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Pre-death Agreement Dispute Lawyers

During a person’s lifetime, they may make promises or agreements with others about where and to whom their assets will pass after they die. Difficulties can arise in such circumstances as they are often made verbally and informally, without any written contract or promise which can be enforced. Our team of experts can advise and guide you. Some common scenarios are outlined below, and the potential routes for resolution of a dispute. Our experienced solicitors will help you consider your options and strategy.

Proprietary Estoppel 

Where a person, (A) makes a promise to another person, (B) and B then relies on that promise to their detriment, B may be able to enforce that promise by way of a proprietary estoppel claim.

By way of example, a farmer may say to his son that one day (upon the farmer’s death) the son will inherit all of the farm. In reliance on that promise, the son may give up lucrative job opportunities and instead work on the farm for little to no payment, in the expectation of and reliance on the promise that he will inherit the farm. In such circumstances, if the son does not in fact inherit the farm as promised, he may wish to explore a proprietary estoppel claim on the basis that it would be unjust for his father’s promise not to be enforced.

Professional Negligence Claims against Solicitors and Will Writers

A person may have made an agreement with another, or made a promise to another, and the only reason why that agreement or promise has not taken effect is due to the failure of an instructed will writer to give effect to the deceased’s testamentary wishes.

In such circumstances, if an agreement was not included in the deceased’s Will due to the will writer’s errors, the person who has not inherited may wish to explore bringing a claim in professional negligence against the will writer.

Inheritance Act Claim

Where a person (A) was financially dependent on another person (B) who has passed away, and no provision is made by B for A after B’s death, A may be able to a claim against the estate under the Inheritance Act and ask that reasonable financial provision is made to A from the estate.

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David McGuire

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