Inheritance Dispute Solicitors

We help executors, administrators, beneficiaries, charities and organisations find fair solutions to inheritance disputes.

Dealing with the death of a relative or friend is difficult enough, without the added stress of a dispute over inheritance.

Even the closest of families can have different expectations and opinions about who should inherit, how an estate should be managed and whether the deceased person’s wishes are being followed correctly.

During such an emotionally challenging time, having the support of a specialist solicitor is essential.

We recognise how and why disputes over inheritance arise, and understand how frustrating it can be to have to face these challenges. Disputes are only more upsetting when close family is involved, and we know just how tempting it is to fight it out until the bitter end.

We can fight your corner, helping you resolve your disagreements as rationally as possible and without costs spiralling.

Bespoke solutions for your Will, probate or inheritance dispute

Our friendly, practical inheritance dispute solicitors are here to help you deal with Will and inheritance disputes head on. With decades of experience to back up our skills, we know exactly how to approach unhappy or uncooperative family, friends, and even charities, to negotiate a positive resolution.

Our typical work includes:

  • Acting for executors to defend unjustified or exaggerated claims made against the estate.
  • Challenging Wills (often entered into close to the testator’s death) that disinherited clients believe were entered into under duress by a beneficiary or when the testator lacked capacity to understand the consequences of their actions.
  • Making inheritance claims for people who financially relied on the deceased, but have been left out of the Will or not left as much as they need.
  • Acting for charities or other organisations who believe they are owed money from an estate.

Although the thought of inheritance disputes may conjure up images of stark courtrooms and disapproving judges, with our help, you have a good chance of being able to avoid court proceedings altogether.

We typically seek to resolve claims through sensible negotiation or mediation, only recommending litigation as a last resort. By taking a smart and measured approach to resolving claims, we seek to minimise distress for our clients and keep costs under control.

Speak to our Will and inheritance dispute resolution solicitors in Hertford

To discuss your contentious probate dispute with our sympathetic, proactive team, please get in touch.

01992 300333                     Ask a question 

How our contentious probate solicitors can help resolve your Will or inheritance dispute

Inheritance claims

It is devastating if you realise that you have missed out on inheritance, especially when you depended financially upon the person who died.

There may be many reasons why this has ended up happening, such as:

  • You were left out of the Will.
  • The deceased did not leave a Will.
  • The deceased included you in their Will, but it was later held invalid and you are no longer able to inherit.
  • The deceased included you in their Will, but they did not leave you as much as you need.

Whatever the circumstances in your case, it doesn’t make the situation any easier to handle. As well as being incredibly upsetting, you may be struggling financially to get by.

If this applies to you, you may be able to make what is known as an Inheritance Act claim.

The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 allows people who were close to the deceased make a claim for ‘reasonable financial provision’.

Our inheritance claim solicitors can provide practical, simple-to-understand advice about whether you may be able to make a successful claim. We can also handle the claims process on your behalf, negotiating positive settlements and taking court action where necessary.

Who can claim under the Inheritance Act?

We can help you if you are related to the deceased in one of the following ways:

  • Spouse or civil partner.
  • Divorced or separated spouse or civil partner (who has not remarried or entered into a new civil partnership).
  • A partner who has lived with the deceased for at least two years prior to death.
  • The deceased’s child (including adult children).
  • Anyone the deceased treated as a child, such as adopted children, stepchildren and foster children.
  • Anyone the deceased cared for before their death.

If you are not sure whether you can make a claim, please feel free to get in touch and we will be more than happy to advise you and talk you through all your options.

Advising executors and administrators

Being asked to handle someone’s final affairs, or having to take on the role of administrator because your relative died intestate, is a big responsibility. Having to deal with a claim against the deceased person’s estate or having to make a claim yourself in addition to your other tasks can feel like a job you never signed up for.

We can advise executors and administrators on a wide range of issues, including:

  • Disputes amongst executors/administrators.
  • Disputes between executors/administrators and beneficiaries.
  • Disputes between executors/administers and third parties, such as trustees, charities, businesses and organisations.

Legal issues can arise for any number of reasons, from claims for inheritance to businesses and charities thinking they are owed money by the estate.

Claims can also arise due to someone’s issue with the way the personal representatives are handling the estate administration – these can be particularly distressing when you’re just trying to do right by the person who passed away.

We can share the burden, helping you fulfil your role as personal representative and taking a sensible, pragmatic approach to resolving disputes.

Advising charities and organisations

We represent charities and other organisations in taking and defending legal action in relation to money owed to them under a deceased person’s estate.

In relation to charities, potential disputes could relate to legacy donations which have gone unpaid or become subject to an Inheritance Act claim.

In relation to organisations, potential disputes could arise due to unpaid debts, for example, if the executors distribute inheritance to the beneficiaries before settling the deceased’s liabilities.

Our inheritance disputes solicitors can provide pragmatic advice and robust representation to help your charity, business or organisation enforce a deceased person’s final wishes and recover money to which you are entitled.

