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We are often asked for examples of Contentious Probate and in what situation there may be a case for a Will or Inheritance dispute.
A selection of recent FDR Law cases have been summarised below and are intended to be used purely as examples:
- Successful claim by an ex-wife - we successfully challenged a will on behalf of an ex-wife. Although she had been divorced from her former husband for many years, she was still financially reliant on him for regular maintenance payments. In the divorce order, there had been no clean break provision or pension sharing order. Her former husband later re-married and in his will left most of his estate to his current wife, leaving our client with nothing. We took the case to trial and succeeded in obtaining a fair settlement for our client.
- Wife left out in the cold - without our help, a wife would have been left without a roof over her head by her dead husband. While he was alive, he had control over their joint assets and held the matrimonial home in his sole name. His Will left the entire estate to his children, which included our client’s home. We helped her to claim ‘reasonable financial provision’ from the estate at trial, where the court awarded her a sum of money which allowed her to remain in the family home.
- Unmarried partner claim - It’s a common misconception but ‘common law’ husbands and wives do not have any automatic right to their partner’s estate. We represented a woman whose partner sadly passed away without leaving a will. They were not married but they did have a young child together. Under the intestacy rules, the entire estate, which included the family home, passed to their young child. The mother was placed in the difficult position of being forced to make a claim against her own child, to benefit from her dead partner’s estate. The proceedings were not contested and we succeeded in obtaining a sensible and amicable negotiated settlement. We also arranged separate independent advice for the child to protect their interests. This case highlights the need to have a will, particularly for unmarried couples.
- Lack of Capacity - we helped a client challenge the validity of his late sister’s will. His sister had had a history of psychiatric illness and the evidence suggested that she did not have testamentary capacity at the time of executing her will which left her estate to a fellow patient. We assisted our client with a negotiated settlement, avoiding costly court proceedings.
If you have a query relating to a Will & Inheritance dispute, please contact one of our specialists today.