The death of a loved one is a difficult time for everyone, and it can become even more traumatic if concerns about a Will escalate into a dispute.

Keith Hardington, chairman of legal firm, Walker Foster, is a solicitor with almost 30 years’ experience, and knows how you can protect yourself from a will dispute.

Keith said: “The most important thing to do is to simply make a Last Will and Testament in the first place. Doing so could save a lot of expense and heartache for your loved ones.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Keith Hardington, chairman of legal firm, Walker Foster.Keith Hardington, chairman of legal firm, Walker Foster.

It’s still surprising just how many people die without leaving a Will. Often, older people lose track of what assets they have and what they’re worth, and they assume it would be pointless for them to have a Will. But the house they’ve lived in all their lives may well be worth hundreds of times what they paid for it decades ago, and, without a Will, they’ll have no way to be certain it’s left to whom they wish.

“Young people can be just as exposed. We have seen cases where an estranged parent is entitled to half the deceased child’s estate even though the parent has not been involved in the child’s life for many years.”

The dangers of not making your last wishes clear are obvious, but what about when a loved-one passes away and there’s some doubt about the Will?

According to Keith, that’s when it’s more important than ever to make sure you have sound, expert legal advice.

“Disputes usually arise because someone is unhappy with the terms of a Will,” Keith says. “Often, they believe promises were made to them which aren’t fulfilled by the Will, or perhaps the Will fails to make reasonable provision. Claims can also arise where a substantial gift has been left to someone unexpected, such as a carer, a neighbour, or even a charity.”

There are several potential means of challenging a Will.

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The deceased may have lacked the capacity to make a Will. A lack of capacity might result from dementia or temporary illness. It may be that the deceased was unduly influenced.

Even when the Will can’t be challenged, if it fails to make reasonable provision for certain connected people, it may be possible to make a claim for financial provision, without needing to prove that the Will is invalid, and also where there is no Will.

Ultimately, this is a very complicated legal area, and people often encounter it during very emotional times in their lives. Our aim, at Walker Foster, is to help settle these matters with a minimum of distress, and to ensure you’re treated fairly.

If you’re at all concerned, take early advice from legal experts with experience in these matters.

Walker Foster have an experienced team of seasoned professionals that have conducted numerous Will disputes and Inheritance Act claims.

As well as his decades as a trusted solicitor, Keith is also an accredited civil dispute mediator, experienced in resolving these complex matters, calmly and professionally.

To speak with a qualified, experienced legal professional, contact Walker Foster Solicitors Skipton on 01756 700200.

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