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I specialise in all types of dispute relating to Wills, trusts and estates. I act for claimants, defendants and executors. I deal with claims involving Wills and where the deceased person died intestate (without a Will).
The most common types of case that I deal with relate to the validity of Wills, the failure to properly distribute estates and claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (where someone is not provided for by a deceased person’s estate).
I also deal with claims relating to:
I have specialised in Wills law since 2008 and I have experience of taking claims to trial. I advise clients regarding all of the appropriate options and have successfully concluded many cases through mediation and settlement meetings.
I enjoy finding legal and practical solutions to the difficult and varied issues that my clients face.
I appreciate that Will, trust and estate disputes can be difficult for the parties to deal with, coming as they do at a time when they are already grieving the loss of a loved one. With this in mind I enjoy working with my clients to support them and to resolve their case in a manner that is appropriate for them.
I enjoy the national reach that Irwin Mitchell has, as it enables us to assist clients throughout the country and abroad.
Will, trust and estate disputes are a very specialist area of law and at Irwin Mitchell we are quite unusual in that we have a team dedicated solely to dealing with these cases. This means that we have experience of a very wide range of cases and it allows us to work with leading barristers and experts in this field.
"Katie dealt with our Will dispute in a very thorough, exacting and efficient manner. She researched the facts surrounding the case, sought appropriate legal expertise from experienced Counsel and then set out our case in a clear, comprehensive and decisive fashion. The presentation was successful in that the agreed settlement involved meeting our claim in full.
"Katie dealt sympathetically and knowledgeably with us as clients, kept us informed of developments over a protracted period and gave us expert advice on how to judge our claim.
"We would be happy to recommend Katie for her expertise, diligence and understanding of cases, particularly in dealing with Will and Probate disputes."
“While we don’t yet have the finer details, this is a significant change to Inheritance tax although the provisions do not start to take effect until the 17-18 tax year and won’t come fully into effect until 2020-2021. For deaths prior 6th April 2017 the existing rules apply. The rules also only apply if you leave the family home to your children or grandchildren and not to other relatives.
“As the new provisions only apply to the family home ( or an equivalent value if that was sold prior to death) this additional allowance looks quite complicated to calculate. It is not as simple as saying the nil rate band has been increased to £1 million as has been commonly reported
“By increasing the IHT thresholds with a ‘property only’ allowance it raises questions about what happens if house prices continue to rise and suggests that the general limit of £325k which applies to all assets and has been set for some time, is going to remain the same until at least 2021.”
"This case has put a spotlight on the concept of donatio mortis causa – or DMC – which is based around the idea of a person leaving a gift to someone while on their ‘deathbed’ or while thinking about their impending death.
"In its ruling, the Court of Appeal has decided that the woman’s statement about leaving the property to her nephew did not satisfy the requirements of a DMC – particularly as it was made while she was in good health and not considering her death at that time.
"As such, it was felt that if she genuinely had the desire to leave the property to her nephew, she should have taken the step of updating her will with the help of solicitors.
"This ultimately highlights the continued importance of having a properly executed will in place which fully reflects your wishes, as well as updating the document should those wishes or your circumstances change.
"Another useful step is to ensure family members understand your wishes and the reasons behind them, as this should go some way towards minimising the risk of disputes about your estate in the future."
Unsurprisingly there was much interest in the terms of Mr Mandela’s Will, particularly considering the speculation in the media that it could lead to disagreements among his loved ones.
"There are some other interesting points that it does raise, however, including the 90-day limitation period. This short time limit emphasises how important it is for people with concerns regarding a loved one’s Will to seek advice at an early stage to see if they would have grounds to dispute the terms.
"The time limit for pursuing certain types of claims against Wills in England and Wales expires only six months after the first Grant to the estate is issued by the Probate Registry, so it is very important that a potential claimant seeks legal advice as soon as they realise that they might have grounds to claim.
"Another interesting aspect is how there are numerous gifts made in the document, with funds going to organisations from universities and schools to the ANC party.
"While it is difficult to comment on how such gifts work in South Africa, there can be complications with the offering of such gifts in England and Wales. A notable issue is that recipients are not bound to use them in any particular way, so difficulties can emerge if such funds are not used in the manner which was intended or hoped.
"A similar case on these shores revolved around a woman who left funds to the government in her Will, stating the money could be used 'as they think fit'. This led to confusion regarding whether such funds should be viewed as party donations.
"Following some criticism over the handling of the issue, the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives decided to give the funds to HM Treasury. However, the entire affair demonstrated that it is important to be as clear as possible in Wills to avoid confusion as to how estates should be handled."
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