The loss of a loved one is always an emotional and difficult time. When there is a dispute regarding the Estate you need to seek early, specialist, legal advice offering a sympathetic approach and minimum distress.

At Morrish Solicitors, we aim to provide tailored and supportive advice on all aspects of disputes that can arise involving Trusts, Wills and Estates.

Our services include:

  • Advice on the validity of a will;
  • Advice in circumstances where you may feel that you have not been left enough;
  • Advice in circumstances where you are acting as an executor/beneficiary of a Will and are facing a claim against the estate ;
  • Disputed lifetime gifts (for example where there is a suspicion of undue influence or financial abuse);
  • Breach of Trust actions;
  • The removal of trustees and executors;
  • Claims against professional advisors

Although these types of cases are often complex and upsetting for the parties involved, our specialist team has extensive experience in successfully resolving these disputes. We recognise the importance of trying to preserve family relationships where they are affected by the dispute, and so place great importance on Alternative Dispute Resolution. We will recommend the use of mediation wherever possible as a more cost-effective, versatile and quicker option than litigating through the Court system.

Time limits
Time limits for these types of cases can be as short as 6 months from the date of death and it is therefore important to seek advice without delay should you have any concerns.

Funding
We are able to offer an initial telephone assessment to discuss the merits of any potential case you feel you may have. In some cases we are able to offer a “no win, no fee” agreement, and in others we will seek to set an agreed budget with you at the outset of the case to ensure that your legal fees do not “run away” with you.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you suspect that the will has not been executed properly (for example it has been signed or witnessed incorrectly) this could give rise to the basis for a successful legal challenge and you should seek legal advice as soon as possible.
Unfortunately it is the case that sometimes vulnerable people can be pressurised into writing a Will which does not reflect the way they really wanted to dispose of their estate. If they have been subjected to what is legally known as “undue influence” it may be possible to challenge the content of the Will.
A person’s legal capacity can be affected by a number of factors, such as illness, accident or dementia. For a person to be considered legally capable of making a Will, they must be able to understand the nature and effect of the Will they are wishing to make, what they own, how much their Estate is worth and any potential claims of those who might rightly expect to benefit from the Will. A failure to be able to make or understand any of these decisions could lead to an individual being held to lack “testamentary capacity” and the Will could be challenged.
The Will has failed to leave enough for someone that was financially dependent on the deceased. In these cases, and where that person is able to demonstrate a financial reliance on the deceased, there may be a right to claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. This Act protects the rights of those who have not been left with sufficient financial resources to get by. The Inheritance Act sets out a range of factors that have to be taken into account when a claim is made by a dependent. What needs to be determined in these situations is what would be reasonable for their maintenance. In cases involving spouses or civil partners, the Courts can go further than what is necessary for the spouse or civil partners maintenance when making their award.
It is possible to bring a claim against a solicitor who is guilty of negligently drafting a Will. A solicitor or a non-qualified Will writer owes a duty of care both to the person who is making the Will, but also to any potential beneficiaries. A failure to execute that duty can lead to a successful professional negligence claim. Examples of negligent behaviour would be a failure to ensure that the Will was prepared in a timely fashion and before the testator dies; a failure to check for errors in the drafting of the Will that could render it invalid or mean it is would be impossible to implement the deceased’s wishes; a failure to administer the estate in accordance with the law and in a proper fashion resulting in financial loss to the estate and a failure to observe the necessary formalities rendering the Will invalid.

Recent Case Examples

  • Providing advice in relation to an allegedly negligently drafted “mirror” Will.
  • Acting for the sole beneficiary and executor of their deceased parent’s estate in defending a claim brought by a second spouse.
  • Acting on behalf of the beneficiaries and executors of an Estate in their defence of a claim brought by an estranged financially independent adult child.
  • Acting on behalf of the executor and beneficiary of an Estate in a claim for professional negligence against the solicitor that administered the Estate.

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