Contentious trusts and probate in West Midlands

MFG Solicitors LLP

The contentious probate practice at MFG Solicitors LLP is led by the 'outstandingRobert Weston . 'Whilst it is a key player in the West Midlands market, its reputation goes well beyond that: it is a stand-out outfit'. It is best known for its specialism in dealing with contentious probate matters for both claimants and defendants. It excels at advising on a variety of issues such as promissory estoppel claims, claims about the validity of wills and maladministration claims. Other strengths lie in advising on Beddoe applications as well as applications for directions about a disputed administration. The group also frequently advises on applications to remove personal representatives. Suzanne Lee and senior associate Andrew Chandler are also well-regarded.

Practice head(s):

Robert Weston

Other key lawyers:

Suzanne Lee; Andrew Chandler

Testimonials

‘Great team with real specialist knowledge. Robert Weston – very experienced, works extremely hard. Andrew Chandler – he delivers for his clients’.

‘The lawyers have a very wide range of experience in relation to estates from the very small to the very large. Because the team is relatively small, clients get the benefit of the advice and vast experience of Robert Weston which is probably not replicated in other firms in the region. He is also very flexible in terms of fees’. 

‘Robert Weston was one of the first in the Midlands to spot the need to specialise in this field and therefore has as much experience as anyone else. He is probably the most responsive to clients I have come across, and has a very good manner explaining in plain terms what can be complicated issues. As with all good litigators in this field he recognises the importance of limiting costs and achieving a settlement as quickly as possible. He is also one of the hardest working partners I have come across. I know that increasingly Andrew Chandler is developing a good practice’.

‘mfg is a very effective regional firm with an excellent group of specialists delivered across its local offices. Andrew Chandler has provided an excellent service. He has advised me through a very difficult time – all court cases have been decided in our favour and costs have been recovered. Andrew has provided consistent, expert advice over a number of years’.

‘Empathetic, practical and full understanding of more local issues and factors. Suzanne Lee is positive, hands on, and commits fully’.

‘Very professional acted very promptly –Andrew Chandler is very professional’.

‘An excellent service delivered by knowledgeable staff who are able to discuss complicated matters in layman’s terms. Andrew Chandler has been approachable, available and supportive in helping the charity to deal with a specific legal matter. The organisation is confident in his ability to provide the right information to enable us to make informed choices’.

‘Andrew Chandler is a first rate operator. He clearly knows his area, the individual case and he clearly cares deeply for getting the right result for his client. Impressively, Andrew knows how to strike the right balance between protecting his client’s interests and position, whilst also being aware of when concession serves his clients’ wider interests.’

Sydney Mitchell LLP

Kamal Majevadia leads a thriving practice at Sydney Mitchell LLP that continues to receive a steady flow of referrals from its excellent private client offering and from returning clients. It has been busy advising on disputes about the ownership of private companies and advising on a growing number of potential negligence claims.  It is advising on a significant number of TOLATA cases and several cases dealing with the distribution of trust assets. Majevadia has considerable experience of advising on estates where there are cross-border assets and those involving company shares. Tracy Creed heads up the private client team.  It offers 'pragmatic, commercially driven advice which helps its clients see the wood for the trees'.

Practice head(s):

Kamal Majevadia

Other key lawyers:

Tracy Creed; Katie Maxwell-Stewart

Testimonials

‘True to its word. You are charged for a service it does actually provide. Open and honest. Kamal Majevadia stood by my case right until the end despite my frustration and impatience. All the staff that I came across in the branch were professional and empathetic. I felt reassured and I trusted the individuals working with me. Competent and exceptional service and communication. Kam knew what he was doing and he followed the correct procedures and protocols that Sydney Mitchell has in place. Kam was empathetic to my frustrations and was reassuring and confident in dealing with my case’.

‘It is an extremely friendly, respectful and professional firm. The solicitor in charge of my case, a partner in the firm, was helpful and, at a strategic point in my case, showed great imagination and percipience. I was most impressed with my solicitor, Kam Majevadia’s professionalism and expertise. He viewed my case forensically, and came up with a plan and course of action I had not considered and which led to an extremely satisfactory conclusion of matters’. 

‘Contentious trusts and probate. A strong team. Tracy Creed and Kamal Majevadia are both impressive in handling complex issues and steering their clients to a resolution’.

