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Contested Probate and Dispute Resolution

In last week’s blog we looked why, should you find yourself in the heart-wrenching situation of having to settle a dispute involving a Will, you must have an experienced litigator in your corner rather than an equally specialist Wills, trusts and probate solicitor who may not have the depth of contentious experience required to get you to the outcome you want.

It seems that recent news completely backs our stance on ‘specialism over familiarity’. Over the last week a number of sources have given substantial coverage to the recent case in which a lady used a firm of licensed conveyancers (rather than experienced litigators) to defend herself against claims made by the other potential beneficiaries involved in a contested probate.

Although it was not arguably the defendant’s fault that her choice of solicitors, Blueprint Property Lawyers, was not licensed to conduct probate or litigation work she has nevertheless been told by the High Court that she has to pay back legal costs of nearly £87,000 to the estate after the firm went into liquidation in 2014.

You can read about the ins and outs of the case here but the main lessons to take from this sorry episode are:

       Never choose a firm in poor financial health (a position that may have led them to bill at a level criticised during the resultant case as being “at a high rate of charge” and “remarkable”)

       Never choose a firm who neither offer/promote the required expertise nor are authorised or insured to carry out that type of work (a quick look at their website will settle the first part, a direct question will settle the second)

As we said in last week’s blog, if you find yourself in a dispute involving the execution or management of a Will, you need specialists who know how to win a dispute regardless of the situation and the context. And you need them to be able to demonstrate a long and successful track record in settling Will disputes and contested probate cases.

In this type of case there is always so much at stake – with the total value of the property, assets or finances involved often at life-changing levels, so don’t leave anything to chance; make sure you get the advice and support from a specialist not a generalist.

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