Contentious trusts and probate in North

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Clients instructing the team at Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP can benefit from the firm's extensive geographical reach, which allows the practice to effectively handle both local and international matters for individuals, corporate trustees, and insurance companies. Practice head Neil Long has strong experience of a wide range of trust and estate disputes, including Inheritance Act 1975 claims and contested Court of Protection applications. 'Outstanding' managing associate Richard Pike, a full member of the Association of Contentious Trust And Probate Specialists, is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Neil Long

Other key lawyers:

Richard Pike


They provide a broad range of legal services, offer real value for money and are exceptionally efficient.

Richard Pike is an outstanding associate. He is somebody whose judgement and experience I trust completely, as well as being down-to-earth and approachable.

Nothing fazes Neil Long. He relishes all new challenges with determination and vigour.

A really strong appreciation of clients’ needs.

Richard Pike is incredibly calm. He is a clever steady ship in the maelstrom of some rather heated litigation.

Neil Long is a very good practical lawyer.

Work highlights

  • Assisted the trustees of the PG Mallett Will Trust with a successful equitable mistake application.
  • Acted for the Womble Bond Dickinson Trust Corporation as trustee of the Procter Family Trusts in ongoing litigation.

Hay & Kilner

The team at Hay & Kilner has a particular focus on agricultural matters, frequently advising landowning clients on farming or related rural activities. The practice provides wide-ranging assistance, including challenging the validity of wills and  Court of Protection matters. Lucy Gray is a key contact.

Practice head(s):

Lucy Gray

Sintons LLP

The team at Sintons LLP works closely with the wider firm's disputes, private wealth, Court of Protection and agricultural departments, allowing it to provide clients a rounded service covering the full range of contentious trust and probate matters. Along with wills, administration and trust issues, the practice also handles domicile disputes, will rectification applications and relief from forfeiture applications. Key names to note are 'excellent' senior associate Emma Saunders, who leads the team, disputes expert Angus Ashman, and solicitor Emelie Vardon.

Practice head(s):

Emma Saunders

Other key lawyers:

Angus Ashman; Emelie Vardon


Very experienced in this area of work.

Emma Saunders is excellent. Knowledgeable, gives rational, objective advice, and is good fun to work with.

Emelie Vardon is an excellent communicator, a highly knowledgeable professional in her field, calm, understanding and determined.

They have great analytical and anticipatory skills, which gives me confidence in pursuance of my complicated case.

Sintons have adopted a logical and methodical approach throughout, based on establishing the key facts and providing clear and easily understood advice regarding the legal grounds on which a challenge could be made.

Emma Saunders has both an excellent grasp of the law and practice of the area – a real feel for it all – and an excellent manner with clients, who clearly trust her a great deal as a result.

Both Emelie Vardon and Emma Saunders have given pragmatic, honest advice and I feel very comfortable that they have the client’s interests at heart and will pursue matters in a robust and tenacious fashion.

Work highlights

  • Defending the beneficiary of a large agricultural estate against a primary claim of breach of contract to leave by will, and a secondary claim of proprietary estoppel.
  • Obtaining a judgement for a claimant under the Inheritance Act 1975.
  • Advising a beneficiary of a trust in relation to a multi-stranded claim for breach of trust by the professional trustees.

Ward Hadaway LLP

Jointly headed by high value claims specialist Martin Woodford and consultant Gaynor Jackson, who has a track record of work for charities, the team at Ward Hadaway handles the full range of work in this area, with clients frequently turning to the firm for advice on complex tax issues. Also notable at the practice is associate Joe Kelley, who acts on behalf of private individuals, families, trustees and charities in a wide range of complex disputes, including breach of trust claims, and testamentary capacity challenges.

Practice head(s):

Martin Woodford; Gaynor Jackson

Other key lawyers:

Joe Kelley


The firm’s overall level of service is outstanding and very competitively priced.

Gaynor Jackson’s knowledge in all areas of contentious probate, estate administration and taxation is outstanding and we are confident that we receive the best and most appropriate advice from her and from the team who support her.

Archers Law LLP

The team at Archers Law LLP works closely with the experienced wills and probate department to provide clients with strategic advice on a range of contentious matters, including wills disputes and power of attorney issues. Kenton Bazeley leads a growing team, which has benefited from the arrival of solicitor Hayley Bartram and the promotion of Helen Lyne to executive associate.

Practice head(s):

Kenton Bazeley


The team at Archers is very professional in every way. Their approach to customer service and satisfaction is exemplary.

I really can’t speak highly enough of both Natalie Wilson and Kenton Bazeley. I would absolutely recommend them and Archers without hesitation.


As well as advising executors on contentious administrations and acting for parties challenging wills, the team at Burnetts frequently makes applications to court to remove difficult executors, and runs Inheritance Act claims. Another key area of focus for the practice, led by the 'dynamic and capable' James Johnston, is assisting agribusiness clients with disputes, including proprietary estoppel cases. Also recommended is recently promoted associate Johnny Coulthard.

Practice head(s):

James Johnston

Other key lawyers:

Johnny Coulthard


This team, led by the dynamic and capable James Johnston, offers high quality advice and representation to clients.

Consistently achieve good results.

James Johnston is calm-headed, experienced and intelligent in his approach to litigation.

Johnny Coulthard is establishing a real niche for himself in this specialist sector.