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An inheritance dispute can end up destroying more than just family ties!

View profile for Andrew Leakey
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Many people end up in dispute over an estate with other members of the family after someone passes away.  Some go a step too far.

A story reported in the news this week caught my eye, when electrician Tony McGuire took a sledgehammer to his family home after falling out with his brother over their inheritance.

The home is thought to have been worth around £300,000, and had belonged to their father.  Mr McGuire had moved in with his family, after the death of their father in 2005.  He reportedly spent around £200,000 of his own life savings developing and improving the property, and then later discovered that his father’s Will had left the house to be split between him, and his brother and sister.

After years of arguing over the house and the inheritance with his siblings, they were unable to come to an agreement. Tony decided to take action into his own hands, and reportedly took a sledgehammer to the house, paying particular attention to the extensions and garage he had built himself, at his cost.

It would appear that the siblings have sought advice from solicitors, which is always the right thing to do in cases like this.  It shows that emotions and feelings can run very high when dealing with these types of disputes.

Generally, if any money is spent on improving a property, credit would be given for the costs incurred, so long as they were reasonable, and improved the value of the property.  Sometimes when family members can’t reach an agreement on how much credit should be given, there is no choice but to let the Courts decide.  However, it is never advisable to take the kind of action that Mr McGuire reportedly did, as he will have reduced the value of his share of the property now too. 

Anyone facing this kind of inheritance dispute with their family members, or wishing to contest a will for any other reason, should always seek specialist legal advice at the earliest opportunity. I am a solicitor and member of ACTAPS – the Association of Contentious Trusts and Probate Specialists. I am therefore a qualified specialist in these types of disputes, and can provide you with quick expert advice in relation to your case.

By solicitor, Heather Korwin-Szymanowska

  • For a fixed fee of £49.95, you can have a 30-minute appointment with either Heather or another solicitor who specialises in your kind of case. The appointment can be either on the telephone, or face to face, depending on your preference. We will take some details from you before the appointment, and then the solicitor will discuss your case with you, and what your options are. If your case is something that we can then help you further with, we can then discuss your funding options with you
     

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