Private wealth disputes solicitors

Explore how we can help you with any legal requirements connected to a private wealth dispute.

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At Moore Barlow, we understand that disputes involving private wealth can be complex and emotionally charged.

Our private wealth disputes lawyers are dedicated to providing tailored advice and support to individuals and families facing disputes over trusts, wills, estates, and other private wealth matters. We work closely with our clients to achieve the best possible outcome, whether through negotiation, mediation, or litigation.

  • There can be many reasons why you want to bring a claim. You could have doubts about the capacity of the person who made the Will or about the influence a beneficiary had over them; concerns as to whether you’ve been left enough money to provide for your maintenance; or you might be worried about how an estate or trust is being managed and want to take action against the executors or trustees.
  • Alternatively, you might be facing a challenge from someone else.
  • Bringing or defending these claims can involve complex legal arguments so it’s important to have the support of an experienced, specialist solicitor.
  • We have extensive expertise in this area, and we will give you honest, practical advice about the merits of your case and how best to go about securing the outcome you want.

Losing a dearly loved family member or close friend is difficult and can be even more upsetting if there is a dispute over the will or estate. Resolving these issues needs a solicitor who can combine diplomacy, determination, and expert knowledge.

Scott Taylor

Scott Taylor

Partner | Private wealth disputes

01483 464274

What is a private wealth dispute?

A private wealth dispute involves disagreements or conflicts pertaining to the management, distribution, or inheritance of personal, often high-value, assets among individuals, families, or entities, potentially necessitating legal intervention for resolution.

Moore Barlow can assist in a range of private wealth disputes:

Contentious probate

We assist in resolving contentious probate disputes, which may encompass issues like executor disputes, beneficiary issues, or disputes over the administration of estates. Our private wealth disputes solicitors provide supportive and empathetic guidance through the often emotionally charged process, whilst advocating for their clients’ interests.

Contested estates

With our team of experienced private wealth disputes lawyers, we are committed to offering personalised guidance and assistance to individuals and families embroiled in conflicts over contested estates and other matters of private wealth.

Inheritance disputes

Handling situations where inheritances are contested, our private wealth disputes lawyers provide counsel and representation in disputes over inheritance division. We facilitate negotiations and, if necessary, court proceedings to ensure that the estate is distributed justly and in accordance with the law or deceased’s wishes.

Trust disputes

For issues related to trust management, distribution, or beneficiary entitlements, Moore Barlow LLP brings its expertise in resolving trust disputes. We help trustees, executors and beneficiaries manage conflicts proficiently, ensuring that the trust is administered accurately and fairly.

Will disputes

Our private wealth dispute lawyers assist clients by navigating through the intricacies of will disputes, whether it involves challenging a will’s validity, making claims against estates, or defending against claims. The firm provides experienced legal advice, ensuring that clients’ rights and interests are diligently protected.

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Discover how our expert private wealth dispute lawyers can help you.

Challenging the validity of a will

For a will to be valid, it must be in writing and signed by the deceased in the presence of two witnesses, who also signed the Will in the presence of the deceased. Even if all this seems correct, you might still have doubts about the Will, for example because you think:

  • The deceased did not have sufficient mental capacity to make changes to their will, especially if it was changed just before they died.
  • The deceased did not understand or approve the will.
  • They may have been forced into signing their will (known as undue influence).
  • They may have been tricked into signing their will (fraud).

If you’re concerned about the validity of a will and think there may be something wrong with it, you may wish to lodge a caveat at the probate registry. This will stop an executor from being granted probate to administer the estate and give you six months to investigate whether your concerns about the Will are justified, (and the caveat can be extended if necessary.)

Alternatively, if you’re a beneficiary of an estate and someone is challenging the validity of the will, we can advise you on the merits of their claim, and the likely costs of defending or settling it, to help you decide how best to respond. Whatever you decide, we will be here to support you all the way.

Mutual wills

A mutual will involves a mutually binding irrevocable agreement between a spouse and their partner that prevents the survivor changing their mind about how the estate can be distributed after the death of the other partner.

A common reason for disputes involving mutual wills is a change in the surviving spouse’s circumstances, such as marrying again or having more children. This raises the issue of whether their new partner or (and her or his children) could ever benefit from the estate.

Going to court to challenge a mutual will can be complex, but the argument is usually concerned with whether:

  • The agreement was made in a particular form.
  • The agreement was binding and contractual.
  • It was intended to be irrevocable.
  • The surviving party intended the will to uphold that agreement.

If you want to debate or dispute a mutual will, the success of your challenge will most likely depend on whether there is irrefutable evidence that confirms all four of the points above. This generally requires a lot of detailed investigating and quite possibly some prolonged arguments in court, so it can be a long and demanding case.

We recommend you get our advice as soon as possible if you want to challenge a mutual will or if you’re thinking of making one.

We are here to help

Discover how our expert private wealth disputes lawyers can help you.

Further advice…

Funding your dispute when going to court

Look at the different options you have for funding available to you if your case ends up going to court.

