Contentious trusts and probate

Our expert contentious trusts and probate solicitors deal with all types of trusts, Wills and inheritance disputes, including complex and high value cases.

This can be a confusing area of law to navigate and disagreements can escalate if not tackled early. We always aim to resolve matters out of court wherever possible, finding a solution promptly and avoiding a long-running legal case.

We have a proven track record of success in dealing effectively with a wide range of trusts and probate disputes. Our contentious trusts and probate team is led by Associate Director Sarah Thomsen, who is also the head of our civil litigation department. She has in excess of twenty years of experience in litigation and an exceptional understanding of trusts law. As a full member of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS), Sarah is a registered contentious trusts and probate specialist. She is supported by a knowledgeable team who handle a full range of contentious cases.

Our services offer outstanding value for money for highly specialist advice and robust representation. We will ensure that we keep in close contact with you throughout your time with us and that you can speak to us as needed to talk through developments.

To talk to us about contentious trusts and probate, call us on 01482 300 200, email us at or fill in our Free Online Enquiry and we will ring you back promptly. We have offices in Beverley, Hull and York and represent clients across the UK and abroad if the matter relates to English property and estates.

Our contentious trusts and probate services

We deal with all types of trusts disputes and probate issues, including:

  • Trusts disputes, including:
    • Breach of trust
    • Misuse of trust funds
    • Action to remove trustees
    • Disputes between trustees and/or beneficiaries
    • Representing trustees facing claims
    • Advice and representation when a trust deed is ambiguous
    • Allegations that the individual who set up the trust (the settlor) was unduly influenced into setting up the trust in the way that they did
    • Claims by those who are not trust beneficiaries but who would otherwise be able to claim support from an estate
  • Wills disputes, including:
    • Claiming that a Will is invalid, for example, because it was not correctly signed and witnessed
    • Disputes over interpretation of a Will
    • Lack of mental capacity on the part of the individual who made the Will (the testator)
    • The testator was subject to undue influence
    • The testator had a lack of knowledge or approval of the contents of the Will
    • Allegations of fraud or forgery
  • Probate disputes, including:
    • Action to remove executors for failing to properly administer the estate
    • Disputes between executors and/or beneficiaries
    • Requesting court directions for an estate administration
    • Applying for a court order for the production of documents, for example, a copy of the Will or an inventory of the deceased’s assets

Breach of trust claims

Trustees and executors have a range of duties to carry out when dealing with the administration of a trust or estate. Where errors are made that cause a loss to the trust fund or estate, they may be held personally liable.

We can advise you of the best way to approach a breach of trust case, looking pragmatically at what has happened and how matters can be resolved.

It may be necessary to remove a trustee or an estate executor or administrator. Alternatively, they could be prevented from taking certain action by way of negotiation or, where necessary, by asking the courts for an injunction.

Trustees, executors and administrators can also be required to compensate a trust or an estate for any losses they have caused.

We are often able to deal with matters without the need to go to court. It is generally preferable for those involved to resolve cases promptly and cost-effectively. This is often helpful in persuading them to reach a settlement without litigation.

Where those involved are family members, resolving matters in this way can be particularly advantageous as it can prevent relationships from becoming more acrimonious.

Wills disputes

We deal with a range of disputes relating to Wills, including:

  • Claims that a Will is invalid
  • Claims for financial support from an estate

Invalid Wills

A Will can be invalid for a range of reasons, such as a lack of understanding on the part of the person who made the Will or undue influence by someone who now stands to benefit from the Will.

If you believe that there is an issue with a Will, speak to us today. We will go through what has happened and give you an assessment of the strength of your case. We can take action to secure evidence in support of your claim, such as requesting a copy of the file of the solicitor who prepared the Will and statements from individuals with relevant information.

If a Will is declared invalid, then an earlier valid Will takes effect in its place. If there is no other Will, then the estate will pass to family members in accordance with the Rules of Intestacy.

Wills and financial claims against an estate

If you have not been provided for from an estate, either because you were not included in the Will or because there was no Will, you may be entitled to make a claim for reasonable financial provision from the estate.

The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act permits the following individuals to make a claim:

  • The deceased’s spouse or civil partner
  • A former spouse or civil partner who has not remarried
  • A child of the deceased or someone they treated as a child of the family
  • A cohabiting partner who had been living with the deceased for at least two years immediately before they died
  • Anyone being financially maintained by the deceased when they died

A spouse or civil partner can make a claim for a similar amount to that which they might have received in a divorce. All other individuals can only claim ‘reasonable financial provision’. In deciding on how much this is, the courts will look at issues such as the financial needs of the claimant and anyone else who might be entitled to funds, any physical or mental disabilities of anyone making a claim or entitled to funds and your financial resources.

Estate administration claims

If you have any other concerns about the way in which an estate is being administered, for example, regarding the conduct of the executors or administrators, issues over the valuation of estate assets or delays in the administration process, we can represent you in dealing with the matter.

It is often the case that our formal intervention is enough to prompt personal representatives to deal more effectively with the winding up of an estate. Where more robust action is necessary, we can discuss alternative dispute resolution or, as a last resort, court action.

Contentious trusts and probate solicitors

If you need advice and representation in dealing with a trust or probate issue, contact us today and we will be pleased to help you.

Call us on 01482 300 200, email us at or fill in our Free Online Enquiry and we will call you back promptly. We have offices in Beverley, Hull and York and represent clients across the UK and abroad if the matter relates to English property and estates.

The content on this website is for information only and is not intended to provide specific legal advice to a particular case. Should you require legal advice in relation to your particular situation then please do not hesitate to contact us.

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