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Inheritance Help

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  • Inheritance Help

    I have an old friend whose father has just passed away in January, and he has just been left 20k from a 350k estate, the rest going to charity. He was not estranged from his father, but always received a cool reception from him. His mother and only sibling, have also passed away, no other relatives. He has approached a no win no fee contentious probate solicitor, but the terms of the contract are frightening, he seems to be potentially liable for huge costs, if things go wrong. He is on ESA benefit, lives in a freezing council flat, and has no insurance or savings, so I cannot advise him to take this contract up, although he desperately needs help. All his benefits will stop if receives his legacy, so making no difference to him. I do not know what to say next.
    Tags: None

  • #2
    Re: Inheritance Help

    Why is he liable for costs if it is on a no win no fee basis? the contract should state that if you are not successful then you don;t pay anything but if he is then the solicitors take up to 25% of the amount awarded. A copy of the terms would be useful to advise better.

    If he want to go it alone then he can make an application to the court under the Inheriance (Provision for Family and Dependents Act) 1975. Time limits to bring a claim is 6 months from the date of grant of representation made.
    You can read up on it here which simplifies it http://www.hughjames.com/service/con...ance-act-claim
    Check out some useful guides below

    A guide to voluntary termination
    Seting aside a CCJ
    Completing an N180 Form (Courtesy of Jaguarsuk)

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    LEGAL DISCLAIMER
    Please be aware that this is a public forum and is therefore accessible to anyone. The content I post on this forum is not intended to be legal advice nor does it establish any client-lawyer type relationship between you and me. Some of the content I post may include example wording, letters, or other similar responses but they are intended purely for informational and educational purposes. Using some or all of the content I post may fail to meet your needs that is specific to your situation. Therefore any use of my content is at your own risk and I cannot be held responsible in any way. It is always recommended that you seek independent legal advice and you can do this through the Law Society's Find a Solicitor database, by contacting your local Citizen's Advice Bureau or legal advice centres such as LawWorks. You may also be able to seek legal advice from your local university who may run a free (but limited) legal advice clinic to members of the public.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Inheritance Help

      Thanks for your reply, I will check the link out. If the solicitors decide to close the case early because they do not think it will be successful, then my friend has to pay all the costs up to that date, or if they decide he is not cooperating enough. There are no actual figures or percentages mentioned in the contract. I will post the actual clauses from the contract later.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Inheritance Help

        Here is the clause: "What do I pay if I lose? If you lose you do not pay our charges, but we will require you to pay any expenses and disbursements we have paid or incurred on your behalf. If you lose you are likely to be required to pay your opponents charges, expenses and disbursements. You may be able to take out an insurance policy against this risk."

        As I understand it legal expenses insurance is expensive.

        Also, it would appear "no win no fee" may have no fee, but is certainly not without costs. So for someone with very limited, or no resources, is not viable.

        The 25% success fee limit I believe is for personal injury awards, I have not read of any similar limit for probate/will "win" fees.

        The link mentioned just took me to another solicitor's website, not a do it yourself explanation. I am guessing all contentious will solicitors may have similar terms, which you do know about until you read the contract small print.

        It seems that no win no fee cases are not without risk or substantial costs, leaving my friend with potential huge debt, which he has no chance of paying.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Inheritance Help

          Presumably he's looking at a claim based on Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. Does your friend have legal expenses insurance through household insurance or car insurance maybe ? From his circumstances you've explained then it sounds likely not. The solicitors he has gone to should give him details of LEI suitable for his case and details of costs. If you look at a bigger firm of solicitors - such as Irwin Mitchell - they wouldn't take the case on unless it could be won, and are quite clear about backend costs on loss. Might be worth chatting with them and finding out the potential cost of the insurance.
          NO win No Fee * Subject to entering into a ‘No Win No Fee’ agreement in conjunction with our Allianz Support4Disputes insurance policy and complying with your responsibilities under its terms.
          ( http://www.irwinmitchell.com/persona...testing-a-will )

          Also the remainder of the estate - is it bequeathed to a single charity or a number of different charities ? It may well result in the charity becoming one of the defendants to the claim. Is there particular links between the deceased and the charity ? or is it like a random cats home just bequeathed to to annoy the son ? ( it happens )

          Ilot v Mitson - http://www.familylaw.co.uk/news_and_...7#.VwD900cYmao for example. ( and there they were estranged )
          #staysafestayhome

          We may not win by protesting, but if we don't protest we will lose. If we stand up to them, there is always a chance we will win.
          Hetty Bower

          Any support I provide is offered without liability, if you are unsure please seek professional legal guidance.

