Do You Need Legal Advice Due to an Estate Dispute?
The loss of a loved one is a challenging and distressing time for everyone concerned. While most estates are settled fairly and according to the deceased person’s will, there can sometimes be disputes when people don’t agree on the outcome.
It doesn’t take substantial amounts of money to cause disagreement between different parties – disputes can often occur over small amounts of property and assets and can happen when items of sentimental value are involved.
Most solicitors will tell you that state disputes are more likely to happen when a person’s wishes have not been communicated clearly enough. Either no will has been made in the first place or it has been poorly or unclearly drafted.
There’s no doubt that a properly thought out estate plan and well-written will can go a long way to preventing disputes from happening. Mistakes or contention generally happens when people use cheap or DIY will writing services or don’t sit down and discuss the issues and their requirements with a qualified probate solicitor who really knows what they are doing.
Problems can also occur when a will was written a long time ago and circumstances then changed but the document was not updated. For example, a person may have remarried but didn’t get around to updating their will to include their new spouse. This is one reason why it is important, if you have made a will, to review it at regular intervals and check if changes need to be made. To find out more about our will review services please click here.
Under certain circumstances the beneficiaries may believe that the will was written or changed under duress or at a time when the person did not have the mental capacity to understand what they were doing. This could have happened, for instance, if someone was suffering from dementia at the time the will was written or changed.
There are some requirements to provide for dependents in any will. This can include your spouse, children, someone who cohabits with you or other dependents, including children. The law surrounding this area can change so it’s always a sensible idea to check your existing will to ensure that it makes provision for those who need it.
Of course, estate disputes will have more chance of happening when no will has been left. When this happens, sorting out the assets and property of the deceased can take a good deal of time and work before everything is settled. The rules of intestacy will have to be applied and an executor appointed by the court to handle everything. There can then be arguments over who gets what that are guaranteed to drag out the eventual settlement.
Whatever the reason for dispute over an estate, the potential for families falling out can cause long term consequences. At Foster Dean, we’ve got the experienced probate solicitors on hand who can give you the advice and guidance you need. We understand that this can be a challenging time, so you can always be sure you’ll get a friendly and sympathetic professional to talk to who will walk you through the process.
Contact us today for the advice you need on estate disputes or writing a will.