Legal advice from Stephen Lawson, Partner at FDR Law specialising in Will Disputes
Q: What should I do if I feel I have a case with a dispute over an Inheritance and what is the process?
A: The most important piece of advice we can give is that you should get legal advice as early as possible. It is always much easier to dispute the validity of a Will before a Grant of Probate has been issued. Sadly, we have seen many cases recently where individuals who have tried to save costs by dealing with matters themselves. By the time these clients have sought legal advice, the other side have already incurred significant costs, which does make a case more difficult to settle.
You should keep all relevant documentation, you may not think they will help with the case but they can be crucial, so it is important that you discuss with your legal team. We recently dealt with a claim by our client’s brother. Before the dispute ever arose, they were on good terms and he had sent her emails which totally contradicted the terms of the case he sought to present to the court.
We do recommend that mediation is considered an early stage, this can help avoid the risk and worry of a protracted court case.
.. and above all, we ask that you are patient. When we are instructed by clients we do take steps to resolve your case as quickly as possible, however there are often factors outside our control which can delay the pace of progress. For example;
- the “Pre-Action Protocols” will often allow a party receiving a claim in the region of 3 months to decide whether or not to defend it.
- sometimes it is necessary to obtain the medical records relating to the person who has died, and the process can be slow, in one case it took almost a year.
- there can be long delays with courts