Family conflicts are an unfortunate but all-too-common occurrence when a close family member passes. They arise for a multitude of reasons. The terms of the Will may be unclear or contradictory. The circumstances surrounding the signing of the Will may be suspicious, or the capacity of the testator in doubt. Family members or former spouses may have expected a benefit they did not receive. Or beneficiaries may believe that the person named as the estate trustee may not be administering the estate in an open and transparent manner.
Whether it is confusion over the terms of a Will, or surprise at its contents, or even the complete lack of a Will, estate trustees and beneficiaries are often unsure of their legal rights or obligations.
At Beard, Winter LLP, our lawyers provide estate trustees, beneficiaries and others with the sound advice and expertise needed to navigate through this complex area of law and have these conflicts resolved.
Our lawyers are regularly retained by clients to represent them in all areas of estate litigation. For example:
- we act for clients who seek to challenge the validity of Wills, and also act for estate trustees to defend against such challenges.
- we represent clients in matters where the terms of the Will or a trust are unclear, or are open for interpretation.
- we act for family members in cases where the Will may not have provided for the proper support of a dependant of the testator, and for estate trustees in responding to those claims.
- we advise clients on the duties and obligations of estate trustees, and bring or respond to claims as required.
- we help estate trustees remain accountable to beneficiaries by presenting their accounts to the court for review and approval.
- we advise clients in cases where the terms of the Will do not reflect the needs of the beneficiaries and need to be varied.
- we represent clients in circumstances where the terms of a trust do not reflect the original intentions of the person who made it and it needs to be rectified.
- our lawyers also represent and advise clients in cases where family members have experienced diminished capacity, including matters involving attorneys for property and personal care, and guardianship applications.