• Posted

As the cost-of-living continues to increase, and with many UK adults not having a legally prepared Will, inheritance disputes are on the rise. We want to help executors and beneficiaries understand their role to help resolve disputes quickly and amicably.

In this short video, Managing partner Susan Glenholme shares some top tips for executors and beneficiaries who are involved in an inheritance claim or a Will validity challenge.

1. Don’t ignore the issue

Avoid the temptation to ignore a Will validity challenge. The issue will rarely go away if ignored and can lead to increased overall costs and delay and increased hostilities.

2. Remember your role

You may be the executor who is responsible for dealing with the assets of the deceased, or the beneficiary due to receive an inheritance, or both. Keep track of your decisions and actions – the dispute will need to be approached differently depending on which hat you wear at any given time.

This is particularly important if you are the executor – your natural instinct might be to actively defend the last Will, however in many cases the task of responding to the inheritance claim will fall to the main beneficiaries. As an executor you are the neutral party that holds information relevant to the court case that will help all involved in dealing with the dispute.

3. Be careful making distributions

A distribution from the estate basically means an executor handing over the inheritance to the beneficiary named in the Will. That happens after any inheritance tax and liabilities of the estate have been dealt with. However, if the validity of the Will is challenged or an Inheritance Act claim made it is possible the court will decide different people should inherit or a different split apply. As an executor or beneficiary expect to receive requests to temporarily freeze the assets and hold off on distributions. If potential claims are disregarded by an executor who distributes too early, they can face personal liability.

If you need help with a Will, trust or inheritance dispute, whether you want to make a challenge of need to defend one, please contact Susan Glenholme on 01727 735636 or sg@debenhamsottaway.co.uk

Read the blog post for the Inheritance disputes top tips series here:

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.