In this series of blogs, I shall be dealing with the main issues that I have experienced in dealing with claims on Estates.
That experience is from both sides, acting, on various occasions for the claimant and, on others, for the Executor.
I shall write, later, on the situation where there is no Will at all – or, at least, not one that can be found.
Looking at the big picture, when compared to England, there are few legal challenges to Wills in Scotland. This is because the law lays down strict rules whereby children and spouses, disappointed by the provision (or lack of it) in the Will can claim specific amounts or percentages of the estate of a deceased whereas, in England, the law is judge-made and each case is judged on it’s merits.
That is not to say that the manner of identifying the specific amount is simple. It is apparently so but subject to a number of complex quirks so, sometimes, it is worth challenging what is offered or, at least, having the calculation checked.
Co-habitees, incidentally, are in a special situation with their own rules and I intend to write about that, also.
Most of the cases I have dealt with relate to such claims but there are others where the challenge is much more fundamental and relates to the validity of the Will itself or, where there is no doubt as to its validity, it’s interpretation.
On other occasions, there are challenges to the actions of the Executor in implementing (or failing to implement) the Will of the deceased. Sadly, not everyone acts as they ought and, whilst most challenges succeed because of ignorance of the law (even from some Solicitors as it is complex and specialised), there are dishonest executors out there and even, very sadly (but, thankfully, very rarely), dishonest Solicitors that need to be brought to book.
Bruce de Wert
I am a Scottish Solicitor in private practice with over 25 years of experience and have 4 offices at Georgesons and Smiths Grant. As well as the standard legal business model, I also offer Online Divorces and, by a separate limited company, Online Wills and Powers of Attorney.
If you wish to consult me, please e-mail me at [email protected] in the first instance.