6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Derbyshire Life today click here

Where there is a Will there is a war - Disputes involving Wills continue to surface

PUBLISHED: 11:26 18 May 2018 | UPDATED: 11:26 18 May 2018

Advice on wills for farmers and business owners

Advice on wills for farmers and business owners

Archant

Losing a loved one is a difficult and emotional time. It can be made harder if there is a dispute or uncertainty over the validity of a Will.

The validity of a Will can be challenged for many reasons:

• If it is believed the person who made the Will has been unduly influenced by another

• There is a lack of sound mind and memory for the person to be able to make or alter a valid Will

• The Will has not been correctly signed by the person and their witnesses

• There is a belief that the Will has been forged

Even if the Will is valid a claim can be brought against the estate under The Inheritance Act (Provision for Family and Dependents Act) 1975 if the person making it believes that reasonable financial provision was not made for them. Various individuals including family members can bring such claims.

The latest in a growing list of high profile contested Will cases involves a farmer’s son who is suing his family for a share of his late father’s £3million farming estate.

Sam James, who worked on his father’s farm for 35 years, alleges that his father promised him on several occasions during his lifetime that he would inherit the farm in recognition of the time, energy and commitment he had made over the years to the farm and the family business.

When Mr James’ father, Allen passed away, it was a shock for him to discover that his father had left his whole estate to his wife and two daughters in a Will he made two years before he died, without leaving him a penny.

Mr James claims that his mother pressurised his father into making this Will. In an earlier Will, Mr James was set to receive the farm.

The dispute has arisen due to his father suffering from dementia when he created the new Will, which Mr James claims meant his father had a lack of sound mind and memory for it to be valid. Mr James also argues that he relied to his detriment on his father’s promises by committing his life to the Farm and family business and it would therefore be unjust for him not to receive a share in his father’s estate.

Mr James’ mother and sister deny his claims and argue that a large area of farmland was given as a gift to his sister 5 years before the late Mr James passed away. A further 2 years later, he transferred £800,000 cash and the remainder of the farm into his and his wife’s joint names. They argue this is proof that Allen James never intended to leave any part of his estate to his son.

If the new Will is put aside, the earlier Will properly executed by the late Mr James will come into effect. The lifetime gifts made before the new Will was put in place could also be challenged if the late Mr James is found to have lacked the necessary capacity to have made them.

Judgement on the dispute is awaited, but not in doubt is the significant financial and emotional cost it must have put on the James family, the latter of which cannot be quantified.

This state of affairs emphasises the importance of having a professionally drawn Will, upon which the person making it has been advised and seen alone without any outside influence and at a time when they fully understand and comprehend the contents and implications of their Will.

Recent cases go to show that where Wills have been drawn up by a qualified legal professional, there is less chance of a dispute, or if they do proceed to court, the Will remains upheld. This is because the Courts tend to give greater credence to a Will which has been professionally prepared.

Flint Bishop specialises in advising and drawing up Wills for farmers and business owners as part of their succession planning strategies.

For further information on how Flint Bishop can help you, please visit the Flint Bishop website or call us on: 01332 340 211.

More from Out & About

Looking for somewhere new to explore this weekend? Why not follow Mike Smith to the unspoiled villages of the Dane Valley.

Read more
Peak District

Peak District walk - Miller’s Dale

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Enjoy plenty of spectacular Derbyshire dales and panoramic Peak District landscape in this wonderful scenic walk

Read more

Once a town of ‘pits and pots’ Swadlincote is moving forward with a revitalised town centre and the green glory of the National Forest.

Read more

Peter Seddon drinks in details of the county’s watery past at Youlgrave’s fountain.

Read more

Geoff Ford meets Alex Warzynski, Chairman of the British Sub Aqua Club at his home in Wirksworth

Read more

Paul Hobson extols the virtues of a fine month to discover ‘splendour in the grass, glory in the flower’

(courtesy of William Wordsworth)

Read more

6 walks near Hathersage

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

For may people, Hathersage is the gateway to the Peak District. This selection of walks are all within a five mile radius of the popular village which is just ten miles south of Sheffield.

Read more

The designer of the Best Show Garden at last year’s inaugural RHS Chatsworth Flower Show, Paul Hervey-Brookes, takes us behind the scenes with a look at his garden for this year’s show.

Read more

How has the town fared since winning Best Market Town and High Street awards in 2014? Ashley Franklin talks to the people behind its success

Read more

Mike Smith journeys to Holmesfield, an ancient manor on the hills south-west of Sheffield

Read more

75 years ago Derbyshire became a practice site for World War Two’s most daring flying raid. Viv Micklefield travels to the Upper Derwent Valley, for many the spiritual home of the legendary Dambusters

Read more

Without the hindrance of stiles or gates, this leisurely ramble is quite simply a walk in the park!

Read more

The South-Derbyshire village of Kings Newton is one of the county’s most charming small settlements. Nestled alongside its larger neighbour Melbourne, protected from mainstream traffic, it commands the epithet ‘backwater’ in the most positive sense – a quaint and peaceful haven replete with fine architecture and a timeless air rendering it almost a ‘best-kept secret’.

Read more

Better weather, badgers and bluebells combine to make this Paul Hobson’s favourite month of the year

Read more
 
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy


Subscribe or buy a mag today


Local Business Directory

Derbyshire's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area




Property Search