Contentious probate

Contentious Probate & Will Disputes

Denise Woodward

Denise Woodward

We are sad to announce the death of Denise Woodward, Consultant Solicitor, on 22nd April 2023.

Denise was a valued member of our Family Law Team and a hugely popular member of staff. Denise will be sorely missed by all her work colleagues and the legal fraternity in Chester and beyond.

Darlene Storrar, Managing Partner, says:

"Denise was an excellent Family Law Solicitor and a highly valued member of our team. Denise was dedicated to her work and her many clients and we will miss her enormously. Denise was always cheerful and engaging. Our thoughts are with her large supportive family at this very sad time."


Wills & Probate: Contentious Probate & Will Disputes

At Storrar Cowdry, we can help if there is a dispute relating to the administration of a deceased person’s estate.

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What is Contentious Probate?

Contentious probate is any dispute relating to the administration of a person's estate after their death.

The dispute could have emerged from you feeling that the Will didn’t leave you what you felt you deserved or were promised, or you may have developed concerns regarding the way in which the Will was made.

At Storrar Cowdry, our team of expert Wills and Probate solicitors can resolve disputes, such as:

  • The interpretation of the Will if this is unclear.
  • The validity of a Will.
  • The value of any assets involved.
  • Dealing with an executor/s who may have mismanaged the estate so far, including applications for the removal of an executor.
  • Disagreements between beneficiaries of the Will.
  • Contesting probate if there is no Will.

How do I know if the Will is valid?

There are a number of points that need to be complied with in order for a Will to be valid.

The Will has to have been made in writing, voluntarily and without influence from anyone else.

The person who wrote the Will must have been over the age of 18 at the time, have been of sound mind and have signed the Will in the presence of two witnesses. The two witnesses must have also signed the Will, in the presence of the person who created the Will.

What is the Inheritance Act 1975

The main piece of legislation used in cases involving Contentious Probate is the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

If the dispute is in relation to the Will not making sufficient financial provision for someone then this Act sets out who is entitled to claim.  A claim would be for what they might reasonably expect to inherit after a loved one has died.

There are strict time limits if you do wish to claim.  Any claim must be made within 6 months of the grant of probate or letters of administration if the deceased did not make a Will.

Our Dedicated and Knowledgeable Solicitors

If you wish to discuss your situation further with an expert solicitor please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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Louise Eccleston

Solicitor and Head of Private Client

Gillian Knowles

Solicitor and Partner

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if I can claim?

The best idea is to contact us and speak to one of our experts for advice of your individual circumstances.

In very general terms; however, under the Inheritance Act, you may be entitled to claim if you are a spouse of the deceased, a former spouse of the deceased (if you have not remarried), a partner who lived with the deceased for at least 2 years immediately before their death, a child (or person who was treated as a child) of the deceased, or someone who was supported financially by the deceased.

What would make a Will invalid?

These are some of the most common reasons a Will can be found to be invalid:

a) If the Will did not match the deceased’s wishes.
b) If there was a mistake of fact made in the writing of the Will.
c) If the deceased lacked capacity and didn’t fully understand the meaning of what was in the Will (for example if they were suffering from dementia).
d) If the Will was made under undue influence from another person.
e) If the Will was not executed properly.

What should I do if I think I have a claim?

You can contact one of our expert Wills and Probate Team for a confidential, no-obligation discussion to talk your situation through in more detail and find out if you have a claim.

How much will your service cost me?

We strive to make our costs as transparent as possible from the outset; therefore we have created a guide to estimate the fees you will likely need to pay.


Find out what our clients think about us.

"Thank you Louise for making this so easy during such a difficult time."

Private Client

"Louise Eccleston – very nice and made a hard process for us straight-forward and pleasant. Thank you."

Private Client

"A first class service in every respect."

Private Client

"Just to say a big thank you for all the work you have done in relation to the trust in George’s Will. We do appreciate it. Could not have done it without you "

Private Client

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