‘A modern practice, professional, highly motivated, a good relationship with clients, reassuring, friendly and efficient. Kamal Majevadia who is a partner and head of contentious probate should be applauded for the success of his department and team. When asked, I do not hesitate to recommend the firm and will continue to do so’.

‘A very professionally run practice. The team has the ability to cater for all our legal needs and instils great confidence that everything will be handled the right way. Contact with the lawyers is relatively straightforward and communication is good along with the process of billing which is dealt with in a very friendly manner’.

‘We have worked closely with Kam Majevadia and Katie Maxwell-Stewart. Both have been consistent throughout with their advice and support. Both have been thoughtful and showed empathy with our current situation. They provide a great deal of reassurance on complex issues’.

‘A tight knit team with extensive knowledge, everything is set out clearly, all questions answered knowledgeably. Never too much trouble to answer questions and always has timely ideas to help with the case. The lawyers work together to get the result you need. Communication was clear, informative and helpful, bills were set out clearly so I could see exactly what I was being charged and if I had any questions there was help available, everything was fully explained. Due to the pandemic technology was used for meetings and mediation, my solicitor had extensive knowledge and assisted me fully’.

‘The practice is headed up by Kam Majevadia who leads it very well. He is particularly good at dealing with estates with business assets. Kam has years of experience and is cool as a cucumber in conducting litigation on behalf of his clients. He makes a strong but fair opponent and always seeks the best outcome for his clients. He has a good dose of pragmatism which serves his clients well ’.

Work highlights

  • Instructed by the client to bring a claim against his late mother’s estate pursuant to the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975 as an adult child of the deceased who was being maintained by the deceased.
  • Acting in a case that involves huge complexities of partnership law; the partnership/estate consists of combined residential and commercial portfolio, which has a valuation and rental income. The case has an additional element that both executors have bought claims to remove each other due to a dispute arising out of claims of misappropriation of trust assets.

FBC Manby Bowdler LLP

Angie Manley and Kimberly Mears lead a specialised team at FBC Manby Bowdler LLP that deals with all aspects of disputed probate and trust work. The team is well-placed to advise on a broad range of complex, high-value and multi-jurisdictional matters with experience in Court of Appeal proceedings as well as issues surrounding challenges to wills, 1975 Act claims,  breach of trust actions and emergency injunction applications. It frequently advises beneficiaries and personal representatives on all contentious issues that arise during the course of the administration of an estate or a trust.

Practice head(s):

Angie Manley; Kimberly Mears

Testimonials

‘I work with Angie Manley and Kimberley Mears. The former brings a wealth of experience and a real knack of relating to clients and gaining their confidence. She is unfailingly good humoured and able to look at cases in the round. Kimberley is meticulous in her preparation of cases and looks to find solutions to issues raised in the litigation’.

‘The team puts its clients first and values relationships in a way that not all firms do. The lawyers get a wide range of work, in particularly wills with foreign/international elements, which makes for really interesting cases and questions. Their expertise in that area seems to be growing’.

‘Kim Mears is hugely driven and very dedicated. She is determined, meticulous and has an eye for detail. She is also realistic and practical, which makes for a very powerful combination’.

Harrison Clark Rickerbys

With Beth King-Smith at the helm, the disputed wills, trusts and estates team  at Harrison Clark Rickerbys is a recognised name for its work across all sections of the high-net-worth community regionally. It has been busy advising long-established farming families through to high-net-worth individuals on a range of complex trust disputes and Inheritance Act claims. It also frequently advises on the removal of executors. Senior associate Alyson McGowan works alongside King-Smith in Worcester.

Practice head(s):

Beth King-Smith

Other key lawyers:

Alyson McGowan

Testimonials

‘This is a practice which is very clear on costs and very proactive with clients. The team is also good at working with other firms. Beth King-Smith is outstanding. We regularly refer very difficult matters and clients to her and she deals with this with grace and tenacity. We really see her as a colleague down the corridor’.

‘HCR is very strong in being able to offer in-depth expertise. The lawyers combine a strategic overview of a case with significant technical experience including in charitable and agricultural work’.

‘I have worked mainly with Beth King-Smith who brings a combination of robust advice and the ability to make decisions quickly and decisively. More importantly she has an acute sense of the personal, recognising the emotional nature of the underlying facts of many cases. This gives her a particularly good bedside manner which helps clients put their cases in a wider perspective. She is also a good delegator which means she provides value for money by drawing on the skills of those in her team’.

