Hayley Bundey, a Partner at Slee Blackwell Solicitors, offers advice to families struggling with inheritance disputes and steps you can take to resolve them.

Hayley Bundey specialises in inheritance disputes and has recently re-joined the Slee Blackwell team as a Partner after training with them years ago. Picture: Slee Blackwell SolicitorsHayley Bundey specialises in inheritance disputes and has recently re-joined the Slee Blackwell team as a Partner after training with them years ago. Picture: Slee Blackwell Solicitors

Q. How can inheritance disputes arise?

A: There are many reasons disputes can arise following the death of a loved one. It’s a challenging time for families, and poor communication can lead to misunderstandings.

Inheritance disputes can often occur if a family member has been left out of a Will or if inadequate financial provision has been made for dependants. There may also be concerns about the validity of a Will if you feel it doesn’t accurately reflect your loved one’s last wishes or was written when they didn’t have sufficient mental capacity.

Other disputes may arise if you don’t agree with how the estate is being administered. Executors or co-executors that are unable to agree can hold up proceedings. We can break that deadlock and get the administration of the estate moving again.

Hayley encourages clients to visit Slee Blackwell’s specialist website inheritancedisputes.co.uk for answers to lots of commonly asked questions. Picture: Slee Blackwell SolicitorsHayley encourages clients to visit Slee Blackwell’s specialist website inheritancedisputes.co.uk for answers to lots of commonly asked questions. Picture: Slee Blackwell Solicitors

Visit inheritancedisputes.co.uk to learn more about the claims that can be made and how we can help resolve disputes. You can call our helpline or email us for a free case assessment.

Q. What steps can be taken to resolve inheritance disputes?

A: I would always encourage clients to seek expert legal advice from specialist inheritance dispute solicitors to discuss their concerns. Although it’s hard to consider legal things following the death of a loved one, it’s important to seek help as soon as you can - some claims have brief time limits within which you need to start them with the Court.

Seeking specialist inheritance dispute advice sooner rather than later can be key to ensuring your loved one's final wishes are fulfilled correctly. Picture: Getty ImagesSeeking specialist inheritance dispute advice sooner rather than later can be key to ensuring your loved one's final wishes are fulfilled correctly. Picture: Getty Images

We can use our experience to seek an early resolution of the claim, which can ease the tension between family members and enables you to focus instead upon the loss of your loved one.

Q. How can you settle inheritance disputes?

A: Lots of clients are nervous about having to go to court. However, most cases don’t go to trial and are settled outside of a courtroom.

Mediation is a popular way of resolving inheritance disputes and has a high rate of success in reaching settlements. It’s a private way of settling inheritance disputes that save clients from needing to air their family’s dirty laundry in public.

Mediation often takes place before clients have had to start their claim with the Court, which is why it’s better to take advice early. The meeting can take place by video conference during the pandemic, meaning you can resolve your dispute from the comfort of your own home if you wish.

Once settlement terms are reached, an agreement will be drawn up and signed by the parties and the administration of the estate can then proceed based on the agreed terms.

Final distribution of the estate could take place within a matter of one to two weeks, enabling parties to quickly move on from the dispute after a settlement is reached.

Q. What happens if we can’t settle the dispute?

A: In the rare scenarios where an inheritance dispute can’t be settled, we would prepare the case for trial, including exchanging key documents and witness statements.

However, just because we need to start court proceedings, it doesn’t mean the case will need to go to trial as there are still plenty of opportunities along the way to settle, which is why it is rare that a judge decides these cases.

Q. How can I cover legal costs?

A: We often work on a ‘no win no fee’ basis for inheritance dispute claims and are happy to provide a free case assessment via our helpline or online at inheritancedisputes.co.uk. We can offer various funding options for covering the costs of these claims, including ‘deferred’ payment of fees from your inheritance.

Q. Where can I find out more?

A: We are one of the few law firms in the country to have a dedicated team of lawyers dealing specifically with inheritance disputes, and we have an excellent track record of success, helping people nationwide.

Visit inheritancedisputes.co.uk for a free case assessment and to discuss your case in more detail.

Call us on 0808 139 1606 or email info@sleeblackwell.co.uk.