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Will Disputes (Contentious Probate)
JMW’s team of experienced advisors provides expert legal advice and practical support to parties involved in disputes concerning wills, trusts and inheritances. Whether you’re an executor or trustee, a beneficiary, or someone who feels they’ve not been provided for either within a will or in a trust, we can help you. Alternatively, if your loved one did not leave a will and as a result you have been excluded from their estate, then it may be possible to claim on their estate
The experts at JMW are here to make the probate process and matters of contentious probate as stress-free as possible. We are highly experienced in this area of law, providing a professional and understanding service during a difficult time.
If you are looking for assistance in a dispute concerning someone’s estate, get in touch with JMW’s dedicated team today. Call us on 0345 872 6666 or fill in our online enquiry form to request a callback.
How JMW Can Help
JMW is an expert in this area of law and our solicitors’ expertise includes professional accreditation through the Association of Contentious Trusts and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS) and affiliate membership of the Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners (STEP), including membership of the Special Interest Group for Contentious Trusts and Estates.
We are experienced at bringing and defending claims on behalf of individuals, families and professionals, including business leaders, entrepreneurs, entertainers, sports and medical professionals. We understand the environment you operate in and so can act sensitively and pragmatically to ensure your needs are met efficiently and with discretion.
In addition, we offer advice to charities should a dispute arise where they are beneficiaries within a will or trust.
Our expert team of lawyers is renowned for its professionalism, knowledge and expertise, and we work closely with our colleagues across our Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning and Court of Protection departments to ensure that we provide you with specialist advice tailored to your specific circumstances.
We can help with:
Successful early settlement for client in respect of her late father’s estate pursuant to the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975
Alison Parry of JMW’s Commercial Litigation team achieved an early resolution, at mediation, for a client whose father had left her out of his Will. Our client stood to inherit approximately £10,000 but with our advice and assistance she was able to secure the payment of £105,000.
Upon her late father’s death, our client found herself left out of her father’s Will which was heavily in favour of her sister who was to receive a sizeable inheritance, including a property. Sometimes the extent of the discrepancy between various gifts to children is not fully appreciated at the Will making stage, and proper consideration ought to be given to the potential increase in property values when making gifts of property.
Our client had a number of heavily debilitating illnesses which affected her quality of life and she was in special need of funds to improve her care and treatment. With our assistance, she applied for reasonable financial provision from her late father’s estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 – to seek funds to meet her health and care needs.
Our client was keen to avoid an extensive legal claim, which would have been difficult to cope with and much of the funds would have been put towards legal fees, so with our assistance a mediation was arranged and settlement achieved at a relatively early stage. The settlement resulted in our client receiving a sizable division of the estate’s assets, significantly more than envisaged under the Will; namely the benefit of a lump sum payment to assist with her care needs and to receive additional equipment which will improve her quality of life and enable her to better cope with the conditions she has.
Successful settlement for unmarried client in respect of her late partner’s estate pursuant to the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975
Alison Parry of JMW’s Commercial Litigation team successfully assisted an unmarried partner in resolving a dispute with her late partner’s son in respect of an application under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 allowing our client to retain a property she shared with her late partner for many years.
Our client’s partner died without making a Will and under the intestacy rules the deceased’s son inherited the entire estate including a property in which our client and her late partner had lived together for many years prior to her partner’s death.
Our client struggled with the loss of her partner and could not contemplate moving out of the property, and it was our client’s priority to keep the property as it was her home.
With specialist assistance from our Contentious Trusts and Probate team, our client pursued an application against her late partner’s estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 in order to seek reasonable financial provision, namely to keep the property.
Following the issue, the parties took steps to negotiate settlement and the team at JMW played a central role in achieving a solution that allowed our client to get the desired outcome she had hoped for. As a result of the action taken, our client received the benefit of a policy and she was able to agree on a settlement with her late partner’s son which involved the payment of a limited fixed sum in return for the transfer of the late partner’s property to our client.
