Defending a will and your inheritance
After suffering bereavement it can be distressing if someone challenges the Will of the person who died or if people come forward claiming to be owed large sums of money – that they want to be paid before the estate can be distributed.
This can be especially important if you have been appointed as a “personal representative” with legal responsibility to correctly distribute the property, land, money and possessions of the person who died. There are 2 types:
- Executor - Where the person who died left a Will then this will usually have appointed executors. The executors are legally liable to ensure proper distribution to the correct people.
- Administrator - If there was no Will, then the Intestacy Rules apply and an Administrator is appointed by the court to apply those rules. The Administrator is usually a close blood relative of the person who died.
As personal representative, you will need to decide on whether to defend the claim or challenge being made. You can be personally liable if you get it wrong. That is why personal representatives usually instruct solicitors to act on their behalf.
This is also important if you are not a personal representative but were due to receive a benefit from the person who died and now stand to lose out if the challenge is successful. We recommend that you take early legal advice on defending your inheritance under the Will or under the Intestacy rules (that apply if there was no Will). Our specialist lawyers will aim to ensure that you keep what is rightfully yours.
We can advise you on the basis of the challenge being brought, whether it has any merit and how the court would be likely to deal with it.
With this knowledge we can help you plan the next steps to defend your inheritance and secure a good outcome. This might be to negotiate an ‘out of court’ agreement or to use mediation or to fully defend it.
Whatever the basis of the challenge you should take early expert legal advice. Our Free Initial Assessment is there to enable people like you facing this type of situation receive early, confidential telephone advice from an expert lawyer. Please call us on 0808 274 7557 or use the webform to get your free advice as to whether you have a situation where we can help you.