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Advisers' dilemma - when emotions and commercial sense clash

In March, the High Court was asked to decide a long-running and viscerally contested dispute between a brother and sister concerning a trust set up by their father and the will of their mother. 

Although the case resulted in a "win" for the brother, this is really a post all about mediation and settlement: so often in trust and estate disputes, the legal and factual areas of dispute have to be balanced (by clients and their advisers alike) with the often long-held and deeply-felt emotional and psychological issues in play in these sorts of family disputes. Judge Matthews (quoted below) hits the nail on the head of the sorts of approaches that make these cases (sometimes) so difficult to settle - but nevertheless this also underlines the importance of trying. A good mediator can make all the difference... 

It is the worst kind of trust and inheritance litigation. Nothing that I decide is going to bring about a reconciliation between the parties in this case. Whatever I decide, each side is going to go on thinking that it was right, and the other wrong. And the costs of both sides will swallow up a good deal of the benefit that was intended to be conferred.


private wealth disputes