Contentious trusts and probate in South East

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

Leveraging support from the firm’s London office, Charles Russell Speechlys LLP is led by Guildford-based Duncan Elson, a reputed practitioner who frequently acts as an independent administrator, professional executor, and trustee in contentious estate matters. Oliver Auld splits his time between Guildford and London and is particularly proficient in challenging wills through the Inheritance Act. Rebecca Piper and Edward Birell are also based in Guildford, the former is a seasoned court of protection litigator, whereas the latter is knowledgeable of asset tracking and freezing injunctions.

Practice head(s):

Duncan Elson

Other key lawyers:

Oliver Auld; Rebecca Piper; Edward Birell; Katelyn Silver


‘This is one of the leading firms in this sector. They have excellent people in the team who have so much experience and expertise in this area.’

‘Practical and expert partners and senior associates at the top of the industry, supported by a deep bench of junior lawyers and trainees. They put together excellent and effective teams.’

‘The team has considerable strength in depth. It has a first-rate reputation in the industry; it attracts top quality clients and they have enviable relationships with all professional sectors.’

‘Duncan Elson has years of experience. He fights very hard for his client and knows this area of law backwards. Rebecca Piper is a talented lawyer, very good with clients and an excellent litigator.’

‘Duncan Elson has a justly deserved reputation for calm and sensible leadership on the most complex cases.’

‘Duncan Elson deals with heavyweight cases and leads the team with aplomb. A reassuring presence on the other side of cases.’

‘Edward Birrell is extremely knowledgeable, experienced and a pleasure to work with.’

‘Edward Birrell is an outstanding senior associate: user-friendly and commercial, he can really grasp the detail while still seeing the wood for the trees. A real delight to work with.’

Key clients

The Public Trustee of the Bailiwick of Guernsey

Work highlights

  • Acted for the Public Trustee of the Bailiwick of Guernsey in relation to losses to 5 Guernsey pension schemes in a number of proceedings dealing with a multi-jurisdictional asset base.
  • Acted for a farming family in respect of claims for proprietary estoppel, unjust enrichment and professional negligence in relation to development of farming land and declarations of trust.
  • Acted in a landed estate dispute between family members involving family trusts, corporate holdings, valuable chattels and land divisions.


Often working in conjunction with the firm’s non-contentious private client department, Cripps helms contentious trust and probate mandates for domestic and international high net worth individuals, entrepreneurs, and family businesses. ‘Top quality partner’  Philip Youdan leads the team, while the ‘outstanding’  Myles McIntosh oversees the firm’s private client practice. All of the individuals that have been mentioned are located in Tunbridge Wells.

Practice head(s):

Philip Youdan

Other key lawyers:

Myles McIntosh


‘A very experienced team who are highly regarded. Certainly, they are equal to any of their competitors.’

‘Cripps are a leading contentious trusts and probate practice in the South East.’

‘The team at Cripps has true expertise in the area of contentious trusts and probate work.’

‘Myles McIntosh is outstanding. From the initial interview it was clear there was going to be a pragmatic approach geared towards settlement with an understanding of the emotional/human element of our case.’

‘Myles McIntosh provided wise and measured counsel and most importantly delivered an excellent commercial result.’

‘I found Myles McIntosh to be approachable, down-to-earth and efficient.’

‘Philip Youdan was very friendly and professional. He gave clear advice which was easy to understand – excellent communication skills.’

‘Philip Youdan is a top-quality partner who achieves a lot for his clients and is always mindful of how to get to a commercial settlement.’

Work highlights

  • Acted for adult children in successfully concluding a substantial claim by a widow from a second marriage under the Inheritance Act.
  • Acted as an independent administrator with the purpose of protecting the assets of an estate pending the outcome of the legal dispute.
  • Acted for siblings in pursuing a claim against their brother concerning the legal and beneficial ownership of a number of high value properties, the titles for which are held in his sole name.

Freeths LLP

A ‘first-rate regional firm’ , Freeths LLP advises beneficiaries, executors, and trustees with challenging wills, family trusts and matters falling under the Inheritance Act. Head of the team, Sarah Foster, has a broad practice which encompasses claims against estates for financial provisions and the removal of executors and trustees. Sally Goodger is an ‘accomplished operator’ who often advises private clients acting as attorneys, deputies in addition to independent administrators. All of the individuals that have been mentioned are located in Oxford.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Foster

Other key lawyers:

Sally Goodger


‘Excellent advice. Very high-quality work. Extremely pragmatic’

‘Freeths is a first-rate regional firm in this area. They are frequently brought in as independent trustees and executors where there is irreconcilable conflict amongst the existing parties, which is testament to their experience and skill.’

‘Their vast knowledge means that they are well prepared for every difficult situation which might arise. The firm also has a very strong non-contentious team which is invaluable in supporting with tax and trust advice where, as is often the case, it is needed in a litigation context.’

‘Excellent combination of knowledge, judgment, and empathy.’

‘A tremendously strong team which interlinks seamlessly with the non-contentious experts in the firm such as the massively experienced Sarah Foster.’

‘Sally Goodger is excellent and a pleasure to work with.’

‘Sally Goodger brings a wealth of experience to the team, having particular aptitude for clients in the charity sector.’

