Wills & Inheritance Disputes
We have a dedicated specialist team which advises on all forms of Inheritance, Will and Trust disputes.
We work closely with our colleagues in the Private Client department to ensure that our clients benefit from a full range of expertise and experience when dealing with a dispute.
We are known for our pragmatic, clear and cost effective approach to these sensitive claims which enable us to achieve the best outcomes for our clients in often very difficult circumstances. We actively encourage early ways of resolving disputes and are experienced in mediation.
- A range of funding options including fixed fees and conditional fee agreements (no win/no fee)
- A unique specialist team specialising in both litigation and non-contentious areas
- Lawyers who are members of ACTAPS, Solicitors for the Elderly, STEP and the Law Society Private Client Section
At Wolferstans we have a range of funding options which may suit you. We will discuss the options with you to ensure that we agree a solution which works for you.
How much will it cost?
It will not cost you anything to contact us for initial guidance. We are happy to have an initial confidential telephone discussion with you to assess whether you may have a claim.
If you then decide to instruct us, we will review all the available funding options with you so you can decide which one is most appropriate for your circumstances.
Options For Funding Your Claim
There are various ways of funding your claim. The most common are:-
Conditional Fee Agreement (‘CFA’) - Known as a “No Win, No Fee” agreement
Not all cases are suitable for ‘No Win – No Fee’ agreements but we are always happy to consider this option with you during our initial discussion.
If we accept your case on a ‘No Win – No Fee’ basis and you do not win your case then you do not have to pay our fees. However if you win, you pay us a success fee in addition to our basic charges and expenses. You can recover our basic charges and expenses from your opponent providing your claim is successful. However, please bear in mind that the Court has a wide discretion in relation to the costs based orders that it can make. The success fee is not recoverable from your opponent and you alone are responsible for it.
We may advise you to take out an insurance policy to guard against the risk that you might lose your case. You are solely responsible for the cost of that policy although most insurers defer payment of the premium until the conclusion of your case. Often the premium is self-insured by the policy and thus not directly payable by you if your claim is unsuccessful.
If your case is not suitable for a CFA we may be able to offer you a discounted CFA.
This way, we agree to charge discounted fees as the case progresses. If you win the case, you agree to pay the balance of our normal fees, which are usually recoverable from your opponent.
Legal Expenses Insurance
Many people have what is known as “Before the Event (BTE)” insurance as part of their motor, home contents or other policy.
This may be described as Legal Expenses Insurance or Family Legal Protection. Not all policies cover wills, probate or trust disputes so you should check the policy carefully and contact us with any queries.
If you are a member of a Trade Union, it is possible they may provide some help with legal issues but again you should check with them that they cover wills, probate or trust disputes and the extent of any cover.
Private Payment/Pay as You Go
If you fund your claim yourself, you will be required to pay for the cost of the case as it progresses.
We will submit interim accounts to cover the work done for you on a regular basis to help you to budget for the costs that will be incurred. If you win your claim, it may be possible to recover the majority of your costs from the deceased’s person’s estate and/or your opponent. However, please bear in mind that the Court has a wide discretion in relation to the costs based orders that it can make. When those costs have been paid by your opponent we will reimburse you for the sums you paid us on account up to the value of the costs recovered from your opponent. You will still be liable for any shortfall.
Where possible we will agree fixed fees for different stages of the claim so you can be certain what the costs for each stage are likely to be before you decide to go ahead.
You can be confident that if we believe you have a good claim, we will use our best endeavours to find a way of funding it.
Deferred Payment Arrangement
In certain cases, we are able to defer payment of our fees until the end of a case, either until an estate is ready to be distributed and you receive an inheritance, or when we are able to secure a distribution from a Deceased’s estate for you through bringing a claim on your behalf.
Our terms and conditions for a Deferred Payment Arrangement are assessed on a case by case basis.
When someone dies, serious disputes can arise. It can take various forms: for example, the terms of the Will may be disputed, or whether the Will is the correct Will.
The way the estate is being managed or distributed may be challenged, or someone may simply wish to bring a claim stating that they have not had enough provision made for them under the Will.
You may want to bring or defend a claim or may simply be looking for advice on what steps you should be taking in dealing with a deceased person’s affairs.
We are aware that contesting a Will or defending a claim is a difficult time for those involved; not only is there pressure, stress and strain of being involved in legal action but this also comes at a time when you are grieving for a loved one and often involves family members. We pride ourselves on conducting inheritance disputes with the compassion and sensitivity required.
We can provide you with a unique service, as our team are specialised not only in bringing contested claims after the event, but also in administering estates and Will drafting generally, so we can also advise on steps to be taken to avoid claims.
Claims under the Inheritance Act
There is the possibility of making a claim when a person has passed away, under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
This is a slightly different type of claim. Here you are not suggesting that the Will is invalid, or that the person did not know what they were doing. Instead you are simply making a claim to further entitlement under a Will or intestacy, if you fall into the category of appropriate people.
We can assist you in bringing or defending such a claim and advise you on all steps in relation to the same.
There is a strict time limit to bring the claim of six months from the date of the Grant of Probate, so time is off the essence and it is important that you obtain specialist advice as soon as possible.
Protecting yourself from an Inheritance Claim
As well as advising on claims after the event, we have a specialist team who understand all elements of Will drafting, estate planning and disputed Wills, so are able to provide you with advice during your lifetime on what you can do to protect yourself against claims that may be made after your death.
It is increasingly common that people have complicated family structures, arguments and falling outs between family members, and it is important to ensure that you have peace of mind now that there will not be difficulty when you have gone.
Get in touch to discuss how we can help you by calling 01752 292201.