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High Court ruling may offer better protection when wills are contested

By z4027672030, Jul 8 2016 03:14PM

A recent High Court ruling could mean that charities and other parties are offered better protection against legal costs in some contested legacy cases.

The ruling means that charities and other parties defending their claims to estates would no longer have to pay the full costs in passive claim cases.

In a passive defence claim case, the person who wishes to challenge a will says they do not believe the will to be valid without giving a reason, or outlining the basis of their own claims.

This prevents the executor from carrying out the wishes of the deceased, forcing them to take the case to court if they want to move forward. This means those defending their claim are forced to take on the costs, and not the person challenging it.

But in a case in April, the High Court ruled that Ruth Simmonds should pay £65,000 towards to the cost of a passive defence claim, contesting her father’s will which left his fortune to his former partner.

This ruling has set a legal precedent that could benefit many involved in legacy disputes, including charities, where in the past they might have had to cover legal costs or be forced into settling for a weaker claim.

The new ‘costs rule’ sends out a message that if you are looking to dispute a will, you must be prepared to prove you have a good reason for doing so, or you will have to pick up the legal costs.

Passive defence cases are currently not a common occurrence, but with legacy challenges in general on the rise, this new ruling could make a big difference in the future.

Our Devon wills and probate solicitors can provide a friendly, personal and professional service to each and every client, tailored to their individual needs. Please contact us today for more information.

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