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Contentious probate solicitors

Contentious Probate Solicitors

Challenging a will and inheritance claims

There are many situations that can arise when someone dies that can lead to contentious legal work being necessary. Our lawyers can represent you in these matters, which can include inheritance claims and challenging a will, or challenging the way an estate has been administered.

Contact our probate specialists

Contact our friendly team by telephone or e-mail to arrange to speak to a probate specialist:

phone 01707 246100


Open 9.30am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday.

There is usually no need to visit our offices because we can arrange appointments by telephone and video calls. You can also meet with a lawyer at our Hertfordshire office, if you prefer.

We provide wills and probate legal services nationally for clients in England and Wales. We are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Contentious probate work

Contentious legal work can sometimes become necessary when someone dies, regardless of whether there is a will and a named executor or executors of the estate, or if someone has died without leaving a will.

Where a person dies without leaving a will they are said to be "intestate" and their estate has to be distributed according to the Intestacy Rules.

The person or persons entitled to the estate can obtain a grant of administration giving them legal authority to administer the deceased person’s property. The interest that someone has to do that can also be challenged.

A will can also sometimes be challenged on a number of different grounds, and the way an estate is being administered can also be challenged in court.

If you expected to be a beneficiary of a will, but you are not left anything, or not as much as you expected, you may be able to make an inheritance claim.

Challenging a will

False will - where an interested party believes that a will was not valid because it was not properly and validly made by the deceased, then legal action can be taken to challenge the will, or challenge an attempt to obtain a grant and administer the estate under the will.

Apart from allegations of outright forgery, there may be many other grounds to challenge a will.

Invalidly made will - if there are grounds to believe that the will was not validly signed by the deceased and a minimum of two witnesses, then the will may be found to be invalid.

Lack of capacity - if there are grounds to believe that the deceased lacked the legal capacity to make a valid will this is a basis for challenge. The law requires that when a person makes a will, they have to have capacity to understand what they are doing.

Coercion or undue influence - there are often challenges made to wills alleging that a beneficiary has subjected the deceased to undue influence or coercion to gain from the will.

Lack of interest to obtain a grant - another area of challenge to a grant of probate or administration or an attempt to obtain one is that the claimant is not a person with a sufficient interest in the estate to make the claim.

Challenging the way the estate is administered

A grant of probate or letters of administration is an order of the court, which can supervise how the appointed executor or administrator (usually called the personal representative) is handling the estate.

If the personal representative is not acting correctly - and there have been cases where they have simply failed to distribute or tried to keep the deceased person's property for themselves - we can assist by bringing the matter back before the court who can make orders to resolve the issues including revocation of the grant.

If you are a personal representative and the beneficiaries take such action against you, we can represent you and help with the proceedings and finding a resolution.

Inheritance claims

If you expected to be a beneficiary and a will does not leave you anything at all (or at least not what you believe you were entitled to) there is a legal remedy under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

Applications for "reasonable financial provision" to be made from the estate can be made by the deceased person's spouse or civil partner; former spouse or civil partner; the deceased person's child; anyone else treated by the deceased person as a child of the family; or anyone else who immediately before the death of the deceased person was wholly or partly maintained by them.

The law on inheritance claims is complicated, but if you believe you may have a claim and wish to instruct us to represent you, then we can advise you and discuss the prospects of success and how the litigation can be financed.

What to do now

In all cases the starting point is an informal discussion with one of our contentious probate specialists.

We offer a free initial consultation by telephone for most matters, so we can give you an idea of whether you have a potential claim or a case where we can help you. If a specialist is not available when you call, you can make an appointment for a call back.

There is a six-month time limit for bringing certain probate claims, therefore if something does not seem right to you, please get in contact as soon as possible.

Contact us

Contact our friendly team by telephone or e-mail:

phone 01707 246100


There is usually no need to visit our offices because we can arrange appointments by telephone and video calls. You can also meet with a lawyer at our Hertfordshire office, if you prefer.