Probate and Will, Trust & Estate Disputes

Promises, properties, debts and disappointments

Our client was the widow of the Deceased. The fact of our client’s marriage to the Deceased had the unintended result of invalidating his Will. Neither the Deceased nor his family realised that. As the Deceased did not make a valid Will after marriage, his estate would be distributed under the strict laws of intestacy.

A dispute arose between our client and the Deceased’s daughter regarding a property, which was held in the Deceased’s sole name at his date of death, but had been promised to our client many years before.

Throughout his life, the Deceased spent a considerable amount of time out of work and without an income. He could not pay his mortgage and had gotten into a lot of debt. Our client agreed to cover all payments on behalf of the Deceased, and sold a property, which she owned outright, to clear the Deceased’s debts.  She did that on the understanding that she would later benefit from an interest in the properties.

Given the properties formed the main assets of the estate, the question of whether they would fall within the estate had a significant impact upon the inheritance expected by both our client and the Deceased’s daughter.

Through negotiating with the daughter’s lawyers, we were able to show that our client had acted in reliance upon the promises made to her by the Deceased, and that without her personal sacrifices over the years, there would have been no inheritance at all. We were able to come to a commercial settlement in recognition of our client’s contributions, avoiding the costs and stress of formal litigation.

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