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Contentious Probate Solicitors: Funding and settling a dispute

Contentious probate situations arise when disputes and conflicts arise regarding the distribution of a deceased person’s estate. Probate refers to the legal process of administering a person’s estate after their death. This includes the distribution of assets and settling any outstanding debts. While many probate cases proceed smoothly, there are instances where disagreements and conflicts emerge among family members, beneficiaries, or other interested parties.

Contentious probate situations can be complex as they involve legal, emotional, and financial considerations. They often require the assistance of specialist solicitors as they can advise on the best course of action and represent their clients’ interests throughout the process.

will solicitors

Contentious probate situations can be time-consuming and expensive, but seeking legal representation can help you reach a satisfactory resolution. At Annecto Legal, we can put you in touch with expert solicitors who can help you protect your rights and interests and achieve a positive outcome for your case. We can also assist by helping you to secure litigation funding for your case.

Unfortunately, because of the high costs of legal actions in the UK, we only assist in disputes which are valued at over £250,000, at the absolute minimum. We would like to be able to help on other claims, but we just don’t have access to any products that can assist on smaller matters.

Issues that lead to contentious probate situations

Contentious probate situations can arise as a result of a variety of issues and factors. Some of the most common issues we see that lead to disputes include the following:

Validity of the will – One of the primary sources of contention is the validity of the deceased person’s will. Disputes may arise if there are concerns about the authenticity of the document, allegations of forgery, or doubts regarding the testator’s mental capacity at the time of making the will. Family members or interested parties may challenge the will’s validity, leading to lengthy legal battles.

Interpretation of the will – Even when a will is deemed valid, disputes can still occur regarding the interpretation of its financial provisions. The language used in the will may be ambiguous or open to different interpretations. This can lead to disagreements among beneficiaries about their entitlements or the distribution of specific assets.

Inheritance Act claims – If a person was financially dependent on the deceased, some dependants can claim against a will that does not provide a reasonable amount of inheritance for them.

Family disputes and estrangement – Pre-existing family conflicts or strained relationships can intensify during the probate process. Long-standing resentments, disagreements, or misunderstandings may come to the surface, leading to disputes over the distribution of assets. In some cases, family members may feel entitled to a larger share of the estate or may contest the deceased person’s intentions due to strained relationships.

Executor or trustee disputes – Disagreements can also arise between executors or trustees appointed to administer the estate. Issues may include allegations of mismanagement, breach of fiduciary duty, or conflicts of interest. These disputes can delay the probate process and create further animosity among beneficiaries.

Allegations of undue influence – If there are suspicions that the deceased person was coerced, manipulated, or deceived into altering their will or estate plans, disputes can arise. This can lead to family members or beneficiaries seeking to challenge the legitimacy of the changes. This is especially relevant when it is believed that the deceased person lacked the mental capacity at that time.

These are just a few examples of the issues that can give rise to contentious probate situations. Each case is unique, and the specific circumstances surrounding the estate and the individuals involved can contribute to the complexity and type of claim. Seeking legal advice and guidance early on can help mitigate potential conflicts and ensure a smoother probate process.

Resolving contentious probate disputes

Contentious probate disputes can be resolved through various methods, depending on the nature of the conflict, the parties involved, and their willingness to reach a resolution. Here are some common approaches to resolving contentious probate disputes:

Negotiation and settlement: The parties can attempt to resolve contentious probate matters through direct negotiation. This may involve exchanging information, making offers and counteroffers, and attempting to find a mutually acceptable resolution.

Mediation: Parties to a contentious probate dispute can engage a neutral third party mediator to facilitate negotiations and help them reach a resolution. Mediation is a less formal and less expensive process than litigation, and it is often faster.

Arbitration: Parties to the dispute may agree to submit the dispute to binding arbitration. This is where a neutral arbitrator hears the evidence and issues a decision that is typically binding on both parties. Commercial arbitration can be less expensive and less time-consuming than litigation.

