The implications of inheritance disputes
The Court of Appeal in the UK recently passed down a judgement that lawyers could charge an enhanced “success fee” to be recovered as part of an award under what is known as the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
This landmark ruling enables lawyers to act for claimants in difficult financial circumstances to fund their claim against an estate where they consider adequate financial provision has not been made. Such an arrangement, commonly referred to as a no win, no fee agreement, enables the legal team to charge a substantially increased fee against the estate if they are successful.
This particular judgement related to a scenario where the deceased’s estranged daughter was awarded a share of her father’s estate, despite not being a beneficiary of his Will. His Will stipulated that his entire estate should pass to his spouse (the claimant’s mother).
The daughter’s legal advisers argued that she was entitled to a share of the estate under the above Act to cover ongoing healthcare costs related to a pre-existing mental health condition, which the Court of Appeal agreed with.
Similarly, it is understood that the children of the late Monty Python actor and comedian Terry Jones are currently taking legal action against their father’s second wife, Anna Soderstrom, who is thought to be the main beneficiary of his Will, although details have not been released.
Avoiding inheritance disputes
Accordingly, it is so important to take expert advice when writing or reviewing a Will to endeavour to ensure that all potential claimants to a Will have been carefully considered and appropriate wording and explanations as to omissions or quantum of legacies are specifically referred to either in the Will itself or in an attaching Memorandum of Wishes.
For further advice and assistance, please contact Wayne Barnett FCA, MIPW, STEP Affiliate on 99 147650 or 26 600780 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively please complete one of the contact forms below and we will be in touch with you very soon.