Inheritance Disputes

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What is a 'child of the family'? Inheritance dispute lawyer Naomi Ireson looks at a legal concept that can be so important to inheritance claims made by children against their parent's estate. It is relevant where the claimant is not the biological birth child of the deceased. In order to bring a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, you must show you fall within one of the five categories of applicants. In broad terms these are: ...

Defending a contested will claim We have a highly experienced team of contentious probate lawyers who specialise in inheritance disputes. This includes defending a contested will claim on behalf of the beneficiaries and executors named in the will. To give you a flavour of what can be involved when defending a contested will claim, here is a short case study involving a beneficiary who we helped defend a multi-party inheritance claim. Defence case study The claim was brought by the deceased's wife against all the beneficiaries named...

Can I contest a will? There are a number of different grounds upon which you can contest a will. We specialise in helping people to contest a will where they feel the will is either invalid or it fails to provide financial provision to someone who deserves it. To find out where you stand you can call our dedicated free legal helpline on 0808 139 1606 and we will provide a free initial case assessment. You are also welcome to submit brief details...

How do I claim my share of a property when my name is not on the deeds? Our free Legal Helpline deals with thousands of calls each year, and one of the most common queries we receive is from people asking, 'How do I claim my share of a property?' The majority of people who own a property will normally ensure their name appears on the title deeds. However, there are circumstances in which those with a rightful claim to ownership of a...

"My partner has died and their Will fails to provide for me. Can I claim against my partner's estate or contest their Will?" This is a question we are commonly asked. Because unmarried couples do not enjoy the same legal protection as married couples, there is a great deal of uncertainty about their inheritance rights. People often wrongly assume that a 'common law wife' or a 'common law husband' has an automatic entitlement to inherit. However, the idea of the 'common law spouse' is...

A common question our contested probate lawyers get asked is, 'Can I make an inheritance claim if I am divorced or getting divorced?' When a couple divorce a formal court order is often put in place that prevents an Inheritance Act claim being made by one ex-spouse against the estate of the other. If such an Order has not been made, or if death occurs before the decree absolute has been granted, then the surviving spouse will be free to make an...

Solicitor Chris Green answers a common question, 'Can a step child contest a will?' A step child is entitled to contest their step parent's will (or if there is no will, the intestacy rules) by bringing a claim under the Inheritance Act and Chris has recently succeeded in such a claim, winning the case at trial. Inheritance Act claims by adult children, particularly adult step children, are among the most controversial and bitterly contested cases brought under that piece of legislation. In contrast to Inheritance...

Executors often ask, 'When is it safe to distribute an estate?' It is a very important question as there can be serious consequences for an executor who gets it wrong, including personal liability. In this article contentious probate solicitor, Chris Holten looks at a recent case of an executor who has found himself in hot water and how such problems can be avoided. A professional executor has recently been fined £15,000. His mistake?  Allowing a distribution from an estate. The estate is question was subject to a...

As the UK celebrates LGBTQ history month, contentious probate solicitor Chris Holten looks at LGBT inheritance law and what your legal rights are if your partner passes away without making financial provision for you To what extent is the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community protected by our inheritance laws? Inheritance in England and Wales is generally determined by either a Will or the intestacy rules. The Inheritance Act also offers specific protection to those who are married or in a civil partnership or...

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 my partner dies? What inheritance rights do I 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 with their partner as 'husband...