Martin and Rebecca’s probate dispute settled for £105,000
4 minute read
Wills & probate case study.
Upon the passing of Martin’s and Rebecca’s father, they contacted us with instruction to act for them as the beneficiaries of their father’s estate in the defence of a claim made by their stepmother. Our clients were the residuary, and principal, beneficiaries of the estate, which included a half share in the matrimonial home. The stepmother did not benefit from the estate, but the deceased had taken steps to ensure that she was taken care of by way of inter vivos. Inter vivos (living) trusts are created while an individual is still alive to name the beneficiaries of property and assets upon death while avoiding probate.
The stepmother’s solicitor presented as aggressive
The stepmother’s solicitor had taken an aggressive approach to the matter. By the time McCartan Turkington Breen were instructed they had issued an offer of £20,000 to buy out our client’s interest in the matrimonial home.
The siblings solicitor, Damian Collins, conducted a review of the matter and a financial analysis of the father’s and stepmother’s respective financial positions. This allowed us to advise on what did and did not constitute matrimonial assets and what could therefore be potentially claimed by the stepmother. The relationships of the parties had to be considered for us to advise on what strategy would be best for our client. Subsequently, we devised two potential strategies. Our clients could string out proceedings and the claim could potentially die, given the advanced age of the stepmother. A second strategy was that they could settle for less but would have no long-term ties to the stepmother’s family, with whom relationships had unfortunately been damaged, as a result of their claim.
Damian Collins secured a 425% increase on the financial sum offered to our clients
Proceedings were issued by the stepmother and we entered into settlement discussions. Ultimately, the matter settled, after some intense negotiation, in the sum of £105,000, which was considerably more than the initial offer.
We were able to structure the settlement in such a way that a claim for spousal allowance could be made to HMRC. The result of this is that the combination for the settlement and refund from HMRC could potentially be more than the value of the Estate’s share in the matrimonial home. This allowed a clean break from family members with whom relationships had broken down. More importantly, the final wishes of our client’s late father were carried out in a way that all concerned could live with.
Our wills, estates and elder client’s department can help you too
If you require advice on defending against a probate dispute claim, our team of private matter solicitors are available. You can learn more about our probate disputes services or contact us for a free, no-commitment discussion with a specialist probate solicitor.