Losing a loved-one is always an emotional time. The last thing you need is the additional stress and worry about a dispute or problem surrounding their will, trust or estate.
Disputes over an inheritance can arise for many reasons. It could be because it does not provide sufficiently for dependants or other close family members left behind or could come about when other parties contest the Will or make a claim on the estate. Our inheritance disputes team will strive to make this period as stress free as possible by giving you advice that you can trust at every step of the way.
If you feel you have been unfairly left out of a Will or not provided for sufficiently we can provide guidance on the necessary steps. Seeking expert advice as soon as possible is crucial, as there are time restrictions and deadlines within which challenges against a Will must be raised. We have extensive experience in resolving disputes over Wills and can give you the advice and support you need to make the best decisions for your situation. Visit our challenge a will page for more information.
If you are acting as an executor or are a beneficiary and somebody else is contesting the Will we can also provide advice. This can include assessing the strength of their potential claim to negotiating a fair solution or assisting with your defence of the will.
Where possible we will use alternative dispute resolution methods to court, such as mediation in order to resolve the matter amicably. Mediation involves both sides meeting with an impartial and trained third party to help both sides come to an agreement. If however court proceedings do become necessary, we will work closely with you to ensure that your case progresses as efficiently and effectively as possible.
If there is no Will, the estate is dealt with according to the rules of intestacy. These set out exactly who is entitled to what. When a person dies without a valid Will they are known as ‘intestate’.
Under these rules, married or civil partners will inherit if they are still married or in a civil partnership at the time of the intestate person’s death. Co-habiting partners won’t.
Children will inherit if there is no living married or civil partner. In this circumstance, they would then inherit the whole estate. If there are multiple children the estate would be divided between them equally. If there is a partner alive, the children would only inherit if the estate is worth more than £250,000.
Grandchildren, great grandchildren, parents, siblings and other close relatives may also be able to inherit but only if the relatives aforementioned died before the intestate person. For more information on the rules of intestacy speak to a member of our inheritance disputes team.
We have additional expertise in acting for charities and not for profit organisations that are listed as a beneficiary in a Will or there is contention over a legacy. We will aim to use alternative dispute resolution methods where possible to find practical solutions and avoid court proceedings.
Many disputes can be prevented by creating a detailed and comprehensive Will. Visit our Making your Will page to find out about how we can help you with the creation of a Will. It is also important to update your Will if various circumstances change, more guidance on this can be found here.
For more information on how we can help support you through your inheritance dispute, please contact one of our inheritance dispute specialists in our Newbury, Thatcham or Maidenhead offices below.