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contesting wills

CONTESTING A WILL UNDER A NO WIN NO FEE ARRANGEMENT – YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED

1. WHAT PERCENTAGE OF YOUR WILL DISPUTE CLIENTS DO YOU WORK FOR UNDER A NO WIN NO FEE ARRANGEMENT? We act for about 99% of our will dispute and will contest clients under a no win no fee arrangement. 2. WHAT DO YOUR WILL DISPUTE AND WILL CONTEST CLIENTS HAVE TO PAY UPFRONT AND/OR AS THE CLAIM PROCEEDS UNDER A NO WIN NO FEE ARRANGEMENT? Our will dispute and will […]

rolling dice and weighing up the risks of contesting a will

HOW DO I CONTEST A WILL? COMMON MISTAKES

1. IS IT TRUE THAT I HAVE ONLY SIX MONTHS FOLLOWING THE DEATH TO CONTEST A WILL? There is no time limit if you are claiming that a Will is not legally valid, because, for instance: • The person making it didn’t sign it (their signature was forged) • The person making it didn’t sign it in front of two witnesses who also signed (a legal requirement under section 9 […]

passing of time represeented by flowers and a clock face

CONTESTING A WILL – THE LIMITS OF THE WILL DISPUTE PROCESS

In the Sunday Times on 21 October 2018 a family Will dispute involving a £28m fortune was reported on in detail (https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/family-torn-apart-by-28m-fortune-fp5fnmsbn), and was cited as “extremely bitter, long-running and costly”. The article appears to have arisen as a result of a published appeal relating to costs associated with the dispute (Griffin v Higgs and others 2018 EWHC 2498 (ch) – see https://www.casemine.com/judgement/uk/5bbc78c02c94e077fac1106b). What was this will dispute case about? […]

wax seal on a document

HAS IT BECOME LESS RISKY TO CONTEST A WILL?

What is at risk if you contest a Will? What I am describing is a situation where the legal validity of a Will is challenged; the typical grounds being that the testator was subject to undue influence and/or because he or she didn’t or couldn’t have understood what was going on when the Will was made (typically because of the effects of an illness such as dementia).If the legal validity […]

MY STEPFATHER DISINHERITED ME – WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT IT?

A lesson from the past? What can happen to your inheritance when your mother or father remarries? In a heart wrenching article, Jane Cassell recounts how her mother remarried when she was 9 years old and then a year later on holiday in north Africa, died from a heart attack (https://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/life/know-bitter-experience-parents-need-make-new-will-remarry). She hadn’t made a Will. It seems there may have been a previous Will. However, as Jane Cassell writes, […]

testamentary capacity is one way to challenge a will - make sure you consider these 5 points

REMOVING AN EXECUTOR IN A WILL CONTEST CLAIM (before a Grant of Probate)

REMOVING AN EXECUTOR IN A WILL CONTEST CLAIM (before a Grant of Probate) Here is the scenario. There is no Will and one of the potential beneficiaries who is also a potential Executor owns a property jointly with the deceased and by that joint ownership is entitled to 50% of the proceeds of the property with the remaining 50% falling into the estate to be divided amongst a number of […]

legal documents for consideration

TOP TIPS FOR CONTESTING A WILL

What are the potential pitfalls? • To contest the legal validity of a Will you need to have an interest in the outcome of your dispute – for instance, if you prove the Will is not valid, you must be a beneficiary under a previous valid Will or if there is no previous Will by the rules of intestacy (under which in general you will only be a beneficiary if […]

Keeping your will up to date is important to make sure it reflects your personal circumstances at the time

HOW DISINHERITED INFANT CHILDREN CAN INHERIT

HOW DISINHERITED INFANT CHILDREN CAN INHERIT (and dispute a Will) What can be done when infant children have been disinherited?• In England and Wales it is perfectly legal (but immoral) for a father (or mother) to leave infant children nothing by the terms of their Wills • If so, what can be done?• The state has intervened in these unusual circumstances (not least to protect unrelated tax payers from this […]

Whether you use a vintage fountain pen or note, a larke v Nugus statement will be useful evidence in a will dispute

HOW TO CONTEST A WILL WITHOUT CHALLENGING ITS LEGAL VALIDITY (part 2)

HOW TO CONTEST A WILL WITHOUT CHALLENGING ITS LEGAL VALIDITY (part 2) This is the second part of our two part blog about contesting the legal validity of a Will, without actually challenging its legal validity. In our first part we explained how the deceased, who was married to our client (her husband), left him nothing under the terms of her Will, because she mistakenly believed that he would automatically […]

A fountain pen to sign and execute a will

HOW TO CONTEST A WILL WITHOUT CHALLENGING ITS LEGAL VALIDITY (part 1 of 2)

HOW TO CONTEST A WILL WITHOUT CHALLENGING ITS LEGAL VALIDITY (part 1 of 2) This is another example of a recent Will contest claim involving the widower of the deceased. In this case, our client who had been married to the deceased for over 20 years and whose older wife (he was 12 years her junior) sadly died prematurely due to cancer. Not only did this happen but when her […]

A handwritten will can cause problems if it's not clear what the intention of the will is.

WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS WHEN WE TAKE ON YOUR WILL DISPUTE CLAIM?

This is an example of a typical recent Will contest claim involving a so-called adult child pursuing a claim for financial provision under section 2 of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1975/63). To explain, a claim under the 1975 Inheritance Act, is not a claim that there is something wrong with the Will, rather that it unreasonably fails to make financial provision. A claim of this […]

rolling dice and weighing up the risks of contesting a will

WHAT BEHAVIOURS OR SCENARIOS CAN LEAD TO A WILL DISPUTE

The tragic case of Sotherby’s legend, Nicholas Rayner, was reported in the Daily Mail on Tuesday 31 July 2018. Once a high-flying playboy who had excelled at the Cresta Run, raced his classic Aston Martin across the frozen lake at St Moritz and who had flown his Auster plane in all weathers, once even damaging its wing when he flew too low hitting telephone cables, by 2010 he was a […]

piles of money to illustrate what is reasonable financial provision after teh case of Wooldridge v Wooldridge

JOINT BANK ACCOUNTS IN WILL CONTEST CASES

We have all seen this – Auntie Hilda, a frail, vulnerable and yet compos mentis 86 year old spinster has trouble getting to the bank in her local town, where, on a weekly basis, she withdraws £100 cash for her shopping, newspaper and gin. The same bank account holds all of her worldly savings which includes a large lump sum in life insurance which she received after her sister’s death. […]

instruct your will dispute solicitor for success

Your Will Dispute Solicitor – 5 Questions to ask

Challenging a will can be stressful and it is important to make sure that you understand the process by making the most out of meetings with your solicitor. Five questions to ask your will dispute solicitor when challenging a will are set out below. What is the best way for me to challenge this will? You should ask your will dispute solicitor whether challenging the validity of the will is […]

charitable organisations and contentious probate

Contentious Probate and Charitable Organisations

It is common practice for testators to leave money and other assets to charitable organisations in their will. Will disputes usually arise when family members disagree over the validity of a will or its availability of reasonable financial provision. However, in a situation where the beneficiary of a will is a charity, that organisation can become involved in a will dispute as the claimant or as the defendant. The recent […]

letter of wishes and reasonable financial provision

Thompson v Raggett: Letter of Wishes and Reasonable Financial Provision

The recent case of Thompson v Raggett & Ors [2018] EWHC 688 (Ch), concerned an Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 will dispute, and the use of letters of wishes. An elderly lady applied for reasonable financial provision when her partner and cohabitee of 42 years failed to leave any provision for her in his will when he died, despite the fact that he had explained his reasons […]

In Nutt v Nutt the court looked at fairness in a will dispute

The Fairness of Will Disputes: Nutt v. Nutt [2018] EWHC 851 (CH)

The recent case of Nutt v Nutt, an elderly lady left her house to one of her children and not the others. The case shows the factors that the courts use to resolve will disputes. The Facts of Nutt v Nutt Lily Rose Nutt passed away in 2013; she was a widow. Mrs Nutt had made a will in 2005, and another in 2010. Mrs Nutt had three children: Christopher, […]

If a will dispute cannot be resolved it may be because the Testator's intentions are unclear

Interpreting the Testator’s Intentions: Tish v Olley

Challenging a will can be complicated when it is unclear what the testator’s intentions were by the wording of clauses in their will. This is a particularly difficult issue for wills compared with other legal documents for the obvious reason that the person whose intentions are under question has passed away by the time of the will dispute. The recent case of Tish and Others v Olley & Ors [2018] […]

inheritance act claims for reasonable financial provision

Inheritance Act Claims: What is Reasonable Financial Provision?

Understanding Inheritance Act claims Challenging a will through using the mechanism of Inheritance Act claims allows claimants to apply to court for reasonable financial provision from a deceased person’s estate, without questioning the validity of the testator’s will. Section 1 of the Act outlines the list of potential Inheritance Act claimants, i.e dependants. People who can potentially claim under the act are: Spouses and civil partners; Former spouses or civil […]

worried about will fraud or forgery our will disputes experts can help

Forged Wills and Will Fraud

Most will disputes arise from common grounds for a will dispute such as lack of testamentary capacity, undue influence or the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. However, some of the less common situations that give rise to will disputes are the grounds of forgery and will fraud. Both forgery and will fraud occur when someone has deliberately interfered with a testator’s will to change who inherits property […]

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