The earliest stage at which Piers Feltham is instructed is in relation to these matters is to draft a will for a private client that requires specialist attention or to draft pro forma wills for use by instructing solicitors.
Also in relation to pre-death matters, he is often instructed to bring or defend claims challenging the validity of a lifetime gift or other transaction for undue influence or duress or want of mental capacity, in relation to which a presumption of undue influence may assist where the donee was in a position of confidence.
Piers may also be instructed to apply for or respond to an application for the making of a statutory will during the life of the person who has lost capacity to make a will.
At the next stage, in relation to the estate of a deceased person, Piers receives many different types of instructions. These may, for instance, be to advise as to the proper construction of a will which may result either in a paper to Court for authority to distribute in accordance with Piers’ Opinion under s48 Administration of Justice Act 1985, or to a Court Hearing if the beneficiaries are in dispute as to the effect of the will.
Piers is also frequently instructed to bring and defend claims to reasonable provision from an estate by family members or dependants claiming under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
Proprietary estoppel claims based on detrimental reliance on a representation as to inheritance are a particular speciality by reason of Piers’ editorship of Spencer Bower on The Law of Estoppel by Representation.
Piers is also brings and defends claims to set aside wills for lack of mental capacity to make the will, lack of knowledge and approval of its contents, or undue influence amounting to coercion (there being no operative presumption in relation to wills).
Piers may also be instructed to advise on and draft in particular with a view to achieving Inheritance Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax benefits.
At the final stage disputes may arise between beneficiaries and executors/trustees or between the beneficiaries themselves as to the administration and distribution of the estate and the discharge of the executors/trustees. Piers has brought and responded to many claims challenging accounts of the administration of the estate bythe executors/trustees and has sought and resisted removal of executors and trustees from their office at the suit of beneficiaries.
Piers recently appeared successfully for the claimants against the estate of Jimmy Savile in the much publicised hearings before Sales J and the Court of Appeal as to its administration.