People Insights
Contact Us
Get in touch
Contact Us
Published On: September 18, 2015 | Blog | 0 comments

Inheritance disputes on the rise

Today’s Financial Times reports a sharp rise in the number of probate disputes heard by the High Court in 2014. The number of cases that reached the court in 2014 are almost a double that from the previous year. The Financial Times report reflects our experience that this is only the tip of the iceberg, in that only a very small proportion of contentious probate cases get to the court. Majority is settled long before they reach that stage.

Contentious probate is an area of law that may otherwise be described as inheritance disputes.  It covers disputes over validity of wills, claims for greater inheritance and disputes with those administering the estate (Personal Representatives called Executors or Administrators).

Much of the rise on claims stems from the rise in property prices. Many of us have not provided sufficiently for our retirement and so rely on inheritance more.  For people in their 40s and 50s, expected to live much longer than their parents’ generation, inheritance is often the only way to make provision for themselves for their older days. For their children, inheritance is often the only way to step onto the property ladder at all.

Unfortunately, contentious probate is an area of law which people find much harder to litigate on them own. Not only is the procedure very technical, but also the law is complex. Furthermore, most people do need support as if an argument over a legacy erupts when one is bereaved, old wounds can open up.  Arguments with close family become heated and the suffering and emotions that run high make it nearly impossible to sit down and have a sensible conversation. I once had a client who was embroiled in a dispute over inheritance with his brother. My client had a particular grudge against his brother which was somewhat disproportional to what had happened in the case.  He explained to me however that when they were little, their mum used to give them the shopping change, so they could buy sweets. The brother, being a few years older was in charge of the purse and kept most of the sweets. The brothers had not spoken about it for years.  Sadly the death of their mother opened up the Pandora box. “Those sweets will cost him thousands of pounds today”, my client told me. Sadly, they did.

At Anthony Gold we have a dedicated team of experts specialising in this area of work. Our Contentious Probate team has been listed as leaders in the field in this years’ prestigious “Legal 500” – a client’s guide to the best law firms.  We have experience of assisting clients embroiled in family disputes over inheritance.  We have a track record of thousands of cases resolved amicably at mediation, but also experience of winning cases fought right through to the High Court and the Court of Appeal.  If you have a query over your inheritance entitlement or are involved in a dispute with which you do not know what to do, give our team a call.

* Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*
  • A compassionate solicitor who considers all of her client’s concerns, and advises on the best way to resolve them, in or out of court.
  • Achieves settlements which are suitable for the individual circumstances incorporating compensation payments, the transfer of property and setting up trusts for children.
  • Completed the ACTAPS (Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists) Contentious Trusts and Probate course – the only specialist training course for this area of law.
  • Qualified Commercial and Civil Mediator, accredited by the ADR Group.
  • Recommended in The Legal 500 ‘Clare Kelly is exceptionally knowledgeable and extremely efficient, and is a good negotiator who is sensitive to her clients’ needs and finds practical solutions’
  • ‘has a great eye for detail but can also identify the crux of the dispute’ – Legal 500 2019
  • Recommended by clients:
    “[Clare] has been absolutely wonderful – so lovely, extremely bright, and a rock when it came to getting us through the last two years.”
    “Clare, you are a star of the highest order!!”
    “It has been a difficult and stressful case and you have dealt with it efficiently and skilfully and with warmth and sensitivity”.
    “Your skill, your expertise, in matters concerning Wills is I believe, second to none. Both myself and my wife will be forever in your debt….Saying thank you just doesn’t cover the gratitude and respect we both have for you.”


Get in touch

Call, email or use a contact form – whichever suits you. We’ll let you know the best person to help you get started.

Call or Email

020 7940 4060

Contact Us

How can we help?

Request a Call Back

How can we help?