Inheritance Claims: A Very Difficult Legal Area

Inheritance claims that centre on whether someone was subjected to undue force to write their will, can be really difficult to resolve.  It is often very difficult to prove that the person was or was not subjected to undue force or that they were coerced.  For example in a hypothetical case, there are two adult ‘children’ of a woman who is 75 and she is very frail and vulnerable.  The male offspring lives next door to his mother. The female daughter lives about 10 miles away.

The son has to visit his mother about 4 times a day, fetching her items and so on.  The daughter visits every other day.  Then the son and the daughter fall out.  They will not talk to each other and the mother tells the daughter not to visit or call anymore, because it is upsetting the son.  Because the son visits so often the mother is reliant on him for her care.

The mother dies and the daughter is not in the will.  She consults probate solicitors who are experts in inheritance claims; because she feels that the mother was forced to write her out of the will by the son.

Many inheritance claims have stories similar to this, but it is actually very difficult to prove categorically that the mother was coerced.  Perhaps the mother loved the son more.  Perhaps the mother loved the son because he was able to care for her and because he was so kind to her, doing her shopping, her washing, paying her bills, turning the fire up or down and so on.

But maybe the son threatened to have her put into a home unless she changed her will, maybe the son said that she had to choose between the son and daughter and if she chose the daughter, then he would not help her.  This Left her little choice and in inheritance claims, there may be some very hurtful things said and hurtful accusations thrown about.
The illustration above reveals just why inheritance claims are so difficult and why they need to be handled by experienced probate solicitors.  There is often no clear indication of who is telling the truth and who may actually be trying to secure something that is not rightfully theirs (whether the person taking the claim or the beneficiary).  For this reason, inheritance claims are often very difficult and something that is not a positive experience for any of those involved.


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