Wills, trust, & estate disputes

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

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At Moore Barlow, we specialise in handling the intricate and emotionally charged disputes that can unfortunately sometimes arise in the realm of private wealth.

Our team of expert wills, trusts and estate disputes solicitors is committed to offering personalised guidance and assistance to individuals and families navigating conflicts surrounding trusts, wills, estates, and other matters related to private wealth. By working closely with our clients, we strive to achieve the most favourable outcome possible, employing a range of approaches including negotiation, mediation, and litigation, when necessary.

What is a wills, trust and estate dispute?

A wills, trust and estate dispute refers to a legal conflict that arises when there is disagreement or contention regarding the distribution of assets, management of trusts, or execution of a will. This can involve disputes over inheritances, contested wills, breach of fiduciary duties, or challenges to the validity of estate planning documents.

Controversies surrounding the estates of the deceased can be distressing, and they unfortunately do arise at times. The complexity of extensive estates can heighten these challenges, making expert assistance crucial.

Our wills, trust and estates disputes lawyers have adeptly handled some of the nation’s notable estate disputes, with particular proficiency in estates encompassing rural properties.

Collaborating with our international legal connections, we have experience in navigating overseas regulations and processes, along with legislation. Recognising the emotional delicacy of such issues, often involving close relatives, we aim for a seamless process and optimal outcomes.

Whether you’re initiating or contesting an estate-related dispute, our dedicated and approachable team is here to assist. With numerous offices, we ensure our availability at a location suitable for you.

Scott Taylor

Scott Taylor

Partner | Private wealth disputes

01483 464274

How can our wills, trust, and estate dispute solicitors help?

Our wills, trust, and estate dispute solicitors specialise in resolving conflicts arising from wills, trusts, and estates. We offer personalised guidance and representation to individuals and families involved in intricate and high-value disputes. Our team employs a strategic and proactive approach to ensure the most favourable resolution for our clients, utilising negotiation, mediation, or litigation as necessary. We recognise the sensitivity and emotional toll of these disputes and are committed to providing a compassionate and supportive service throughout the entire process.

Our specialist wills, trusts & estates solicitors can help with:

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

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Wills, trust, & estate disputes – FAQs

What happens if there is a dispute between executors?

If there is a dispute between executors, it can lead to delays and complications in the administration of the estate. It is advisable to seek legal advice to resolve the dispute, which may involve mediation or litigation. Executors have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the estate and beneficiaries, and a lawyer can help protect their rights and ensure a fair resolution.

Any interested party, such as a beneficiary, or creditor, may contest a will if they believe it is invalid. They may challenge the will based on grounds such as lack of testamentary capacity, undue influence, fraud, or improper execution. Consulting with an experienced lawyer can help determine if there are valid grounds for contesting a will.

Contesting a will involves making a legal challenge to its validity. This can be done by gathering evidence of undue influence, lack of capacity, or fraud. It is recommended to consult with an experienced estate dispute lawyer who can guide you through the process and help protect your rights.

The cost of contesting a will can vary depending on various factors such as the complexity of the case, the amount of assets involved, and the legal fees charged by the law firm. It is best to consult with a lawyer to get an accurate estimate of the costs involved in contesting a will before you start the process.

Disputing a will can be a complex and challenging process, as it requires gathering evidence, understanding legal requirements, and navigating the court system. It is advisable to seek the assistance of an experienced solicitor who specialises in contested wills to guide you through the process and increase your chances of a successful outcome.

In the UK, common grounds for challenging a will include lack of testamentary capacity, suggesting the testator didn’t fully comprehend their actions. Another reason could be undue influence, where the testator was coerced when writing their will. Additionally, proven claims of fraud or forgery can invalidate a will. Improper execution, such as not meeting witnessing requirements, can also serve as a basis for contestation.

Contesting a will means challenging its validity or the provisions within it. More detailed grounds for contesting a will are provided below:

  • Lack of testamentary capacity – The person making the will (the testator) must have had the mental capacity to understand the nature of making a will, the extent of their property, and the claims of those they are including or excluding as beneficiaries.
  • Lack of knowledge and approval – The testator must have known and approved the contents of the will. If there’s suspicion they didn’t know what was in the will when they signed it, it might be contested.
  • Undue influence – If there’s reason to believe that the testator was coerced or pressured into making the will in a particular way, it could be challenged on the grounds of undue influence.
  • Fraud or forgery – If there’s evidence to suggest that the will was fraudulently created or altered, or if the signature is believed to be forged, the will can be contested.
  • Improper execution – For a will to be valid in the UK, it must meet certain criteria under Section 9 of the Wills Act 1837. This includes being in writing, being signed by the testator (or someone else in their presence and at their direction), and being witnessed by at least two people.
  • Rectification and construction claims – If there’s an error in the will (for instance, due to a clerical error or because the testator’s instructions weren’t carried out in the way they intended), an application can be made to the court to rectify the will.
  • Claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 – Certain individuals, such as a spouse, civil partner, child, or someone financially dependent on the deceased, can make a claim if they believe the will (or the rules of intestacy if there’s no will) doesn’t make reasonable financial provision for them.

Contentious probate refers to disputes and conflicts that arise during the administration of a deceased person’s estate. These disputes can involve issues such as the validity of a will, claims of undue influence or lack of mental capacity, disputes over the distribution of assets, or challenges to the appointment of executors or administrators.

Potential issues might encompass:

  • Disagreements regarding asset valuation
  • Difficulties in interpreting the will’s terms
  • Managing probate in the absence of a will
  • Addressing an executor’s improper handling of the estate
  • Conflicts among beneficiaries

Disputes between trustees and beneficiaries typically arise when there is a disagreement or conflict regarding the administration of a trust. This can include issues related to the distribution of assets, investment decisions, accounting, breach of fiduciary duty, or interpretation of the trust terms.

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