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CONTESTING A WILL WITH WILLCLAIM.COM – EIGHT CLAIMS WE ARE LIKELY TO TAKE ON UNDER A NO WIIN NO FEE ARRANGEMENT

Will claim Solicitors, specialist no win no fee will dispute and will contest Solicitors, reveal eight claims that they are likely to take on under a no win no fee arrangement

What sort of Will contest claim or Will dispute claim are we likely to take on under a no win no fee arrangement?

We gave an example of a claim in a previous blog at:

https://www.willclaim.com/contesting-a-will-a-recent-case-study/

Most of the Will dispute and Will contest or inheritance claims we handle for clients are “funded” by a no win no fee arrangement. We take on these claims because we believe that we are likely to win them. Some of the cases we run on behalf of our clients are extremely complex; for example, we are acting for one client whose claim comprises:

  1. a claim for financial provision under section 2 of the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975;
  2. a claim against Solicitors who failed to draw up and arrange the execution of a new Will for his mother who died just before the appointment to see them about her Will (which involves proving she had capacity to make the Will, identify or try and identify the likely terms and the steps or lack of steps on the part of the Solicitor to complete her new Will).

It is tempting to believe that we only take on the easiest Will claim and Will dispute cases under a no win no fee arrangement; but that is simply not the case. It is true that we only take on cases we can or we think we can win, but why would you run a case which you cannot win? Some potential clients mistakenly think that it is possible to do this and that the fact Solicitors are involved and with the right cunning question or response, a result can be obtained. We beg to differ.

Eight types of claim we are likely to take on under a no win no fee arrangement

  • A dispute or contest over a Will which hasn’t been signed by the testator

A Will usually has to be signed by the testator (or on his/her behalf) to comply with section 9 of the Wills Act 1837:

[F2(1)]No will shall be valid unless—

(a)it is in writing, and signed by the testator, or by some other person in his presence and by his direction; and

(b)it appears that the testator intended by his signature to give effect to the will; and

(c)the signature is made or acknowledged by the testator in the presence of two or more witnesses present at the same time; and

(d)each witness either— (i)attests and signs the will; or (ii)acknowledges his signature, in the presence of the testator (but not necessarily in the presence of any other witness),

but no form of attestation shall be necessary.

[F3(2)For the purposes of paragraphs (c) and (d) of subsection (1), in relation to wills made on or after 31 January 2020 and on or before 31 January 2022, “presence” includes presence by means of videoconference or other visual transmission.]]

A recent addition (above) catered for the recent (and current) COVID lockdown, allowing the Will to be witnessed remotely. We have already been notified about one claim arising from this.

  • A dispute or contest over a Will which hasn’t been signed by a testator in front of two witnesses

Again section 9 of the Wills Act 1837 (above) applies; the Will has in general to be signed in front of two witnesses who also sign it. We are dealing with a claim where the Will in question was allegedly made by the deceased but where, according to the witness, “he appeared to be dead” thus making it impossible for him to sign the Will in front of the witness or acknowledge to her that the signature on the Will was his.

  • A dispute or contest over a Will which was executed by a testator who wasn’t of sound mind

A person making a Will (or “testator”) has to be of sound mind when making a Will. He/she doesn’t need a degree or A levels, but a minimum understanding of what a Will does, his/her estate and who he/she ought to consider as likely beneficiaries. Here is a really nice article about this in the Law Society Gazette:

https://www.thegazette.co.uk/all-notices/content/100844

  • A claim by a minor or disabled child who was dependent on a parent who disinherited him/her

This is a potential Will dispute or Will contest claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975:
https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1975/63

  • A claim by an adult child who was dependent on a parent who disinherited him/her
  • A claim by a spouse who is substantially disinherited by the terms of his/her husband’s/wife’s Will
  • A claim by the partner or other dependent of the deceased, in particular (although not necessarily) where he/she was living with the deceased up until the moment of death and who was financially reliant on him/her

The three potential Will dispute and Will contest claims above are all potential claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

  • A claim in professional negligence against a Solicitor who fails to sever a joint tenancy in relation to a property that was supposed to fall into the deceased’s estate to be dealt with by the deceased’s Will
  • Briefly a property owned jointly can pass automatically to the survivor regardless of the terms of any Will, unless the “joint tenancy” form of ownership is severed. For more information consider:

https://www.gov.uk/joint-property-ownership/change-from-joint-tenants-to-tenants-in-common

  • A claim in professional negligence against a Solicitor who fails to complete a Will in time (the testator dies before it is executed)

Yes, if instructed to prepare a Will, the Solicitor must act speedily in particular if the client is elderly and/or has a limited life span.

  • A claim in professional negligence against a Solicitor whose actions (or lack of them) precipitate a court claim in relation to the formation and/or terms of the Will

One example, is a Solicitor who fails to obtain a capacity report on his client when he knows or ought to know that an issue might arise about the testator’s capacity subsequently.

  • A claim against an Executor who doesn’t distribute a deceased’s estate in accordance with the terms of his/her Will or if applicable by the rules of intestacy (where there is no Will)

This is a claim for breach of Trust.

Isn’t this more than the eight potential Will dispute and Will contest claims you mention above??!

Well yes. Good counting and well done for keeping with us on this one. There are in fact a huge number of potential claims which involve Will dispute, Will contest and Inheritance claims, all of which could be suitable for a no win no fee arrangement. It is not just the ones listed above that could be suitable.

If you consider any of these facts and matters are of interest, are likely to apply to you, or you would like to ask us for more information about our no win no fee arrangement, or you simply want us to assess your claim, then please do not hesitate to contact us for a confidential no strings chat.

We provide details about our no win no fee arrangements at https://www.willclaim.com/no-win-no-fee/.

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