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Disputed Wills, Trusts, Probate and Powers of Attorney Case Studies

Left out of a parent/guardians will?

Mr A has just received news that his Mother has passed away. Mr A discovers that the content of his Mother’s will which was prepared and executed a few years ago states that the entirety of the Estate has been left to his two siblings and he is not set to inherit anything. Mr A is left devastated by this news and wants to know if there is anything he can do.

This is a typical scenario whereby it may be appropriate for Mr A to bring a claim against the beneficiaries of the Estate under Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

Each case is different and will depend on various factors as to the strength of the claim. These types of claims are not just limited to children and can include anyone who was a dependant on the deceased be it a spouse or common law partner or any other dependant.

Executors - disputes over what to do with the Estate

Mrs A has been appointed as an Executor under her late Mother’s Will alongside her brother, Mr B. The Estate contains some small sums left in bank accounts/pension policies but the main asset is the residential property in which their Mother lived.

Mrs A and Mr B are unable to agree on what to do with the property. Mrs A would like the house to be sold so the proceeds can go to the beneficiaries. Mr B would prefer the house to be rented until such time as the housing market improves and prices increase. There is also a dispute over items such as jewellery and other personal items. Mrs A would like to keep them for sentimental reasons, whereas Mr B is suggesting they be sold and the sums distributed amongst the beneficiaries.

This is not an uncommon scenario. Dealing with probate of a loved ones estate is an emotional time and can cause siblings and/or co-executors to fall out or disagree.

Issues of capacity and/or sudden changes to a will

Mr A’s Father has sadly passed away. Upon taking steps to find the current will, Mr A is shocked to find that his Father made a Will in the last 6 months in which he disinherited his two sons (including Mr A) and left the entirety of his Estate to charity and his next door neighbour in equal shares.

Mr A is concerned about this as he believes that his Father was suffering from dementia at the time the will was made, and/or he is concerned about any influence the next door neighbour had over his Father.

When a Will has been changed suddenly prior to someone’s death it is natural for their immediate family to become concerned. In certain circumstances a will can be challenged on grounds of lack of capacity, or if undue influence has been applied on the person making the Will.

At CWJ we have experience in making challenges to a Will on the above grounds. If you have any doubts surrounding the circumstances in which a Will entered into by a member of your family, contact us to discuss how you can take the matter further.