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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 > Wales > Private client > Contentious trusts and probate > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

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

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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'Arguably the best Welsh firm for contentious trusts and probate matters', Hugh James continues to pick up a significant volume of work, 'including taking on, and excelling at, high-net-worth and cross border matters'. 'A natural and dynamic leader', team head Roman Kubiak 'really understands his clients and their complex problems, and is able to deliver effective strategies which they understand'. The 'very tenacious' Kubiak excels at handling high-value cross border matters and recently represented a director and wife of the settlor in relation to trusts based in Isle of Man and British Virgin Islands with underlying companies registered in Montenegro. The 'hugely respected' Matthew Evans heads the firm's wealth management team and has a particular focus on handling complex agricultural and proprietary estoppel cases. In spite of his relatively junior status, solicitor Vlad MacDonald-Munteanu  has already developed significant courtroom experience both on his own and also assisting Evans on high-value proprietary estoppel cases including the recent much publicised Davies v Davies case. The team was also bolstered in September 2017 by the arrival of senior associate Richard Adams  from Swansea based firm Goldstones.

Berry Smith has 'a strong and deserved reputation as one of the best firms in Wales for contentious trusts matters'. Benefiting from 'the breadth of talent and expertise of a large firm but with the service and costs of a small one', under the leadership of the 'hugely impressive' Iwan Doull, 'no trust dispute, inheritance claim or Court of Protection dispute is too big or complex for the team to handle'. Doull 'takes strong personal interest in all his cases and has a hugely impressive - almost encyclopaedic - mastery of his brief'. The 'ferociously bright' Simon Care 'gets to the essentials of a case very quickly and never misses a trick'. Care is also praised for his 'solutions-oriented approach and realism about what can be achieved within the confines of a case'. 

'A very credible outfit in the Cardiff market for contentious trusts and probate matters', Howells Solicitors has an 'historic strength in this area of work but appears to be strengthening with a growing caseload'. 'Highly regarded among the south Wales private client community', team head Laith Khatib 'achieves excellent results for his clients' across a range of contentious probate matters including representing both claimants and defendants on cases involving will validity. Khatib is well regarded for his 'dealings with opponents but is also unfailingly polite and courteous'. Active on both the non-contentious and contentious front, the 'very approachable' Paul Lindsey 'has always been able to strike a perfect balance between handling matters from the straightforward, to the very complex, while maintaining an unrivalled level of client care'. As well as handling claims under The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 Act, Lindsey also advises clients in connection with contentious Court of Protection matters and trust disputes.

Led by the 'excellent' Simon Thomas, one of only four full members of the Association of Contentious Trusts and Probate Specialists in Wales, Hutchinson Thomas is 'very well regarded in the market' and as well as direct client instructions, also regularly receives referrals from a large number of professionals. Thomas has experience across a wide range of cases and is well thought of in the industry, as is underscored by the fact that he has being appointed by the High Court on numerous occasions to act as a neutral personal representative of a deceased’s estate where there is litigation concerning that estate. Recent highlights include acting for a beneficiary of a will which had subsequently been lost in the successful High Court application to have the will reconstructed to reflect its original terms. 'Excellent' litigator Peter Morgan also has considerable contentious probate expertise.

Headed by Richard Howells from the firm's Carmarthen office, JCP Solicitors has a strong track record across the gamut of contentious trusts and probate matters including disputes over the validity of wills, proprietary estoppel cases, claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975, and claims against executors and trustees. Other key figures include Rory Hutchings, who as head of the rural practice handles contentious work for farming clients; and associate Rachel Morris.

At Douglas-Jones Mercer, associate director Laura Alliss has developed a considerable amount of experience in her relatively short time since qualification in 2013 across a range of contentious trusts and probate matters. Recent matters have included acting in a claim against an estate for reason of lack of capacity, undue influence and lack of knowledge and approval when the testator used a telephone will service.

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