Inheritance Disputes – An Increasing Phenomenon

The death of a relative is always a traumatic time, all the more so if the deceased has not made a Will, or if someone has not been included in a Will when normally they would have expected to have been included.

Families, where once close, can be torn apart and some never reconcile.

Generally, provided that the necessary legal requirements are met for making a valid Will, the courts are reluctant to interfere with the intentions of the person who made it, no matter how unfair it may seem. The most common challenges to a Will revolve around the person in question lacking the mental capacity to make a Will and didn’t appreciate the nature of what they were doing. In these types of cases, medical evidence is often crucial. In some rare cases, Wills are challenged on the basis of fraud.

Where a person fails to make a Will, a deceased’s estate is dealt with under the law of Intestacy. In such cases, there is a clear pecking order as to who takes priority in the distribution of an estate.

It would appear that there has been an increase in recent years in the number of people wishing to challenge a Will or to bring a claim against an Estate. There are a number of factors which could account for this, ranging from the increased value of a person’s estate, particularly given the rise in house prices, to the breaking up of the traditional family unit. Increasingly, people are having children with multiple partners, or are not getting married, creating potential conflicts between competing beneficiaries.

Where a person believes that provision should have been made for them or their children under a Will or under the Intestacy rules, they may been entitled to pursue a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants ) Act if they can demonstrate that no reasonable provision has been made for them when they could reasonably have been expected to have been provided for.

This could include, for example, the minor children of a deceased who had separated from their partner.

What is reasonable will turn on the particular facts of the case, any competing interests and the size of the estate.

Mediation is always preferable where such disputes arise given that court proceedings are without exception costly, lengthy and will only increase the stress for all parties at a time when families should be coming together.

At Baron Grey Solicitors, we are highly experienced in dealing with all such matters in a sensitive and compassionate fashion, so please get in touch today if we can be of assistance to you.

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James Atkins

Associate Solicitor

James is a private client solicitor specialising in wills, trusts, powers of attorney and estate administration. He graduated from the University of Glasgow with a degree in English Literature in 2013 and went on to complete his law conversion course at BPP University. 

James trained at Baron Grey and after a sabbatical in Russia has recently re-joined the firm. James has a very friendly and approachable manner and is an asset to Baron Grey.

Lara Symons

Solicitor

Lara Symons qualified as a solicitor in 1997 and has specialised in all aspects of Immigration Law since then. Lara was formally the head of the Immigration Appeals Team at White Ryland Solicitors in Shepherds Bush, before moving to Spain for four years with her family.

Lara joined Baron Grey in 2013 and now works for the firm dealing with a wide range of immigration and probate matters.

Minnie Waite

Conveyancer

Minnie Waite joined Baron Grey in 2017 as a conveyancer having worked in the City for many years.

She has over 20 years’ experience in dealing with all aspects of conveyancing transactions and has studied the License Conveyancing course. Minnie specialises in freehold/leasehold, enfranchisement, has some commercial experience and advises on Wills.

She is extremely approachable and friendly and a great addition to the Baron Grey team.

Ben Hall

Solicitor Advocate

Ben Hall is an experienced solicitor who re-joined Baron Grey solicitors in early 2018, having originally trained under Vincent in 2006.

Ben specialises in criminal defence work and regularly represents clients from the investigatory stage all the way through to the Crown Court and Court of Appeal, where he has had notable success.

Ben has expanded his practice into civil litigation with a particular emphasis on commercial and probate disputes.

Emma Faulkner

Solicitor

After being awarded a 2:1 degree in Law from the University of Reading, Emma joined Baron Grey in 2012. Since then, she has successfully completed the Legal Practice Course part-time obtaining a Distinction, and qualifying as a solicitor in February 2016.

Emma assists the litigation team and specialises in Family Law, including divorce and financial proceedings. Emma also deals with the niche area of Private Client Law concerning Lasting Powers of Attorney. She follows the footsteps of her grandfather who worked for Baron Grey as a senior legal assistant.

Vincent Hambleton-Grey

Principal

After graduating in Law in London, Vincent joined the firm in 1990 as a newly qualified solicitor. He specialises in litigation and company commercial work as well as employment and matrimonial matters. 

He is passionate about representing those who do not always have a fair voice in the community and his clients vary from local people to many small businesses in the area. Whenever possible, Vincent’s aim is always to meet and discuss matters with all new clients personally first. 

Born in Swansea, South Wales, he moved to London as an undergraduate and has lived in Twickenham since 1994. He is married with two daughters.