At the conclusion of the matter, our client had the following to say:
“Alison Parry this lady is the best solicitor I have ever had. She helped me from day one I had no idea what I was doing or expecting. Alison sorted everything for me and always made sure that I was okay and I understood every step, and I was so very pleased that Alison got me the outcome I always wanted. I will be eternally grateful for all that she did for me. So if anyone is looking for a great solicitor Alison Parry is your lady 100%.”
JMW Solicitor’s successful resolution of clients’ lost inheritance claim caused by solicitor’s negligence when drafting Will
JMW's Contentious Trusts and Probate team has helped two sisters to secure an excellent result in a lost inheritance claim in respect of their late mother’s interest in a jointly owned property arising out of negligence by the solicitors who drafted their late mother’s Will.
Our specialist Contentious Trusts and Probate team were instructed by two sisters who had been left a 50% share in a property that their late mother owned with her husband (not their father).
On investigation, it became clear the solicitors who had prepared their late mother’s Will had failed to check how the property was legally owned. It transpired that both their late mother and her husband had instructed their conveyancing solicitors that the property was to be held as tenants in common but when registering the property the conveyancing solicitors incorrectly registered them as joint tenants meaning their late mother’s 50% interest in the property passed by way of Survivorship to her husband and not as per her wishes stated under her will (namely to her daughters upon her death). As a consequence, the gift of a 50% interest in the property to our clients failed and other than some pieces of jewellery our clients were disinherited.
We carefully considered the position and obtained a copy of the original conveyancing file to ascertain the instructions provided by the late mother and her husband regarding how the property was to be held. Once confirmed we advised our clients of their professional negligence claim on the basis they were beneficiaries who would have inherited under the late mother’s will had the solicitors preparing the late mother’s Will checked that the property was held as tenants in common and therefore the 50% intended to pass to our clients could pass under the terms of the Will.
A letter of claim was sent to the solicitors who prepared the will and with a view to exploring the possibility of a negotiated settlement, we approached the late mother’s husband to see if a resolution could be achieved. As a result of those negotiations, he agreed to enter into a declaration that provided for him to retain a life interest in the property and on his death the late mother’s 50% share of the property would pass to our clients in equal shares i.e. they would each receive a 25% interest in the property as had been originally intended by their late mother’s will. We were also able to secure payment towards our clients’ costs from the solicitors that prepared the will despite them refuting any claim of negligence and costs not being recoverable on the basis our clients’ loss had been mitigated.
Successful resolution of two claims on behalf of a disinherited daughter against the Estate of her late father.
A partner in our market leading Contentious Trusts and Probate team, Ben Wilson, has successfully settled two claims brought by a disinherited daughter against the Estate of her late father. The first claim was a challenge to the validity of her late father’s Will on the basis of lack of mental capacity, want of knowledge and approval of the terms of the Will and undue influence. The second claim was for reasonable financial provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 on the basis that the will did not leave reasonable financial provision for our client.
In assisting the client, Ben undertook initial enquiries to gather evidence in support of the claims (including sending a “Larke v Nugus” request to the solicitors who drafted the Will and also requesting and reviewing medical records). Ben then sent a robust letter of claim to the other parties, setting out the claims in full. The parties attended a mediation and shortly thereafter, the claims were settled in our client’s favour without the need to bring court proceedings. The client received a substantial proportion of the Estate and was very happy with the settlement achieved.For more information about the issues raised in this case study, or if you have experienced similar issues and require assistance, please get in touch.
Our Will Disputes Team
Legal 500 2021 praise for the team:
“Great team. Good legal knowledge and commercial approach to litigation.
‘The team moves very quickly, and is very calm and knowledgeable.’
‘‘The individuals I have worked with have been excellent, and provide a very capable service.’
‘‘Very knowledgeable in their field and were very compassionate at a difficult time.’