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Why Are Inheritance Disputes So Tough?

Posted: Thursday, 24 November 2022 @ 13:17

Recently, I was at a solicitors conference and speaking to an experienced lawyer and he made the observation to me that inheritance cases are more difficult to solve than divorce ones because of the emotion.

To be direct about this, divorce law (which I did in my younger days) is pretty tough but as my lawyer contact told me on inheritance cases you are often dealing with family members who hold grievances and/or history over a longer period than those you see in a divorce case. In this instance, I was told how the lawyer dealt with a dispute where resentments had arisen primarily in childhood.

Fundamentally when I approach inheritance cases I do not need to know the ins and out of why there have been falling outs between family members. The ultimate reality is that I have been instructed as there has been falling out and the goal is to help the client pick up the pieces, re-group and then plot a solution. 

Often a tricky issue I face as a lawyer is managing expectations as the client may want to go down a particular course and you as the advisor (with your knowledge and Court experience) prefer another option. This interactive process is critical for the success of cases as it is good for the lawyer to be tested as to what is possible and it helps the client understand the realities of going to Court. What you are looking for is a balanced dialogue with the client, not where one party dominates.