‘Sarah Foster is both deeply experienced and direct and practical in her approach. Sally Goodger is hard-working and unflappable even in the most stressful situations.’

Work highlights

Irwin Mitchell

Irwin Mitchell assists clients with an array of contentious matters including professional negligence claims pertaining to defective trust instruments and wills. Paula James in Chichester is adept in trust and probate disputes with a multijurisdictional element, while Candy Stockton handles the day-to-day affairs of the teams newly founded Gatwick office. Samantha Ewing and Stephen Ireland are based in Chichester, the former often handles matters under the under the Inheritance Act, while the latter has been described as ‘highly knowledgeable.’

Practice head(s):

Paula James; Stephen Ireland; Candy Stockton

Other key lawyers:

Samantha Ewing; Margaret Windram


‘The team have wonderful interpersonal skills and keep me feeling like their most important client.’

‘The team’s expertise is evident in the way it prepares for mediations.’

‘IM is a national firm but has a local presence, giving practical advice backed by depth of knowledge and experience’.

‘I work with Candy Stockton who is approachable, kind and has a wealth of professional information and advice.’

‘Stephen Ireland is highly knowledgeable and has an excellent rapport with clients.’

‘Stephen Ireland brings a very experienced, balanced and commercially focused approach to cases. He is particularly pro-active when it comes to gathering evidence at an early stage, and always has the client’s wider interests to heart.’

‘Paula James and Samantha Ewing are technically very competent, pragmatic, and a pleasure to work with.’

Work highlights

Moore Barlow

Moore Barlow often acts for high-net worth clients with assets both in the UK and abroad. The team is led by ‘the first-class solicitor’  Scott Taylor who is often engaged in contentious matters involving claims of lack of testamentary capacity, undue influence, in addition to want of knowledge and approval. Lisa Green is also noted for her experience in high court litigation and mediation, she also caters to applications for the removal of executors and trustees. All of the individuals that have been mentioned are located in Guildford.

Practice head(s):

Scott Taylor

Other key lawyers:

Lisa Green; Emily Travell


‘Emily Travell is a good team player.’

‘The team are friendly, approachable, and efficient. There is a good range of lawyers at different levels of seniority, but all are specialised in this niche area of work, which is important.’

‘Moore Barlow has the client profile and business standards of a West End firm and is capable of handling high value trusts and probate disputes.’

‘The team are knowledgeable and considerate in their approach to cases and clients. This firm have been proactive and on the ball with the matters.’

‘Their ability to marshal the relevant issues quickly and efficiently, the practical and commercial approach to a case and attention and responsiveness to the client’s needs and risks make the team standout.’

‘Scott Taylor is an insightful and knowledgeable team leader. They have managed cases in which I have been instructed in a professional fashion, keeping me in the loop and remaining on top of issues which arise, either from the client, other side, or the court.’

‘Scott Taylor is a first-class solicitor who cares passionately about his clients and their cases and provides a stellar service in line with the best of the mid-ranking firms.’

‘Scott Taylor is an excellent partner, he is on the ball and very easy to work with.’

Key clients

Ms S H

Mr G

Work highlights

  • Advised Sheila Hirachand on an Inheritance Act claim for reasonable financial provision from her father’s estate.
  • Acted as a representative for a potential class of beneficiaries of an estate pursuant to an equivocal clause in a will.

Rothley Law

Rothley Law (formerly Shoosmiths LLP) is adept in the full spectrum of contentious private wealth, trust, and estate matters. The team is overseen by Mandeep Chima who advises claimants, defendants, and executors on proprietary estoppel claims in addition to the removal of executors. All named individuals are located in the Thames Valley.

Practice head(s):

Mandeep Chima

Other key lawyers:

Verity Hudson


‘Mandeep Chima is very pragmatic and a tireless hard worker.’

‘Mandeep Chima has great attention to detail and is willing to go the extra mile for clients.’

‘Angela Bowman has a tremendous eye for detail.’

Work highlights

  • Acted for a disinherited adult child in respect of his claim for reasonable financial provision from the estate of his late father.
  • Acted for a claimant in a proprietory estoppel claim in relation to his deceased grandfather’s farm.
  • Acted for clients in their claim to challenge the validity of their late aunt’s will and seeking removal of the executors.

Stevens & Bolton LLP

Stevens & Bolton LLP is led by James Lister who helms domestic and international trust, estate and succession matters, while Hayley Robinson routinely advises private clients on their role as executors, trustees, and beneficiaries. The department has recently also been recently bolstered by the arrival of Ellie Sullivan from Thomson Snell & Passmore in March 2023. All of the individuals that have been mentioned are located in Guildford.

Practice head(s):

James Lister

Other key lawyers:

Hayley Robinson; Ellie Sullivan; Jack Bailey


‘James Lister is reliable, personable and technically excellent.’

‘James Lister has now firmly arrived at the top of the profession. He is technically exceptional,  able to distill the most complex points down for clients, and a delight to work with. A rare combination of brains and personality.’

‘James Lister is an extremely able litigator who has built up and heads a fantastic team.’

‘James Lister always offers his clients a fantastic service. He inspires confidence with his profound understanding of trust and estates law and his vast experience of complex family disputes.’

‘Jack Bailey is one to watch. He is well-liked by clients and is a calming presence in hard-fought litigation.’

