Covid-19 forces farmers to consider their mortality and protect family - Laura Phillips quoted in Today's Wills & Probate

30 September 2020

Laura Phillips, Senior Associate in our Dispute Resolution team, has been quoted in Today's Wills & Probate.  The article highlights the importance of making a Will or updating an existing Will, and asks industry experts to discuss the legal advice being sought by those in the farming community during the pandemic.

Laura quoted:

Farming disputes relating to trusts and probate have been increasing over the last few years. They usually begin with a relationship breakdown between family members and concern assets of large value, these factors make these types of disputes ripe for media attention, which can be distressing for usually quite private people. It seems inevitable that the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic will only add to the rise of cases in this area.

In light of the current issues with social distancing and lockdown, as well as the risks of catching Covid-19, we have received increasing queries relating to parties trying to resolve issues between the parties without resorting to litigation. Remote mediation and ADR has always been available, albeit usually utilised in international disputes where travel is time consuming and cost prohibitive. Parties now seem more comfortable with the concept of online platforms and video conferencing and, given the practical implications, remote mediation is likely to be attractive to parties even after the current restrictions have eased.

In practice, remote mediation means that the parties do not have to be in the same physical location which reduces time and costs for all parties. The reason this seems to be more appealing to the farming community is that it makes meetings logistically easier to attend, removing the stress and time of attending mediation in person and being away from the farm for a considerable period of time.”

This article was first published by Today's Wills & Probate on 29 September 2020. You can read the article in full by clicking here.

Further information

For further information on the issues raised in this news post, please contact a member of our Wills, Trusts and Inheritance Disputes team.

You may be interested in our Wills, Trusts and Inheritance Disputes FAQs, or our dedicated Farms and Estates Disputes webpages.


About the author

Laura Phillips is a Senior Associate in our Dispute Resolution team.  Laura has particular expertise in Wills and Inheritance Disputes. Her experience  includes challenging wills on the basis of lack of testamentary capacity, want of knowledge and approval, fraud, forgery and undue influence, and includes dealing with multi-jurisdiction estates with a multi-cultural aspect.


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