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Increase in Contentious Probate claims

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According to the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) a total of 188 contentious probate cases were brought by individuals who claimed they were entitled to a share of, or a larger portion of, an estate in 2019. 3This figure is an increase from 128 in 2018, 145 in 2017 and beating the previous record of 158 in 2016.Reasons for the increaseThe reason behind th...
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How to find a Will or obtain a copy

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On the death of a person, locating a Will can be very important. It not only identifies who the deceased chose to appoint to conduct their affairs but to whom their assets would pass. In the absence of locating a Will, the statutory Intestacy Rules provide potentially for a list of different beneficiaries to those the deceased may have intended. 3M...
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Lack of knowledge & approval - can it make a will invalid?

Lack of knowledge & approval - can it make a will invalid?
For a Will to be valid there are a number of criteria which the Testator must meet, the Testator being the maker of the Will. This includes age, knowledge of all the facts and approval.Firstly, the Testator must be over the age of 18 years and the formalities of s9 Wills Act 1837 must have been followed.The Testator must also know and approve the c...
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Case Study: The Validity of a Will – Nutt V Nutt 2018

Case Study: The Validity of a Will – Nutt V Nutt 2018
On 19 April 2018, Master Clark gave judgment in the estate of Lily Rose Nutt. Our Senior Associate Kerry Hull delves into the specifics of this contested Will case. Lily died aged 88 years on 25 February 2013. She was widowed and survived by three adult children, Christopher 73 years, Vivienne 71 years and Colin 64 years. Her two eldest children ar...
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Estranged Daughter Succeeds in Will Dispute

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A Judge has awarded an estranged daughter £30,000 in yet another unprecedented move by the legal system. Our Senior Associate Kerry Hull explains.

Following the Supreme Court’s decision in March of this year in Ilott –v- The Blue Cross & Others when it was thought that the principle of testamentary freedom had been bolstered, His Honour Judge Saffman in Leeds County Court has awarded an estranged daughter £30k of her deceased father’s £240k estate, despite the fact that he made it clear he had disinherited his children in his Will.

The earlier ruling of the Supreme Court had established that “it is not the case that once there is a qualified claimant and a demonstrated need for maintenance, the testators wishes cease to be of any weight. They may, of course, be overridden, but they are part of the circumstances of the case and fall to be assessed in the round together with all other relevant factors.”

Despite the daughter having no contact with her father for several years before his death and the deceased having left a letter explaining why he was disinheriting his 3 children and leaving his entire estate to his friend, HHJ Saffman determined that the daughter’s wish to complete a veterinary course was a ‘maintenance cost’. The Judge was presumably satisfied that the evidence presented in the case was sufficient for the Act to prevail as against the wishes of the deceased.  

A half sibling of the daughter, who was unable to work through ill health, was similarly successful having also made a claim under the Act, receiving a settlement of £22k.

 

MORE INFORMATION 

For all enquiries relating to contested probate or Wills, please contact our Contested Wills and Probate Department - our team of expert solicitors will be able to assist. Call on 01708 229444 or email us using the form above.

 
This article was written by Kerry Hull, a Senior Associate at Pinney Talfourd LLP Solicitors. The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. This article is based on the law as of July 2017.
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