If there’s a will, there’s a way to challenge that will


Posted by Farah Ali, Paralegal in Dispute Resolution Team

The courts have never fallen short of providing thought-provoking stories of people challenging wills made by their nearest and dearest. Below are a selection of three recent cases from the legal press that have sparked interest. Ball v Ball [2017], involved a challenge against a late mother’s (Mrs Ball) will by three of her children (out of a total eleven siblings!). Mrs Ball disapproved of the three children making allegations of sexual assault against their father (Mr Ball) and executed her will the following year excluding those three children from her will. The children argued that she lacked mental ability (capacity) to make a will, or alternatively that she was forced by their father (undue influence) into making the will. They argued that Mr Ball told Mrs Ball that he was innocent of the accusations and this is why Mrs Ball decided to disinherit the children. The judge considered the arguments of capacity and undue influence and rejected these as he considered that the mother was entitled to make whatever provision she wanted in her will and the fact that others did not like her choice did not mean that it was made under influence. He also said that since […]

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M&A: Earn-out or no Earn-out by Ami Bhatt, Associate in Commercial Team


Posted by Ami Bhatt, Associate - Commercial Team

Earn-out is that part of purchase price that buyers agree to pay to sellers in future based on future performance of the business. It can be linked to profitability or turnover or other parameters depending on the nature of the business. Earn-outs are often used in acquisitions when there is a substantial gap between valuation of buyer and seller. The gap can be bridged by structuring a payment at completion followed by one or more payments over a period of time based on the future performance of the business. Earn-outs would give a seller an opportunity to realise the future potentials of the business and synergy and expertise that a buyer will be bringing in. From buyers perspective that part of consideration is dependent on the future success of the business so a part of financial acquisition risk relating to the acquisition is covered in the event the business fails to perform following the acquisition. However, either as a seller or a buyer you need to be careful of the pitfalls this arrangement carries. As a buyer you would want to ensure that any earn-outs are determined by a measurable performance in the ordinary course of the business and giving […]

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Joining Gardner Leader – The Role of a Litigation Paralegal


Posted by Helena Taylor, Paralegal in Dispute Resolution Team

A key factor that sparked my interest in a career in litigation is the diverse range of cases it covers. Since joining Gardner Leader as a litigation paralegal, I have certainly experienced this. In just a matter of weeks I have been given the opportunity to assist with a variety of cases, no two of which are comparable. This has allowed me to build upon my knowledge and gain confidence in my work far quicker than I would have expected to. During my first week at Gardner Leader, I was provided with two days of in depth IT training. Although I was keen to get to grips with legal work, this was the platform I needed to get started. It gave me essential knowledge of the firm’s software and an understanding of how it can assist in daily tasks. During this time, I was also personally introduced to everyone at the firm. Thankfully, I was reassured that I was not expected to learn everyone’s names just yet! After my initial induction, I joined the dispute resolution team. I got settled at my desk and almost immediately, I was given my first client. Although this was slightly daunting, I was supported […]

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Estranged daughter follows in the footsteps of Ilott v Mitson with a £30,000 Inheritance Act claim


Posted by Tamsin Wooldrige, Paralegal in Dispute Resolution Team

No doubt, most of you will have heard about the recent decision in the case of Illott v Blue Cross (previously Mitson). This was the case where an adult child, estranged from her late mother claimed against the estate for reasonable financial provision. The mother had left a letter of wishes with her will expressly excluding the daughter and left the majority of her £486,000 estate to charity. In March of this year, The Supreme Court upheld an earlier award of £50,000 for the daughter to enable her to purchase white items for her home. The Supreme Court’s decision highlighted the need for an adult child claimant under the Inheritance Act’s award to be limited to their maintenance.  It considered that the period of estrangement was relevant and only awarded 10% of the value of the estate. A similar case has since come before the courts in the case of Nahajec v Fowle this is the first Inheritance Act Claim to be heard since the Supreme Court’s ruling in Illot. So how does the recent decision in Nahajec differ from the Illott matter and what does this mean for people bringing or defending claims against an estate? The Facts The […]

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Adopted children considered beneficiaries under a 1946 will


