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Brodies LLPprovides an excellent service in a highly professional and straightforward manner’. The practice covers a broad spectrum of contentious trust and probate work, including handling applications to the Court of Session to seek clarification in the law regarding powers of attorney; incapacity applications; disputes over the validity of wills; and the winding-up of estates. The ‘strong and approachable’ team also handles cohabitants’ rights and claims on death. Recently, the practice represented an individual in a dispute arising from his capacities as executor and beneficiary under his late mother’s will. A number of large commercial institutions instruct the team to act on their behalf when appointed as executor. Team head Alan Barr is praised for his ‘exceptional knowledge and sensitive approach’. Susanne Beveridge is ‘a safe pair of hands’ who is ‘friendly and professional’ and ‘provides information in a timely manner’. ‘Professional and helpful’ managing associate Angela McCulloch is also recommended.

Morton Fraser has particular expertise in succession and tax planning work and the administration of trusts and estates. The team acts for executors and trustees, as well as beneficiaries of estates in disputes arising from the interpretation of wills and trusts, including testament forgery matters. Richard McMeeken heads the team, while Christian Melville left the firm to join Thorntons Law LLP.

Turcan Connell’s ‘superb’ team is a respected player in the market, providing ‘very good service’ and ‘calm, considered views’. The team is best known for its high-value contentious executry work, acting for pursuers and defenders alike. Recent work includes representing the defendant, who is the executor and a beneficiary of an estate, in an action by the deceased’s children to reduce the will on the grounds that the deceased’s signature was forged by the executor. The team also advises a large number of UK charities on the full spectrum of trust issues, including the interpretation of wills, and represents them in Sheriff Court and Court of Session proceedings. The ‘outstandingPeter Littlefield is ‘very pragmatic and comes up with sensible solutions’, with clients also praising his ‘engaging personality and honesty’. David Ogilvy heads the dispute resolution team.

Anderson Strathern represents beneficiaries and executors in Court of Session and Sheriff Court proceedings pertaining to a wide range of contentious executry matters. Recent work includes representing clients in will challenges, proving the tenor of a will and in actions for reduction of the disposition. John Peutherer heads the team, which includes director Alasdair Gillies, who joined the firm’s Glasgow office following the firm’s merger with Jeffrey Aitken. Gordon Frew has retired, and former practice head John Biggar is now a consultant.

The ‘extremely professional’ team at Gillespie Macandrew LLP is ‘very good’ at administering estates, often involving rural business and foreign assets, as well as dealing with the interpretation of wills and inheritance tax litigation, including negotiating tax settlements with the HMRC, and tax tribunal cases. Team head Agnes Mallon advised the beneficiary of an estate on reducing the will on the grounds of incapacity and undue influence, which included assistance with proving the tenor of a missing previous will benefitting the beneficiary. John Stirling is ‘utterly reliable, worldly-wise, insightful and level-headed’.

The ‘solid and well-respected’ team at Murray Beith Murrayprovides excellent service’ to beneficiaries and executors. Recently, the team advised Lord Nickson on the potential loss to his estate as a result of the early termination of the trust created in Lady Nickson’s will. Team head Carole Hope, who is noted for her ‘excellent relationship-management skills’, acted for a client in a court petition, claiming an improper administration of the deceased’s estate by the executors. The ‘efficient’ Andrew Paterson is also recommended.

Shepherd and Wedderburn acts for private individuals, as well as trustees and institutional clients such as high street banks, on a wide range of trust and executry disputes, including associated professional negligence actions and contentious private tax matters. Known for its cross-border work with a particular focus on matters under English Law, the team regularly advises on the removal of trustees from office, will interpretations and will validity matters. Other areas of expertise include negotiating the resolution of disputes between competing groups of beneficiaries and handling cases of potential negligence by executors. Elaine Brailsford advised executors on the distribution of an estate where the wishes of the deceased have been challenged, and assisted a residual beneficiary with a dispute over alleged debt. Alastair Frood handled a contentious will interpretation case. Practice head Christopher McGill attracts praise for his ‘high ethical standards’.

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