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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > North West > Private client > Contentious trusts and probate > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

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Index of tables

  1. Contentious trusts and probate
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • David Bondt - JMW Solicitors LLP
    • Simon Morris - Brabners LLP
    • Jonny Scholes - Pannone Corporate LLP

Who Represents Who

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The team at Mills & Reeve LLP  provides ‘both cutting edge and outstanding advice’. Simon Pedley  and associate Ben Reeves  are both ‘excellent’. The ‘efficient and effective team’ deals with disputes about the validity of wills, actions involving trustees and executors as well as claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. Other areas of expertise include advising on other claims about lifetime transactions and advising charities involved in contested legacy matters. The team is adept at handling substantial trust disputes both for onshore and offshore individuals and institutions. It is continuing to advise the executors of the Summers Estate about a very complicated handwritten homemade will. The first issue was whether the will was valid. The two remaining areas of dispute relate to difficult questions of interpretation about the various legacies and also determining the correct recipients of the residuary estate. In another substantial matter it is acting for the recently appointed independent administrator of the estate of the late Mrs. Cadogan who was appointed by court order during bitter litigation between the two former executors. The team is also acting for an Oxbridge College in defending a potential claim by relatives of the deceased.

The team at Pannone Corporate LLP  provides ‘exceptional levels of service’ and ‘detailed and thorough advice at all times’. The ‘extremely helpful and tenacious’ Nicola Marchant heads the practice and provides ‘concise advice that is solution focused; she is both measured and objective in her approach to resolving difficulties’. Senior associate Jonny Scholes is ‘excellent; he is quick to respond and is a real team player’. The practice represents clients both nationally and from abroad on a wide range of issues including contested claims to replace trustees and executors as well as advising on the rectification of trust deeds. Other key areas of expertise include advising on disputes between cohabitees of property about the correct beneficial ownership of property and on applications to court for guidance/directions by trustees and executors. Director Jane Shaw  joined the team from Hill Dickinson LLP .

Addleshaw Goddard  ‘offers a reliable service in contentious trusts and probate matters. The team makes sure that all the aspects of a case are covered to get the best result possible. It is an excellent choice in the North of England for trust and probate matters’. Yorke Eaton  is an ‘experienced private client lawyer with exceptional client handling skills’. Eaton has extensive contentious trusts and estates experience especially in relation to high-value and complex family trusts and landed estates. He also has considerable expertise in multimillion-pound Beddoe applications, variation of Trust Act applications and trusts disputes generally. The ‘efficient and conscientious’ Christopher Noel (a managing associate) ‘gets the job done’. The practice also regularly draws on the expertise of other departments such as the professional negligence, partnership and civil fraud units and as a result is well placed to handle cross-border litigation. It also has a growing practice in acting for charities in the defence of substantial claims under the 1975 Act.

At Brabners LLP  recommended partners include Jeff Lewis  and Paul Lunt who are based at the Manchester and Liverpool offices respectively. Senior associate Simon Morris  is also well-regarded. Morris has a ‘very sound grasp of very complex and convoluted facts together with a good knowledge of the applicable legal principles'. Morris recently advised executors in relation to claims for breach of contract, misrepresentation, constructive trust and promissory estoppel against an estate. In another matter he has been instrumental in resolving complex Inheritance Act claims where minors have been involved. The ‘excellent’ team covers all areas of commercial litigation with specialist expertise in contentious probate specifically on the validity of wills and trusts and on claims for the provision of dependents.

DWF  fields a ‘strong team with excellent industry knowledge’. The ‘very competent’ Chris Gee  and ‘hardworking and thorough’ senior associate Daniel Williams  ‘get a very good grasp of complicated situations and are both realistic in their advice and expectations’. Chris King regularly advises trustees and executors of estates in addition to acting for beneficiaries of trusts and estates and insolvency professionals. Associate Paul Maddock  ‘gives concise and accurate advice’. Its client base includes trustee companies, private banks and charitable trusts such as Hawksford Trustees Jersey and Rathbones Brothers plc as well as private individuals. Its work increasingly has an international and offshore dimension.

Gorvins Solicitors' private client practice routinely works with its litigation, corporate and commercial teams to help clients and is well placed to handle the full range of complex and high value matters. The group regularly advises on issues surrounding fraudulent wills, invalid wills where there are issues of mental capacity at the time of the writing of the will and on problems with executors and trustees. It also handles complex cases where a client leaves an estate but certain assets may have been transferred to other people before the deceased passed away. Mark Deverell and Christine Thornley  are key partners in the practice. Senior associate Michael Smoult  often advises on contentious estates, disputed wills and Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 claims.

Litigation partner Andrew Weinberg at Kuit Steinart Levy LLP  heads the team. Other key members of this specialist group include litigation solicitor Sharon Kelly . Head of tax and probate is the ‘excellent and highly experienced’ Graham Wood  and on the tax side Paul Bricknell regularly advises on contentious trust and estate matters, including inheritance tax issues. The team’s clients are predominantly owner-managed businesses and their owners, family businesses and very high-net-worth individuals. The team is skilled at advising on all aspects of large and complex disputed estates.

Myerson Solicitors LLP   is an ‘expanding firm with an increasing presence in this area’. It is one to watch. The team undertakes a large number of Inheritance Act cases together with complex trusts and private client litigation. Head of team Helen Thompson  ‘puts clients at ease and is bang up to date with the law’. The ‘experienced’ Adam Maher  'guides his clients through a notoriously difficult and technical area of law with skill. He has a knack of explaining difficult concepts in a way that clients find easy to follow’. Thompson has undertaken numerous contentious Court of Protection matters and along with senior solicitor John Lambe regularly advises on proprietary estoppel claims. The team has been retained on 150 active and complex contentious probate cases.

Shoosmiths LLP's  team has a particular specialism in contentious Court of Protection work and has been instructed in numerous multimillion-pound statutory will disputes. In an unusual case that was widely reported in the press the team was instructed in relation to a burial dispute. Ashes from a third party had been buried in the client’s plot and an application for exhumation was made. The application was successful and Daventry District Council was ordered to pay the costs. Adam Draper   is ‘extremely knowledgeable and negotiates well on his clients’ behalf’. He has a ‘good mix of technical knowledge and practical gumption’.

Helen Brown  heads the department at Slater Heelis LLP  and has a large caseload acting on behalf individuals and trustees. Brown advises on issues ranging from the validity of wills and undue influence to claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. Chris Bishop,  who advises high-net-worth individuals on complex and high-value trust and probate disputes, is ‘approachable and friendly, yet means business when he needs to’. The practice routinely advises on complex disputed wills and trusts as well as on undue influence claims which often involve family companies and businesses.

Clive Pointon   heads the department at Aaron & Partners LLP  and James Wallace leads the contentious probate part of the team. David Mann is ‘quick, efficient and a good communicator’. Wallace specialises in the resolution of disputes involving wills, trusts and estates. He has particular expertise in dealing with challenges to wills, often on the grounds of lack of testamentary capacity, undue influence or fraud. He also represents individuals and estates in relation to claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975.

JMW Solicitors LLP’s ‘contentious estates team is technically sound and offers good value for money for individuals, trustees and executors alike’. Senior associate David Bondt  is ‘approachable and friendly’ and garners praise for his ‘extensive knowledge and keen eye for detail’. Recent highlights include securing a settlement in a complex disputed will trust arising from a disagreement between its client (as the beneficiary of the life interest in a property under the trust) and the trustees regarding the terms of the trust and the obligations of the trustees.

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