‘Beth King-Smith’s client care was excellent and she kept me informed and really well briefed through a very worrying court case so that I knew what to expect and how to prepare’.

‘Beth King-Smith is a big personality who really cares about her clients and helping them to resolve disputes’.

‘A top-class team getting top-class work. Smart, experienced and totally professional, but also friendly, easy to deal with and down to earth. You can see why clients love this team . Beth King-Smith is a first-rate partner. She is clever, hugely experienced and always looking to add value to a case. She is particularly good with complicated trusts and practical solutions to structure deals’.

‘The team provided an excellent service. Beth King-Smith represented us assisted by-Alyson McGowan. Throughout the case they provided excellent service, reassured us, always kept us informed proving a professional service. I would recommend them any time ’.

Meridian Private Client LLP

Meridian Private Client LLP is a specialist private client practice that spans three disciplines - estate and trust administration, estate and tax planning to high-net-worth individuals as well as contentious trusts and probate matters. Mark Abrol has a particular interest in disputes between executors , trustees and beneficiaries and matters that include a property-related element. Mark Terrar frequently advises on complex trusts and tax structures as well as matters with an overseas element. It is a 'niche practice with outstanding expertise and experience coupled with a commitment to achieving the best results for its clients’.

Practice head(s):

Mark Abrol

Other key lawyers:

Mark Terrar; Emma-Louise Green

Testimonials

‘The vastly experienced team provides clients with a superb service in often high-value and complex cases. The lawyers are incredibly well connected and always with their finger on the pulse. The use of social media has strengthened their footing in the market and they have a strong referral network with some large international firms. Their specialist knowledge is second to none, and in an ever-expanding field they stand head and shoulders above more established firms trying to appear specialist in this area’.

‘The energetic and tireless Mark Abrol manages an impressive team. Abrol goes the extra mile and then further to provide clients with exceptional service. He is a fierce litigator when required but possesses a velvet glove when a situation demands it.’

‘Mark Terrar is vastly knowledgeable and technically sound. A very calm and easy going personality making him a clients dream to work with.’

‘Emma-Louise Green possesses a commanding presence in a room full of lawyers – they listen when she talks. Confident and ambitious as well as utterly charming means clients want her on their case.’

‘Mark Terrar is pragmatic, practical and collaborative in approach. Emma-Louise Green is friendly, straightforward and commercially pragmatic’.

‘Meridian Private Client is a truly unique firm, combining a number of private client disciplines under one roof. The multidisciplinary team in particular brings different perspectives to a knotty problem and a level of original, clever and lateral thinking and commercial acumen, which is often missing from other firms. The ability to be able to deal with both litigious, non-contentious and specialist tax advice to a private client issue is very impressive’.

‘Mark Abrol in particular is a consummate professional and rainmaker. He is always thinking a number of steps ahead and trying to find a different angle and commercial resolution to cases. He certainly knows how to cater to the needs of high-worth-clients.’

‘Mark Terrar is stellar. He is very well known in his field, and also has an excellent handle on his opposite number. He is tactically very astute, and provides a practical approach to cases that is always well received‘.

Work highlights

  • Acting for the trustees in  a complex application to the High Court to extend the trustees’ powers as to how the income and capital of the trust can be distributed due to the original purpose of the trust being frustrated.
  • Acting for the professional executors of a complex estate where the deceased was involved in complex and substantial litigation on multiple issues during his lifetime across jurisdictions, which claims were inherited by the executors on the deceased’s death.
  • Acting for the widow of her husband’s intestacy of a substantial estate with complex company structure/trust issues to resolve and a claim to challenge significant lifetime gifts made on the day the deceased died.

Wright Hassall LLP

Wright Hassall LLP fields a large team with considerable strength and depth in this area. It has three ACTAPS members and three associate members (one of whom is STEP qualified). Head of team Martin Oliver specialises in inheritance disputes and has acted in numerous high-profile matters. Oliver is skilled at helping families where the deceased lacked mental capacity to make a will or was subject to undue influence. Katie Alsop has a broad range of experience with a particular emphasis on agricultural litigation relating to estates and on post-death proprietary estoppel claims.

