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I assist clients with Will and probates disputes and claims under the Inheritance Act. Sometimes, there is a question over whether the person who made the Will had the necessary mental capacity or whether someone has unduly influenced what was included in their Will - were the correct procedures followed when the Will was made?
I also assist clients, who fall under a specific class, in cases where they feel they did not receive reasonable financial provision under a Will. For example, if a couple were co-habiting and one partner, who was providing financial support to the other, dies and has not left anything to the surviving partner under their Will for their on-going maintenance. I also advise on beneficiary and executor disputes.
After studying Geography at university, I worked 3 days a week as a legal assistant at a high street law firm in Worthing and 2 days working in a school. I quickly realised that I preferred working in the law firm to the school as I enjoyed the variety of the work, the range of people that you meet and the challenges of law.
I find it extremely rewarding, after a long and hard fought case, to reach a good outcome for the client. Being able to exceed a client's expectations and provide them with some peace of mind at the end of a case is particularly satisfying.
The firm has an excellent team specialising in Contentious Trusts and Probates and Will disputes and it is brilliant to work within such a good team and to have the infrastructure and systems that Irwin Mitchell has in place to take on a large range of cases.
I enjoy running, sea swimming, cycling and yoga. I took part in the inaugural Brighton marathon and also cycled from London to Paris for the Lymphoma Association. The majority of my time however, is spent with my lovely two young daughters.
“Sam James had devoted his whole life to Pennymore farm, having left school early to work on the estate and business. Representing Sam, Penelope Reed QC described him as an ‘absolute grafter’ who ‘worked his socks off’. It therefore came as a complete shock when Sam learnt that his father had left his entire estate to his mother and sisters and left nothing to him.
“Sadly this is a common occurrence in relation to rural estates where wills are either old and out of date, not reviewed when major life change occur such as divorce, or sometimes wills aren’t even made at all.
“In this case, Sam is claiming that his father lacked the necessary mental capacity to sign his will in 2010 and that his mother and sisters exerted influence over him so that they may benefit under the will. If Sam is successful in challenging the validity of the 2010 will and it is set aside, then he will either benefit under an earlier will, properly executed by Allen James, or if none exists under the rules of intestacy.
“This case highlights the importance of ensuring that a valid will is prepared and signed properly, with no outside influences and at a time when the person making the will fully understands and approves the contents of their will and the consequences of the gifts therein. It is also good practice to have a discussion with family and friends about your intentions for your assets so that they are not shocked when the estate is administered.”
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