Pardoes are excited to announce that Charlotte Dullaway has joined their growing Dispute Resolution

Charlotte is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives, specialising in probate disputes and related litigation. She deals with situations where people are unhappy with wills, such as when they have been disinherited or not left what they thought they were going to get, as well as where relatives and dependants feel they have not been properly provided for.

Charlotte, based in our Taunton office, trained locally and was keen to remain practicing in the local area. She says “I chose to specialise in contentious probate because of the people. Generally, when a probate dispute occurs people have just suffered the loss of a loved one and the emotional strain of litigation can be traumatic for them. I find it incredibly satisfying to be able to use my knowledge and understanding to help them reach a sensible outcome, obtain closure and move on with their lives.” 

There has been an enormous increase in the number of probate disputes in the Courts and covered in the media over the last few years. Family arrangements are becoming more complicated, people are living longer and accumulating more wealth. This, combined with the rise of DIY Wills, has resulted in more families than ever before going through the emotional turmoil of litigation to try and finalise the estates of lost loved ones.

The two most common types of probate dispute are challenges to the validity of a Will and claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

Challenges to Wills are on the increase in part due to the more widespread awareness of illnesses affecting mental capacity, such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Where there have been signs of mental decline those closest to the person who passed away may wonder whether they really knew what they were doing, especially if they have been disinherited as a result. Other reasons why a Will may be challenged include if it is a result of coercion or undue influence, where there has been a mistake or where certain required formalities have not been fulfilled.

Claims under the Inheritance Act are often the result of the more complicated family structures in today’s society. Where there are new spouses or civil partners, children from multiple partners and, in some situations secret second families, it is difficult to balance the needs and expectations of those closest to you along with your freedom to leave your estate as you wish. If certain people do not feel they have been reasonably provided for, they can bring claims against the estate for a share, or greater share, of the assets.

Probate disputes are stressful. Grief and financial uncertainty can make it difficult to think straight and this is why it is so important to instruct a specialist lawyer to guide you through this complex area of law.

Bhavani Hogarty, Partner and Head of Pardoes busy Dispute Resolution team says; “Pardoes offer specialist probate dispute services to the local community. Charlotte’s focus on providing this specialist legal advice in a compassionate way makes her very popular with clients and we are delighted to have such a highly skilled and caring professional join our team.”

If you would like further information or require assistance with a contentious probate matter contact Charlotte on 01823 446230 or via email to charlotte.dullaway@pardoes.co.uk.

Category: Member's News

Released on 17/07/2019