It is becoming increasingly common for members of families to fall out over money.
This is partly due to the large value of some estates, particularly of the house. It is also because family structures are becoming increasingly complicated, and can involve disputes with stepmothers and fathers, stepbrothers and sisters, and half-brothers and sisters, and situations where parents had same sex partners the second time around.
Sadly, some people are turning their back on the saying that there is nothing as important as family, and are instead deciding that there is nothing as important as money.
These disputes can be more emotional than if the dispute related to a commercial contract. Since the people concerned often know each other well and are usually related to each other. The fact that there is a dispute brings with it a sense of betrayal and can awaken old hatreds, envies and resentments.
We handle a wide range of disputes in relation to estates and inheritance.
This includes disputes relating to wills, trusts, probate and intestacy. It also involves claims by those who feel that they will not receive a fair amount from a deceased's estate and who therefore decide to make the claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
We act for individuals, executors and administrators of estates, trustees and charities.
We have carried out legal work in relation to estates for over 300 years, and have significant experience of handling disputes, including in relation to estates with assets spread over several countries. We are currently handling disputes in relation to estates worth well over £20 million.
Many estates are smaller, though, and a long dispute will serve only to entrench the parties' positions and animosity. We therefore recognise the importance of early resolution through discussion and negotiation, joint settlement meetings and mediation.
We are aware that disputes of this nature can be expensive. We give full advice in relation to options for funding the dispute, including no win no fee agreements, discounted rates and legal expenses insurance.