Inheritance and Probate Disputes

It is becoming increasingly common for families to fall out over money.

This is partly due to the large value of some people’s estate, particularly of the house. It is also because family structures are becoming increasingly complicated, and there can be disputes with stepmothers and fathers, stepbrothers and sisters, and half-brothers and sisters, and situations where parents had same sex partners the second time around.

Sadly, some people no longer say that there is nothing as important as family, and instead decide that there is nothing as important as money.

These disputes can be more emotional than if the dispute related to a commercial contract. The people concerned often know each other well and are usually related to each other. The fact that there is a dispute brings with it a sense of betrayal, and the argument can awaken old dislikes, envies and resentments.

We handle a wide range of disputes in relation to estates and inheritance.

There may be disputes relating to Wills, trusts, probate and intestacy. It also involves claims by those who feel that they will not receive a fair and reasonable amount from a deceased’s estate and who therefore decide to make the claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975.

We act for individuals, executors and administrators of estates, trustees and charities.

We have carried out legal work in relation to estates for over 300 years. We have significant experience of handling disputes, including in relation to estates with assets spread over several countries. We are currently handling disputes in relation to estates worth well over £20 million.

Many estates are smaller, though, and a long dispute of a limited pot of money will serve only to entrench the parties’ positions and animosity. We therefore recognise the importance of early resolution through discussion and negotiation, joint settlement meetings and mediation.

We are aware that disputes of this nature can be expensive. We give full advice in relation to options for funding the dispute, including No Win No Fee agreements and legal expenses insurance.