‘Jack Bailey has been doing partner level work for some time. He has good judgement, technical knowledge and a calm measured approach.’

James Lister is savvy and sharp – the go to out of London solicitor in this area.’

‘Jack Bailey is an up and coming superstar.’

Work highlights

  • Acted for a Court appointed administrator in the Reeves v Drew case, involving a large estate dispute between multiple parties.
  • Assisted several family members in defending a worldwide freezing injunction over assets in several different jurisdictions.
  • Advised the trustee of a substantial disputed estate containing real property and private company shareholdings.

B P Collins LLP

The contentious trusts and probate team at B P Collins LLP is geared to handle the administration of trusts, the interpretation and validity of testamentary documents, as well as the removal of personal representatives. The ‘outstanding’  Craig Williams leads the team, while head of the dispute resolution practice Matthew Brandis is thoroughly experienced in contentious commercial matters. Imogen Pike is a newly qualified practitioner who has been described as a ‘great addition to the team.’  All named individuals are located in Thames Valley.

Practice head(s):

Craig Williams

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Brandis; Imogen Pike


‘A good partner-led team, headed up by the very capable Matthew Brandis. The team is small but effective, focused, and efficient.’

‘They are a great team who punch above their weight and are highly skilled and regarded. They deal with top quality litigation and are also backed up by a very experienced private client team.’

‘BP Collins demonstrates absolute commitment to clients from the outset – assembling as much information as soon as possible in order to give high quality and informed advice. The approach is both strategic and tactical – but always placing the client at the centre of advice and case management.’

‘Matthew Brandis is a brilliant asset – he is adept and extremely knowledgeable, meticulous, and pragmatic.

‘Craig Williams is exceptional.’

‘Craig Williams has been outstanding in all my dealings with him.’

‘Particular mentions go to Craig Williams and Matthew Brandis who have excellent reputations in the market and are highly progressive and innovative. Great body of knowledge, always willing to help and collaborate with other professionals to find solutions for clients.’

‘Imogen Pike while early in her career has a great path ahead of her – she is a great addition to the team.’

Work highlights

Birkett Long LLP

Home to an ‘experienced and knowledgeable set of individuals’, Birkett Long LLP is led by the ‘complete private client litigation solicitor’ Amanda Smallcombe. The practice head assists clients with beneficial entitlement in property issues and is supported by student member of the Association of Contentious Trusts and Probate Specialists, Lisa Cox. Kay Baker is a new arrival to the team, and joined from Gotelee LLP in April 2022. All of the individuals that have been mentioned are located in Colchester.

Practice head(s):

Amanda Smallcombe

Other key lawyers:

Lisa Cox: Kay Baker


‘Extremely experienced and knowledgeable, very professional, and courteous at all times.’

‘They stay in constant contact and are so understanding of my needs.’

‘Kay Baker is a leading member of their team, getting to the crux of the matter quickly and providing astute insight on the issues. She is adept at negotiation and excels in achieving the optimum outcome for her clients in emotive but complex legal situations.’

Work highlights

  • Advised Susan Bond, the successful Defendant/Respondent in Bond v Clitheroe at trial and appeal.

Birketts LLP

Recently merging with Batchelors Solicitors, Birketts LLP is co-led by Daden Hunt in Chelmsford alongside the ‘exceptional litigator’  Bernadette Baker. Jenny Howe is also based in Chelmsford and works in conjunction with the firm’s private client and court of protection teams to assist clients with succession planning. Rachel Leech and Marie McMahon are both members of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists. All of the individuals that have been mentioned are located in Norwich, unless stated otherwise.

Practice head(s):

Daden Hunt; Bernadette Baker

Other key lawyers:

Jenny Howe; Rachel Leech; Marie McMahon


‘The team has real strength in depth. It is one of the largest teams in the region and has quality running through it from the top to the bottom. They adopt a sensible, conciliatory, and commercial approach to often very emotive disputes.’

‘Very high quality of advice, service, and communication. Practical, realistic, solutions-based.’

‘The team works seamlessly together and every member is both a delight to work with and extremely knowledgeable as to their area.’

‘Excellent firm in this sector, I would recommend them with no hesitation or qualification.’

‘Bernadette Baker is an exceptional litigator. She is very experienced, sensible, and objective. A pleasure to deal with on disputes.’

‘Bernadette Baker is wonderful to work with and skilled not only legally but in managing her team and clients.’

‘I was very impressed with Rachel Leech; her analytical skills and creative thinking are well beyond what I would expect from an associate at her level.’

‘Jenny Howe is a very experienced associate in the team who has a measured approach that is far beyond her years.’

Work highlights

Blake Morgan LLP

With a ‘burgeoning reputation’, Blake Morgan LLP is led by ‘exceptional solicitor’  Thomas Middlehurst who splits his time between Oxford and the Thames Valley. He is also often engaged in contentious matters pertaining to executors and trustees, the Inheritance Act as well as trusts of land and property ownership. Abbie Coleman in Oxford has been described as ‘excellent.’

Practice head(s):

Thomas Middlehurst

Other key lawyers:

Abbie Coleman


‘Thomas Middlehurst  is an exceptional solicitor who is quick to get a grasp on issues and offer advice on a wide range of options.’

‘Thomas Middlehurst is a capable contentious issues solicitor who is very knowledgeable in this area.’

