Disputed wills, trusts and estates
Disputes arising after death are sadly becoming more common. Complex family arrangements, poorly drafted wills and misunderstandings can all contribute. Whatever the cause of your dispute, our team are here to help.
Disputes arising from a will are often emotive and can be legally complex. If you are concerned that a dispute may arise or you think that you may need to bring or defend an inheritance claim, it is important to seek appropriate advice early on.
A will might be challenged for being invalid perhaps because of poor drafting or concerns about the testator's mental capacity when the will was made. There might be confusion about the meaning of the will or the interpretation of certain parts of the will. If there is any doubt about what a will means, it is important for the executor to seek guidance on how to correctly interpret the will in order to avoid possible disputes with the beneficiaries or allegations of wrong doing.
An inheritance act claim might be bought against an estate if a will does not provide for family or dependants who expected (or needed) to inherit. Inheritance act claims might also be necessary if someone dies without making a will. The rules of intestancy do not always result in an inheritance for those who need it the most. For example, the intestacy rules do not provide for an unmarried partner.
Misunderstandings or broken promises can also result in claims to enforce the promises made when the testator was still alive. These claims are particularly complicated to bring and to defend.
Problems can arise if an executor is not doing their job properly - perhaps they are failing to administer the estate at all or they are not administering the estate in accordance with the will. An executor or trustee may even be acting dishonestly or fraudulantly. In such cases the beneficiaries and/or the other executors may need to seek advice and obtain guidance from the court.
We understand that each situation is different and requires a unique approach.
Maitland Walker can help if you are bringing or defending a claim against an estate.