Expertise and information is key to resolving contentious claim disputes

The number of claims brought under the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975 is rising all the time.

For many families and individuals struggling with the cost of day-to-day bills alongside rising interest rates, any form of future inheritance is likely to be seen as a very welcome windfall.

This is all very well until the time comes and they find Aunt Mary has left all her money to an animal charity instead of “looking after” her nearest and dearest. Cue what often turns out to be a lengthy and costly legal battle to determine if the family can recover any of those funds.

As specialists in the contentious sector, IDR Law focuses solely on the resolution of disputes and problems that arise in connection with wills, probate, and trusts.

The IDR website hosts a combination of articles, case studies and FAQs, all of which set the scene around the typical claims and disputes it helps to handle.

At its heart is the free-to-join IDR Network (IDRN) which, with membership currently standing at over 500, attracts legacy professionals such as will writers and private client solicitors, as well as others involved in will disputes, including charities and executors.

Once registered, members can take advantage of information on topics ranging from preventative measures when it comes to will writing, to dealing with beneficiaries and executors. There’s also an event hub, plus monthly webinars and training sessions, together with an online referral and support space.

A triage area focuses on the most common contentious situations and what to do should one land your desk, and there is a specially-designed range of LegalTech tools, including a dedicated IDR Claim Checker.

Created by inheritance dispute experts, it provides a quick and reliable answer as to whether or not a claim has merit – helping legal professionals advise their client accordingly.

This is especially important for the charity sector as, according to statistics, charitable legacies are more open to challenge than many others. Given that by 2030 UK charities are predicted to have received around £5 billion in legacy income, it’s likely that more and more disputes will arise.

IDR Senior Associate Hannah Brittain specialises in charity legacy disputes and has represented a number of national charities and their legacy officers to resolve disputes over charitable gifts in wills. She says:

“Our goal is always to work with all the parties involved to try and avoid expensive and time-wasting disputes. Combining the important role of our LegalTech tools with our own expertise and knowledge means we have a very high success rate in both preventing and resolving disputes.

There are an increasing number of occasions when charities are having to decide if they should defend a claim bring brought against an estate from which they stand to inherit. They have to decide if they want to try to keep hold of the legacy left to them by the deceased, or if they should bow out at the first opportunity and say goodbye to a valuable source of income.

This is never a straightforward decision. Each case should be decided on its individual facts and after a carefully considered balancing exercise, taking into account the value of the legacy, merits of the claim, available evidence, costs benefit analysis and potential reputational damage.

This is where our IDR Claim Checker can make a valuable contribution to that decision-making process. And, if more expertise is needed to handle a contentious case, our team is on hand for advice and support.”

Hannah Brittain

To help charities – and others – make those informed decisions and understand the legal elements involved, IDR Law has just produced a series of factsheets outlining typical claims that can be made under the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependents) Act 1975.

Available to download via the IDRN, these include an overview of the Act and a focus on potential claimants, for example, both current and former spouses and civil partners, those financially dependent on the deceased, cohabitees, and children of the deceased.

“Our remit is to work towards resolving your inheritance dispute as quickly and as painlessly as possible,” concluded Hannah. “These factsheets provide a new and valuable resource and if we can help a charity, a family, or an individual to avoid costly litigation by ensuring a timely and dignified solution for all parties, then our job will be well done.”

IDR Law is a corporate partner of the Institute of Legacy Management.

This article was submitted to be published by the Institute of Legacy Management as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Wills & Probate. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Wills & Probate.

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