Wills Disputes

Common law husband or wife

There is no such thing as a common law husband or wife. Many people are left in a difficult position following their partner’s death having relied on this fictitious concept. If you have provided for your partner by making a will, and named them...

Solicitor becomes a trustee at Helen Rollason Cancer Charity

Rachel Leech, a solicitor in the Court of Protection and Inheritance Disputes Team at law firm Birkett Long, has been appointed as trustee for the Helen Rollason Cancer charity. A charity dedicated to supporting people whose lives have been touched by...

Lasting powers of attorney

What can I do if I am not able to manage my affairs? You may be worried about what happens to your assets during your lifetime if you are unable to deal with them because of ill health, or perhaps you quite simply do not want to. Lasting powers of...

What happens if you don't have a power of attorney?

If you no longer have the capacity to make decisions for yourself and you do not have a power of attorney, then someone will have to apply to the Court of Protection to become your deputy. There are two types of application that can be made to the Court of...

Inheriting on a promise

“Without written evidence, you’re wasting your time.” So went the mantra of one of my wisest supervisors, but the legal landscape has changed dramatically since. The legal term ‘estoppel’ seeks to uphold fairness. It...

Tinted transparency in Court of Protection

The Court of Protection made headlines last week after 71 year old Mrs Kirk was sentenced to six months in prison for contempt of court for refusing to comply with the court’s order to return an elderly man with dementia to Britain after placing him in...

Ilott will dispute case back in the news

The case of Ilott v Mitson has been in the press on several occasions before but yesterday’s ruling is once again grabbing headlines. The general consensus is that, in light of the decision, a person’s right to leave their assets to whom they...

Multi millionaire parent says 'let children fend for themselves' in unusual trust dispute case

An unusual case has been lodged at the High Court Chancery Division this week by the children of multi millionaire businessman, Manny Davidson. The children, Gerald, 54, and Maxine, 56, are attempting to change the structure of their trust fund and exclude...

Cheap wills could turn out to be very expensive!

At the start of 2015 The Law Society launched its ‘Use a Professional’ campaign.  “Well, they would say that”, you might argue, but the growth of unregulated and DIY legal services means that more and more people are being...

Where there's a will does there have to be a war?

All disputes, by their very nature, have the capacity to take their toll emotionally and financially, but disputes over wills are often the most bitterly fought.  Only last year it was revealed that the family of Peter Ustinov was still embroiled in a...

Solicitor's prestigious appointment

A solicitor with Essex law firm Birkett Long has joined the ranks of just a handful of contemporaries in the region who are part of a prestigious legal organisation. Partner, Amanda Smallcombe, who works in the firm’s Colchester office, specialises in...

A costly mistake

Everyone knows that a will must be signed but what happens when an error in signing affects its validity?  The Wills Act 1837 states that a will must be “in writing and signed by the testator, or by some other person in his presence and by his...

Could your will be disputed?

No one wants their loved ones to squabble over their will, but these types of disputes are on the increase.  Many people make a will and then forget all about it.  But everyone’s circumstances change and your will needs to reflect...

Essex solicitor warns over wills disputes

An Essex law firm is urging individuals to keep an up-to-date will prepared by a suitably qualified person, following an increase in the number of cases of disputed inheritances. Amanda Smallcombe, who leads Birkett Long’s contested trust and probate...

Be careful what you promise - Court holds elderly man to promise to leave house to a relative

It may come as a surprise that assurances made to someone that they shall be left property in a Will can be binding, even though you may change your mind. In the recent case of Bradbury v Taylor and Burkinshaw, elderly widower, Bill Bradbury, asked his...

Can a 'bootiful' life turn ugly? Bernard Matthew's case highlights the importance of making intentions clear in your will

Following the death of Bernard Matthews, the famous Norwich turkey farmer, in November 2010, a dispute arose in relation to his estate which serves as a reminder to those who own property abroad to ensure that their testamentary papers clearly set out what...

Inheritance and same sex partners: to what extent does the law protect those who decide against Civil Partnership?

Prior to the Civil Partnership Act 2004 the law created a wholly unfair inequality in inheritance laws between different and same sex couples. The only way to ensure that your partner would receive anything from your estate was to make a Will specifically...

Proprietary Estoppel

Succession planning is always an important consideration for any family. A recent court decision regarding inheritance planning, both on death and in relation to lifetime trusts, has put the cat among the pigeons; confirming that not only farming families,...

Be careful who you trust

Most people consider inheritance disputes to involve cases in which the validity of a will is challenged, however another area of dispute concerns the situation where executors or trustees appointed under a will have failed to carry out their duties. Will...

Will you be disinherited? A guide to the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act

A will can be challenged on many grounds including want of (formal) execution, the testator’s capacity (or lack of) and undue influence, but one question we are often asked is: “what can be done when someone has been ‘cut out’ of an...

The Silent Witness

Disputes concerning wills are becoming increasingly common. More of us cohabit, divorce, remarry and have children with second spouses (who may already have children from a previous relationship); in fact the Office of National Statistics reported that in...

Birkett Long backs Panorama's plea for proper legislation of will writers

An Essex solicitor is backing the BBC show Panorama’s plea for will writers to be subjected to proper legislation, ahead of tonight’s (Monday 9 August) programme which exposes the risks of not seeking full and proper legal advice when creating a...

Probate Disputes

Disputes concerning wills are becoming increasingly common for a variety of reasons. The increase in property prices over the last ten years means that an average person’s estate is worth more than ever before. We live in more complex family structures...

Why Jackson's death demonstrates the importance of making wills

The sudden death of Michael Jackson demonstrates the huge importance of having a will in place – whatever your age, a senior lawyer has said. Peter McCarthy, speaking on behalf of the consumer body Which?, warned that many people are suffering from...