‘Thomas Middlehurst has a growing reputation and fights hard for his clients. He has expertise on cases with a property angle.’

‘Thomas Middlehurst is superb, he is knowledgeable and goes the extra mile to win for his clients.’

‘Thomas Middlehurst is a very experienced private client and litigation specialist who has a great eye to detail and is commercially focused.’

‘Abbie Coleman is excellent and a pleasure to work with.’

‘This firm has a burgeoning reputation in this field, with some impressive practitioners. I have been particularly impressed by their practical and commercial approach to cases.’

‘The quality of their work is excellent.’

Key clients

The Estate of Olujimi Awoyomi

The Beneficiaries of the Estate of Frank Clifford Day

Work highlights

  • Advised beneficiaries of the estate of J Awoyomi in relation to a defence and counterclaim for a beneficial interest in a number of London properties which had been transferred out of the deceased’s name fraud.
  • Advised the beneficiaries of the estate of F C Day in relation to a claim under the Inheritance Act.


Able to draw upon the support of the firm’s non-contentious private client department, Brachers handles a range of disputes including breach of trusts in addition to trust of land claims. The ‘extremely pragmatic and professional’ Deborah Cain leads the team and is supported by Jennifer Alderman who is particularly adept in claims for financial provision under the Inheritance Act. All of the individuals that have been mentioned are located in Maidstone.

Practice head(s):

Deborah Cain

Other key lawyers:

Jennifer Alderman


‘They are outstanding in their ability to attribute the law as it applies and to see the nuances of complex cases. Their advice has been invaluable to me.’

‘A really knowledgeable team who are extremely competent and efficient.’

‘The contentious probate team is backed by a strong private client team, this provides extra depth to both their contentious and non-contentious teams.’

‘They can draw on knowledge across their departments, referred clients are reassured by excellent communication and a pragmatic approach.’

‘I would recommend Deborah Cain unreservedly. I recommend her for her logical application of the correct law and her ability to know who to contact or employ has also been invaluable.’

‘Deborah Cain went above and beyond to understand the history of the case – this crucially put Deborah and the case in a better position than it had been previously.’

‘Deborah Cain was extremely sharp and knowledgeable of what she was doing. This was only confounded when seeing her communications / dealings of my case. She worked extremely efficiently and never left a stone unturned or angle overlooked.’

‘Deborah Cain is an extremely good contentious probate lawyer. She has a great talent in ensuring that her client’s case is put as fully and firmly as possible but gives measured advice to clients in respect of realistic outcomes.’

Work highlights

Field Seymour Parkes LLP

Field Seymour Parkes LLP helms the full array of private wealth issues including breach of fiduciary duty claims, claims under the Inheritance Act, and disputes concerning executors and trustees. The ‘talented and tenacious’ Katharine Riley leads the team and is often engaged in contested Court of Protection matters. Rob Crowther assists clients with capital gains, inheritance and stamp duty land tax pertaining to the settlements of probate claims, with Sarah Sharpin noted for her expertise in alternative dispute resolution. All of the individuals that have been mentioned are located in Reading.

Practice head(s):

Katharine Riley

Other key lawyers:

Rob Crowther; Sarah Sharpin; Lindsay Davies


‘The team is personable, client focused and knowledgeable. They collaborate with other law firms and deliver good results for their clients.’

‘What is unique is their ability to assimilate the emotional importance of the case as well as the practical.’

‘The contentious probate team works in close collaboration with their well-respected private client department. The effect of this cross teamwork enhances the skills of both teams and makes for a formidable combination in their field of succession law.’

‘The FSP team members have real expertise in the field and are very familiar with the process of taking a case to trial.’

‘Katharine Riley is a very strong and robust advocate for our defence. She is a very good lawyer with great technical skill and advances her client’s case forcefully.

‘Katharine Riley is a pleasure to work with. She is very good at cutting through material and working with the details in complicated matters, all while keeping her client’s priorities at the forefront of her mind.’

Sarah Sharpin is extremely good; she is an excellent communicator, has a great manner with clients, and spots the real issues in a matter with ease.’

‘Robert Crowther is a tremendous private client lawyer.’

Work highlights

Gardner Leader LLP

The contentious trust and probate team at Gardner Leader LLP is led by Alastair Goggins, whose broad workload features activity before the Court of Protection, in the removal of executors, and settlement disputes. Goggins is supported by Ashleigh Wong who leverages her background experience in residential property. All of the individuals that have been mentioned are located in Newbury.

Practice head(s):

Alastair Goggins

Other key lawyers:

Ashleigh Wong


‘Good knowledge and experience in their areas of expertise. Very professional approach and good secretarial support.’

‘Alastair Goggins and Ashleigh Wong are two stand out individuals for their insights, application, and timely effort, they always rapidly respond to changing circumstances.’

‘Alastair Goggins has a wealth of experience and a very common-sense approach to the matter at hand.’

‘Alastair Goggins and his team at Newbury have been supportive and open about all processes. The key strengths are the ability to listen, process and understand my unique situation and provide options.’

‘Alastair Goggins has assembled a bespoke team to fit my particular needs, there is continuity, good communication and expert knowledge available.’

‘Alastair Goggins had a lot of knowledge and experience particularly in mediation and the tactics for negotiation at mediation.’

