During the last decade the legal profession has experienced a marked increase in the number of disputes relating to Wills, Probate and Trusts. This is a complex area of law which includes challenges to the validity of Wills, claims for financial provision under inheritance legislation, as well as disputes regarding the actions of executors and personal representatives. The increase in such disputes can to a large extent be explained by the complexity of modern day families with remarriages and step children, and the high value of many estates despite the recent economic downturn.
Emotions tend to run high in these disputes as family rifts can come to the fore, and points of principle become paramount especially if one party or another feels aggrieved or let down, or that an elderly relative has been taken advantage of. As a result it is far more likely that a dispute of this kind will proceed all the way to a fully contested trial meaning that the associated costs, anxiety and stress of litigation will be experienced along the way. It is therefore all the more important that parties to these disputes seek early specialist advice and keep their minds open to the opportunities for resolving disputes by alternative means.
Nockolds has recently been engaged in a successful mediation for a Mexican client in a complex contested probate action. This involved the joint efforts of myself and Dalila Segador who is an Official and Legal Translator (English and Spanish) and a qualified member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists in the UK. I regularly act in disputes involving Wills, Inheritance and Trusts and I am an ACTAPS registered Contentious Trust and Probate Specialist.
The Mexican Consulate initially put the client in touch with us due to our expertise in foreign translation and disputes involving Wills and inheritance, as English was not the client’s first language. Together, we were able to seamlessly advise the client in Spanish, explaining complex issues of English law and case tactics, and corresponding with the opposing parties over a period of one year before the mediation.
Towards the end of 2013, the mediation was held at our London office which is conveniently located with fast transport links to all the London international airports for flights connecting direct to Mexico City, and major domestic rail links enabling easy travel for the UK-based attending parties. The suites available at the office are ideal for mediation, being spacious and comfortable as well as practical with WiFi and IT services such as photocopying and printing freely available.
With both Dalila and I assisting the client throughout the mediation, it was possible to skilfully navigate through the issues in dispute, guiding the parties towards arriving at an outcome that they were all happy to accept, simultaneously saving the parties tens of thousands of pounds that would have been at risk had the dispute litigated through the High Court. Not only did the client have the benefit of my specialist knowledge and experience in these cases but also Dalila’s translation skills which helped to reduce the costs, time delays and reliability issues involved in employing external translation services.
The Nockolds Dispute Resolution Team frequently work hand in hand with their colleagues from the Nockolds International Team for clients who require our legal services in Spanish, Portuguese or Italian and offer friendly, robust and cost efficient advice not only in relation to contested probate, wills and inheritance issues but also across the full spectrum of private and commercial disputes.
If you believe you have a claim against a loved one’s estate or wish to challenge a Will, defend such a claim, or seek advice on any contentious probate issues please contact Daniel Winter on 01279 755777.