Defending Inheritance Claims

If you are a beneficiary of an inheritance and receive an inheritance claim against you, you should seek immediate legal advice.

If you can accurately prove that the claimant has no right to financial provision from a deceased individual’s estate, then it is possible to defend an Inheritance Act claim.

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Acting For A Defendant In Inheritance Disputes

Claims against the estate of someone who has died are typically on one of the following grounds: –

  • The Will was not signed or properly witnessed.
  • The Will is invalid – for example because the person making the Will didn’t have testamentary capacity, was subject to undue influence or made the Will as a result of lies being told about a different beneficiary (this is known by the strange phrase “Fraudulent Calumny”.
  • A claim can be made against an estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975.

Claims can be defended on a variety of grounds – firstly the allegations may, simply, be untrue. Just because a disappointed beneficiary says that a Will wasn’t property witnessed it does not necessarily mean that it wasn’t.

At Nicholson Jones Sutton we are often involved in defending claims such as these.


Use our contact form to message us below, or alternatively if you feel more comfortable, you can call us on

Our contentious probate solicitors can assist with resolving problems including:

We, can usually offer to act on a no win no fee service for Inheritance Act claims.

If you would like to discuss a matter or require some more information please contact us via phone or email to arrange a free no obligation consultation. 

What Our Customers Say

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First class service and customer care I cannot recommend Alex Gemmell highly enough. After my father passed away the executors of his Will failed to perform there duties and Alex supported me all the way through a very stressful experience removing the executors with a High Court order and replacing them with a professional and well respected solicitor. I will always be grateful for Alex; he turned a difficult situation around with his knowledge and dedicated professionalism.
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Thank you Stephen Lawson and Kay Clarke for all your support in our Contentious Probate matter. They both worked tirelessly for our family, getting the outcome duly deserved what felt like a mountain we were climbing they turned around. An year long case made easy knowing they had our backs and any questions we had they could answer no matter how small it seemed. We look forward to moving on as a family into 2024 knowing justice is served. Thank you so much.
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I have received your letter and would just like to thank you for your input. We would never of got the outcome we did if it wasn't for you in believing in me to ask for the £100,000 thank you from the bottom of my heart. I feel I can now move forward with my life and put this whole ordeal behind me. Thank You
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I would highly recommend this company! A**** From the moment Mr Lawson took on our case, he kept our family up to date with any outcome from our case which has now been resolved. With his hard work really did pay off. I personally can’t thank him enough! He really does know what he is talking about, it really made everything so less stressful. Thank you again. Rebecca
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We thank Stephen & Kay for all your hard work and support in the case. Without both of you we'd never of got to this point and we're so pleased this case is now resolved. I'm sure Mum & Dad would of been pleased to know that we did the right thing and won. .

Inheritance Disputes - Tips

How we can help you

Our Inheritance Disputes Team can help with the following aspects:

  • You have been left out of the Will
  • Acting for a defendant in a Inheritance Disputes
  • Your entitlement under the Will is not what you expected
  • Your financial reliability on the deceased has not been taken into account
  • An informal agreement has not been honoured
  • The deceased had capacity issues at the time the Will was made
  • Beneficiary disputes
  • How to locate a Will
  • You have a belief fraud has taken place
  • Issues with the Executors of the Will

Defending Inheritance Act Claims Latest Blogs


For your probate and related legal issues, simply ask NJS

Will FAQs

For any questions we may be able to answer, discover our FAQs section.

Adele Whittle

Director & Head of Strategy and Development

Adele is a qualified solicitor with over 20 years experience working in the legal sector, predominantly within Litigation.

Adele joined the firm in March 2021 and is the member of the management team responsible for the firms strategy, including the growth of a number of key areas of legal practice, heading up the Housing Disrepair and Probate Teams. She also has a keen interest in technology, in particular automation, and will be working on optimising the firm’s processes.

In her spare time Adele enjoys walking the family cockapoo, watching her son play sport, travelling to new places and is obsessed with all things interiors!

Stephen Lawson

Head of Contentious Probate
Chair of the Law Society Wills and Equity Committee

Stephen is a tenacious, dedicated lawyer who qualified as a Solicitor in 1984, since that time he has spent his time successfully fighting for the rights of his clients. Stephen is a specialist litigator who undertakes traditional “Chancery” work including Inheritance, wills, Probate and Trust disputes, Inheritance Professional Negligence claims, disputes about land and Court of Protection work.

He works hard to resolve disputes in the most economic and appropriate way for clients and is often involved settling disputes at a mediation.

Through his work on national committees Stephen regularly deals with leading practitioners, solicitors, counsel and experts throughout the country.

Stephen’s more complex cases have often attracted national press coverage and he is regularly invited to present lectures on a nationwide basis to other lawyers.

Stephen is a current Chair of the Law Society Wills & Equity Committee, The Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners (STEP) and the Association of Contentious Trusts & Probate Specialists (ACTAPS).


He is a legal author having written (with Frost and Jacoby) the book Testamentary Capacity.  He also updated the chapter on Testamentary capacity for the Law Society in their book Assessment of Mental Capacity – 5th edition.

Anthony Reed


Anthony completed his Legal Practice Certificate (LPC) at the College of Law in 2007. He qualified as a Solicitor in 2013 and now specialises in Contentious Probate claims.

Anthony has around 5 years experience of dealing with Contentious Probate matters Including claims for reasonable financial provision under the Inheritance (Provision For Family and Dependants) Act 1975, Challenges to the Validity of a Will, Claims against Executors for Breach of Trust, Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Devastavit.

In his spare time Anthony enjoys travelling, playing golf and bowls, and walking.

Catherine Ousey


Catherine completed her law degree at the Nottingham Trent University and the Legal Practice Course at the Manchester Metropolitan University. She qualified as a Solicitor in 2004 and joined the firm in 2014.

 Catherine has specialised in civil litigation since qualifying. She now specialises in Contentious Probate including financial provision claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 and Will validity claims.

 In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, and watching rugby league.


Alex Gemmell


Alex completed his law degree at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth and the Legal Practice Course (LPC) at the College of Law (Chester). He qualified as a solicitor in 2004.

Alex has specialised in litigation since qualifying running cases from initial letters of claim to Trial and subsequent appeals. He now specialises in Contentious Probate with a particular interest in claims for reasonable financial provision under the Inheritance (Provision For Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

In his spare time, Alex enjoys spending time with his family, rugby, golf, reading and travelling.

Nicola Williams

Litigation Executive

Nicola has more than 22 years claims handling experience, most recently 12 years of civil litigation experience, acting for clients across numerous legal areas, however her current focus is Contentious Probate.

Nicola’s priority is to represent her clients with the highest level of support and detail giving clarity and guidance with a professional approach and thrives on ensuring all claims are dealt within the client’s best interests.

In her spare time, she enjoys running, particularly Trails and Parkrun, she has completed Ultramarathons.

She also enjoys walking, listening to music, cooking, reading & spending time with her daughter.

Joel Wattis

Probate Assistant

Joel graduated from Nottingham Law School in 2020, with particular emphasis on International Law during his final year. During his time at University, he also undertook Pro Bono work assisting clients in various contractual and tortious issues.

Joining the firm in May 2022, Joel originally started working on the New Business Team, dealing with all incoming claims, before transferring to Contentious Probate in January 2023.

In his role within the department, Joel is tasked with dealing with all incoming contentious probate enquiries and discussing each claim in depth with every client with utmost care and clarity, ensuring each client receives the best assistance and guidance possible.


In his spare time, Joel enjoys all things sport and fitness, and is also an avid historian.

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