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United Kingdom > North West > Private client > Contentious trusts and probate > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

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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
    • Simon Morris - Brabners LLP
    • Jonny Scholes - Pannone Corporate LLP

Who Represents Who

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Mills & Reeve LLP is a ‘strong firm that has a high profile in the region and regularly attracts a steady flow of good-quality instructions’. Key figures include the ‘careful, authoritative and intelligentSimon Pedley, who has ‘plenty of experience and a great legal brain’. It is a national firm with a strong private client offering and a specialist contentious trust and probate team that regularly acts for high net-worth-individuals. The team deals with disputes concerning the validity of wills, actions involving trustees and executors, claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act and related claims over lifetime transactions. In addition it acts for a number of charities involved in contested legacy matters. Simon Pedley led the advice to the main beneficiary of the penultimate will of the late Eva Burns in proceedings against his brother, the beneficiary under the last will, concerning the deceased’s alleged lack of capacity when she made her will. The case was the first time in many years that the Court of Appeal looked at both testamentary capacity/ want of knowledge and approval in the same case. The team is also skilled at handling trust disputes both for onshore and offshore individuals and institutions.

Pannone Corporate LLP has a ‘strong reputation in the market; it provides an excellent service and has a very responsive team that handles high-value and complex work’. Nicola Marchant heads the team and is known for her ‘strong client skills and clear advice; she quickly establishes an excellent rapport with clients and combines a good academic knowledge with a very personable manner’. Clients also appreciate her STEP accreditation. Senior associate Jonny Scholes is ‘extremely knowledgeable’ and has developed a broad range of experience in acting in disputes for executors, beneficiaries and trustees. The team continues to handle high-value estates/trusts matters for clients nationally and for clients based abroad. It has been busy wuth Inheritance Act claims and has an increasing focus on capacity claims both in the context of will drafting and life time gifts.

At Addleshaw GoddardYorke Eaton specialises in dealing with complex trust issues and advises trustees on their duties and liabilities, in particular where business assets are involved. He has extensive contentious trusts and estates experience and routinely acts in high-value and complex disputes concerning family trusts and landed estates. The practice also leverages expertise of other departments, including its professional negligence, partnership and civil fraud units; as a result it is well placed to handle cross-border trust litigation. It also has a growing practice acting for charities in the defence of substantial claims under the 1975 Act. Highlights included defending the son of the deceased in one of the largest 1975 Act claims ever to go to trial, which involved an estate valued at approximately £10m.

Senior associate Simon Morris at Brabners LLP is ‘a first-class lawyer who has a very sound grasp of very complex and convoluted facts, together with a good knowledge of the law’. Morris has been acting for executors in contested claims in excess of £5m against an estate, and has been advising the executors in relation to various breaches of contract, misrepresentation, constructive trust and promissory estoppel issues against the estate. The ‘very professional and efficientPaul Lunt has been advising the executors in relation to competing inheritance act claims where the property is jointly owned between a co-habiting partner of the deceased and the minor dependent against the beneficial interest claims of the estate.

The ‘extremely helpful’ Chris Gee and associate Daniel Williams are both singled out for praise at DWF as having a ‘very good grasp of the law and are very good at providing support to clients’. The team provides a ‘good all-round service’ that covers complex litigation and mediation relating to wills, probate, powers of attorney and Inheritance Act cases. In addition it is skilled at advising professional trustees and trust companies on the administration of trusts and on fraud cases involving trusts. Chris King is also recommended. The group continues to act for a Jersey trust in relation to a £10m professional negligence claim.

Mark Deverell and Christine Thornley are the key contacts at Gorvins Solicitors. The strong private client practice, which regularly works with its litigation, corporate and commercial teams, advises on issues surrounding fraudulent will cases, invalid wills where there are issues of mental capacity at the time of writing the will, problems with executors and trustees, as well as on issues affecting the property and assets of the estate where these assets had been given away before death. Senior associate Michael Smoult is another key figure.

The ‘vastly experienced and pragmaticAndrew Weinberg heads the team at Kuit Steinart Levy LLP, which ‘demonstrates a high level of skill and competency’. Other recommended individuals in the team include the ‘very knowledgeableGraham Wood and Cyril Rose. Rose routinely advises clients requiring assistance in the preparation of Halachic wills and has handled disputed wills and estates matters in addition to 1975 Act claims. Clients of the practice are predominantly owner-managed businesses and their owners, family businesses and very high-net-worth individuals.

Helen Thompson leads the ‘knowledgeable and experienced’ team at Myerson Solicitors LLP, which includes Adam Maher, who has been acting for family members wishing to contest wills under the Inheritance Act or for reasons of capacity or undue influence. The ‘responsive, effective and pragmaticBen Wilson is also recommended. In a complex matter the team advised on a claim by beneficiaries against a firm of solicitors concerning the negligent drafting of wills. The combined value of the estates is in excess of £1.7m.

Shoosmiths LLP recently recruited the ‘first-classAdam Draper from the Sheffield office of Irwin Mitchell; he is rated for his ‘good practical judgement and tactical awareness, and is excellent at handling clients in highly emotional situations’. The team is currently acting for the claimants in a claim concerning the interpretation/rectification of a will, which involved a professional negligence claim against the firm of solicitors that drafted the will.

Slater Heelis LLP has a ‘well-established’ team under the leadership of Helen Brown, who is an ‘experienced and tough litigator with excellent client-care skills’. The practice mainly advises high-net-worth individuals, executors and trustees on matters such as invalid wills, undue influence and promissory/proprietary estoppel. It also advises on complex trusts, insolvent estates and the removal of trustees.

Aaron & Partners LLP provides ‘thorough advice’. The well-regarded Clive Pointon heads the team, which includes the ‘very ableJames Wallace, who has been promoted to partner.

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