Practice head(s):

Martin Oliver

Other key lawyers:

Katie Alsop

Testimonials

‘Wright Hassall has a very strong practice in contentious trust and probate. It has built up considerable experience in dealing with some high profile cases over the years.’

‘Martin Oliver is a very well respected leader in contentious trust and probate, with a formidable reputation. He has built a strong team around him, including Katie Alsop’.

‘Tenacious, resourceful, creative strategic thinkers as well as being good lawyers. The lawyers are a wonderfully cohesive team of very different individuals who each play to their strengths and consistently support and encourage each other’.

‘Martin Oliver has a bottomless well of energy, new ideas and drive. His target is consistently success and a happy client. His enthusiasm and commitment never flag and when combined with his considerable technical skill he is a force to be reckoned with – underestimate him at your peril’.

Katie Alsop – a wonderfully knowledgeable and instinctive lawyer. Kate is unflappable and exudes a “can do” attitude with a healthy dose of “surely we can do better”. Clients feel safe in her hands and know everything that could be done is done ’.

‘Wright Hassall is a dependable firm with exceptional client service. The team is collegiate’.

‘Katie Alsop is one of the most capable and competent lawyers I have come across in practice. She has a natural manner with clients which makes them feel at ease as well as a forensic mind, especially when it comes to disputes with agricultural elements being from an agricultural background herself. It is an absolute pleasure to work with Katie’.

‘Laura Abbott is a very talented lawyer who is certainly one to watch‘.

Freeths LLP

Freeths LLP is best known for its work on high-value contentious trusts and probate litigation in addition to its contentious court of protection work. The team’s reputation for acting as replacement trustees/administrators/deputies has continued to grow and the practice benefits from Mark Keeley’s status as a busy mediator for private wealth disputes. Keeley leads the practice that has been busy advising wealthy farming clients on numerous disputes involving farming estates and on cases with an international dimension. Senior associate Max Orbach has a varied caseload of contested trust and probate disputes.

Practice head(s):

Mark Keeley

Other key lawyers:

Max Orbach

Testimonials

‘Mark Keeley is one of the leading private client litigators in the country.’

‘Freeths are renowned for having an established and experienced team of specialist contentious trust and probate lawyers. They have the resources of a large regional firm to call on and excellent connections in the industry sector. The team members are knowledgeable and approachable.’

‘Mark Keeley leads by example and combines his excellent technical legal knowledge with emotional intelligence and common sense. His skills as a mediator enable him to carry his clients and opponents alike towards a negotiated outcome in even the most fraught family disputes.’

‘Freeths are one of the leading teams in the Midlands specialising in Contentious Trusts and Probate. They have real expertise and are always sensible and pragmatic to deal with.’

‘Mark Keeley is extremely knowledgeable and experienced. He is well supported by Max Orbach.’

‘Mark Keeley is excellent – both as a lawyer and as a mediator. He is calm, measured and unflappable while possessing detailed knowledge of the practice area.’

‘Mark Keeley is a first-rate litigator. A good mix of legal know-how and common sense.’

‘Freeths have an exceptional team that combines a large firm ethos and professionalism, and technical knowledge with the more consumer-friendly approach often found in smaller firms.’

George Green LLP

Neil Williams leads an experienced team at George Green LLP that deals with all types of contentious probate matters, 'readily competing with the Birmingham offices of national law firms in terms of the quality of its work and lawyers'. The group receives a regular flow of instructions from individual beneficiaries, executors, administrators and trustees. The versatile team is also skilled at advising on disputes arising from negligently drafted wills and actions concerning the construction of wills and trusts. Liam Owen is another notable practitioner.

Practice head(s):

Neil Williams

Other key lawyers:

Liam Owen

Testimonials

‘Liam Owen was very prompt with information received. He would provide feedback and advice and replied just as quickly which helped to speed up the ongoing issue. He was excellent with regards to communication, always returning calls, sometimes out of hours ’.

‘The associate with whom I was in contact with was extremely helpful and knowledgeable in this field – I  thoroughly recommend George Green & Co’.

‘Liam Owen offers a high level of calm approachability to his clients, which he combines with a methodical and logical analysis of the issues thrown up by any given case. He is also highly responsive to queries and reasonable in relation to his fees. Clients will get his full attention which is very reassuring ’.

