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The private client arena has not been immune to the looming shadow of Brexit. Private client firms have noted an increase in pre-nuptial agreements as wealthy individuals look to protect their assets as they are unsure what effect Brexit will have on them.

There remains an emphasis on non-adversarial options to resolve family disputes such as mediation and solicitor to solicitor negotiations. High-net-worth individuals looking to avoid the media spotlight are increasingly moving away from litigating in courts and there is a continued move towards FDR.

Couples who commence family law proceedings have to first undergo a mediation information assessment to decide if mediation could be a more suitable way of sorting out their problems. This has led to an increase in the number of firms building up their practices in mediation. Family firms are now seeking to adopt a more collaborative approach to settle family problems.

In a significant development in the London family market Newton Kearns opened at the start of 2018 with the two founding partners along with a consultant coming from Clintons.

Firms have noted an uptake in contentious trusts and probate matters. Due to the changes in the dynamics of the modern family this is also leading to more family disputes. Disputes concerning the testator’s capacity to enter into documents are on the rise.

On the charities front, the statutory inquiries into ‘Save the Children’ and ‘Oxfam’ are having an impact on other charities at board level in terms of how charities make decisions. Charities are now more frequently seeking advice on how to protect their actions from a legal perspective. Data protection is another area of concern among charities clients.

The appetite for investment in art and antiquities has not abated but funding volatility remains. Firms report a reluctance on the part of banks to offer loans to wealthy individuals on the basis of artwork being used as security. However banks are still keen to offer loans with agricultural land being used as security for these loans due to the development potential of land.

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