service and ‘fighting [their client’s] corner every step of the way’.