Wills and Estate Disputes Resolution

Estate Disputes on the rise –

Right now Wills and Estates disputes are on the increase. Why?

A generation of wealthy baby boomers is coming to a close.

Boomers are now passing on their wealth to the next generation via their Wills, Testamentary Trusts or by simply irresponsibly dying intestate leaving their survivors to fight it out over who gets what.

Every State and Territory has a set of laws governing Wills and challenges to Wills.

The Trend –

Those cut out of a Will or who feel they weren’t given enough are increasingly choosing to challenge the Will.

Typical grounds to challenge a Will are –

  • Lack of mental capacity when making the Will;
  • Duress or Undue Influence applied to the Testator;
  • Claiming an entitlement to provision or further provision out of the estate (family provision claim).

The problem is that the traditional/conventional legal system, when applied to such disputes, has the potential to eat up a substantial part of the estate pie in legal costs.

The problem with Lawyers –

An aggrieved party’s first port of call is usually a lawyer.

Lawyers, by dint of their legal training, will focus their legal eyes on the matter and consider it their duty to advise the client how, using legal theory and legal tactics, to extract their maximum legal entitlement out of the available pie of the estate.

This approach very often results in an enlargement or expansion of the “issues” to be brought into the dispute – and of course, this drives up legal costs.

The aggrieved client may be driven by a myriad of emotions such as grief, anger, fear, resentment and so on.

Some, believing they have been short changed or unjustly disentitled by the Testator naturally feel angry and resentful.

They seek “justice” by asking the Court to grant them something more out of the estate to meet their special needs or to relieve certain financial pressures.

These are called family/further provision claims.

Others are driven by a belief that the testator was taken advantage of or influenced by a surviving spouse, sibling or a close relative or friend into making the last Will, sometimes just prior to the testator’s passing.

They believe that the last Will made was invalid and that some earlier Will should be the operative one.

Whatever the cause of there being a dispute – one thing should be manifestly clear to all – the way in which the dispute is managed and resolved should not eat up a big chunk of the estate in legal costs!

Another thing is just as crystal clear and obvious – no one in their right mind seeks legal assistance to enrich their lawyer at their expense.

Yet this is precisely what is happening way too often with these Will and Estate disputes.

The Antidote to this Problem –

There are firms, like this one, dedicated to helping people manage and resolve Will and Estate disputes in a way that aims to preserve the estate and minimise dispute resolution costs.

Effective dispute management skills encompasses –

  • Legal Knowledge and Competency;
  • Negotiation skills;
  • Communication skills;
  • Collaboration skills;
  • Creative and lateral thinking skills.

We don’t just pay lip service to the notion that generally it is in both clients best interests that “litigation is and must be the last resort”. We make it the reality.

Contact us to find out more.

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