Lifetime Transaction and Lifetime Gift Disputes
After someone has died, there may sometimes be a dispute about certain pre-death transactions and/or gifts made by the deceased, particularly if they reduce the value of the estate.
Investigation of these claims is highly fact sensitive and you need an established team of specialist lawyers with the necessary tenacity and attention to detail. Bearing in mind that other family members may be involved, such cases may need to be approached with a degree of tact and sensitivity, at least in the early stages, until the true position is known.
At IBB Law, our Contentious Probate team has extensive experience in resolving disputes over lifetime transactions and lifetime gifts. We know exactly how to approach these delicate matters in the right way for a range of circumstances.
Our contentious probate experts can assist with matters including:
- Disputes over jointly owned properties
- Questions over the mental capacity of the deceased to make lifetime gifts
- Concerns over undue influence over the deceased or suspected fraud
- Disputes over errors in documents
- Proprietary estoppel claims
Whilst we are always prepared to take these sorts of cases to trial when necessary, we are also alive to other ways of resolving these disputes by means of negotiation, joint settlement meetings or mediation.
Looking for immediate advice on a lifetime gift or lifetime transaction dispute?
To discuss how our team of expert lawyers can help with resolving disputes in relation to lifetime gifts and lifetime transactions, please contact our contentious trust and probate dispute specialist Paul Grimwood by emailing email@example.com.
Meet the team
Our expertise in dealing with disputes over lifetime gifts and lifetime transactions
We hold the Legal 500’s top Tier 1 ranking for our expertise in Personal Tax, Trusts and Probate and are highly ranked by Chambers & Partners for our expertise in Private Wealth Law.
IBB Partners Paul Grimwood and Amanda Melton are both contentious Wills, trust and probate solicitors with many years of specialist experience and are both members of The Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS).
Paul is also an ADR Group Accredited Mediator (and as of 2020 Online Mediator) and is registered with The Civil Mediation Council. Paul’s mediation expertise allows him to help clients to resolve estate disputes faster and at lower cost, without the stress and publicity of court proceedings.
Common types of lifetime transaction and lifetime gift disputes
Disputes over jointly owned properties
In terms of any assets which the deceased owned jointly, there may be a disagreement as to whether they were held on a joint tenancy (and pass automatically under what is known as ‘the right of survivorship’) or a tenancy in common and pass under the Will or the intestacy rules (if there is no Will) and/or whether there is a constructive or resulting trust.
Questions over the mental capacity of the deceased to make lifetime gifts
In terms of any lifetime gifts (including deathbed gifts), there may be a question mark over whether the deceased had the necessary mental capacity to make the gift. There may also need to be an investigation of any lifetime gifts made by an attorney or deputy on behalf of the deceased.
Concerns over undue influence over the deceased
If the deceased and the recipient of the gift were in a relationship of trust and confidence and the nature of the transaction is such that an explanation is called for, the presumption of undue influence may arise. This is particularly so if the gift is large in its own right or in relation to the extent of deceased’s other assets. With an ageing population, examples of this sort of financial abuse are regrettably becoming increasingly common.
Disputes over errors in documents
Any documents signed by the deceased, such as deeds or declarations of trust, may need correction (or rectification) in order to correct mistakes.
Proprietary estoppel claims
There may be a claim for what is known as ‘proprietary estoppel’ if, during their lifetime, the deceased made a representation or promise to a third party (usually a friend or relative) in relation to an interest in land which that other party reasonably relied and acted upon to their detriment such that it is ‘unconscionable’ for the representation not to be enforced.
How our team can help with resolving disputes over lifetime transactions and lifetime gifts
Establishing the circumstances surrounding lifetime transactions and lifetime gifts
The first step is to make sure you establish clearly what has happened and whether there are genuine grounds for concern around financial decisions the deceased made. This can be very challenging, so it is important to seek specialist help to make sure all of the right evidence is gathered and the appropriate experts consulted.
Our team can assist with matters including:
- Establishing whether the deceased had the mental capacity to make financial decisions prior to their death
- Investigating whether the deceased may have been unduly influenced in their decision-making
- Establishing whether a gift was otherwise legitimate
We can then advise you on your next steps to give you the best chance of securing an early resolution.
Seeking an amicable settlement
We recognise that most people prefer to resolve disputes over an estate quickly, quietly and cost-effectively wherever possible. We also understand that there are often concerns about how a dispute may impact important family relationships if matters become contentious.
Our team has a strong focus on alternative dispute resolution, with members being highly skilled in alternative dispute resolution (ADR) including private negotiations, joint settlement meetings and mediation.
This expertise means we are often able to find an amicable settlement for disputes over lifetime gifts and lifetime transactions, saving our clients the time, cost and delay that can be associated with court proceedings.
Making financial claims in relation to illegitimate lifetime transactions and lifetime gifts
In some cases, it may be necessary to make financial claims against third parties who have acted wrongly. This can help to recover any money or property lost from the estate, for example, by securing the return of allegedly gifted assets.
Our estate disputes experts are highly experienced with these types of cases. We can try to ensure all of the correct evidence is gathered and handle every stage of the dispute for you, as well as arranging representation for any hearings that take place.
Our lifetime gifts and lifetime transactions dispute resolution pricing
Our contentious probate solicitors are always conscious of the need to keep costs as low as possible when dealing with a dispute, making sure, where possible, that our fees are proportionate to the value of the outcome you are seeking.
We will discuss with you the likely costs involved in dealing with your dispute at the outset and can provide a clear breakdown of our rates and the types of expenses that may be incurred.
By sharing work across our team and making sure each part of the process is handled by someone with the right level of expertise, we are able to keep our costs down while also ensuring we never compromise on the quality of our service.
For more information on the costs associated with resolving a lifetime transaction or lifetime gift dispute, please get in touch.
Get tailored advice for dealing with a lifetime gift or lifetime transaction dispute
The information given here is intended for general information purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice.
To discuss how our team can help with resolving disputes in relation to lifetime gifts and lifetime transactions, please contact trust and probate dispute specialist Paul Grimwood by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.