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Case Studies

Case Studies

Inheritance and Will Dispute Case Studies

Our Contentious Probate team have a broad range of experience supporting clients through difficult, and often complex inheritance and Will disputes. Below are some examples of recent cases and how we have been able to help.

Contentious Probate Case Studies


Adult Children Challenging Father's Last Will 

This claim involved:

  • an elderly man in his 80s leaving his entire Estate to his cleaner of 3 years, thus disinheriting his 3 adult children
  • acting for the children in High Court proceedings issued against their late father's estate on the basis that his last Will was invalid by reason of undue influence exerted by the cleaner, lack of testamentary capacity as their father was suffering from dementia, and on the basis that their father lacked knowledge and approval of his Will
  • liaising with experts in relation to complex issues with regard to the deceased's capacity

How we were able to help

Working swiftly to determine the merits of our clients' claim, resulting in a settlement being reached and proceedings being discontinued.


A farming family in a bitter dispute involving the farming business

This case involved:

  • Their late mother's Estate, which included the farmhouse (valued at about £2 million), could not be administered due to challenges to her last Will on the basis of lack of testamentary capacity.
  • Acting for three of the six beneficiaries with one of the other beneficiaries occupying the farmhouse which he alleged had been promised to him by his parents.
  • Complicated partnership and proprietary estoppel issues.

How we were able to help

All the disputes were successfully resolved at a multi-party Mediation with all the family members present, thus avoiding a costly court battle between family members.


A complex case relating to an estate in Cornwall

This case involved:

  • An estate in Cornwall worth in excess of £8million.
  • The matter centred on a homemade Will made by a man who wished to leave the bulk of his estate to establish a military band in a park near the place of his birth.
  • There was also a dispute about a partnership property in relation to a family business.
  • We represented 8 out of 16 beneficiaries.

How we were able to help

This case was subject to a mediation involving the 16 beneficiaries which was partially successful and the Court also ruled on the charitable nature of the gift relating to the military band. Due to the partial success of the mediation, significant costs were saved.


A Claim Made Under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975

This case involved:

  • a claim made under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 by a spouse for further provision from the husband's estate
  • acting on behalf of a spouse whose husband had died intestate because his Will was automatically revoked upon their marriage
  • the estate was valued at approximately £2 million
  • the claim was defended by our client's step-children

How we were able to help

A substantial settlement was reached in favour of our client without the need for a trial, enabling our client to avoid further litigation.


A Former Attorney and Executor Allegedly Misappropriating Millions of Pounds and Valuable Works of Art

This case involved:

  • A former attorney and executor allegedly misappropriating millions of pounds and valuable works of art from a Swiss Estate.
  • Acting for two of the beneficiaries of the Swiss Estate to bring Attorney/Executor to account.
  • Carrying out extensive investigations into the misappropriations and seeking disclosure from Swiss and UK banks, auction houses and a number of third parties.
  • Issuing proceedings in Switzerland and the UK against the Attorney/Executor.

How we were able to help

A successful result was achieved at a UK mediation thus unlocking the administration of the Estate and avoiding costly court trials in two jurisdictions.


Acting for a Court Appointed Independent Administrator

This case involved:

  • As estate in which the unreasonable conduct of one of the beneficiaries meant escalating costs, significant delay in the administration of the estate and deadlock, at the expense of the other beneficiaries of the Estate.
  • Applying to the High Court for directions to bring the deadlock to an end.
  • A landmark judgement obtained by the Administrator, lifting the deadlock, and ordering the beneficiary to pay the costs of the Court application.

How we were able to help

This High Court judgement is now the leading case cited in situations where the unreasonable conduct of a beneficiary is responsible for generating substantial costs on the part of a trustee or personal representative, and establishing authority that the burden of those costs should be borne by the beneficiary and not fall on the trust or Estate, and thus the beneficiaries as a whole.

(Green v Astor and others [2013] EWHC 1857 (Ch))


A Deadlocked Estate Due to a Caveat Being Entered

This case involved:

  • A deadlocked Estate due to a caveat being entered which prevented the Estate being administered.
  • The Estate comprised a property and a share of a family business valued in excess of £1.5million.
  • Challenges to the last Will of the testatrix on the basis that she lacked testamentary capacity and undue influence.
  • An acrimonious business dispute between the two Partners which meant that the business could not be run properly.

How we were able to help

A successful result was achieved at a Mediation enabling all the parties to move on with their lives and avoid years of expensive litigation.


If you are concearned about an inheritance or Will dispute, please contact Michelle Rose on 0117 314 5246 who will be happy to discuss your options and the first steps to resolving your dispute, avoiding costy fees.

Swift and intelligent advice. The team as a whole has extensive knowledge and experience. It is really great to have a team of experts who work together (rather than individually) for you.

  • Private Client quote
  • Legal 500

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Meet the Team

Members of the team are recognised probate experts in a wide variety of claims, at home and abroad, offering first class contentious advice.

View All
Michelle Rose - Bristol Contentious Probate Specialist at VWV
Partner

Inheritance, Will & Trust Disputes

Fiona Lawrence - Private Client Senior Associate
Senior Associate

Inheritance & Will Disputes

Trust Disputes

Contentious Probate

Marianne Nankervis - Private Client Senior Associate at VWV
Senior Associate

Inheritance Act Claims

Trusts & Estates

Professional Negligence

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