Managing the risks involved in a dispute

Make informed decisions on how you will deal with your dispute, by understanding the risks involved.

Family disputes over wills – everything you need to know

Disputes surrounding wills and inheritances are, unfortunately, a common occurrence within families.

Claiming under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975

If you have been left out of a family member’s will or intestacy, or your inheritance is not what you expected, you may be able to challenge it under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

The deceased will need to have been domiciled in the UK and you’ll need to be one of the people entitled to claim:

  • The spouse or civil partner of the deceased
  • A former spouse or civil partner of the deceased, as long as you haven’t married or entered into a civil partnership with someone else
  • Someone who lived with the deceased for at least two years before they died, as if they were married or in a civil partnership.
  • A child of the deceased (including children over 18)
  • Someone who the deceased treated as one of their children, such as an adopted or fostered child or step child
  • Someone who was being maintained by the deceased, immediately before they died

If you are claiming as a spouse or civil partner – or in some specific cases as a former spouse or civil partner – the court considers what financial provision it would be reasonable for you to receive in the circumstances, whether or not you actually need it for your maintenance. In all other cases the court considers what provision would be reasonable for you to receive for your maintenance.

In assessing a claim, the court takes into account a number of general factors:

  • the current and likely future financial resources and needs of all claimants and all beneficiaries
  • any obligations and responsibilities that the deceased had to any claimant or beneficiary
  • the size and nature of the deceased’s net estate
  • any physical or mental disability of any claimant or beneficiary
  • any other matter – including the conduct of the claimant or anyone else – that the court considers relevant

The court also looks at factors relating to particular types of claimant. For example, in the case of a spouse or civil partner, the court takes into account the age of the claimant and the duration of the marriage or civil partnership, as well as the contribution made by the claimant to the welfare of the deceased’s family and will also have regard to what the claimant would have received in the event of a divorce or dissolution.

If the court is satisfied that reasonable financial provision has not been made, it has the power to make various orders, including:

  • the transfer of property
  • the payment of a lump sum of money
  • the making of periodical payments

If you urgently need financial assistance the Court can order interim payments pending the outcome of the proceedings.

To make a claim, you should start your court case within six months of the grant of probate, so we recommend you talk to us as soon as possible. We can tell you whether a grant of probate has been obtained, advise you whether you have a claim, and explain what will happen if we go ahead.

Alternatively, if you are a beneficiary of an estate and someone is bringing an Inheritance Act claim against the estate, we can advise you on the merits of the claim and guide you through how best to defend or settle the claim.

We are here to help

Discover how our expert private wealth disputes lawyers can help you.

Problems with executors or trustees

You might feel an executor or trustee is not fulfilling their duties properly when they are administering an estate or trust. For example, they might not be preparing the accounts correctly or keeping you informed. Perhaps they are also a beneficiary of the estate or trust, and you suspect they are not acting impartially.

If you can prove their actions have caused a loss, you can claim for compensation from them, obtain an injunction to stop them acting or apply to have them removed from their post. On the other hand, if you’re an executor or trustee facing these claims, we can investigate on your behalf and help defend your position.

The importance of good advice

Disputes about wills, estates and trusts can be emotionally charged, particularly when the people involved are family members. When the estate or trust has significant value, the dispute can also be hotly contested. These disputes are technical in nature and there is the potential to make mistakes, such as providing insufficient evidence, that can prove very expensive.

This is why it’s very important to have the support and reassurance of our expert legal advice. We make sure you understand your rights and responsibilities, the merits of your case and the likelihood of a successful outcome. We will work hard to help you put matters right, ideally without having to go to court, whilst using a calm and sensitive approach to help preserve family relationships where possible.

You shouldn’t rely on your legal costs being paid from the estate or trust, as this is not necessarily the case. If you are making a claim, you could be personally liable for the costs involved. We always give you an estimate of the cost at the outset and advise you on funding the cost of going to court.

Why choose our private wealth dispute solicitors?

Here at Moore Barlow, our private wealth dispute solicitors have a wealth of experience in handling complex and sensitive disputes, providing tailored advice and practical solutions to protect and preserve your assets. With a deep understanding of the intricacies of private wealth disputes, we offer a collaborative and strategic approach to achieve the best possible outcome for you. Trust us to navigate the legal complexities and safeguard your interests.

How can our private wealth dispute solicitors help?

Our private wealth dispute solicitors are experts in resolving disputes related to inheritance, trusts, and estates. We provide tailored advice and representation to individuals and families in complex and high-value disputes. Our team adopts a strategic and proactive approach to achieve the best possible outcome for our clients, whether through negotiation, mediation, or litigation. We understand the sensitivity and emotional impact of these disputes and strive to provide a supportive and empathetic service throughout the process.

We have offices in London, Richmond, Southampton, Guildford, Lymington and Woking and offer specialist support and expert advice nationwide.

We are here to help

Discover how our expert private wealth disputes lawyers can help you.

Contact our private wealth disputes team

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