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What Is The Best Way to Obtain Your Inheritance?

Posted: Thursday, 25 January 2024 @ 18:51

Our firm’s approach to moving through these different negotiation and legal steps is enable to get your inheritance is based upon a set of guiding principles to help you reach the place you need to be and is called The Human Law Six Point Plan.

It applies to all legal disputes which we deal with and can be summarised as follows. 

Evaluate Your Dispute (and Consistently Do So)

Probably the most important (and misused) tool within the hands of a disputing party.

Due to the emotional nature of inheritance disputes and the fact that as a beneficiary you often have limited information, it is very easy to misinterpret what the Executor is up to and to make poor judgment calls as to what are the strengths and weaknesses of a case and what you should do. Effective evaluation comes from consistent probing and a willingness to look at all available facts and ask searching questions of your situation.

When we advise on a dispute what we are looking to do is to develop what we call a “Helicopter view” where means rather than getting sucked into the detail of the case we are a seeking clear and calm overview and how we think your situation will play out.

Some questions to ask –

  • What evidence is there something untoward has happened?
  • To what extent are my views of this matter clouded by my emotions?
  • Am I taking a fair stance in making steps to resolve this problem?
  • How does any evidence stack up?
  • Is there missing evidence I need to have a full picture?
  • How will a judge see this if this did go to Court?
  • What are my legal and negotiation options?
  • What are the costs/ benefits of the different options I can take?
  • What are the specific legal costs which can be incurred?

Effectively what you are trying to do is consistently work out how your dispute is going to pan out on the basis that you are your lawyer are pulling together to maximise your prospects. 

Obtain as Much Key Evidence As You Can and Present It Compellingly

The nature of being in an inheritance dispute is there can be a lot of information which is out of your current knowledge. This can include evidence of the Deceased such as bank statements and/or medical records.

A key skill which can make a significant difference to long term outcomes is the ability to obtain useful(possibly pivotal) evidence which you should be able to do at low cost.

The more a party does this prior to instructing the lawyer the better the outcome.

The factual material within inheritance disputes can be, dare we say it, both unnecessarily long and boring. Not only is this potentially expensive but is an expense which can be avoided. Thus mastery of evidence and an ability to present this in a compelling and interesting way is a skill which can not only save time and cost in helping your lawyer be informed but also can influence the other side and a Judge.

Keep Emotions In Check

The nature of inheritance disputes often contains family history and this makes it easy to make overly emotional decisions in dealing with your inheritance problem. This can lead to poor judgment calls and making rash decisions which can hurt you later such as making a judge unimpressed with your conduct. How you (and your solicitor) behave can be a critical component of how successful you will be if the matter be if it goes to Court. Generally in the face of provocation it will serve your interests to be calmer and it help you and your lawyer make better decisions.

Make Thoughtful Open Offers

One of the most important skills a solicitor can make is to make tactical offers which may go before the Court. Traditionally lawyers like to make solely Without Prejudice offers which are not seen by the Judge until after the main issue is determined at Court. We are a firm believer that where you are dealing with an inheritance dispute you should try to put as much as pressure as possible on the opponents by making offers to resolve your inheritance case which you want the Judge to see if the matter goes to Court.(e.g. highlighting your reasonable approach). For an example, on an executor dispute where two arguing siblings are appointed, we might advise our client to say both siblings resign and a professional executor is appointed instead. Effectively you make strong offers to provide a mechanism of bringing your dispute to an end, but without undermining your long-term position. Such an approach can lead to costs awards being awarded in your favour and protecting you financially.

Select Negotiation and Legal Methods Carefully

When you have inheritance problems there are often are in fact a number of legal and tactical options which you can use. Sometimes errors can be made about which is the best method to select. It can be very tempting to jump in which what on the surface looks an appealing option when in fact what you should do is take a different course. The key step which will enable you to make a better decision is doing the Evaluation process thoroughly and then trying to work out what legal and negotiation step is going to get you where you want to be given your situation. That requires good background knowledge of legal and negotiation steps within this arena and an open mind.

Litigate Smartly

This means your lawyer trying to retain maximum control and discipline within the litigation process. It requires the solicitor to be successfully and consistently evaluating your case and being discerning in using expert evidence(such as barristers and financial experts). We believe if you are going to use any legal process you have to be extremely careful in the forum you use so time and cost are not unnecessarily wasted especially as there are significant differences in the time frames/service delivery of the Court you can use. e.g. mediation with a good mediator and the High Court with electronic and prompt Court filing are dispute resolution methods we do support provided it is the best option for you at a given time. Litigate Smartly involves skilful wording in correspondence which has maximum influencing impact.