CONTESTED PROBATE CASES: Will Dispute case Studies

We are currently acting in a significant number of contested probate cases. Set out below are cases we have recently settled.

Claim for Financial Maintenance Under the Inheritance Act

Recently acted for two children for a claim for maintenance under the Inheritance Act. Given the Childrens age they where represented by the Deceased's former Wife and Mother of the children.

The Deceased failed to leave any provision for the two children, this was despite the fact that regular maintenance payments where made prior to his death.

The Executor of the Deceased failed to disclose the will, and disputed the claim. Following the issue of Court proceedings and lengthy negotiations our clients claim was successfully settled for a six figure sum.

Claim by Non-married partner of the deceased

The Deceased was living with our client for over 20 years. The Deceased died and left no will, this meant that the entirety of her estate passed to her two adult children under the intestacy rules. We presented a claim to the administrators of the estate, under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, on the basis that our client was financially dependant upon the deceased who had provided our client with a home. As the principal asset of the estate was the Deceased's property, a compromise was reached without court proceedings in which our client received 50% of the value of the deceased's property, the parties agreeing that the divorce comparator was the current approach to be used when assessing the level of our clients claim.

Breach of oral agreement to vary will

Recently acted for M, the Daughter of the Deceased.

The Deceased had provided very clear oral assurances to both M, as well as her Son that her estate would pass in equal shares. The will was in stark contrast to the agreement reached, with the Son of the Deceased inheriting the majority of the estate. Given the very clear assurances given by both the Deceased, and the Son of the Deceased, a breach of contract claim was commenced with contemporaneous evidence supporting the oral agreement. After 9 months of negotiations a five figure sum was agreed in favour of our client.

Claim in regard to the validity of a will

Acted for M in a dispute relating to the execution of her Mother's will. Whilst the will appeared to be signed, dated and witnessed, evidence from the witnesses crucially showed that neither witness had actually seen the deceased's signature. The Court concluded the will had been incorrectly executed under the Wills Act 1837, and therefore an earlier will in favour of M was held to apply by the Court.

Claim in regard to the validity of a will: signature clause

Acted for P. She was the sole beneficiary under her Aunt's will. The attestation clause under the Will was ambiguous. As a result of this, the Registrar requested various documentation in the form of an affidavit addressing due execution, this was despite the fact that the two witnesses had since died. We where able to ensure the will was admitted to Probate by carefully addressing the difficult issue of due execution, by virtue of a detailed affidavit of due execution.

Loss of an Original Will: Copy will

Over the course of the last year we have acted in several cases in which the original will could not be located. In these types of case, the probate registry will always require a detailed affidavit from the person making the application while the Court will also need to know who is potentially prejudiced by the Copy will being admitted to probate. If you are an Executor who cannot locate the original will,we can help initial enqueries can be made by calling 0844 330 2672.

Copy Will

We recently acted C, the Son of the Deceased.

The only will that could be located was an old copy will in which the beneficiaries, where two old friends to whom the deceased had not seen for over 20 years. There was evidence that the deceased had instructed solicitors on several occasions to change his will, while witness evidence showed the deceased regularly writing DIY wills, and frequently destroying old wills. The court concluded that the copy will was invalid with the deceased dying intestate. Our client was successful in inheriting the entirety of the deceaseds estate.

Claim in regard to the validity of a will

Acted for M in a dispute relating to the execution of her Mother's will. Whilst the will appeared to be signed, dated and witnessed, evidence from the witnesses crucially showed that neither witness actually witnessed the deceased signature. The Court concluded the will had been incorrectly executed under the Wills Act 1837, such that an earlier will in favour of M was held to apply by the Court.

Lack of Capacity

Acted for M, the Daughter of the Deceased. The Deceased changed his will shortly before his death in favour of a carer who had befriended the deceased shortly before his death.

previous wills had left the entirety of the estate to M. Evidence showed the deceased suffering from Alzheimer's disease. The will was home made, with neither witness able to give evidence as to due execution. Medical evidence also showed the Deceased as suffering from severe mental impairment, with his short term memory severley impaired. Lengthy negotiations resulted in a six figure settlement in favour of our client.

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