Blythe Liggins Solicitors has launched a new will disputes and Court of Protection unit after seeing its caseload increase.
Partners at Blythe Liggins said there had been a substantial increase in the number of family disputes over wills and over the personal affairs of elderly relatives who can no longer manage their own finances.

Donna Bothamley, who runs the Wills and Probate department and heads the new unit with senior partner Richard Thornton, said: “We have seen the number of cases involving family disputes increase substantially over the last couple of years. This is a growing niche area of law that requires specialisation.”

Mrs Bothamley – who is experienced in handling contentious issues in the Court of Protection – said that the ageing population was partly the cause.
“People are living so much longer now and that can cause family strife as the elderly – either through the natural ageing process or through illness, such as dementia – can no longer manage their own affairs. There are particular problems when people have not delegated decisions to family members or friends through power of attorney documents, or who have not ensured that their wills are up-to-date.

“Inevitably, this can lead to friction amongst family members and some disagreements are so severe that they require the Court of Protection to resolve them. Such is the increasing number of cases that the Court of Protection no longer only sits in London, but now also has regional courts, including one at Birmingham”, she said.
The new unit at Blythe Liggins also includes two recent additions to the firm – Sam Thornton and Emma Wallbank.

CAPTION: Blythe Liggins’ new wills disputes and Court of Protection team: (l-r) Sam Thornton, Donna Bothamley, Emma Wallbank and Paul England

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