Third party claims against estates

Claims against estates are not limited to probate claims. Ashfords' Disputed Wills, Trusts and Estates Team also assist businesses, professionals and other third parties on any claim against deceased persons' estates.

The most common claims against deceased persons' estates are debt claims and breach of contract claims.

The general rule is that the personal representatives step into the shoes of the deceased in relation to claims made by or against the deceased during his/her lifetime. If the claim is unresolved on death therefore the Court proceedings must be issued against the personal representatives. The claim is then pursued largely in the same way as it would have been had the deceased been alive - although there are often evidential issues as of course a key witness is no longer around to give evidence in response to the claim.

If there is a will the executors can be named as parties with effect from the date of death. If there is no will the personal representatives are only appointed by the Grant of Letters of Administration once it is issued by the Probate Registry. Unlike in the case of executors appointed under the will the personal representatives on an intestacy have no automatic authority to take part in legal proceedings before the grant is issued. In that case therefore, where no grant has yet been issued, an application must be made to court seeking an order appointing a person to represent the estate in the proceedings.

You can find out whether a Grant of Letters of Administration has been obtained by undertaking a search at the Probate Registry. We offer a fixed fee service for applying for a search at the Probate Registry. If you would like to instruct us in this regard, please click here to complete our instruction form and a member of our Disputed Wills andTrusts Team will be in contact with you to set up the search.

If you would like advice on challenging a will, or indeed on any other inheritance or trust dispute, please contact our Disputed Wills and Trusts Team by telephone on +44 (0)1884 203 018 or FREEPHONE 0800 0931336 or by email

Key Contact

Robert Horsey

Partner and Location Head, Tiverton

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+44 (0)800 0931336

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