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Disputed Wills

The death of a parent, partner, family member or other loved one can be an extremely distressing time.  If there is no will, there may be uncertainty about the entitlement to a share of the deceased’s estate but even if there is a will, the contents may cause surprise, upset and disappointment.  The death of a loved one can heighten family tensions and things can very quickly get out of hand.

The members of our team deal with contentious wills, probate, estates and trusts acting for beneficiaries, executors and trustees.  They have experience in dealing with concerns about whether the deceased had capacity to make their last will, whether the personal representatives are administering the estate properly in accordance with the terms of the will (or, if there is no will, in accordance with the rules which apply where there is no will), or whether there has been a failure to make provision for a particular person in the will, for example.

Whatever the issue, and whether you are making a claim or defending one, we can sensitively guide you through this complicated area to equip you with the clear and concise information you need to make decisions at what is often an emotionally challenging time.  We can offer practical solutions to defuse conflict before it gets out of hand.

Our team regularly advises on the resolution of matters by negotiation, mediation or other methods of alternative dispute resolution and, where court proceedings cannot be avoided, through litigation.

We offer advice on:

  • Caveats, warnings and appearances
  • Disputes about wills
  • Removing trustees and executors
  • Inheritance Act claims
  • Incapacity
  • Breach of trust claims
  • Estate administration disputes

For further advice on any contested will matter please contact Rob Kelly today to see how we can help.

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    Meet the Team

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    Rob Kelly

    Senior Associate — Dispute Resolution

    Direct dial: 01202 377871

    Email

    Rob Kelly
    • “Rob Kelly has been absolutely exceptional in resolving this litigation and so thorough in everything and basically gave the opposition a masterclass of his work that he is so good at.”

      Paul Jeffcoate - Contentious Probate Client

    • “I have had the pleasure of working with several members of the team at Laceys regularly over a period of years. I found Rob Kelly in particular, who worked on a successful litigation case for me over a period of several years to be outstanding in all aspects of the work he undertook, and the manner in which he did it. I now consider him a friend. I would not - and have not - hesitated to recommend Laceys to my family and friends, and continue to use them for all legal matters.”

      Dan Collins

    • “ I just wanted to thank you for your great work on the professional negligence case and other cases you have represented Indian Ocean and Tiien through the last few years.”

      Mehdi Vahdati, Director and Proprietor - Indian Ocean (Bournemouth) Limited

    • “A case that was initially very straightforward became difficult and, for me, very frustrating. Rob Kelly's calm, lucid and very professional advice and planning were invaluable and led to a good outcome.”

      Don Young

    • “Their Fee Management was exemplary and the expertise provided by Rob was exactly what we required.”

      Sunseeker London Limited

    • “I've worked with a fair few lawyers over the years and Rob Kelly is the most on the ball and efficient lawyers I've ever come across. I'm looking forward to working together for many years to come.”

      Roger Woodall CEO - Diamond Sporting Group

    Rob practices in two main, complimentary areas of work – contentious wills, probate and trust disputes, and property disputes.

    Contentious wills, probate and trusts

    More than half of Rob’s time is spent dealing with the contentious aspects of wills, probate and trusts, an area in which he has practiced continuously for over 20 years.  He advises and acts in disputes relating to wills and inheritance, trusts, the duties of trustees and personal representatives, and the administration of estate.

    Rob’s practice embraces:

    • Personal representative and trustee disputes (including personal representative and trustee disagreements, removals / substitutions and alleged misconduct)
    • Disappointed beneficiary claims
    • Will disputes (where the validity of a will is challenged on the grounds of undue influence, lack of testamentary capacity, lack of knowledge and approval of the contents of a will, and fraudulent calumny)
    • Financial provision claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975
    • Proprietary estoppel claims
    • Disputes about the proper construction, and rectification, of wills
    • Caveats
    • Professional liability claims arising from the preparation of wills and trusts and the administration of estates

    He has mediated (either as appointed mediator or as a representative) dozens of disputes involving contentious wills and probate issues.

    Property disputes

    The other side of Rob’s practice is contentious property work.  This embraces:

    • Residential and commercial landlord and tenant disputes
    • Disrepairs
    • Repairing covenants
    • Possession claims
    • Lease termination and lease forfeiture
    • Dilapidations
    • Service charge disputes
    • Interpretation and enforcement of leasehold covenants

    Rob’s style is a mix of listening, asking (tough) questions, diplomacy and reality testing. He’s interested, flexible, and pragmatic. He offers a common sense, realistic approach to assist his clients in searching for solutions to their disputes and brings straight talking and integrity to his work.

    Rob is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives.  He holds an LLB (Hons) degree in law.  He successfully completed training as a mediator under the ADR Chambers / Harvard Law Project Scheme in June 2006, was one of the first mediators to have been appointed an IMI Certified Mediation Advocate in the UK with a commercial practice, and is a member of the Civil Mediation Council.

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    Brendan Herbert

    Partner — Dispute Resolution

    Direct dial: 01202 377810

    Email

    Brendan Herbert
    • “Brendan has been really great on a whole range of professional negligence issues. I highly recommend him.”

      Cressida Granger, Perspex Pension Fund/Mathmos Ltd

    • “Brendan is an excellent support and shows empathy when dealing with difficult situations. He explains clearly costs and possible outcomes and makes me feel like I have somebody on my team.”

      Jacqueline Entwistle

    • “Always professional and prompt on a wide range of legal matters.”

      Matthew Hornsby

    Brendan has a BSc in Zoology and Psychology from the University of Liverpool, and went on to obtain his Post Graduate Diploma in Law, and Legal Practice Course at the College of Law (now the University of Law), in Chester.  Brendan completed his training with a national firm in Manchester and London, and was admitted as a solicitor in 2005.

    Brendan is part of our Dispute Resolution Team, working with both private individuals and businesses to either avoid or resolve disputes. With over 10 years experience he has helped clients deal with a wide variety of issues from professional negligence claims and breach of contract disputes, to more specialist areas including construction disputes, intellectual property work, licensing applications and inheritance claims.

    Brendan has a very approachable manner, and places great importance on client relationships. He enjoys tackling all matters directly, and always looks to provide clients with practical, cost-effective solutions. Outside of work Brendan runs a hugely successful music festival in the Cotswolds.

    When he is not knee-deep in mud at a festival, he enjoys travelling (especially in Africa, where he worked as a safari camp manager for a year),  golf, photography and getting out and about in the Dorset countryside.

    To find out more about Brendan being described in the 2021 Legal 500 as a ‘Next Generation Partner’ and what this means to him here;

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