‘Ashleigh Wong is professional, empathetic and nothing is too much trouble. I appreciate that she takes the time to explain the risks and runs through various options. They are not afraid to consult their colleagues in other department if they are unsure of specific law or issues.’

‘The stand-out people I have worked with are Alastair Goggins and Ashleigh Wong, they both have energy and drive. I am extremely likely to recommend these individuals and the firm.’

Work highlights

Nockolds Solicitors

Nockolds Solicitors has recently been bolstered by the arrival of senior associate Michael Henry who joined the team from Debenhams Ottaway in January 2023. The team is headed up by Daniel Winter who is a member of the Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists. Gemma Dudmish assists clients with inheritance disputes and the removal and replacement of executors, while Andrew Jenkins is noted for his expertise of Court of Protection matters. All of the individuals that have been mentioned are located in Hertfordshire.

Practice head(s):

Daniel Winter

Other key lawyers:

Gemma Dudmish; Andrew Jenkins


‘A highly skilled team of specialist lawyers who stand out due to their expert knowledge in contentions probate. They have flexibility and a modern approach to legal services.’

‘Daniel Winter and his team are very supportive, I could not recommend him highly enough.’

‘Daniel Winter is a leader in his field. With thorough knowledge of contentious probate matters, he has been outstanding in assisting us.’


Key clients

The Estate of Michael John De Clare Studdert

Work highlights

  • Advised the Executors of Michael John De Clare Studdert’s estate where there may be unascertained creditors with claims arising out of the deceased’s past misconduct.

Thomson Snell & Passmore

Thomson Snell & Passmore is a ‘well-established’  team which caters to disputes concerning agricultural landed estates, executors, and trustees. Nicholas Horton leads the team from Kent and his key strengths lie in professional negligence disputes surrounding estate and trust administration, property transactions and tax planning advice. Nasima Ansary in Tunbridge Wells is seasoned in alternative dispute resolution and advises clients on proprietary estoppel claims and trust disputes between co-owners of a property. Lawrence Hiller-Wood is also based in Tunbridge Wells and is knowledgeable of the Inheritance Act.

Practice head(s):

Nicholas Horton

Other key lawyers:

Nasima Ansary; Lawrence Hiller-Wood; Amy Wilford


‘As regards to estate and probate matters, TSP quite simply have given me total confidence that our affairs are being handled in the best way possible.’

‘They have always impressed me, the practitioners are very knowledgeable, they respond quickly and give reliable and sensible advice.’

‘This is a small but well-established team, with strength from top to bottom and servicing a range of clients including those with complex and higher value estates. The contentious trusts and probate practice is very well complemented by a particularly strong probate and tax team.’

Work highlights

BDB Pitmans

The will and trusts disputes team at BDB Pitmans is well-placed to advise high net worth individuals, trustees, executors, and charities. Lucinda Brown heads the team and splits her team between Cambridge and London, and is proficient in breach of trust claims, proprietary estoppel claims and Court of Protection issues. The practice head is supported by Southampton-based Claire Collings who has over a decade of experience in contentious matters.

Practice head(s):

Lucinda Brown

Other key lawyers:

Claire Collings; Tim Clark; Rick Munro


‘They give very good, pragmatic advice.’


Work highlights


Drawing upon the expertise of the firm’s private client department, the contentious probate team at IBB Law is geared to advise clients in their roles as independent executors or administrators. The practice is co-led by Paul Grimwood in Uxbridge who is adept in rectification mandates, while Amanda Melton in Chesham handles breach of trust issues, the removal of executors and trustees and claims under the Inheritance Act.

Practice head(s):

Paul Grimwood; Amanda Melton


‘Very professional and experienced team which has various areas of expertise which can be tapped into on a needed basis. The team is very responsive and readily available as well as very tech savvy.’

‘I have been very impressed with the service I received. They appeared to be very on the ball with my case. My queries were generally dealt with quickly and in a professional manner.’

‘Paul Grimwood is very experienced and professional in his field, as well as very amicable, responsive, and helpful. He is the driver on the case, pushing to move things forward.’

‘Paul Grimwood is vastly experienced and well-respected, while Amanda Melton is knowledgeable and very easy to work with.’

‘Amanda Melton has been the partner overseeing all of the litigation I’ve worked on involving the firm. Amanda is knowledgeable, only takes sensible points and delivers the firm’s service efficiently. I would recommended her.’

‘Amanda Melton is rapid, well explained, and clear. There is good communication within the team.’

‘Amanda Melton is outstanding, knowledgeable and hard working on behalf of her clients.’

‘Amanda Melton and Paul Grimwood are both partners and have excellent depth of knowledge. They are also very approachable. Paul Grimwood is a very effective mediator.’

Work highlights

Neale Turk LLP

Neale Turk LLP is regularly engaged by high-net-worth individuals and estate managers for its capabilities in high-value contentious matters. Practice head Charlotte Searle – who works between Fleet and Basingstoke – is well regarded for her capabilities across the private client space, including in Court of Protection matters and validity of will challenges. Dispute resolution head Andrew Green is also recommended. New additions to the team include Shelley McPherson, who joined the practice from Wills Chandler Beach in July 2022. All named lawyers are based in Fleet.

