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Will and Trust Disputes

Our team of specialist lawyers have a wealth of experience in resolving the most troublesome issues in trusts and estates, both in domestic and international cases.

Sectors and Services
Litigation

Lucinda Brown leads our team of experienced trust and estate dispute and contentious Court of Protection solicitors.  Our specialist lawyers cover London, the South East and East Anglia with offices in London, Reading, Cambridge and Southampton.  Contact us for a 30 minute free consultation.

Being involved in litigation after the death of a loved one could cause a deep family rift that cannot be repaired, even with time. We work with non-contentious colleagues to stress test wills and structures to try to avoid litigation, where possible. If the matter is contentious, we work closely with our clients to try to achieve an amicable solution before court proceedings are commenced.

For more information regarding our services contact us for a 30 minute free consultation.

Our Clients

We have experience in acting for executors, personal representatives, charities and individual beneficiaries as well as those who have been left out of a will.

We can advise on:

  • contesting a will;
  • charity legacy claims;
  • inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975;
  • proprietary estoppel claims;
  • removal of trustees or executors;
  • estate administration disputes;
  • financial abuse of the elderly;
  • concerns over lifetime gifts;
  • objections to the appointment of a deputy;
  • co-ownership disputes such as the division of chattels or collections and the division of land;
  • professional negligence;
  • overcharging by executors; and
  • farms and landed estate disputes.

 

  • 1 Contesting a will
    Will disputes by their very nature arise at a time of great stress and vulnerability for all involved.

    We try to resolve disputes without recourse to the court so as to avoid significant costs being incurred by all parties.

    We can advise on:

    • lack of mental capacity to make a will (testamentary capacity);
    • want of knowledge and approval;
    • undue influence;
    • fraudulent / forged wills;
    • improperly executed wills;
    • lost or destroyed wills;
    • negligently prepared wills;
    • interpretation, construction and rectification of wills; and
    • proprietary estoppel and constructive trust claims.

  • 2 Claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975
    If a person does not benefit under a will or in intestacy, it is possible to bring a claim under this legislation for reasonable financial provision.

    The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 – also known as the ‘Inheritance Act’ or ‘1975 Act’ – allows certain categories of people to make a claim against an estate on the basis they are financially dependent on the deceased, and the deceased’s will or intestacy does not make reasonable provision for them. We have experience in bringing and defending Inheritance Act claims and, regardless of which side we are on, we will work to achieve an agreed resolution, wherever possible.

     

  • 3 Proprietary estoppel claims
    If someone makes a promise (the promisor) to another person (the promisee) relating to property or land, and the promisor breaks that promise even though the promisee has acted upon it and suffered a loss as a result, a claim can be brought for that promise to be fulfilled.

    Often, it is a case of one person’s word against another and our experienced team can help guide you through the process and advise on the merits of the claim.  We have considerable experience in acting for farming families where this issue regularly arises.

     

  • 4 UK and international trust disputes
    We work closely with our private wealth colleagues and external advisors, such as off-shore lawyers, to achieve a seamless and complete offering.

    • bringing / defending claims to remove or replace trustees;
    • bringing / defending breach of trust actions;
    • seeking the court’s approval of trustees’ actions (Blessings and Beddoe applications);
    • applications to set aside transfers into / out of trust;
    • dealing with beneficiaries’ rights to information;
    • claims as to ownership of property (TLATA 1996);
    • obtaining clarity as to the meaning of the words of a trust;
    • applications to vary the terms of the trust under the Variations of Trusts Act 1958;
    • representing minors and unborn beneficiaries; and
    • trusts and divorce.

  • 5 Charity legacy
    Charities require specialist advice. We work closely with your Charities team to assist charities in achieving positive results. We aim to resolve most disputes, hopefully out of court, where possible, all the time being mindful of the compliance issues that face charities face, as well as their reputational concerns.

    We can advise on:

    • applications to challenge the validity of a will;
    • applications under the cy-prės doctrine for a charitable gift to pass in line with the settlor’s intentions; and
    • investigations into dubious lifetime gifts which have depleted the estate.

  • 6 Contentious Court of Protection
    Our team can assist whether you are the applicant or the recipient of a notice regarding an application having been made.

    We can advise on:

    • allegations of financial abuse during a person’s lifetime;
    • applications to remove an attorney;
    • objections to the appointment of a deputy;
    • seeking approval of lifetime gifts made by an attorney;
    • applications to the court for one-off decisions; and
    • challenging an application for a statutory will (a will made and approved by the court after someone has lost capacity)

    Our private wealth colleagues can assist in the less contentious matters such as applications to appoint a deputy and applications to make a statutory will.

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