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Naomi Ireson recently reached settlement of an inheritance and contested will claim following a successful mediation.
The claimant, Mr K, initiated two claims.
The first was a contested will claim. He argued that the Will of his late stepfather was invalid for want of testamentary capacity.
The second was a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 against the estate of his late mother.
The defendants were professional executors, together with Mr K’s stepsister (the daughter of his stepfather and stepdaughter of his mother).
Mr K’s mother’s Will left her entire estate to her husband (Mr K’s stepfather). The Will specified that if her husband died before her, the estate would be split between their children. Mr K’s stepfather made a mirror Will providing for the same terms.
However, following the mother’s death, his stepfather changed his Will. In his new Will he left his entire estate to his biological daughter only.
When the new Will was executed the stepfather’s medical records suggested that he was suffering from mental impairment.
Mr K therefore consulted us and we pursued the two claims in parallel.
We argued that Mr K did not have testamentary capacity and the later Will was therefore invalid.
Although Mr K had no standing to bring an Inheritance Act claim against his step-father’s estate, we advised him that he could still make an inheritance claim against his mother’s estate. Despite Mr K’s mother having died some years previous, probate was never granted in her estate because the assets were simply transferred to her husband. Mr K was therefore still in time to bring a claim under the Inheritance Act against his late mother’s estate.
Both claims were robustly defended and the case proceeded to mediation.
All parties saw the sense of reaching an out of court settlement and the dispute was resolved by negotiation.
Mr K agreed to accept a lump sum in settlement, which was a very good result given the difficulties his claim faced as an independent adult child bringing an Inheritance Act claim and the absence of clear evident to support the allegations of lack of capacity.
If you would like guidance on inheritance claim mediation then call our FREE helpline on 0808 139 1596 or email us at [email protected]