‘George Green is a highly reputable outfit in the West Midlands area, which readily competes with the Birmingham offices of national law firms in terms of the quality of its work and lawyers. Its success amounts to a clear demonstration of the presence which a regional law firm can have’.

‘Liam Owen is a highly experienced litigator. In the area of contentious trusts and probate work (as in others), Liam Owen is meticulous and extremely thorough. That way he is in the best position to know the strengths and weaknesses of a client’s case at an early stage. He leaves no stone unturned’.

‘Liam is also a pleasure to work for as an instructing solicitor. As to this, quality of communication is a core strength of the firm generally and of Liam in particular: he is always  up-to-date and in the best possible position to assist with any enquiry or concern in relation to the case ’.

Work highlights

  • Acting for the executor and principal beneficiary of the deceased’s estate, defending allegations of lack of due execution, and the intimation of possible lack of knowledge and approval, and possible lack of testamentary capacity.
  • Acting for a beneficiary of the estate of a minor worth £950,000 defending claims made under the Inheritance (Provision for Families and Dependants) Act 1975 and various trust claims.

Higgs LLP

Higgs LLP has an excellent reputation for its work on will challenges, executor disputes and general probate litigation. In addition it has gained particular recognition for its expertise in high-value familial trusts, for its work on independent personal representative appointments and for its skill at rectifying improperly administered estates as is evidenced by its regular flow of instructions from solicitors, financial advisors, barristers and other professional contacts. The 'exceptionalCraig Ridge leads the team. Ridge is praised for his 'sound tactical awareness, great client skills and an encyclopaedic knowledge of this area of law'.

Practice head(s):

Craig Ridge

Testimonials

‘Craig Ridge is an exceptional lawyer. The balance of first-class legal knowledge along with being pragmatic and approachable made what was a very challenging scenario for me bearable. I was repeatedly impressed with his commitment to my cause and his calm approach’.

‘Good partner accessibility and technical knowledge. Craig Ridge has added dynamism to the contested probate offering ’.

‘Craig Ridge is a very capable lawyer, he is always thoroughly prepared and presents his client’s case in the best possible light’.

‘Higgs has always had a very strong contentious trust and probate offering. Craig Ridge has a good reputation in the Midlands market and is a strong opponent. He always seeks to get the best results for his clients, giving them clear and careful advice throughout the dispute’.

‘Craig Ridge has a solid reputation in the contentious trust and probate field and is a good recruit for the firm’. 

‘Craig is the new recruit to head up and lead the contentious trust and probate offering at Higgs. He is very experienced, has a charming manner and is an astute litigator. I have referred conflict work to him and would not hesitate to do so again’.

‘Great communication throughout the assignment. Craig Ridge was excellent with my clients, managing their expectations superbly. He showed great patience and integrity in a very tricky estate dispute’.

‘There is a great team ethos & a “can do ” attitude The team is always happy to help. Craig Ridge is someone who has great presence . He is knowledgeable, patient & attentive – & always has an eye for adding value to a client/client’s situation.’

Lanyon Bowdler

Under the leadership of associate solicitor Claire Vale, the team at Lanyon Bowdler has been advising on a wide spectrum of cases from claims under the Inheritance Act, through to applications to remove executors and administrators. It has also been busy advising on claims by disappointed beneficiaries for reasonable financial provision under the Inheritance Act.

Practice head(s):

Claire Vale

Testimonials

Claire Vale is clear, focused and practical. She recognises the issues in the claim and ensures they are resolved to the benefit of her clients’.

‘The firm is extremely well run. It has considerable administrative support which clearly supports the litigation work and increases the speed at which issues can addressed. The firm has exceptional client care.  Claire Vale is an excellent solicitor who has a comprehensive knowledge of probate issues, both the law and also practical issues which are likely to arise in litigation. She is able to identify from a very early stage in any case the likely merits of a course of action and any issues which may be raised by the other side, or practical concerns‘.

‘Claire Vale works extremely well as part of the team. She continues to provide insightful observations on cases as they progress and clearly is a reassuring presence for clients. Claire is meticulous in her preparation of cases’.

‘Claire Vale stands out for her quiet efficiency, solid knowledge and experience. Using these attributes Claire has been able to construct a forceful and detailed approach to my ongoing contentious probate case which I have found most supportive’.

