Inheritance Disputes

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In an earlier article we explained that there is no such concept of the common law wife in English law. The common law wife simply doesn't exist; Nor does the common law husband. So what happens if your partner died and you are not married? What inheritance rights do you actually have? Well, the headline news is that unmarried partners do not enjoy the same inheritance rights as their married counterparts. This is the case even where they have been living...

In this brief guide to challenging a caveat we look at the steps you can take when you discover that a caveat has been issued against an estate where you are an executor or beneficiary   Discovering that a caveat has been entered A caveat can be entered against an estate without notice being given to the executors or beneficiaries. It can therefore come as a massive surprise when an application for a Grant of Probate is rejected because a caveat has been entered against the...

What are children's inheritance rights? Naomi Ireson, a partner in our inheritance disputes team, reviews children's inheritance rights following the recent case of Ubbi v Ubbi in which an Inheritance Act claim was made on behalf of two young children against their late father's estate.  Inheritance claim made by infant children The claim was made by the children's mother against their father's estate. The mother was not married to the father. He and his wife had been going through the process of a divorce, but he had died unexpectedly before...

Proprietary estoppel is in the news again, with yet another family farm dispute ending up in court after a son was denied his inheritance. Proprietary estoppel solicitors Slee Blackwell review the case and summarise the legal principles involved with such claims. For details of an earlier farming proprietary estoppel case click here. The basic principle of proprietary estoppel The principle of proprietary estoppel, in very simple terms, is that when someone makes you a promise and you act on that promise, to your...

Couples who live together without getting married often assume they have 'common law' rights. We often hear from women in particular who think that their position as a 'common law wife' gives them legal protection. Regrettably this is not the case. The 'common law wife' is a myth, not a legal reality. The legal status of unmarried couples typically becomes an issue when they split up. And this is becoming an ever increasing problem as the number of people cohabiting rises in...

Our inheritance dispute team are often asked, 'Can a power of attorney gift money to themselves or their friends and family?' Solicitor Chris Green, looks at the legal position.   An attorney can make gifts out of a Protected Party’s funds, but the position is regulated in law to ensure that financial abuse does not occur. For a valid gift to be made, the attorney must be able to establish that: it is in the Protected Party’s best interests; the Protected Party is expected to provide for the...

Is a beneficiary of an estate entitled to see a copy of the estate accounts? We are often contacted by beneficiaries who have requested a copy of estate accounts from an executor only to be told they are not entitled to see them. It is clearly a common problem, so what is the legal position? Well, it's good news for beneficiaries. The courts have consistently upheld the right of a residuary beneficiary to see the estate accounts. A residuary beneficiary is someone who is left the...

The High Court has ruled in favour of a farmer’s daughter who brought a proprietary estoppel claim against her mother. This case illustrates how useful the doctrine of proprietary estoppel can be where inheritance disputes arise, especially in  farming families. We specialise in proprietary estoppel and equitable interest claims and deal with cases on a No Win, No Fee basis on a nationwide basis. We operate a free legal helpline which you can call on 0808 139 1606 if you feel that you have...

Inheritance feuds between step parents and step children are on the rise. Barely a week goes by without a call to our Free Inheritance Helpline about an inheritance dispute involving a step mother or step father. We believe social factors are at play here. The prevalence of re-marriages and blended families, coupled with rising property prices and greater cross generational wealth, is increasingly causing family rifts. Step children in particular often feel they are losing out on what they regard, rightly or wrongly, as their inheritance...

Probate dispute solicitor, Chris Holten, looks at the case of a widow who has been refused permission to challenge her husband's Will by bringing an Inheritance Act claim.   Background to the probate dispute Mary Sargent has been refused permission to bring an out of time claim for reasonable financial provision from her late husband’s estate, under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. Joe Sargent died in May 2005, leaving a Will dated 20 February 2002.  In broad terms the Will transferred most...