A contested estate is often a fraught affair.
Families and relationships can breakdown irrevocably in these instances as claims to a will escalate between individuals.
When a testator develops their Last Will and Testament, they hope to clarify the details to remove any such dispute.
However, there are many occasions whereby these details are not clarified as partners, family members and other interested parties lay claim to property and assets left by the deceased.
The best will dispute lawyers are professional operators who have the experience, expertise and grounding to negotiate their client through these tricky waters.
Here we will discuss what their role is in proceedings and how they can help source a solution.
Talking With Their Client and Other Parties
There are two fundamental elements that are kept front of mind when will dispute lawyers are brought into a conflict – keeping communication channels open and showcasing that the client is acting in good faith. The other details can be managed if these factors are part of the overall equation. That is why the inclusion of other beneficiaries and parties is encouraged when the lawyer is engaging with their client, bringing them into the picture once a series of confidential consultations have been held.
Encouraging Informal Discussions
There will be a series of terms and conditions that have been drawn up for the Last Will and Testament that are non-negotiable and grounds where even will dispute lawyers cannot find room to maneuver. However, there are other pieces of property and assets that are less defined and there is room for negotiation and holding talks in good faith. When this opportunity presents itself, the lawyer and their team can help to oversee informal discussions, offering a free and transparent environment where opinions can be voiced, concessions can be presented and a solution can be sourced.
Guiding Through Probate Proceedings
While a solution through informal talks is best case scenario, the introduction of probate proceedings is the unfortunate flip side when the talks breakdown. Will dispute lawyers are then tasked with guiding their client through these proceedings, a process that can be pushed out and extended for months and years. The probate judge will need to examine the terms and conditions of the document and make a judgement on the legitimacy of the claims, placing responsibility with the lawyer to keep their client informed and up to date on the current state of play.
Identifying Any Provisions or Loopholes
As is the case with any complex legal document, the devil can be in the detail. Will dispute lawyers will be able to identify key provisions and loopholes that are written down on the pages. From the no contest provision that closes a loophole for certain beneficiaries to provisions that are reliant on financial performance or the death of other parties, these are matters that require additional clarification. This is particularly useful if the language is ambiguous, there are gaps in the document or the will has been left incomplete prior to their passing.
Working Through Delays and Red Tape
One of the downsides of the role of will dispute lawyers is having to encounter delays and red tape that their clients are forced to endure. These matters are rarely expedited within the span of days or weeks, commonly held up in the courts for months or years depending on the size of the estate, the amount of beneficiaries, the written provisions and any other details that complicate matters. Their diligent work at this time will help to push the agenda through and minimise the red tape and delays.
Will dispute lawyers won’t be able to perform miracles for their clients, but they can help on a number of counts. From minimising extra expenses, alleviating tensions, expediting the legal process and isolating fact from fiction, their presence alone will be considered a valuable contribution.