Challenging the validity of a Will

Everyone has the right to leave behind their final wishes after they die in the form of a Will. However, Wills must comply with strict legal requirements to be valid. A Will or part of a Will may be invalid for many reasons, including:

  • It was not made properly (e.g. it was not witnessed properly or signed).
  • There were clerical errors in the Will.
  • Someone forced, pressured or influenced the testator into making the Will (known as ‘undue influence’).
  • The testator did not have mental capacity to make a Will (e.g. because of an illness such as Alzheimer’s Disease).
  • The Will was forged or made as a result of fraud.

If you are concerned about the validity of a Will, our Will dispute solicitors can provide all the legal advice and support you need. Read more about Challenging a Will here.

Case Studies

  • Contesting a claim made by a family member against the executors of an estate relating to a provision in the will for a proportion of the estate to be left to charity. Our advice helped our clients to overcome the claim and ensure the smooth administration of the deceased’s estate.
  • Supporting the beneficiaries of a family will to claim their rightful inheritance. We helped our clients to defend a claim against them brought by the deceased’s partner concerning a property that constituted part of the estate. After an unsuccessful mediation, a settlement was reached that allowed our clients access to property that was rightfully theirs.
  • Defending a claim by our client’s brother that our client had pressured his elderly mother to change her will and leave her home to our client only. At the trial we called the solicitor (from another firm) who had prepared the will. She told the court that she had met alone with the elderly lady, who the solicitor described as ‘formidable’, and the lady had predicted to her that her disinherited son would try to challenge the change in her will after her death. The claim against our client was dismissed.
  • Defending the trustee and beneficiary of a trust who has been subject to misappropriation of trust funds by her co-trustee, negligent advice from a professional, stalking and harassment. We are providing a full-service approach for the client, seeking to protect her interests while advising her on the personal matters of stalking and harassment.
  • Advising the executors of an estate in a dispute against a former carer of the deceased regarding unauthorised transactions made from the deceased’s bank accounts before and after his death. Further advising the executors in a claim against a bank that breached its own terms by allowing the former carer to empty an estate bank account without the consent of the joint account holders.
  • Defending a claim challenging the validity of a will by the daughter of the deceased. The daughter is a minor beneficiary and five charities are the major beneficiaries to the will. The daughter believes that, due to her father's mental health issues, he was not in a sound state of mind to understand and approve the changes made to his will that largely disinherited her.
  • Assisting a minor in state care who is without parental or other family support, regarding a claim for sufficient funds from the estate of his adoptive late father.
  • Settling a claim by an elderly widow whose late husband left her only one-fifth of their marital home and no funds to enable her to support herself for the remainder of her life. She has moderate dementia, lives in a warden-assisted flat and currently receives no state care benefits.
  • Advising the beneficiaries of their late grandmother’s estate on a claim to challenge the validity of the will on the basis of lack of testamentary capacity of the grandmother, and a claim against the executor in undue influence.

Why trust Longmores with your Will or inheritance dispute?

Our experienced team of disputes specialists have considerable experience and expertise in the complex field of inheritance disputes.

Our Private Client team, Dispute Resolution team and Older and Vulnerable Client team all work closely to provide a specialist service covering every possible issue that can arise from a person’s death and the administration of their estate.

We have a wide range of niche expertise that allows us to help in particularly complex or emotionally challenging matters, such as cases where the deceased person’s estate is insolvent (does not have enough money to repay its debts) or where there are elder abuse issues.

We are highly ranked for litigation and dispute resolution by both leading client guide, the Legal 500.

Several of our lawyers are also individually ranked or recommended, including our Head of Dispute Resolution, John Wiblin, our Head of Private Client, Richard Horwood, and our Senior Solicitor specialising in Probate Disputes, Lauren Mackenzie.

As well as our client guide rankings, our team are members of various professional organisations to help them continue improving their skills and maintain the highest standards of advice and client care. Our memberships include:

Our team also includes qualified mediators and arbitrators, who are highly experienced at helping people resolve inheritance disputes amicably out-of-court, saving lots of time, money and stress.

Visit Our People pages to learn more about our team and their approaches to helping clients like you. Or visit Our Values page to learn more about our firm-wide approach to client care.

Our contested Wills and probate fees

Costs will of course be a major concern for you when going into an inheritance dispute. You may have read online about how expensive these disputes can be, and in some cases, costs can spiral out of control. This is often because, in family disputes, emotions can run high and no one wants to back down or accept less than they think they are entitled to.

Our inheritance dispute solicitors will do everything we can to minimise costs for you, without compromising on the level of service you receive.

We will work strategically, focusing on negotiation and amicable dispute resolution wherever we can.

At the start of your case, we will talk through all your options and the potential costs involved. We’ll always be honest about whether taking action is worth your while, allowing you to make a confident, informed decision about how you want to move forwards.

We can also agree a budget, so you stay in control of your legal costs, and if additional work is required, we’ll always provide advice first to explain why.

Speak to our Will and inheritance dispute resolution solicitors in Hertford

To discuss your contentious probate dispute with our sympathetic, proactive team, please get in touch.

01992 300333                     Ask a question


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