We are often asked about making claims on an estate. Clients making a Will often ask about the consequences of leaving a beneficiary out of a Will.
Clients who believe they should have been included in the division from someone’s Will consult us about what they can do.
Executors administering estates in which a family provision claim arises consult us.
Here are some of the frequently asked questions:
Does a family dispute over a Will always go straight to court trial?
No. Ideally the people involved in the estate will come to an agreement as to an altered distribution.
This involves consent, independent legal advice for each person involved in the agreement and a written agreement (sometimes called a Deed of Family Arrangement).
If the matter is not resolved at mediation the court will hold a hearing.
I am an executor and a disgruntled beneficiary has contacted me, they want to make a claim against the estate, What do I do?
Obtain legal advice. Sometimes claims are made against an estate for Family Provisions if there is a person with the view that they had not been adequately provided for in the terms of the Will.
As executor you become the defendant in such claims on behalf of the estate.
How much does it cost? Who Pays?
Depending on the extent of evidence and number of witnesses, the hearing of the proceedings could take a number of days. The legal costs of the hearing can be substantial as the solicitor and barrister will need to allocate time to prepare for the hearing and then be in attendance each day of the hearing.
The court may order the payment of costs as they see fit.
It is important to remember that when making a family provision claim, the costs is not just financial, it can be hugely emotional, a cost paid by all involved.