Practice head(s):

Charlotte Searle

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Green; Shelley McPherson


SE-Solicitorsoffers extremely high quality contentious and non-contentious private client advice’, and is geared to handle Inheritance Act claims, proprietary estoppel, and trust disputes. Tom McInerney in Banbury leads the team and has notable strength in the administration of estates, personal taxation and power of attorney issues.

Practice head(s):

Tom McInerney


‘Spratt Endicott offers extremely high quality contentious and non-contentious private client advice.’

‘This firm offers clients a reliable, efficient and very competent service in relation to contentious probate disputes.’

I would have no hesitation in recommending the firm to anyone encountering problems with contentious probate or administration disputes.’

‘Tom McInerney is excellent, showing excellent technical expertise and sound commercial judgment, he is a pleasure to deal with.’

‘Tom McInerney has excellent knowledge of contentious probate and administration disputes.’

Work highlights

Taylor Rose MW

Taylor Rose MW acts on all types of contested private client matters, including contested Court of Protection work such as statutory wills and contested deputyships. Wendy Rixon in Worthing is especially knowledgeable claims under the Inheritance Act, while Sharon Macaulay in Peterborough has been described as an ‘excellent contentious trusts and probate solicitor’. Sharon Bell departed for Birketts LLP in August 2023.

Other key lawyers:

Wendy Rixon; Sharon Macaulay; Georgia Langston; Ravandeep Khela


‘Wendy Rixon is a knowledgeable and wise adviser. She is highly valued for her clear and calm advice to clients who are bereaved and in stressful situations.’

‘Wendy Rixon is a safe pair of hands.’

‘Sharon Macaulay is a sensible practitioner and good to deal with, she sees solutions and is pragmatic.’

‘We found Sharon Macaulay extremely understanding of our position and knowledgeable with regards to assisting us in dealing with our situation.’

‘Sharon Macaulay is an excellent contentious trusts and probate solicitor. Sharon remained clear eyed and realistic as to what the best obtainable outcome could be.’

‘Sharon Macaulay has a vast amount of knowledge in her field, Sharon kept me informed of every action she was taking and reasons as to why.’

‘I would not hesitate to use Sharon Macaulay again.’

Key clients

Ian McLean

Nicky Campbell

Work highlights

  • Acted in McLean & Others v McLean in a mutual will case.
  • Acted in Antonio v Williams & McBean in a 1975 Act claim.
  • Acted for the the defendants in TOLATA proceedings in Campbell v Campbell & Kirby (2021) – Costs (2022).

Tees Law

Recently bolstered by Amelia Ayers‘ qualification, Tees Law has recently been engaged in challenges to the validity of wills, as well as claims for reasonable provision from an estate. The team is led by the ‘highly efficient and meticulous’  Caroline Metcalf who works out of Bishop’s Stortford and is a member of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists.

Practice head(s):

Caroline Metcalf


‘Caroline Metcalf is highly efficient and meticulous in her approach to work; she always provides sound advice and communicates promptly.’

‘Caroline Metcalf takes a calm and pragmatic approach; she is proactive and very effective.’

‘Everyone I have met at Tees has been very courteous and helpful.’

‘Experienced staff with colleague involvement if required.’

‘Excellent response times regarding queries and questions.’

Work highlights

  • Advised the wife of the deceased on a claim for reasonable financial provision from the deceased’s estate.
  • Advised the daughter of a mother who lacked capacity in a dispute involving an application to the Court of Protection regarding the residence of the mother.
  • Advised a beneficiary for a claim of unjust enrichment and breach of contract against Executor who withheld IHT from the distribution.

Blandy & Blandy LLP

Blandy & Blandy LLP often handles high-value estates such as crypto assets, properties, and trusts, and is led by the Reading-based David Murray - noted for his capabilities across commercial litigation and insolvency proceedings.

Practice head(s):

David Murray


‘The firm itself has a very good reputation in dealing with regional clients who are of a ‘HNW’ nature in the areas local to Thames Valley/Greater London.’

‘First class team. Very much of the quality one might expect from a city firm.’

Work highlights

Blaser Mills Law

Blaser Mills Law‘s caseload features actitivity in disputes over co-ownership of property and Inheritance Act claims, in addition to professional negligence issues concerning solicitors and will writers. Alka Kharbanda heads the team and often assists clients with freezing injunctions, while Charlotte Flynn is a name to note, having qualified in December 2022. All of the individuals that have been mentioned are located in High Wycombe.

Practice head(s):

Alka Kharbanda

Other key lawyers:

Charlotte Flynn


‘Any dealings with Blaser Mills have been easy at a very stressful time. The knowledge and the response times were fantastic.’

‘The team at Blaser Mills are close-knit and work well together. They will work long hours to do what is necessary for their clients.’

Work highlights

Debenhams Ottaway

The contentious trusts and probate department at Debenhams Ottaway is led by St Albans-based Michael Henry; heis particularly well-versed in matters concerning the Court of Protection, executors, trusts, and beneficiaries, in addition to professional negligence in will writing.

Practice head(s):

Michael Henry

Work highlights

DMH Stallard LLP

DMH Stallard LLP‘s multidisciplinary team assists charities, mid and high net worth individuals and professional executors with Inheritance Act Claims, trust disputes, and will validity claims. Jenny Ray in Brighton has a background in personal injury and clinical negligence and leads the team; he joined the practice in April 2022 as a result of a merger with Griffith Smith LLP. Lucienne Westbrook and Cathryn Culverhouse are based in Guildford, the former acts as a court appointed independent executor, while the latter has been described as ‘tenacious.’