          Received a Court Claim? Read >>>>> First Steps

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Inheritance Help

            Yes he would be claiming under the Inheritance 1975 act for dependents, and no he has insurance at all, nor indeed a car.

            The firm he has been in touch with is not the one you mention, but it is large nationwide firm, specialising in inheritance cases. However enquiries about specific costs have resulted in us just being referred back to the terms and conditions, which are non-specific, and probably standard terms for all such solicitors.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Inheritance Help

              Originally posted by HelpfulFriend View Post
              I have an old friend whose father has just passed away in January, and he has just been left 20k from a 350k estate, the rest going to charity. He was not estranged from his father, but always received a cool reception from him. His mother and only sibling, have also passed away, no other relatives. He has approached a no win no fee contentious probate solicitor, but the terms of the contract are frightening, he seems to be potentially liable for huge costs, if things go wrong. He is on ESA benefit, lives in a freezing council flat, and has no insurance or savings, so I cannot advise him to take this contract up, although he desperately needs help. All his benefits will stop if receives his legacy, so making no difference to him. I do not know what to say next.
              What does the Will say? Why does your friend who received 20k from the Will (i assume there was a Will?) believe he should have received more than the 20k (of the 350k estate)? Who was the Will's executor (ie person by law responsible to distribution the gifts)? Are you saying there is some dodgy business going on? If so, your friend could get a Caveat whilst the estate is still being dealt with.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Inheritance Help

                The remainder of the estate is left to two charities, cancer and epilepsy, which the father had no direct connection with, but the mother died of cancer, and the sister of epilepsy.

                The tragedy of this case, as I see it, is that if his sister was still alive, the father would probably have left all the estate to her, and she would unhesitatingly have given half to her brother.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Inheritance Help

                  Hmmm I'd prefer to speak with a firm that can give those details up front before committing to the process - it is important. Costs back end if the case is lost cannot be determined in advance of course, but the probable cost of LEI can be, and should be, particularly if it is going to fall to the claimant to pay the premiums.

                  This doesn't sound like a term of the contract, more a FAQ.

                  "What do I pay if I lose? If you lose you do not pay our charges, but we will require you to pay any expenses and disbursements we have paid or incurred on your behalf. If you lose you are likely to be required to pay your opponents charges, expenses and disbursements. You may be able to take out an insurance policy against this risk."
                  Do you have the actual contract there / could you tell us the name of the firm.
                  #staysafestayhome

                  We may not win by protesting, but if we don't protest we will lose. If we stand up to them, there is always a chance we will win.
                  Hetty Bower

                  Any support I provide is offered without liability, if you are unsure please seek professional legal guidance.

                  Received a Court Claim? Read >>>>> First Steps

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Inheritance Help

                    Originally posted by HelpfulFriend View Post
                    The remainder of the estate is left to two charities, cancer and epilepsy, which the father had no direct connection with, but the mother died of cancer, and the sister of epilepsy.
                    Okay they seem to be reasonable bequests ( other than the amounts possibly ) - so not simply left out of spite. So I guess the lawyers argument would be the estate should be split as it would be were mother / sister surviving - but their portions to go to the charities ?
                    #staysafestayhome

                    We may not win by protesting, but if we don't protest we will lose. If we stand up to them, there is always a chance we will win.
                    Hetty Bower

                    Any support I provide is offered without liability, if you are unsure please seek professional legal guidance.

                    Received a Court Claim? Read >>>>> First Steps

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Inheritance Help

                      Originally posted by HelpfulFriend View Post
                      The remainder of the estate is left to two charities, cancer and epilepsy, which the father had no direct connection with, but the mother died of cancer, and the sister of epilepsy.