Litigation: If parties cannot come to an agreement using the above methods, they may be required to proceed through court action to settle their dispute. Litigation can be a more formal and more expensive process than the other methods, but it can be necessary in some cases.

It is important to note that a contentious probate claim must be made within 12 years from the date of death. There are also some circumstances in which the time limit for a contentious probate case can be shorter. Experienced contentious probate solicitor can help guide parties through the appropriate resolution method.

What is the role of contentious probate solicitors?

Contentious probate solicitors play a crucial role in assisting clients involved in disputes or conflicts related to probate matters. Their expertise lies in navigating the legal complexities surrounding contentious probate situations and advocating their clients’ rights and interests.

Contentious probate solicitors provide clients with expert legal advice tailored to their specific situation. They assess the merits of the case, explain the legal options available, and guide clients on the best course of action when bringing a claim. They help clients understand the relevant laws, regulations, and procedures governing probate disputes.

In addition to resolving disputes, contentious probate solicitors can provide guidance on the overall estate administration process. They assist executors, administrators, or trustees in fulfilling their legal duties and obligation. They can also assist with grant of probate documentation. They help navigate complex issues such as valuing assets, managing tax matters, and distributing assets in accordance with the court’s orders or settlement agreements.

Funding a contentious probate dispute

If you are pursuing an estate dispute claim, legal costs can escalate quickly. Therefore, it is essential that you are aware of the funding options that are available to you. Funding contentious probate dispute claims can be a complex process and will depend on the individual circumstances of the case. Listed below are some of the options for funding a contentious probate dispute claim.

  • Conditional fee agreements – Conditional fee agreements (CFAs), also known as ‘no win, no fee agreements’, are a type of funding arrangement that allows individuals to pursue a claim without paying legal fees upfront. Under a no win no fee basis, the law firm agrees to take on the case and only charges a fee if the case is successful. If the case is unsuccessful, the client does not have to pay these legal fees.
  •  Contingency fee agreement – Some contentious probate solicitors may offer to take on a contentious probate claim on a contingency fee basis. This means that they will only charge a fee if they are successful in securing a financial settlement or damages. The fee payable to the solicitor is usually a percentage of the amount recovered, and if the case is unsuccessful, the law firm will not charge a fee.
  • After the event insurance – After the event (ATE) insurance is a type of insurance that can provide cover for legal costs in the event that a case is unsuccessful. This option can be particularly useful in cases where the outcome is uncertain, and the costs of losing a case could be significant. ATE insurance is often used with conditional fee agreements and contingency fee agreements.
  • Third party litigation funding – In some cases, third party litigation funders may be willing to provide funding for a contentious probate claim in exchange for a percentage of any financial settlement or damages awarded. This option can be attractive for individuals who cannot afford to pay for legal fees themselves but have a strong case. ATE insurance is often used in conjunction with this type of funding.

How can Annecto Legal assist?

At Annecto Legal, we assist a range of clients in finding the right legal representation for their contentious probate disputes. We also ensure the appropriate litigation funding and insurance is put in place to ensure there are no financial barriers.

The preference is always to find a suitable settlement in a reasonable timeframe, but the best way to achieve this is to negotiate from a position of strength. Having the best contentious probate dispute solicitors and being fully funded gives you that strength and forces your opponent to the negotiating table.

If you are in the process of pursuing or defending a contentious probate dispute and want to find out whether you’ve got a claim, then contact Annecto Legal now. We can help find you the right contentious probate team, as well as managing your financial risks and sourcing funding for your legal fees.

Unfortunately, because of the high costs of legal actions in the UK, we only assist in disputes which are valued at over £250,000, at the absolute minimum. We would like to be able to help on other claims, but we just don’t have access to any products that can assist on smaller matters.

Get in touch

* Annecto Legal can only assist on case where the loss is in excess of £100,000, with the exception of data breach claims. If you need assistance on a claim worth over £100,000, please get in touch using our form or the details below:

Registered Office

Annecto Legal Ltd, 106 Kennedy Building, Murray Street, Manchester , M4 6HS

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71 Central Street, London, EC1V 8AB


0800 612 6587


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