An important part of any Estate Plan is to anticipate and provide for the possibility of a disgruntled party making a claim for a greater share of a deceased estate. This requires the adoption of appropriate defensive strategies designed to preempt such a claim.
The emotional and financial cost of estate litigation to the participants can best be avoided by:
- Having in place an up to date Estate Plan which properly addresses the needs of those who have a dependency on the Will maker:
- Anticipating what will give rise to a claim being made when the Will to give effect to such an Estate plan is drafted;
- Adopting strategies designed to protect the capital assets of the estate from being made the targets of such claim; and
- Having all the beneficiaries signing an agreement the purpose of which is to bind the parties to the terms of the estate plan subsequent to the death of the Will maker(s).
In the unfortunate circumstances that litigation needs to be issued or defended in relation to an estate claim, the strategy should be at all times focus on an early resolution thereby reducing the emotional and financial fall out.
This firm’s litigation experience covers all aspects of successfully prosecuting or defending claims by beneficiaries for further provision, alleging undue influence, lack of capacity or forgery, or which assert a constructive trust based on the origin of certain of the estate’s assets being traceable to the deceased spouse of the Will maker who was the parent of the claimant or because of promises made during a Will maker’s lifetime to a beneficiary.