Posted by Hannah McEwen

The recent case of Hand & another v George & another questioned whether, at the time a will was executed, adopted children should be classified as ‘children’ for the purposes of a will. The Facts Henry Hand (the testator) passed away in 1947 and left the residue of his estate on trust to his three children in equal shares for life and the remainder to their children who attained the age of 21 in equal shares. Two of Henry Hand’s grandchildren (the Claimants) were adopted. Under section 5(2) of the Adoption of Children Act 1926 in force at the time the will was written in 1946, adopted children were not counted as ‘children’ in respect of estate entitlements of their natural or adopted parents. Therefore, the Claimants would not be able to benefit from the remainder of their father’s part of the estate held on trust under the will. Instead, their cousins (the Defendants), as birth-grandchildren, would receive the Claimants’ share of Henry Hand’s Trust. The Claimants argued that their Article 14 (anti-discrimination) and Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) ECHR rights should override the discriminatory effects of the Adoption of Children Act 1926. The Defendants […]

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The bank of Mum and Dad


Research out this week from Legal & General reveals that the bank of mum and dad will help to finance 25% of all UK mortgage transactions this year at an average of £17,500. This is of particular interest to those that have already, or that are likely to offer financial support to an adult child to finance buying a home or other large investment. In instances where relationships sour between a parent and child or ex-partner of an adult child this can lead to significant disputes. Such disputes can be protracted, costly and distressing. In our experience this can be devastating for those involved and we are experienced at handling such disputes whether between family members or ex-partners. Our involvement ranges from before the event, for example a Trust Deed should almost always be put in place where there is a loan from parents for a house purchase. If the child marries or cohabits, it is possible for the loan to be taken into account in a pre-nuptial or cohabitation agreement. You might want to consider Inheritance Tax planning, to recognise life time loans, we are also able to help with a range of after the event Litigation. Our experts […]

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Taylor Wimpey apologises in leasehold dispute


One of the UK’s biggest house builders has apologised to home owners for leaving customers with onerous leasehold deals. MPs have described this as a ‘national scandal’. See more here

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LPAs for Business by Alastair Goggins, Partner in Dispute Resolution Team


Posted by Alastair Goggins

Many of us are familiar what a lasting power of attorney is. It is essentially a way of choosing who you would trust to make decisions concerning your personal finances and your health and welfare should you lose the capacity to make those decisions yourself. Many of us choose to make an LPA late in life when we have a more realistic understanding of our own immortality. Many of us, however, may be surprised to hear that a LPA cannot just deal with our personal day-to-day requirements but also our business interests as well. It is possible for a LPA to be created to protect the business interests we have.  These types of LPAs are sometimes called commercial LPAs. These might include business interests in a partnership, when we run our own business, or indeed if we hold more structured business interests in perhaps a limited company. Changes in the law brought about by the Equalities Act 2010 now make it unlawful to remove a director/partner from their role on the ground that they have lost capacity. This can pose some very serious concerns for business owners. It is not uncommon for a particular Partner or Director/Shareholder to assume a […]

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Government Scraps the Probate Registry Fee Increase


The BBC announces that due to the snap election there is no time to put through the proposed probate fee increase due to start in May. This is great news for our clients as the Ministry of Justice planned to raise fees by up to £20,000 for those with the biggest estates compared to the fees currently fixed at either £155 or £215. For more information click here

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It’s Good to Talk


Posted by Jade Hinks, Trainee Solicitor in Dispute Resolution Team

Time passes by so quickly sometimes it’s hard to keep up with everything that is happening in our own lives, let alone someone else’s, which is why it’s worth regularly taking time to review your situation and the situation of those you care for the most. In contested probate, a claim against an estate cannot be prevented if a party has a right to make a claim but it may be possible to limit the success of one, which is why it is often advised to regularly review your will, especially when your circumstances change. Whilst I am not advocating reviewing your Will on a weekly basis, which would be unnecessary and time consuming, it should be done when there is a change in circumstance. Some common situations include when you buy and/or sell a property, marriage, divorce, death of a family member or changes in tax laws. In these circumstances, not only are you are looking at what has changed in your own life but it is equally important to keep an eye on what is happening in the lives of your beneficiaries (the people who inherit under your Will). In May 2016, the Court of Appeal decided the […]

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Thinking of separating or divorce? Listen here


Posted by Collette Bailey

If you are in an unhappy marriage you may be thinking about your options. Collette Bailey discusses here the issues surrounding separation and divorce and highlights the fact that there is no such thing as a common law wife. Listen here  

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