Anyone named in a will or who otherwise benefits from someone else’s estate might want to challenge a lifetime gift for a number of reasons. Lifetime gifts are often a monetary payment or a transfer of assets of a significant value owned by the deceased. Lifetime gifts can be valid or invalid but they will affect the estate of the deceased by reducing it, as that sum of money or asset will no longer form part of their estate to be passed to their beneficiaries under a will or intestacy.

If you believe that a lifetime gift may be invalid, for example, because the deceased did not have the capacity to make it or because they were unduly influenced by another to make the gift, you can challenge the validity of that gift.

If your inheritance from a loved one’s estate has been reduced because of a gift made in their lifetime, this could be worth investigating. In the event that a successful challenge is made, the money or asset could be put back into the estate to be dealt with in accordance with any will or intestacy. 

If you wish to consider such a challenge, you should seek help from the expert will and estate dispute solicitors at JMW who can give you a free consultation to help you figure out what to do next.

For advice, mediation and representation services from professional solicitors, call JMW today on 0345 872 6666 or fill in our online enquiry form and we will return your call at a time convenient for you.

How to Challenge a Lifetime Gift

If the process goes to litigation, you will need to prove to the court that your challenge is valid. Possible ways in which a gift could be challenged include:

  • The deceased decided to make the gift without the required mental capacity
  • The deceased was pressured into making the gift by undue influence
  • The deceased’s attorney made the decision to make the gift without the authority or made such a gift to themselves
  • The deceased was not aware of the gift

Gathering evidence may vary in difficulty depending on the circumstances but our specialist team can advise you on what evidence may be available and how to obtain it and how to put together the strongest case possible in the circumstances.

If you have been in receipt of a gift from someone during their lifetime that is being challenged by a personal representative or beneficiary of their estate, we can assist you with the defence of that claim and can help you to gather evidence to show that the gift was made validly as well as advise on the merits of your position and any opportunities for resolution.

How JMW Can Help

With a team of experienced will dispute solicitors, JMW can offer you advice and representation from some of the best in the country. When you call us, we will break down your situation, explaining exactly what your chances of success are and what you need to do if you want to proceed. We will be able to explain each part of the process and help you to understand what your options are. 

We can facilitate communications between you and the other parties, potentially avoiding time-consuming litigation - we will always advise that you try to resolve the issue without taking it to court, as it can be expensive to do so. However, this does not always work out, in which case we can help you to gather the necessary evidence that will help to support your claim in court, and we will represent you in court proceedings if it comes to that.

Our Accreditations

Our will dispute solicitors have been awarded professional accreditation from organisations and associations including:

  • The Legal 500 - Who said that JMW are a “great team. Good legal knowledge and commercial approach to litigation. The team moves very quickly, and is very calm and knowledgeable.”
  • Chambers and Partners High Net Worth Firms - JMW’s wills disputes team is described by an interviewee as a “professional, modern firm delivering expert advice”. Alison Parry is described as “one of the best litigators in Manchester” and her “strengths are her obvious expertise, her capability and her empathy”. 
  • The Association of Contentious Trusts and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS) - Membership to this association requires solicitors firms to meet certain criteria based on their performance in this line of work.
  • Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners (STEP) - Membership of STEP demonstrates our commitment to high professional standards and continued professional development, building the confidence, respect and trust of our clients.
  • Special Interest Group for Contentious Trusts and Estates - Members of this group are focused on international trust and estate law while promoting best practice in the handling of contentious trust and estate disputes and trustee litigation. 

Our Will Disputes Team

Alison Parry
Partner and Head of Will and Trust Disputes
Will and Trust Disputes
Ben Wilson
Will and Trust Disputes
Ian Johnston
Senior Associate Solicitor
Will and Trust Disputes
Claire Brierley
Associate Solicitor
Will and Trust Disputes
Ameliah McLaren-Parker
Wills and Trust Disputes

Why Choose JMW?

The expert solicitors at JMW understand the sensitivity that is required to handle wills, estate and lifetime gifts cases, as these can be highly stressful in the time after a loved one dies, without the added difficulty of things going wrong. 

We will provide you with the support and advice you need to make an informed decision on whether this is something you want to proceed with, and we will guide you through the whole process to ensure that you understand what you are doing and any associated consequences.

JMW has been recognised as a top UK law firm by the Legal 500 for its successes in line with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), and you can read more about our successes here.

Talk to Us

For expert advice on challenging a lifetime gift, call the wills and estates solicitors at JMW today on 0345 872 6666 or fill in our online enquiry form and we will get back to you.

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