In addition to regularly assisting clients to challenge the validity of wills or claim under the Inheritance Act we act on behalf of executors and/or beneficiaries defending a disputed will. We have expertise on both the gamekeeper and poacher side meaning that we are very well placed to assist whatever side of the will dispute you are on.
With one of the largest probate teams in Hertfordshire working for clients in the administration of many estates our team is experienced in representing executors and beneficiaries in responding to claims.
It is not always clear on what basis a will challenge is brought. In the early stages of a claim the Claimant might pursue initial enquiries without setting out the basis of their challenge. On the other hand a Claimant may adopt a scatter gun approach and challenge a will on multiple grounds, sometimes regardless of whether or not there is any merit to some or all grounds.
A Larke v Nugus request is often made – a letter requesting information in relation to the circumstances in which the will was made, signed and witnessed. Additionally claimants may deploy a strategy of placing a caveat to prevent the issue of a grant of probate. Often claimants acting without legal representations then go silent and leave the block in place but do not take any steps to resolve the issue. This can be very frustrating for executors and beneficiaries alike, especially if there is no justification for a caveat in the first place.
If you are faced with a Larke v Nugus request or a caveat it is sensible to obtain legal advice before responding.
When you are defending an estate from a claim it is important that you have a good understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the claimant’s case. It is also vital to understand the nature of your involvement in a will dispute as the role of an executor in a dispute is different to the role of a beneficiary. That can be difficult if the executor is involved in both capacities or personally feels very strongly about the claim.
Contact us today and we can support you each step of the way in responding to the will challenge. Ultimately establishing that the will is in fact valid or if the claim has merit in negotiating an out of court settlement by mediation or other ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution)