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Case Studies: Contentious Wills & Estates

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Read about various scenarios where we have helped our clients.

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    Our client was trying to administer the estate of her late husband but a caveat had been lodged against the estate by one of his adult children.

    Our client was the elderly wife of the deceased and grieving following the sudden death of her husband. One of the deceased’s adult children from an earlier marriage had lodged a caveat against his estate preventing his widow from obtaining the grant of probate and dealing with the administration of his estate.
    The adult child had raised various concerns about the validity of the will and also threatened a claim against the estate under the Inheritance Act but other than lodging the caveat had done nothing further and had not brought a claim.
    How we helped
    We conducted various investigations into the validity of the will to ensure that it was valid and complied with the necessary requirements. We also entered into negotiations with the adult child to attempt to resolve the dispute without the need for court proceedings. However, the adult child would not agree to the will being admitted to probate and therefore it was necessary to issue court proceedings.
    The result 
    We issued court proceedings to have the caveat removed and to ‘prove’ the latest will. The adult child did not defend the claim but neither did she agree to the will being proved and the matter proceeded to trial where our client was successful and the will was proved.
    As a result of the adult child’s behaviour, our client was awarded her legal costs of bringing the claim.

    Written: March 2021

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    Our client had been promised a farm by her father prior to his death. In reliance on this promise, our client had worked on the farm for many years and cared for her father.

    Following his death, our client was informed her father had left the farm to one of his sons who wanted our client to move out of the farmhouse where she had lived for many years. Our client was extremely worried about losing the farm as well as becoming homeless.
    How we helped
    We investigated our client’s claim and obtained witness evidence from parties who were aware of the ‘promise’. We then compiled our client’s claim and submitted this to her brother. Our client was keen the matter was resolved without having to issue court proceedings.
    The result 
    We attended a mediation with our client’s brother and both parties were able to reach agreement as to the ownership of the farm. As part of the agreement reached, our client received payment of her legal costs and managed to avoid a trial.
    Written: March 2021

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    Our client was the unmarried partner of the deceased who died leaving her nothing in his will.

    Our client was struggling financially as a single parent with a young child and was unable to work as a result of a heath condition. She had school fees to meet as well as the costs of upkeep on a large property. The only beneficiary of the deceased’s estate was a charity and it was a large estate.
    How we helped
    We brought a claim for reasonable financial provision under the Inheritance Act against the estate. As there are strict time limits in these types of claims, we had to issue court proceedings. The charity initially defended the claim but after providing our client’s financial information, it agreed to attend a mediation in order to try and resolve the claim.  
    The result 
    The matter was successfully resolved at mediation where our client received a monetary award as well as payment of her costs and was able to avoid the stress and costs of having to proceed to trial. 
    Written: March 2021

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