‘Very reliable and quick to get back to you if you have a question. Transparent with charges. Very knowledgeable and always explains things in a way I can understand easily. Let me explain what my issues were and very empathetic’.

‘From a client perspective the attention given to client care is second to none. Great care is taken from the outset to ensure that the right fee earner (with appropriate experience and specialism)is allocated and emphasis is given to explaining how fees are charged with several options for the client to choose. Claire Vale is a careful and sympathetic listener and absorbs facts readily without the need for repetition. She will not be rushed to a conclusion to suit the self-perceived importance of the client’.

Work highlights

  • Advising clients as residuary beneficiaries of the late uncle’s estate. Potential issues with the will codicil including validity, wording of the codicil and the position of the executrix in obtaining a benefit under the codicil when this is not in the best interests of the beneficiaries.
  • Acting on behalf of executors of deceased’s estate. The will excluded son. Acting in a neutral capacity in dealing with challenge made by son regarding validity of the will based on testamentary capacity.

Mills & Reeve LLP

Mills & Reeve LLP has an excellent national offering with a specialist estate, trust and wills disputes team. Recently promoted partner Lucy Howard is a well-regarded member of the team that continues to be busy dealing with a broad spread of disputes from issues surrounding the validity of wills, through to actions involving trustees and executors in addition to acting for a number of charities that are involved in contested legacy matters. Clients include high-net-worth individuals, various substantial charities and institutions (such as trust companies) as well as universities, hospital trusts, insurance companies and professional trustees. Senior associate Kim Ryan is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Lucy Howard

Other key lawyers:

Kim Ryan; James Hickman

Testimonials

The team is excellent across the board. There are no weak links – whoever you end up working with is really knowledgeable, intelligent and client-focused. There are strong working relationships between the members of the team, and a really positive and friendly environment. Lucy Howard is a real superstar. Her clients really trust her, and rightly so – she has an excellent understanding of the law whilst maintaining a pragmatic approach to litigation‘.

Great team, friendly and able to work with others but very capable. Lucy Howard and Kim Ryan are talented lawyers who care about their clients and achieving good outcomes‘.

‘Excellent strength and depth in core traditional private client practice areas. Robust litigators and an absolute delight to work with‘.

Lucy Howard’s technical knowledge of private client areas (particularly 1975 Act litigation and Wills Claims) is a real stand out. She has a real knack for working with very vulnerable clients, is an excellent communicator and is an extremely safe pair of hands‘.

‘Mills & Reeve is undoubtedly one of the top contentious trusts and probate teams in the Midlands, headed by Lucy Howard.  It is almost always involved in the bigger Midlands cases that I deal with, and has real strength in depth.  Lucy Howard is a first rate lawyer who knows how to develop a case, maximising her client’s prospects of a very successful outcome. She is not afraid to be aggressive when required, but is always pragmatic and sensible.  She is ably assisted by Kim Ryan and James Hickman‘.

Lucy Howard is technically very strong and spot on but she is also very good at diffusing the situation and providing solid legal arguments‘.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP

Alistair Spencer at Shakespeare Martineau LLP is an ACTAPS member and a member of the Agricultural Law Association. Spencer specialises in dealing with high-value agricultural inheritance disputes. Leicester-based Andrew Wilkinson is the national head of the team and is a full member of ACTAPS. Wilkinson is adept at dealing with complex legacy disputes and high-net-worth trust disputes involving cross border elements, and frequently deals with estates worth up to £200m.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Wilkinson; Alistair Spencer

Testimonials

‘Strong team. Willing to be creative to find funding solutions for clients. Extremely knowledgeable and client focused. Andrew Wilkinson is especially good and is an outstanding private client litigator’.

‘I have dealt with Shakespeare Martineau for many years in both a trustee capacity and as arbitrator and have always found it attentive and professional in all its dealings’.

‘The lawyers are all clearly very well experienced within the contentious trust and probate field and are a pleasure to work with. I have no doubt the team enjoys a high reputation amongst its peers. They lawyers are always available should I have any queries and reply in a timely fashion. They seem to enjoy excellent relationships with their clients whose expectations are managed appropriately’.

‘Alistair Spencer leads the team in the West Midlands from the Stratford office and is known for his empathetic client handling and desire to do the very best for his clients. He stands out amongst other practitioners for his determined commitment to his clients’.