                      The tragedy of this case, as I see it, is that if his sister was still alive, the father would probably have left all the estate to her, and she would unhesitatingly have given half to her brother.
                      There are two interests, 'for life' and 'in remainder.' The charities are interest in remainder so should only claim their interests either after all the beneficiaries are paid out of the estate, or when the original beneficiaries die. In that latter case the charities can then take the residue (what left) of the estate. The Will must have had the terms '20,000' and your friend's name and relationship, ie 'I leave my son the sum of 20,000'...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Inheritance Help

                        Ahhh Ilot v Mitson is still being appealed - up to supreme court now (appeal by the charities) - http://www.irwinmitchell.com/newsand...nge-jq-1015384 - that will be very relevant to your friends case I think.
                        #staysafestayhome

                        We may not win by protesting, but if we don't protest we will lose. If we stand up to them, there is always a chance we will win.
                        Hetty Bower

                        Any support I provide is offered without liability, if you are unsure please seek professional legal guidance.

                        Received a Court Claim? Read >>>>> First Steps

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Inheritance Help

                          Yes there is a will, his father's solicitors are the executors, there is no suggestion of dodgy business from them, my friend feels he should have been better provided for because of his circumstances.

                          His father always seemed to reject him from childhood, although he always tried to maintain a relationship. He always visited him at home, and in the care home, but his father even kept him out of his health care plan, which proved much to the detriment of the father's care .

                          His lack of self esteem and confidence he puts down to his upbringing, with which I agree.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Inheritance Help

                            Yes Ilot v Mitson has many similarities with this case. The will was made after the mother and sister died, and is dated 2007.

                            Can I mention the name of the firm in an open forum?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Inheritance Help

                              Originally posted by HelpfulFriend View Post
                              Here is the clause: "What do I pay if I lose? If you lose you do not pay our charges, but we will require you to pay any expenses and disbursements we have paid or incurred on your behalf. If you lose you are likely to be required to pay your opponents charges, expenses and disbursements. You may be able to take out an insurance policy against this risk."

                              The 25% success fee limit I believe is for personal injury awards, I have not read of any similar limit for probate/will "win" fees.
                              .
                              Yes you are right capped at 25% for PI cases, don't know why it sprung to mind but in other cases of CFA such as commercial cases and no doubt in probate cases, the success fee may be as much as 100%. The link to a website was simply an explanation of the Act and how it applies, not a DIY guide to making an application to court.

                              Does your friend know who is dealing with the estate? Usually, the person dealing with the estate will wait 6 months from the grant of representation before distributing the estate in case someone makes a claim under the Act, and if they are successful then the person or persons dealing with the estate will be personally liable. Outside of the 6 months the person is not liable but any amount can be claimed back from the beneficiaries by an order of the court.

                              Going to court is always an expensive option and if the money has been given already perhaps he could use that to offset some of the costs of the court fees and application?

                              Aslo to be aware on CFA's solicitors costs if successful are usually recovered from the other side but not always the case and expect their fees recovered around 70-80% so any additional amount awarded by the court will be used to pay for the remaining fees.

                              ATE I believe is around 500 or so for most, although may have gone up in price.
                              Check out some useful guides below

                              A guide to voluntary termination
                              Seting aside a CCJ
                              Completing an N180 Form (Courtesy of Jaguarsuk)

                              - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
                              LEGAL DISCLAIMER
                              Please be aware that this is a public forum and is therefore accessible to anyone. The content I post on this forum is not intended to be legal advice nor does it establish any client-lawyer type relationship between you and me. Some of the content I post may include example wording, letters, or other similar responses but they are intended purely for informational and educational purposes. Using some or all of the content I post may fail to meet your needs that is specific to your situation. Therefore any use of my content is at your own risk and I cannot be held responsible in any way. It is always recommended that you seek independent legal advice and you can do this through the Law Society's Find a Solicitor database, by contacting your local Citizen's Advice Bureau or legal advice centres such as LawWorks. You may also be able to seek legal advice from your local university who may run a free (but limited) legal advice clinic to members of the public.

                              Comment

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