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Wills, Probate & Estate Planning

Wills and Trusts Dispute Solicitors

We recognise that any disputes concerning a Will or Trust can be extremely upsetting. If you find yourself in the middle of a Will dispute, a disagreement relating to a Trust or fall-out following the death of a loved one when no Will has been made, we can provide expert legal advice, sensitively delivered. We appreciate that these disagreements will naturally come in the context of a very personal scenario, often during or in the wake of bereavement so our sole aim is to make the process as stress free as possible.

Contentious Probate

Contentious probate refers to disputes and disagreements that arise during the administration of a deceased person's estate. This may include challenges to the validity of their Will, disagreements amongst beneficiaries, or conflicts between Executors.  Our Contentious Probate Solicitors bring a wealth of expertise, ensuring that your case is handled with the highest level of skill and professionalism.  We have an excellent track record of success in resolving disputes by negotiation, mediation or at trial both in the County Court and the High Court.

Contesting or Challenging a Will

Losing a loved one is the most difficult experience we can endure.  At this time of grieving, the last thing we will need is for there to be a dispute over the arrangements specified in their Will.  Whether you are a beneficiary who does not agree with provisions made or you believe you should have been a beneficiary, challenging a Will can be a complex matter.  In this situation, it may be that the validity of a Will is questioned, for example:

  • Did the individual have mental capacity, i.e. were they aware of the provisions they were drafting into their Will?
  • Were they under undue influence?
  • Has there been fraudulent activity?
  • Was there improper execution of the Will?

There are strict criteria relating to a Will's validity and, if you have any doubts, you can contact our Contentious Probate Solicitors to discuss your situation. It is important to note that should a Will be successfully challenged, then any previous Will becomes valid and therefore will govern how the estate should be administered.  Should a Will be successfully challenged and there is no previous Will, then the rules of intestacy would apply.

Inheritance Act Claims

Inheritance Act claims involve inheritance disputes over the distribution of an estate, namely when a person believes they have not had reasonable financial provision made for them in a Will. This is becoming increasingly common with regards to couples in second or third or more marriages, and with children from a previous relationship. 

The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 allows people to make a claim on the estate if they consider they have not been left adequate provision in the Will.  This can apply to a widow, an unmarried but cohabiting partner, children and anyone who was financially dependent on the deceased prior to their death, however any decision made under the Inheritance Act will vary depending on the particular circumstances of the individuals involved. This is why seeking legal advice is crucial to understand your position and your rights.  For claims of this nature there are strict time limits so contact us today should you have questions.   

Executor and Beneficiary Disputes

Disputes can arise between Executors administering the deceased’s estate or between Executors and the beneficiaries entitled to inherit under the Will for various reasons, including:

  • An Executor is being unreasonably slow in administering the estate
  • An Executor is not acting in the best interests of the estate but rather in their own interests
  • You do not agree with the decisions being made by the Executor  
  • You are joint Executors and you cannot agree with the other party/parties involved on how to administer the estate

Power of Attorney Disputes

Having a Lasting Power of Attorney is crucial, however disputes can occur between Attorneys who have been appointed, usually between those jointly appointed to act as Attorneys.  

It is the Attorney’s role to act at all times in the best interests of the donor, i.e. the person granting them the power of attorney.  If Attorneys cannot agree, or if anyone is acting unreasonably, it may be that you can apply to the Court of Protection for their removal as Attorney. 

If you have any concerns regarding an Attorney benefiting personally from their position to the detriment of the donor, you should in the first instance report your concerns to the Office of Public Guardian who will investigate further.  They are responsible for supervising all Attorney’s and Deputies.  If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the Office of Public Guardian you could seek to make an application to the Court of Protection for the appointment of an additional Attorney and/or the removal of a current Attorney.  We have years of experience in this area of contentious probate and can advise if there are sufficient grounds to succeed with this type of application.

Trusts Disputes

Trust law is notoriously problematic and requires a great deal of legal expertise to make sure you pursue the right course.  Should you act as a Trustee and find yourself in a position where the administration of a Trust has come into question, the Trust has become embroiled in a dispute, or has reached a decision that it needs to initiate a dispute, our Trust Dispute Solicitors can help you analyse the problem you are facing and work out the most appropriate solution.

    Contact our Contentious Probate Solicitors

    Our Contentious Probate Solicitors have many years of experience in supporting family members, friends, Executors, beneficiaries, Trustees and other involved parties with disputes relating to Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney and estate administration.  To discuss your situation with a member of the team today from our offices in AndoverRomseySalisburyTotton or Witney, contact us using the Contact Form, email or call your local office: