Dealing with contentious probate cases can often require that extra level of expertise and support for your clients.



Drawing on our research and years of experience we have created the IDR Network, a free referral and support network.

The IDR Network or IDRN for short, has been designed to provide you with the latest information, support and training when it comes to dealing with inheritance disputes.

Along with step-by-step guidance and collaboration when referring clients for specialist representation.







In 2020 legacy gifts were valued at £3 billion per annum, the rise is set to continue and by 2030 UK charities are predicted to receive £5 billion in legacy income. Charitable legacies are more open to challenge than many others.

Disputes arise when family members contest a charitable donation in a Will when they believe they are not receiving what they are legally entitled to.

They can also stem from a belief that the testator was unduly influenced when making their Will or lacked mental capacity to make a Will, which if successful could render the entire Will invalid.

What we bring to your charity

We want to provide charities with legal assistance when facing contentious matters. We can assist Charities faced with family claims against the estate and advise on matters sensitively and tactfully to navigate the complicated issues, with an aim of reaching the best possible outcome for the Charity.

Inheritance disputes are nearly always factually,legally and emotionally complex and we understand the immense pressure these types of situations can bring. Our years of experience and specialist knowledge ensure that we can always provide a clear route forward for your charity.

We can also provide you and your team with bespoke support and training on contentious probate matters.


‘Charities are often apprehensive that they will be perceived negatively for accepting the gift and are often prepared to compromise with the family to their detriment.’

Hannah Brittain, Head of Charity Legacy IDR Law

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At a glance

Collaborative working

Tailored training

Top notch advice


The IDRN has been set up to support you and your clients.


‘As our referral network grew we could see that we needed to make everything we had to offer available to all of our referrers all of the time – the IDRN was a way of bringing together all the direct help to them in one place’

Martin Holdsworth, Founder IDR Law

IDRU, a ‘university’ style online learning platform, developed to provide internal ongoing training to our own team. We extend the offer to our IDRN members, find out more about our CPD training, webinars and much more.

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Recommended reading from the IDRN

Legacies left to UK charities under a will are an important source of income for charities. However the costs incurred in
administering the estate can often seem excessive and charity beneficiaries (particularly residuary ones) who have
concerns about the costs being charged by the PR, the solicitor acting as PR or acting on behalf of the executors of a will,
often can be left feeling like they have no control. In such circumstances however, charity legacy officers have various
methods available to them for challenging the costs of the solicitor.

Challenging fees of a Solicitor

The Basics

Legal costs in probate cases are governed by the non-contentious costs rules. Non-contentious costs are defined as
“monies payable for legal services in connection with non-contentious business”.
Probate is an example of non-contentious business, where a solicitor is acting a executor, or has been instructed by the
executor of a will, to administer the estate.

The solicitor’s costs must be fair and reasonable (CPR Part 44) and as with all areas of non-contentious business, a client or
a beneficiary who has concerns about the charges has a right to challenge those costs.


The Law Society and the SRA both have set standards they require solicitors to adhere to when dealing with estates and
beneficiaries, most importantly that beneficiaries ought to be given…


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The Act

The Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975, or “1975 Act” offers individuals, associated with the deceased, the
opportunity to bring about a claim against the estate where they feel they have not been ‘reasonably’ provided for or, left out
entirely under the terms of any Will that the Deceased made or the provisions of the Rules of Intestacy, where there is no valid Will
and the law prescribes who is to receive a Deceased persons estate.

The Act does not generally allow for the consideration of ‘fairness’ in respect to a will but rather the financial needs of the
individual making the claim. The Court, therefore, is not obliged to consider the deceased’s reasons for excluding an individual or
make any moral judgments, but rather it considers the balance of the need of the individual making the claim against the
interests of the other applicants under the Act alongside the beneficiaries of the Estate (whether that is under the terms of a Will
or the Rules of Intestacy).

What are the pitfalls & benefits of the 1975 Act?

We start by examining the types of eligible claimants, how their claims are considered by the Court and the benefits and pitfalls
associated with them.

Eligible Claimants – Pitfalls and Benefits

1. Claimant was financially maintained by the Deceased:
this Claimant must show that they were receiving a substantial contribution in money/or mone worth such as
housing towards from the Deceased. Essentially the aim is to put right a wrong created by the Deceased where he fails
to provide for someone who relies on him for financial support.

Benefit: is that people…

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There are strict time limits that apply to claims concerning wills, trusts and estates and Charities need to be aware of them so that they can take steps to protect their position when faced with disputes effecting their legacy income or should they be considering bringing a claim. There are different time limits in place depending on the nature of the claim which need to be considered carefully.

Claims disputing the validity of a will

Potential claims can arise when your Charity stands to inherit significantly under a will and particularly in circumstances where there is another previous will with terms

which were more favourable to the family members. Disputed will claims are ‘all or nothing claims’ where it will be decided that either the will is valid or it is not and the charitable legacy will stand or fall accordingly.

There is no time limit within which to bring a claim when challenging the validity of a will. However probate claims are often easier to bring before probate has been granted. Your Charity can protect its position by entering a caveat at the Probate Registry as soon as the Deceased has passed away, preventing probate being obtained whilst the claim is being investigated. This can be renewed every six months and means that the executor will not be able to collect in assets or distribute the estate whilst the caveat is in place. The caveat can be removed with the consent of the parties, for example…


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Find out more about the IDRN and watch our mini explainer film.

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