Disputed Wills and Trusts

Our expert Personal Disputes team are experiencing in dealing with a wide range of disputes relating to wills and trusts.

Disputed wills

Our expert Personal Disputes lawyers are experiencing in advising clients on the most effective ways of disputing a will. We understand that speaking up and challenging a will, particularly when it affects other family members and/or friends can be daunting. We will help you understand all aspects of the process and provide clear advice on whether you have grounds for pursuing the issue and your chances of success.

There are a variety of reasons why you might suspect that a will should be challenged, including:

  • The will was not executed properly – for example, because it was not witnessed or signed by the Testator – the person who made the will
  • The Testator was forced, coerced or pressured into making or changing the will – this is called ‘undue influence’
  • The will was made through fraud or forgery – for example, the will was made by someone pretending to be the Testator
  • The Testator lacked capacity to make a will – for example, they were suffering from illness such as Alzheimer’s
  • You believe the Testator made a later will that supersedes the one currently being used
  • You believe the will does not reflect the Testator’s true wishes and they did not know or approve of the will’s contents – for example, the person writing the will incorrectly recorded the Testator’s wishes
  • The will is ambiguous or unclear about the Testator’s true wishes
  • You think your inheritance is not sufficient or you were left out of someone’s will. For further information, see Inheritance disputes and Disputed wills.

Trust disputes

Our expert Personal Disputes lawyers are experienced in handling trust disputes – disagreements about the establishment or management of a trust, typically set up by someone as part of their will to provide for the needs of remaining relatives. Trust disputes can arise for a variety of reasons and can have serious consequences for the trust and its beneficiaries, so it is important that they are resolved as quickly and definitively as possible.

We can advise on all aspects of resolving a trust dispute, helping you to achieve an outcome as quickly and cost-efficiently as possible. We understand that these kinds of disputes can be unsettling, particularly since they can bring you into conflict with other family members and involve technical financial and legal language with which you may unfamiliar. We will take the time to explain the process and your options and advise on the likelihood of a positive outcome.

Trust disputes can arise when:

  • A trustee commits a breach of their duties or trust
  • A trustee neglects their duty to properly administer the trust
  • There are issues with the document setting out the trust
  • The person who set up the trust did not have the knowledge or capacity to do so
  • The person who set up the trust received negligent advice when setting up the trust
  • The trust documents don’t accurately reflect the person who set it up’s wishes
  • Beneficiaries do not feel that they have been provided with appropriate information or transparency

We are experienced in representing both trustees and trust beneficiaries in trust disputes, providing expert advice and guidance for these potentially complex and difficult disputes.

Intestacy disputes

At Coodes, our Personal Disputes team has extensive experience of advising on intestacy disputes, helping clients to reach a resolution as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. We understand that intestacy disputes can be upsetting and potentially divisive within families and we always try to achieve a resolution with as little stress and discord as possible, while robustly asserting your case and working towards a positive outcome for you/

Intestacy is a legal term for when a person has died either without leaving a will or where their will is invalid. These cases can be very confusing and worrying for their family – and underline the importance of preparing a will, even when you believe your estate is straightforward.

In cases of intestacy, it is a law called the Rules of Intestacy that will decide what happens to the deceased’s estate. This is true regardless of the family’s personal circumstances, or anything the deceased may have promised to certain individuals, what they might have wanted or what anyone thinks might have been their intention.

Intestacy throws up a wide range of issues and these can land heavily on the surviving relatives and, in some cases, lead to significant discord. We can advise on all of intestacy-related matters and help you to achieve a resolution. Common intestacy-related issues include:

  • Who should administer the estate – the deceased’s next of kin are entitled to apply to become Administrators on a first-come-first-served basis
  • How the Administrators are dealing with the estate
  • Unmarried partners who have not been provided for – the Rules of Intestacy state that only spouses and civil partners can inherit
  • Children or stepchildren who have not been provided for – children may inherit under the Rules of Intestacy but usually only if the estate is over a certain amount. Stepchildren cannot inherit anything
  • Estranged family members who have inherited the estate – for example, an estranged spouse to whom the deceased was still married when they died
  • Funeral disputes – we also handle many disputes involving who manages and decides on the format of the funeral
  • DNA testing – we deal with many disputes where the relationship to the deceased is in dispute.


Melanie Grose

Head of Personal Disputes

Ben Sidgwick


Jenny Carter


Jodie Walmsley

Litigation Executive

Poppy Pain


Key contact

Melanie Grose

Head of Personal Disputes

Get in touch

Call us on 0800 328 3282, or complete the form below and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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