Contesting parent's will

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Claire_HD
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Contesting parent's will

Postby Claire_HD » Sun Jul 25, 2021 1:41 pm

(Posting under different name)

Could anyone advise on contesting a parent's will?

Parent was diagnosed bipolar decades ago (then called manic depression), medicated, but stopped taking medication after a few years. More and more erratic and controlling behaviour, recently worse, then made a new will.

Recently died and has cut off spouse, children, grandchildren. in the 1990s they also 'absorbed' children's inheritances from other family members into 'family finances', in order to increase their value for everyone in the family, but this money was never returned to the children.

It is a bit more complicated than that, but that is the background. Would be really grateful for any advice.
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RumourMill
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Re: Contesting parent's will

Postby RumourMill » Sun Jul 25, 2021 8:20 pm

It’s not impossible but it’s very very hard to do. I think there has to be some strong reason as to why the original will isn’t valid and it’s hard to prove.

For example I know of two families where they tried.

One was a family where there was significant family assets and the mother died. Father remarried and then he died. The new mother then diverted all the money to her children from her first marriage.

This was directly against the fathers original will but there were no grounds to contest.

Another was a family where all the family wealth was given by a (probably) mentally diminished parent to charity.

Both cases they couldn’t contest.

That’s not to say it can’t be done but it’s a high bar.

Either way I’m sorry to hear you are in this situation and good luck…
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Claire_HD
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Re: Contesting parent's will

Postby Claire_HD » Mon Jul 26, 2021 12:42 pm

Thanks very much for the reply, RM.

It is not a great situation, a combination of the scenarios you describe above, but closer to the second - 'all the family wealth was given by a (probably) mentally diminished parent to charity.'

There is little we can do for the spouse, for specific reasons that I will not go into here. However, I am wondering whether there may be a clearer case of reclaiming the inheritances of myself and my siblings from the estate. I can almost certainly get hold of the proof of the inheritances and the fact they were signed over to that parent when each of us reached the age of 25.

Do you happen to know of any lawyers who handle this kind of action? Costs are an issue, predicatably.

Thanks for any help you or anyone else can give.
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Claire_HD
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Re: Contesting parent's will

Postby Claire_HD » Fri Jul 30, 2021 2:20 pm

Sorry to be posting again, but I seem to be drawing a blank.

Does anyone on NVN know of a solicitor who might specialise in this field (contesting a parent's will)?

And does anyone know if my siblings and I have a right to read the will or know its contents? as the immediate descendants of the deceased parent?

Any help out there would be gratefully received.
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Goldhawk
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Re: Contesting parent's will

Postby Goldhawk » Fri Jul 30, 2021 2:38 pm

You can get a copy of the will once probate is granted 
Search probate records for documents and wills (England and Wales) - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

 
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chorister
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Re: Contesting parent's will

Postby chorister » Fri Jul 30, 2021 6:12 pm

I don't know if they specialise in this, but Gregsons in Wimbledon (020 8946 1173) are a very good general practice firm of solicitors. What I do know from personal experience is that if it outside their comptetence they will honestly say so rather than pretending, and if they know another firm who could handle it will tell you. 
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FLH03
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Re: Contesting parent's will

Postby FLH03 » Fri Jul 30, 2021 8:02 pm

This sounds a very difficult situation for you.

I have also directed people to Gregsons due to mentions on this site - though for property issues (buying, selling, leases), all good reports so definitely worth a call, the sooner the better I think.

For a family member's estate we used Adams & Remers (Lewes office) https://adamsandremers.com/private/.  Also caught up in an estate matter being dealt with by Turcan Connell https://www.turcanconnell.com/about-us/ (Scotland but all relevant assets in England).

Very rusty company/commercial solicitor here - I don't know the specific legal terms or procedure but there is a way to make an application, minimal cost, to register some type of caveat, notice or restriction with the Probate Registry which prevents some one else getting the grant of probate on the deceased person's estate without your notice being cleared. Gov.uk website has lots on probate/letters of administration generally. 

As mentioned above - you have no right to see someone's will, it becomes a public document only once probate is granted, and the bar is high - wills only speak from death so lifetime asset changes and spending is usually irrelevant unless specific formal trusts were breached or there are mental capacity, will validity and coercion issues.

Any legal dispute involves time and cost and requires evidence, and the final outcome is either 1) an agreement between the parties involved, with maybe some form of arbitration/mediation - or 2) (worse case ultimate scenario) a court decision by a judge - much greater costs, longer time etc, and - being honest- a commercial assessment of the likely gain versus the costs, (and the stress of all of it) is worth consideration.

If you can gather all the information you have - background on timeline of events, family tree, documents, previous wills you do have copies of, (solicitors involved in drafting those) plus letters, emails, bank statements, details of the inheritances you mention, trust deeds, medical information etc etc that will all be useful to instruct solicitors.
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Bellevuelaw
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Re: Contesting parent's will

Postby Bellevuelaw » Mon Aug 02, 2021 8:16 am

This sounds like a very painful situation. You might like to contact IDR Law as they specialise in contested probate cases.

https://idrlaw.co.uk/

Best wishes,

Bellevue Law
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Happymummy2014
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Re: Contesting parent's will

Postby Happymummy2014 » Mon Aug 02, 2021 2:01 pm

I am so sorry you have such a distressing situation.
I’m now a mediator (so I can’t give any legal advice), but until 2020 I was a solicitor specializing in this field for over 20 years. The circumstances you describe give rise to a couple of different possibilities that you should discuss with a specialist solicitor - first, the Will either was or wasn’t valid (either the parent had the necessary ability to make a Will, or he/she didn’t and it was completely invalid). Secondly, if the Will was otherwise valid, then there is the question of whether he/she had the power to give away the children’s money.
My top picks for people to talk to would be: Andrea Zavos at Boodle Hatfield; Steven Kempster at Withers; Sofie Hoffman at Harbottle & Lewis; and Henry Frydenson at Frydenson & Co. They are all fairly costly, but (depending on the sums involved) it may be worth it as you really would be in the hands of experts. Some of them may be able to offer ‘no win no fee’ and all of them can talk about litigation funding if you need help finding the costs.
Please do PM me if you would like other recommendations - I know many other people in this field and would be happy to talk through other names if you wish.
I wish you the very best of luck.
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Claire_HD
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Re: Contesting parent's will

Postby Claire_HD » Tue Aug 03, 2021 11:14 am

Thank you very much to everyone - Bellevuelaw, HappyMummy, FLH, Chorister, Goldhawk and RumourMill. I think you have given me enough to proceed, so I will follow up with the contacts and suggestions you have sent me and/or PM. Once again, I am very grateful for your responses and help.
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