Succession Fee Victory In Contentious Probate Case

Recently, members of the Shoosmiths LLP Disputed Wills and Trusts Team took the time to speak to Today’s Wills and Probate about a recent case they dealt with (Bullock vs Denton and Willoughby), to give others in the profession an insight into issues that could arise as part of the case.

Tara McInnes, Principle Associate spoke to Adam Draper, Partner and Andrew Bishop, Senior Associate, who handled the case. As part of the case Shoosmiths managed to recover the client’s success fee, which is an interesting talking point.

What’s the case about?

The claimant Yvonne Bullock wasn’t left any provision in her deceased partner Simon Denton’s Will. Although they’d been in a relationship for four years, Simon’s assets were left to his brother.

Why is this case different to the rest?

Not many cohabitation cases go to trial, especially one that is a fairly short relationship and a large estate. Plus, the fact that we managed to recover the success fee is another talking point in the legal sector.

Why was the success fee victory such a talking point?

There has been a previous case where claimants have applied to recover their success fee but this was not allowed. However, with regards to this case, the Judge took the success fee into account with regards to this being a future debt for Ms Bullock would have to pay if the case successfully concluded.

Are you always guaranteed to recover the success fee?

A success fee will be considered by the court, but it will be on a case by case basis. Being transparent with all of the legal parties is good practice regarding debt.

Do you think it will lead to an increase in CFA’s in these types of cases?

If someone is met with a claim under the Inheritance Act, what should they be looking at?

More information about the case can be found here.

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