The Rise in Claims against Estates

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20 May, 2021

John Lambe

When someone dies those left behind often have a strong desire to seek expert legal advice and support to decide whether to bring or to defend a claim against the estate. Disputes concerning the administration or the distribution of trust funds or a deceased persons estate are rising. Reasons include:

  • The increase in property prices over recent years means that estates are worth more than they ever have been historically. With more money at stake, the chances of a dispute are higher as more people are willing to challenge each other over the family assets.
  • People are now living longer, and this increase in life expectancy means that Wills are being made and changed later on in life. Doing this at an older age could lead to concerns that the testator might not have had the mental capacity to make their Will, been the victim of undue influence or not known and approved of the contents of their Will.
  • Family life is becoming increasingly more complex than it has been previously. Second marriages and relationships have led to more diverse family set-ups. For example, a second spouse and children from a previous marriage are both likely to expect to benefit from a Will, even extended families who live away and don't have much contact with the testator.
  • A greater expectation of being the beneficiary of an inheritance coupled with the economic climate means that relatives and dependents can feel disappointed with what they have inherited. Added to this is the increasing cost of living and the reliance upon the bank of mum and dad.

Types of claims against estates

The most common disputes involve arguments about the validity of a Will or claims for financial provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 to be made for persons who were excluded as beneficiaries or who did not receive as much as they had expected. Other claims concern disputes about how an estate or a trust is being administered.

How can Forbes Solicitors help?

We have a specialist team of solicitors who have a proven track record of successfully concluding all manners of contentious probate issues quickly and cost-effectively.

Unless handled delicately, inheritance disputes can become drawn out affairs. That is why our priority is to drive disputes to a resolution as soon as possible and ideally without recourse to litigation. Often this is achieved via mediation where, as your solicitor we can act as the negotiator with all the parties involved. With our approach, the large majority of cases are settled out of court, usually in under 12 months.

We undertake complex and high value cases. We represent both claimants and defendants. This can be a very complicated area. Our team has real expertise. You can therefore be assured that you will receive the best quality expert advice and service.

Nobody likes disputes, but the truth is they are part of life and at times are unavoidable. Do not be put off by concerns about costs. We offer a free, no obligation initial conversation. Thereafter, we try to be as flexible as possible when it comes to funding. We can discuss a range of price and payment options and often work on a no win, no fee basis. Do not put off having a conversation. We would be pleased to hear from you.

For more information contact John Lambe in our Contesting a Will department via email or phone on 01772 220 235. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

Learn more about our Contesting a Will department here

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