Will and Estate Disputes

In most cases where a person makes a will, their wishes are carried out without question. However, will and estate disputes are increasing as a number of disappointed beneficiaries are now challenging wills for a number of reasons. As we are an ageing population it is sometimes alleged that the person making the will (the testator) lacked what is known as testamentary capacity. This means the testator did not have the necessary clearness of thought to make the will. There is an established test in the case of Banks vs Goodfellow, 1870, which has been reviewed by numerous Judges over the years and is still considered to be correct.

If the testator is found to lack the capacity the will is invalid and the previous will, if there is one, is used. This is particularly relevant if close relatives of a testator are included in a will, such as children, but their sibling is not without any explanation. We can help you establish whether there is any evidence of lack of capacity possibly by use of the Law Society Guidance following the case of Larke vs Nugus.

Another possible scenario is if someone is promised the benefit of another’s estate and invests themselves into a venture at their detriment to the testator’s advantage and then doesn’t receive the benefit promised. This is what happened in the recent high profile case of Illot v Mitson, 2015.

Certain types of relatives can also bring claims against the estate if they believe they should have been provided for in the will. Such claims are brought under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act, 1975. This could include a child left out of a parent’s will for no apparent reason or where there is no allegation of a lack of capacity.

In any of the above situations our ACTAPS (Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists) trained solicitors, Neil John and Janet Lane, can help whether you are bringing the claim or being claimed against. As our solicitors have received specialist training in will and estate disputes, we can help you get to the right answer and preserve the value in the estate by minimising unnecessary costs from being incurred.

We can see you at any of our offices so in the first instance call the specialists, call Fraser Dawbarns LLP.