Practice head(s):

Jenny Ray

Other key lawyers:

Lucienne Westbrook; Cathryn Culverhouse


‘Cathryn Culverhouse is excellent. She is very professional, efficient, friendly, and intelligent. She was very quick to understand the issues as she is determined, tenacious, and quietly persistent, she has fought my corner superbly.’

‘I found that Cathryn listened to me more than others and that gave me a chance to explain what was happening to me and how it was affecting me.’

‘Cathryn Culverhouse stood out in her support of me and when discussing the issue and what we needed to do, she was always with clear in her instructions and advice.’

‘Cathryn Culverhouse has been my main point of contact in this matter. She is consistently professional, an expert in her advice and helpful. I have never had any difficulty in making contact to discuss matters either by email or phone.’

‘I work with Jenny Ray who is a safe pair of hands dealing with probate and private client matters.’

‘I greatly value the expert & diligence service provided by Jennifer Ray.’

‘Very client-focused and sensitive to their needs and vulnerabilities, which is particularly important in this field.’

‘The practice demonstrated great capacity in the administration of a highly complex deceased estate.’

Key clients

The executors of the estate of JR

Work highlights

  • Advised the executors of Mrs JR in relation to a claim that one of the executors and beneficiaries had during the lifetime of the deceased, misappropriated funds using an LPA.

Duncan Lewis Solicitors

With expertise in both contentious and non-contentious trusts and probate mandates, Duncan Lewis Solicitors is often involved in estate distribution, proprietary estoppel, and property transfers. Head of the team Caroline Roche splits her time between Harrow, Middlesex & London, and caters to claims under the Inheritance Act, challenges on a will due to lack of capacity, as well as powers of attorney work.

Practice head(s):

Caroline Roche


‘They offer a strategic and practical approach to all contentious probate and inheritance claims, delivering a standard of service we can expect from one of London’s top law firms.’

 The contentions trusts and probate team draw on other expertise the firm offers to provide an all-round service.’

‘The solicitors are using technology in a prompt way, I am very happy with the service I received.’

‘This practice is very good. The staff are very professional and dealt with my probate very well. They always answer my e-mails on time.’

‘Caroline Roche is a strategic and knowledgeable litigator who offers firm and practical advice, she achieves fantastic outcomes for her clients. I would highly recommend her.’

‘Caroline Roche is very approachable and supportive. I was able to have a good rapport with her. She is very professional and always answers my e-mail. I strongly recommend her.’

Work highlights

Giles Wilson Law Limited

Giles Wilson Law Limited is led by the ‘highly effective’  Philip Giles who sits as a Deputy District Judge. Melinda Giles oversees the non-contentious private client group and is particularly adept in assisting vulnerable adults in matters relating to financial abuse or lack of capacity. The department has recently been bolstered by Zoe Antill‘s qualification as a solicitor who originally joined the team as a paralegal.  All of the individuals that have been mentioned are located in Leigh on Sea.


Practice head(s):

Philip Giles

Other key lawyers:

Melinda Giles; Zoe Antill


‘Giles Wilson Law Limited offers a connected set of legal services that has greatly assisted us in unlocking a difficult probate application for us. We have built up significant trust and feel comfortable with their advice.’

‘Extremely professional team but at the same time very relatable and friendly and knowledgeable.’

‘The firm has a niche and very experienced contentious trusts and probate team, headed up by the highly effective Philip Giles. Philip is particularly strong in getting a settlement in a seemingly intractable dispute but is never afraid to go to court when the need arises.’

Work highlights

Herrington Carmichael LLP

Herrington Carmichael LLP is led by Charlotte Woods who has over a decade of experience in insolvent estates, LPAs, wills, and trusts. The team head is supported by Sophie Spencer, while Frankie Tierney  has ‘an excellent understanding of dealing with dispute resolution services‘. All of the individuals that have been mentioned are located in Camberley.

Practice head(s):

Charlotte Woods

Other key lawyers:

Frankie Tierney


‘The team provides a professional service. Always available to answer any questions and give help where needed.’

‘Frankie Tierney has excellent understanding of dealing with dispute resolution services.’


Work highlights

Machins Solicitors LLP

Machins Solicitors LLP is particularly seasoned in contentious probate disputes before the Court of Appeal and County Courts, Family Courts as well as the High Court. Head of the team Neil O’Callaghan is proficient in insolvency work, while Benedict Smith’s workload features activity in challenges to wills, the Inheritance Act in addition to trust disputes. All of the individuals that have been mentioned are located in Luton.

Practice head(s):

Neil O’Callaghan

Other key lawyers:

Benedict Smith


‘Benedict Smith worked brilliantly at keeping myself and executors up to date a soon as they had any relevant information.’

‘Benedict Smith is extremely knowledgeable in his field; he is always available for me on the phone should I need to speak with him.’

‘Benedict Smith is genuinely caring in nature and always maintains high levels of professionalism in doing so. I have also worked with his junior assistants, and they display characteristics that clearly demonstrate Benedict’s ‘trademark’.

