Were you promised something from an estate that has not come to fruition or not what you expected?


Equitable claims are based on fairness and justice and the Court uses these and a number of other principles to decide claims brought before it.

In contentious probate, the types of equitable remedies that we seek tend to be brought alongside other types of claims, including claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 or when challenging the validity of a Will.

Have a question?

Speak to us today


What are the most common equitable claims in contentious probate?


Usually relates to property or land and a claim can be brought if there was a promise made, which was relied upon to their detriment.

For example, a son is promised that he would inherit the farm and so he works for many years for no wages, only to find that he inherits less than he was promised. Such a situation is unfair and the Court would consider the evidence and if proved, can make an order that the Farm is transferred to the son irrespective of what is in the Will. The Remedy for such claims is award the minimum equity to do justice to the successful claimant.


This type of claim often relates to family homes where the Deceased partner (spouse or cohabitee) is the legal owner and the survivor therefore has no rights to live there or to sell it. This type of claim often accompanies a claim for financial provision where a surviving partner is left out of a Will and so does not stand to inherit the property.

Many relationships are based on unspoken or informal arrangements between partners. Perhaps one goes out to work and the other stays at home with the children or perhaps one of them is named on the deeds and the mortgage but for some reason the other partner cannot be and so contributes a monthly amount towards that expense. In those situations it would be unfair for the partner who did not have the legal rights to be evicted or to lose the ability to stay in the family home.

Where there is no legal document defining the agreement, it can still be proved to the Court by providing evidence of the conduct of the parties to show that there was an agreement and therefore that the intention was that even though the legal documents (deeds/mortgage) showed only one name, that it was actually held equally between them. This demonstrates that constructive or ‘common intention’ trust has been created between the parties.

The available remedy for the Court in a situation where such a trust has arisen is for the relevant property or proceeds of sale to be available for the Claimant, rather than being comprised within the Deceased’s estate.

These types of claims and a claimant’s prospects of success are highly influenced by decisions in previous cases.

Therefore, it is important to seek legal advice on any equitable claim you may have to be able to formulate it properly and assess the merits of pursuing it.