‘All members of the team are outstanding and very professional, Alistair Spencer tested and probed my case to create a strong robust evidenced case. Andrew Wilkinson honed our strategy’.

‘The individuals were all outstanding. Alistair Spencer was the main partner that dealt with my case. He made the claim possible with his hard work and dedication’.

‘Shakespeare Martineau is a small enough firm to provide the level of personal service that we require, whilst at the same time, large enough to be able to provide the variety of services that we require under one roof.  Alistair Spencer is very understanding and patient in explaining the complex issues that have arisen from trying to sort out the estate. He has also been proactive in coming up with a variety of potential solutions. We feel confident that we are in very capable hands as we embark upon a number of stressful scenarios that could end up in a series of court cases’.

‘Alistair Spencer has continually explained matters in a straightforward simple but not simplistic manner, without undermining the subject matter and demystifying legal technicalities. At all times, the firm has been sensitive to a probate matter whilst managing to take the emotion out of a conflict of interest on my behalf’.

Work highlights

  • Acted for the farmer in a complex will challenge and proprietary estoppel case.

The Wilkes Partnership

Kevin Lynch leads a team at The Wilkes Partnership that specialises in the resolution of contentious probate disputes – most of the disputes are litigated in the Chancery Division of the High Court. Typical cases it has worked on include probate claims, professional negligence claims against solicitors in the preparation of wills as well as trust disputes. Associate Jack Ackrill continues to deal with a wide range of disputes.

Practice head(s):

Kevin Lynch

Other key lawyers:

Jack Ackrill

Testimonials

I have found both Kevin Lynch and Jack Ackrill very easy to talk to in layman’s terms, and found them very understanding and will go above and beyond in order to make sure that I as a customer fully understand and appreciate the process which has been needed to bring this dispute to a conclusion. I would without a doubt fully recommend both of them to friends who find themselves requiring property dispute advice’.

‘This firm has good strength in depth and broad expertise being able to draw on top quality private client expertise to back up the contentious probate/trusts function. The lawyers also have an excellent grasp of the factual detail in any given case and are very savvy tactically when mapping out their approach to litigation’.

‘I have been instructed by Kevin Lynch and Jack Ackrill. The former is very bright and is particularly good at reading the key underlying issues/motives of his opponents. This makes his tactical advice to his own clients very effective. Jack has great attention to the detail and is excellent at executing strategy. Both are quick decision makers and immensely practical ’.

‘This is one of the provincial firms with a dedicated team of expert contentious probate practitioners. Kevin Lynch has excellent judgment and expertise in contentious probate and property disputes’.

‘The Wilkes Partnership is rapidly developing its expertise and capabilities in this discipline. It enjoys a strong reputation regionally in various areas of civil litigation, and is cementing it in this one also. The team is numerically small but punches above its weight, given the reputation of Kevin Lynch and the successes of Jack Ackrill (who is achieving much more than would be expected for someone of his level. This includes national recognition for his work)’.

‘Kevin Lynch is acutely switched-on to the needs and interests of his clients. He is an impressive operator who has brought clear success and reputation to the Wilkes’ litigation offering in a very short order of time. Whilst the contentious probate team is numerically small, it manifestly punches above its weight. Its future is cemented by the acquisition of Jack Ackrill (a very clever young lawyer who has a lot to offer)’.

Thursfields Solicitors

The nimble team at Thursfields Solicitors focuses on high-value and complex trusts and estates disputes and has recently been attracting a significant rise in the volume of work in the Worcester and the West Midlands area. As well as advising a sizeable number of individuals on large estates it also provides advisory services to trustees and executors. Under the direction of Lauren Hartigan-Pritchard the group also receives a regular stream of work from local law firms and from local estate agents, accountants and financial advisors. Senior associate Pam Deol is another key member of the department.

Practice head(s):

Lauren Hartigan-Pritchard

Other key lawyers:

Pam Deol

Work highlights

  • Defended a claim that was issued against its client who was the executor of a a substantial estate by the widow aged 82 (the claimant suffered from dementia) through her Litigation Friend (a son from previous marriage) for reasonable provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 from the Estate.
  • Acted for its client who brought a claim as an adult child of the deceased under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 against her late mother’s estate worth £557,000.
  • Acted for the widower who made a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 for a reasonable financial provision as the will had not provided for him sufficiently.