Why it’s important to think before you act

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Published: 1st October, 2019

Family disputes

I was visiting a friend in Cheshire recently and the front page story in the local newspaper was about a new housing estate where the residents were experiencing various difficulties with their new homes.

They were struggling with various defects and were finding it difficult to persuade the housebuilder to rectify the problems. They had therefore decided to embarrass the builder into addressing their concerns by going to the local newspaper. A great way to get results?

Well, perhaps. If the result you are trying to get is to ensure that you can’t sell your house in the future.

Given that a house is most people’s most valuable asset. Is it really a good idea to splash across the front page of the local newspaper that yours is badly built?

It struck me as a good example of people, involved in a dispute, acting hastily without really thinking through the consequences.

This can also be true of the contentious trusts and probate work I deal with.

These are matters where families have fallen out about trusts and wills and they will often come to me when they are already deeply involved in a family argument. The problem can be that once you are in a dispute, it can be very difficult to back down.

  • Positions become entrenched;
  • issues become a matter of principle; and
  • disputes can be both expensive and highly damaging for families going forward.

Often, what is really needed is common sense and an understanding on both sides.

This is why if you have a problem it is always best to speak to us before the problem turns into a dispute. We will help you to take a step back and see the wider picture. By doing so, you will be better placed to work out the strategy that will resolve the problem for you in the best way possible.

If you are involved or may become involved in a dispute, speak to Mark Jones or Ragan Montgomery. 

In the meantime, I am off to buy a really cheap (but slightly dodgy) house in Cheshire!


Mark Jones - Wills & Probate Solicitor - HarrogateThis article was written by Mark Jones. Mark is a Partner in our Personal Law Department and is based in Harrogate.

Mark specialises in the creation and administration of trusts, tax planning and wills as well as probate work, particularly those where the family has fallen out and contentious issues have arisen.

You can contact Mark on 01423 502 211 or email directly.