Losing a loved one or family member is never an easy time. At Tiger Law we always believe that prevention is better than cure, and the best preparation can be achieved by having properly and carefully prepared documents in place.
Unfortunately, sometimes this is not the case or disputes can arise even when the will in question is prepared exactly according to the deceased’s wishes simply because a family member doesn’t agree with those wishes. We understand the emotional strain that these types of dispute cause and how important it is to seek the best legal advice that also provides the caring touch.
We at Tiger Law can help with any contentious probate issues or other administration of estate issues that you may find yourself in, either as the executor/administrator of the estate, a beneficiary of an estate, a trustee, or as someone who feels that they have been left out. There has been a significant increase in the number of disputes following a person’s death, but our legal advisors work with a wide range of clients to help them get the best out of what is a less than ideal situation, whether that be advising you on your rights, helping to open up communication, or assisting with taking legal claims all the way.
1. Contentious probate/Will disputes
The most common disputes over wills arise where it is thought that a will was not prepared or executed properly. This could be for a number of reasons, for example, the testator did not have the required mental capacity to agree the contents of their will, there was some coercion when the testator made their will, or simply the will was not signed properly. All of which can lead to a will being contested. Disputes over a will can also arise when it comes to interpreting a will and the testator’s wishes, especially when a will says something different to what was actually believed to be the true intentions of the deceased, and, as we have seen in many cases, where gifts were made prior to death, but there is no record of these gifts having been made, again leading to disputes over who should be entitled to them.
2. What if there is no will?
Where there is no will, the initial hurdle to get over is to decide who should take the reins when dealing with the estate of the deceased. While most of the time this is obvious, often it is not, and making the decision as to who will be in charge can lead to some harrowing conversations which we can have for you, taking most of the stress away. Of course, there is also then the matter of who should inherit from the estate, and what should be inherited if no will is in place, again, which can lead to some highly emotional disputes. There are certain rules and procedures laid down to deal with such issues and we are armed and ready to help you get this right. See, Intestacy: What happens if you die without a will for further insight here.
3. What if you feel that the wishes of the deceased aren’t being carried out correctly?
If you have concerns about the way in which an executor/administrator is dealing with the estate, such as you think that the money or assets that have been left are being misused, if the distribution of the estate is taking too long, or if they are not providing you with the information you think you are entitled to, we can help. Sometimes, this can lead to the removal or replacement of an executor/administrator of the estate, but as always, we would try to help you to reach a solution before becoming embroiled in lengthy legal disputes.
4. Feeling left out?
If you believe that a deceased’s will does not either make reasonable financial provision for you or does not include you at all, and it should have, then we can advise you as to your best steps to take, and in some cases, with making a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
5. Trust disputes
Often, parts of an estate are left in trust. We have dealt with many cases where beneficiaries have not felt that trustees are performing their duties correctly, and similarly have assisted trustees who have faced challenges from beneficiaries. These types of disputes can be complicated and challenging, and whilst sometimes the Court’s input is unavoidable, getting the right legal advice at the early stages can help you avoid costly and lengthy legal battles.
If you find yourself embroiled in any administration of estate disputes, we can help take the formalities and some of the stress away from what is already a difficult time.
Of course, if you want to ensure that your family members do not have to experience any disputes following your departure, please contact our Private Client team who can help to make sure that your documents are prepared and cover such eventualities.