When difficult legal decisions have to be made, not everyone will agree with them. Disagreements sometimes arise at times of emotional stress, such as when caring for a vulnerable or elderly relative, or in the period after a death.
These kinds of disagreements can often be resolved quickly and easily. However, in some cases disagreements can develop into disputes that require legal support. If you have found yourself in a situation like this, we recommend seeking expert legal advice as soon as possible in order to find a solution that works for everyone involved.
Time limits can apply in certain cases, which also makes it important to get trusted advice sooner rather than later.
How can we help you with disputes?
We understand just how important it is to get the help and support you need quickly.
The process of administering an estate after a death is not always straight forward. The people who are left behind can sometimes disagree about how the estate should be dealt with.
If you are involved in a dispute about money or property after someone has died, our advice would always be to seek specialist legal advice as soon as possible. An experienced solicitor will be able to advise you on what your rights are and whether legal action might be appropriate.
The Inheritance Act gives some individuals the right to make a claim against an estate. This can include those who:
• Have received less than they were expecting.
• Have not been left something the person who died had promised them.
However, this is a complex legal area and not everyone who might wish to make an inheritance claim will have the right to do so. Our specialist solicitors will be able to assess your circumstances and advise you on where you stand.
I want to:
Challenging a Will
There are circumstances where the Will left by someone who has died might not be valid.
This could be because:
• The person who made the Will got married or entered a civil partnership after the Will was made.
• The Will wasn’t properly signed or witnessed.
• The person who made the Will revoked it or attempted to destroy it.
• The Will is incomplete.
• The Will was tampered with.
• There is a newer Will.
• The person who made the Will was pressured into it or was not of sound mind when the Will was made.
• The Will was made fraudulently.
If you have reason to believe that a Will is invalid, you may be able to challenge it in court. However, only certain individuals have the right to challenge a Will in this way. Our specialist solicitors will be able to advise you on whether you have any legal recourse in this respect.
Court of Protection Disputes
The Court of Protection exists to provide important legal support to individuals who are not able to make decisions for themselves. Often, the Court of Protection will step in to help resolve disputes over the best interests of a vulnerable or elderly person.
This could be because of a dispute between family members about how to support a loved one, or perhaps because of a disagreement between a vulnerable person, their family and their medical team.
You might also need to make an application to the Court of Protection to be granted the authority (or retrospective authority) to make a specific decision on behalf of a vulnerable loved one. This may be because there isn’t a Lasting Power of Attorney in place, or because the decision is one that isn’t covered by an LPA.
Other situations you might require expert legal support for a Court of Protection dispute include:
• If family members cannot agree about who should be appointed as deputy for a vulnerable loved one.
• If an individual doesn’t believe a deputy should be appointed on their behalf, or wants a different person to be appointed.
• If an individual (or their family) doesn’t agree with a decision that has been made for them by the Court of Protection.
• If family members or other individuals do not believe that a deputy is acting in the best interests of a vulnerable person.
Caring for a vulnerable loved one can be incredibly difficult, especially when there are difficult decisions to be made. Our experienced solicitors will be able to advise you on your legal position and support you through the process.
A trust is a legal mechanism for managing assets on behalf of someone else. For example, someone who has died may have left instructions in their Will for money to be held in trust for family members who are underage or are otherwise unable to manage money themselves.
Disagreements can sometimes arise over a trust. These disputes are often related to how the trust is being managed or how money is being distributed.
If you have any concerns about how a trust is being managed, or if you are involved in a dispute, the best course of action is to seek specialist legal advice. As specialist solicitors we will be able to assess the situation and advise on how you may be able to proceed. This could involve seeking to remove or replace a trustee.
If you’re involved in any kind of legal dispute, it’s likely that your solicitor will recommend mediation as an alternative to going to court.
Mediation is a process where all parties involved in the dispute meet in a neutral space to talk through possible solutions, supported by a professional mediator. The mediator will work with the parties as a group and individually to explore what the outcome might be if the dispute goes to court, and what the alternatives might be.
It can be very beneficial to engage with mediation, as it can often help reach a resolution that works for everyone involved. Mediation can also avoid the need for a long, costly court case.
Our solicitors can advise you about mediation and whether or not it is likely to be productive in your situation.
Get the legal advice you need
Dealing with legal issues can be confusing and stressful. If you’re not sure exactly how we can help you, or if you want to get specialist advice right away, please don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and get in touch.