Legal Battle Launched After Document Is Ruled Invalid
The series of events which has led to a court battle over the estate of racehorse trainer David Allport demonstrates why people need to get the best possible advice when planning for the future, a Will dispute expert at Irwin Mitchell has outlined.
Mr Allport’s widow is reportedly challenging a High Court decision which saw her awarded with a lump sum and property following his death in 2006, stating that the amount was inadequate to meet both her and her son’s needs.
The issue arose after a Will in which the trainer left all but £25,000 to his wife was ruled to be invalid when it emerged that the document was not witnessed correctly. Subsequently, his assets were divided in a manner outlined in an earlier, valid, Will.
Chris Walton, a solicitor who specialises in Contested Wills cases at Irwin Mitchell, said the case was similar to a number that the team are involved in.
He outlined: “Like so many other scenarios we have seen, the court battle in this case can be directly linked back to the simple fact that the Will which the deceased believed to be legally binding was in fact prepared and completed in a way which made it invalid.
“A problem of this kind demonstrates why it is absolutely vital that those putting plans in place for the future seek the best possible professional advice when preparing a Will to ensure they do not leave family and friends facing the same emotional stress and legal battles in the future.”
Chris added that another important issue for people to consider is sitting down with their loved ones to make clear exactly how they want assets to be divided.
He explained: “By talking to all of your friends and family, you can leave a very clear picture of what decisions you’ve made in a Will and why you’ve taken such steps – hopefully with the view to preventing any disputes or misunderstandings in the long run.
“Those who believe they have a valid claim towards an estate should always consider seeking further advice, but a bit of forward planning and sound legal support can go some way to ensuring that such disputes are less likely to occur.”
If you are involved in a will dispute or need further information about contesting a will, please visit our Will, Trust & Estate Disputes section