Disagreements After a Death

The process of administering an estate after a death is not always straightforward. In some cases there are disagreements between executors or family members about how assets should be dealt with.

When there is a dispute about money or property during the probate process, this is called contentious probate.

When do you have the right to challenge a Will?

Not everyone has the right to challenge a Will or make an inheritance claim. Usually only those who were closest to the person who has died (such as close family members or people named in the Will) are able to do this.

It’s also important to understand that you cannot take legal action against a Will simply because you don’t agree with it. There are important legal processes and precedents to be navigated here and you will only be able to take legal action in two specific circumstances:

1. If you don’t believe the Will is valid

If you have evidence to show that a Will is invalid, you may be able to challenge it. This could be because it wasn’t properly witnessed, because the person who made the Will later revoked it, because the Will has been tampered with or because you believe it was made under undue influence.

2. If you believe you are entitled to claim under the Inheritance Act 1975

The Inheritance Act sets out the concept of reasonable provision. This means that, by law, individuals who have been financially supporting those closest to them must make reasonable financial provision for them in their Will.

If you are a spouse, child, cohabiting partner or former spouse of the person who has died (or if they were supporting you financially before they died for another reason) and you feel they have not adequately provided for you in their Will, you may be entitled to make an inheritance claim.

Rachel Roche
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It can be very difficult to know how to proceed after this kind of disagreement. If you’re involved in a contested situation about a Will, probate, an estate, a trust or property, our specialist team can help you find the best solution possible.

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What are the first steps in a dispute about an estate?

If you are involved in a dispute about money or property after someone has died, our advice would always be to seek specialist legal advice as soon as possible. An experienced solicitor will be able to advise you on what your rights are and whether legal action might be possible.

If you do decide to take legal action, your solicitor will assess all the circumstances and evidence involved in the matter to start putting a case together.

Most disputes are resolved before they go to court. Your solicitor will be able to support you through a mediation process with the other involved parties in order to come to a solution everyone can agree on.

If you’re not able to reach an agreement through a dispute resolution process, your solicitor will then help you prepare to go to court.

Disputes about trusts

A trust is a mechanism to manage assets on behalf of someone else. For example, someone who has died may have left instructions in their Will for money to be held in trust for family members who are underage or are unable to manage money themselves.

Disagreements can sometimes arise over a trust. These disputes are often related to how the trust is being managed or how money is being distributed.

If you have any concerns about how a trust is being managed, or if you are involved in a dispute, the best course of action is to seek specialist legal advice.

Your solicitor will be able to assess the situation and advise on how you may be able to proceed. This could involve seeking to remove or replace a trustee.


Talk to our team about challenging a will

If you’re involved in a contested situation about a Will, probate, an estate, a trust or property, our specialist team can help you find the best solution possible.

Download our free guide

You can read about all the reasons a Will could be invalid in our ebook, Challenging a Will.

Frequently asked questions about contested probate

It can be very difficult to know how to proceed after this kind of disagreement. This is why we’ve put together these FAQs to help you know what to expect. Please get in touch with us if you have any questions about a disagreement after a death and our contested probate solicitors will be more than happy to help you. 


Contested Probate Fees

For much of the work we undertake here at Roche Legal, we can offer a fixed fee. For non-fixed fee work, we charge based on our time spent on your matter in accordance with our hourly rates applicable at the time.

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Dealing with legal issues can be confusing and stressful. We understand this, and we’re always on hand to untangle jargon and offer support.