Trusts and Probate Litigation
The basis of any trust is to manage assets for someone else or a group of individuals. Trusts provide security to protect assets such as cash, property or shares and can help assets to be passed from one generation to the next in a controlled manner.
Trusts have three key parties involved:
- The settlor is the party who puts the assets into a trust;
- The trustee is the individual (or individuals) who manages the trust; and
- The beneficiary is the party that will benefit from the trust. This can be an individual or a group of individuals.
Due to the delicate nature of trusts, as they often involve family members, and due to the relatively high cost in setting up a trust in the first place, most trusts involve significant assets, it is important that any disputes that arise are dealt with professionally and in a timely manner.
This is specialist work. We have solicitors highly experienced in trust litigation and in dealing with the nuances that can arise from the wishes and feelings of family members.
Disputes in trusts we work on include:
- Appointment and removal of trustees;
- Asset freezing;
- Breaches of trust;
- Establishing and avoiding trusts; and
- Varying of trusts
The Grant of Probate (also known as a grant of representation, letters of administration or letters of administration with a Will) allows an individual(s) to execute ie deal with a Will. When it comes to applying for probate the process is:
- Check if the deceased had made a Will. If there is a Will then it will usually be stated in the Will who is to be appointed to deal with the estate. If there is no Will and the deceased has passed away intestate then normally a next of kin can apply for probate.
- Once it has been established who will apply for probate, a grant is applied for from the local Probate Registry.
- Once a grant of representation has been made, the assets of the estate need to collected in and any debts of the estate, for example utility bills and any inheritance tax that is due, need to be paid.
- Once bills have been settled, the monies and assets in the estate can then be distributed as set out in the Will. however, if you feel that distribution of an estate has been unfair, see our Inheritance Claims section as steps can be possible to change the terms of the Will.
A common issue that arises in the probate process is who should be granted probate. When this happens, the individual claiming against the grant of probate normally enters what is known a caveat at the Probate Registry to stop the grant being granted so further investigation can take place. In brief, a caveat freezes the estate from being administered.
Sometimes executors for one reason or another to fail to pay beneficiaries what they are properly due.
If you feel that a grant of probate should not be granted to an individual, call us immediately as caveats are normally only in place for 6 months.
If you feel that assets have been distributed incorrectly, or that an administrator has acted improperly, then call as soon as possible to receive professional advice. Alternatively, visit our Inheritance Claims, Inheritance Claims Against Charities, Will Challenges, Will Claims under the Inheritance Act 1975 and Will Disputes pages.
If you have a trusts or probate dispute then call us today to speak to one of our specialist lawyers. Our Managing Partner, Hugh Davey and Consultant Solicitor Tracey Ashford can be contacted on 0333 344 5012 or out of office hours on 07914 897137. Or view our Enquiries Page to email us.