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Inheritance Disputes are sometimes known as 'Contentious Probate' cases. Inheritance Disputes fall into three distinct categories namely:
- A dispute about the validity of a Will – perhaps because it is alleged that the Will was not properly created, was created as a result of undue influence, that the person making the Will did not have sufficient mental capacity to do so or because the person signing the Will did not know or understand the effects. Sometimes there are technical reasons why a Will can be invalid – for example for a Will to be valid it must be signed by two witnesses – if only one witness signs a Will then it will be invalid.
- Sometimes although a Will is valid, a claim for reasonable provision can be made under the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975. Certain individuals can make a claim if reasonable provision has not been made for them, for example; husbands or wives, civil partners, former husbands, wives or civil partners, children (including adult children) dependants.
- Sometimes there are disputes involving the administration of the estate – for example if the people dealing with the administration of the estate have not carried out their role appropriately.
The first step is to contact us. We offer a free initial consultation (by telephone) where we will be able to tell you what we think about your case, and analyse the relevant legal principles. Contacting us as early in the process as possible allows us to start work on your case while the details are still fresh in your mind. In Inheritance Act claims there is a strict 6 month time limit to start court proceedings.
How long it takes for these disputes to conclude will depend on a number of things. We find that we are able to settle most claims within a matter of months. If a case goes all the way to a trial then it may take a year or two – depending on court availability. We work hard to bring cases to a conclusion without the delay associated with a full trial. We find that we are able to settle many claims at a mediation.
We work with a range of top mediators to help people resolve claims without the need for a trial. A mediator is an independent person who has the experience to help people resolve a claim without the worry, risk and expense of a trial. Statistically we find that about 85 per cent of our cases settle at, or very soon after, a mediation. Our clients tend to like this. A mediator does not decide a case – but only helps people to reach a settlement that is acceptable to them.
We are passionate about what it is that we do. We have decades of experience of dealing with this type of work - and you get the benefit of our expertise. We are true specialists – just look at the individual profiles for Stephen Lawson and Jennifer McGuinness.