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Will, Trust & Estate Disputes

Professional Negligence In Wills & Estate Planning Advice

Our Will, Trust & Estate Disputes solicitors may be able to help you claim if you have been affected by negligent Will drafting or defective estate planning advice.

Professionals have a duty to act in the best interests of their clients when giving Wills and estate planning advice. In some cases, this duty extends to the clients’ beneficiaries too.

Professional negligence is when a professional makes mistakes or fails in their duty towards clients and beneficiaries. This can involve:

  • Making clerical errors
  • Giving incorrect tax or legal advice
  • Delaying preparation or drafting of a Will
  • Incorrectly recording a client’s wishes
  • Failing to ensure that a Will is valid and properly executed.

If you have been affected by one of these mistakes – or others – a professional negligence claim can correct the mistake or rectify any losses you’ve incurred.

In some cases, we can correct a mistake before it affects anyone. However, errors are often only noticed once the estate is being administered, which can lead to disputes. We’ll help you resolve any disputes through mediation and represent you in court if necessary.

Our national team of lawyers specialise in resolving will, trust and estate disputes for our clients. We have a wealth of experience with a wide range of disputes, including those involving international trusts and overseas assets.

Call today on 0345 604 4895 to speak to one of the team – or fill out our online form and we’ll call you back.

Offices in 15 locations across the country
24/7 advice on our Will Disputes Helpline
One of the largest Wills disputes teams in the UK
Specialist mediators available to resolve disputes out of court

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Professional Negligence In Wills & Estate Planning Advice - More Information
    • How Do I Make A Professional Negligence Claim?
    • Making a claim will differ slightly depending on the circumstances of your dispute, but it’s usually made up of the same steps:

      1. Investigation

      We’ll examine the Will and any related documents (this might be property deeds, trust accounts, previous Wills made by the deceased).

      If relevant, we may also gather medical evidence about the deceased, to understand their condition when they made the Will. This would be particularly important in disputes over whether or not someone had mental capacity to make a Will.

      We might also get witness statements from those who knew the deceased, to better understand the full circumstances in which the Will was drawn up.

      These investigations will help us confirm whether you can make a claim, and what type of claim it will be.

      2. Mediation

      Most disputes can be settled by an alternative dispute resolution method, such as mediation. This means that you don’t have to go to court, which can be costly and time-consuming.

      Mediation typically takes place on one day, with a professionally trained mediator present as a neutral third party. The mediator’s role is to try to help you reach an agreement with the other parties.

      3. Court

      Some disputes cannot be resolved by reaching an agreed settlement. If this is the case, the matter will have to be decided by a court. This is rare, however – and if it does happen, we have the expertise to secure the best outcome for you.

      Whatever the circumstances of your dispute, we’ll support you every step of the way – and we’ll give you a clear idea at the start of how long we think it will take, and the outcome we think you can expect.

    • How Long Do I Have To Make A Claim?
    • You can make a professional negligence claim up to six years after the date that you suffered a loss. If you aren’t aware at the time, you can claim within three years of finding out about the loss.

      It is always best to start your claim as early as possible, so contact us today if you think you have been affected by professional negligence.

    • How Long Will My Claim Take?
    • Most claims take less than a year and don’t have to go to court. However, every case is different and time spans depend on the type of dispute and your individual situation.

      Some disputes can be resolved quickly in a matter of months, but others might take years to conclude and involve going to court several times.

      We’ll advise you at the start how long we think it will take. Whatever the situation, we always aim to resolve your dispute as quickly and efficiently as possible. We understand that this is a difficult time, and we’re here to help you through.

    • How Much Does It Cost? Who Pays?
    • The cost of a Will, trust or estate dispute varies from case to case, depending on time, complexity, and whether or not you have to go to court.

      A dispute can be settled at any time if the parties can come to an agreement, and they can then decide how to split the costs between them. However, if an agreement can’t be reached and the case has to go to court, the court will decide how the costs will be paid.

    • How Can I Cover The Cost Of My Claim?
    • There are various ways you can cover the cost of your claim, depending on your case. These include:

      • Legal Expenses Insurance
      • Conditional Fee Agreement (‘No Win No Fee’)
      • Payment on conclusion
      • Private monthly billing
      • Litigation loans and third party funding.

      We understand that funds and assets may be tied up in the disputed estate, and we’ll be as flexible as possible to ensure that’s not another worry on your mind. We’ll discuss the different payment options with you at the start.

      Your first consultation with us is completely free, and there’s no obligation to continue.

    • Meet The Team
    • Our Will, Trust and Estate Disputes team is the largest in the UK and we have offices across the country. We are experienced in managing high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth claims as well as less complex ones.

      We’ve resolved some of the country’s most high profile disputes and are particularly experienced with the unique challenges of multi-jurisdictional wealth management structures, rural property and inheritance tax.

      We are recommended by the leading legal guides and pride ourselves on the strong relationship we build with our clients in what is often a very trying time.

      Meet the team

My legal team has held my hand throughout, they have been incredibly patient and understanding"

Joy Williams, client

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Can Make A Professional Negligence Claim?

You can make a claim if you have received negligent advice or service yourself or, in some cases, if you are the beneficiary of someone who did.

A beneficiary can make a professional negligence claim if they have incurred a loss because:

  • Unnecessary delays meant that intended changes to a Will weren’t put in place before the deceased’s death
  • The Will writer didn’t properly advise the deceased on how to execute their Will
  • The Will writer didn’t supervise the execution of the Will
  • The Will doesn’t reflect the deceased’s intentions
  • The estate lost value due to incorrect tax advice.

See our Disappointed Beneficiaries page for more information.

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Who Can I Claim Against?

A variety of professionals can be involved with Will & Estate Planning. You may be able to claim if you’ve been affected by mistakes made by:

  • Accountants
  • Tax advisors
  • Financial advisors
  • Solicitors
  • Will writers.

It may be possible to claim even if the adviser isn’t in business any more. If their business was sold to or merged with another firm, we could claim against that successor firm. We may also be able to claim against the adviser’s professional indemnity insurer.

Call today on 0345 604 4895 – or fill out our online contact form and we’ll call you back.

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Leading Firm - Legal 500 2017 Private Client Team of the Year - Legal Business Awards 2018 chambers-2019

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