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Inheritance disputes

If you’ve been left out of a will, or you feel the will did not make reasonable financial provision for you, you may be able to claim under the Inheritance Act.

The death of a loved one is always traumatic. The impact can be particularly distressing if you were receiving or are in need of financial support from the deceased and no, or insufficient, financial provision is made for you under their will.

How we can help

Whilst individuals are generally free to leave their property and belongings to anyone they choose, in some cases, you can dispute a will. One way of disputing a will is by claiming it is not valid. Click here to go to our page which explains challenging a will in this way.

However, certain categories of people can also dispute a will which does not leave them enough money. This type of will claim is referred to as an Inheritance Claim. It is different to disputing the validity of a will. Instead you ask the Court to vary it to give you a share or a larger share of the money. The rules for making an Inheritance Claim come from the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (“the Inheritance Act”).

We understand that contesting a will can be distressing, particularly if you would like to stay in touch with those involved in the dispute afterwards. Our specialist inheritance act solicitors have a depth of experience, working sensitively with our clients to ensure their claims are resolved on the best terms possible. We have successfully dealt with all manner of inheritance disputes, including many instances where our clients believed there was no prospect of reaching a settlement.

As all our solicitors belong to the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists, meaning you will be looked after by an expert who can guide you through the process step by step. We listen to your instructions carefully and arrange payment terms that suit your circumstances; in many cases we offer fixed fees, deferred payments, or no win, no fee terms.

Our inheritance disputes team regularly advise on:

  • inheritance act
  • inheritance act claims
  • settling inheritance act claims
  • defending an inheritance act claim
  • promise of inheritance

Meet the team

Our inheritance disputes experience

Our client successes

  • Case study
  • Inheritance disputes: A high bar for adult children

    3 min

    In Miles and another v Shearer (2021) EWHC 1000 (Ch) we represented the Defendant, Mrs Shearer, in a high value claim.

    Read the case study
  • Case study
  • Will construction dispute

    1 min

    Acting for a minor in respect of a Will with ambiguous terms.

    Read the case study
  • Case study
  • Will dispute

    3 min

    Challenging a Will that disinherits the family.

    Read the case study

    How we made a difference

    Frequently asked questions

    In order to challenge a will under the Inheritance Act, you must be within a group specified within the Inheritance Act. These include spouses and civil partners, children, certain co-habitees and anyone dependent on the deceased.

    If you are eligible to bring a claim, then you need to show that the will (or the intestacy rules) does not leave you sufficient money to pay for your needs. The Court does this by looking at which class of claimant you are and by reviewing all the facts of the case. Ultimately, each claim will be decided on its own merits.

    There is a time limit for bringing an Inheritance Claim – whilst the Court can extend this in certain circumstances, a claim must normally be commenced within six months of the date of the grant of probate. You should therefore obtain legal advice quickly if you believe you can bring a claim against the deceased’s estate.

    People worry about the cost of taking a will dispute to Court. However, depending on the facts of each case, the cost of undertaking initial investigations to establish the merits of your inheritance claim are much more modest. It will only be if the claim has sufficient merit that further costs will normally be incurred.

    Furthermore, most inheritance claims do not reach trial. Instead, most cases that have merit are settled by agreement before Court proceedings are commenced.

    We also regularly undertake inheritance claims under “no win, no fee” agreements.

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    If you have a question or need advice, please let us know how we can help.

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