‘I am very happy with the level of care and service I receive from Benedict Smith, and I have and will recommend Benedict to others.’

‘I found Benedict Smith incredibly helpful in our dispute with our father’s widow, his approach was helpful in that we felt supported and protected at this very stressful time. He was very knowledgeable about the law as it applied to our situation.’

‘Patience and persistence by Machins eventually resulted in the case being resolved to our satisfaction. During the whole time we were given good advice and direction throughout the nearly 5-year period.’

‘Professionalism, effectiveness, accuracy, and clear communication. I have used Machins Solicitors LLP since 2020 and have been provided with an excellent and friendly service.’

‘I’ve worked with 3 teams in the firm and found them always to be very professional, co-ordinated and supportive.’

Work highlights

Pinney Talfourd LLP

Pinney Talfourd LLP assists attorneys, beneficiaries, executors, and trustees with breaches of fiduciary duties in addition to Inheritance Act claims. Head of the team, Catherine Loadman , has a broad contentious probate practice and is supported by the ‘excellent’  Kerry Hull. All of the individuals that have been mentioned are located in Brentwood.

Practice head(s):

Catherine Loadman

Other key lawyers:

Kerry Hull


‘Pinney Talfourd operate in a straightforward and open way, laying out the processes at each stage in a polite understandable manner, thus making the process of the case a lot easier.’

‘The solicitors that I have worked with within the firm are dedicated, conscientious and focused. Their client care is second to none, with the firm ensuring that clients are kept consistently updated on any developments.’

‘The team are very user-friendly, approachable, and easy to deal with. Their instructions are always received well in advance and are prepared to a very high standard.’

‘Kerry Hull was extremely professional but robust in her approach and managed the whole process really efficiently and achieved a satisfactory outcome for us just in time.’

‘Ms Hull is professional, diligent, knowledgeable, and amiable. I have also recommended Ms Hull to others in the past, she is excellent.’

‘Kerry Hull understands the practical realities and gives good pragmatic advice after a thorough analysis of the client’s position.’

‘Catherine Loadman is very approachable with any questions that I have and is always polite and courteous in answering them in a professional manner.’

‘I have worked with Catherine Loadman on several cases now and would not hesitate to recommend her. We worked together on a very difficult case which was ongoing for some time, and it was clear that the clients felt supported and at ease throughout.’

Key clients

Matthew Edwards

Work highlights

Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP

Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP works in conjunction with the firm’s corporate lawyers to advise business directors and owners with assets and personal wealth. The ‘skilful litigator’ Alistair Rustemeyer leads the team from Brighton and is a member of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists.

Practice head(s):

Alistair Rustemeyer

Other key lawyers:

Max Wright; Bruce Clarke; Janet Raeburn


‘Alistair Rustemeyer is a skilful litigator in this area. He provides the client with in depth knowledge and a strategy to secure a resolution.’

Work highlights

The Burnside Partnership

Regularly advising high net worth individuals with media backgrounds, The Burnside Partnership thrives in Inheritance Act and proprietary estoppel claims, in addition to will disputes. With over two decades of experience, Tara McInnes leads the team from Oxford and has been described as an ‘excellent lawyer’ who advises charities, not for profit organisations and trustees.

Practice head(s):

Tara McInnes


‘The team prides itself on being experts in the field.’

‘The Burnside Partnership is a boutique law firm specialising in private client and associated work. The contentious probate practice fits in well with the firm’s practice, so all estate planning, administration and associated requirements are resourced from one firm.’

‘Tara McInness is fair, compassionate, and professional at all times.’

Key clients

Jane Fellner

Work highlights

  • Acted in the removal of executors under s50 of the Administration of Justice Act in the case of Fellner v Cleall EWHC.
  • Acted in a proprietary estoppel claim.
  • Acted in a dispute concerning trust and tax matters.

Whitehead Monckton

With thorough expertise in tax and trusts, Whitehead Monckton’s contentious trusts and probate team sits within the firm’s dispute resolution group. Christopher Longden leads the team and his caseload features activity in business, private client and property litigation, and is supported by the ‘ultra efficient’ Samuel Corse. All of the individuals that have been mentioned are located in Maidstone.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Longden

Other key lawyers:

Samuel Corse; David Riordan


‘Whitehead Monkton was easy to contact, understood my situation, and took my case. The initial face to face meeting with Sam Corse was a positive experience.’

‘What makes them standout is their compassion for my predicament and always being on hand and able to alleviate some of my stress.’

‘This firm offers consistent, reliable, highly professional and competent service across the board.’

Work highlights

Winckworth Sherwood LLP

Winckworth Sherwood LLP frequently assists entrepreneurs, executorships, families, and high-net-worth individuals who are acting on behalf of incapacitated individuals. Philip Collins leads the team and is particularly proficient in claims against estates brought under the Inheritance Act, while Alison Talbot is especially knowledgeable of charity law and governance. Samantha Warner‘s core strengths include estate administration and succession planning.

Practice head(s):

Philip Colins

Other key lawyers:

Alison Talbot; Samantha Warner


‘Philip Collins is the kind of solicitor you want to work with. He is practical, thoughtful and both legally and emotionally intelligent.’

‘Philip Collins is very approachable, contactable and fundamentally a good person. A credit to the profession.’


Work highlights