The team at Clarion regularly acts in high-value and complex multi-jurisdictional disputes, representing clients with global assets. With Lynsey Harrison as group head, the practice frequently handles Inheritance Act 1975 claims, actions disputing the validity of wills, and all manner of administrative claims relating to estates. The practice is also instructed by high-net-worth individuals to advise on complex breach of trust actions, relating to both UK and Jersey trusts. Other notable practitioners include associate solicitors Louise Dodds and Liam Brooke; the latter has experience in dealing with disputes regarding inter vivos gifts.
Contentious trusts and probate in Yorkshire And The Humber
Acting both regionally and nationally, the team at Irwin Mitchell deals with a wide spectrum of contested matters concerning the validity of wills and lifetime gifts. As well as advising on the construction and rectification of wills, the practice also acts in family provision claims for spouses and dependants, and handles Court of Protection matters concerning instances of financial abuse. Under the leadership of Paula Myers, the group has handled an increasing number of farming partnership and family business disputes, particularly those involving proprietary estoppel and succession upon death issues. Also key to the practice is James Laycock, who regularly handles cases involving allegations of breach of trust.
‘An absolute behemoth, they have a truly national team of sector-leading experts.‘
‘An experienced lead in the form of the formidable Paula Myers.‘
‘James Laycock is charming and highly skilled.‘
‘The partners are extremely experienced and knowledgeable, while the associates are efficient and practical with a lot of common sense.‘
‘Paula Myers leaves no stone unturned for her clients. She also heads up a brilliant team, who are very well trained to drill down into the detail.‘
‘Richard Smaller is an impressive associate whose determination and diligence help to secure excellent results for his clients.‘
‘They are focused on providing solutions to problems, and are happy to be flexible in finding the approach which best fits any given case.‘
‘James Laycock is an outstanding lawyer – his strategic and tactical brain is up there with the best of them.‘
With civil and commercial matters specialist Peter Duffus at the helm, Andrew Jackson Solicitors LLP's team assists clients with the full range of contentious trusts and probate work. The group frequently acts in cases concerning disputed wills which also involve medical issues, 1975 Act cases with an international element, and matters involving estoppel arguments. The practice also regularly assists with Court of Protection matters; Richard Hoare is the key name to note in this area.
Other key lawyers:
‘Andrew Jackson have excellent breadth and depth of experience and practice in this field.‘
‘Peter Duffus has the detailed skills to deal with every aspect, but always retains a strong grip on the overview of his clients’ cases, so can give good tactical advice.‘
Bell & Buxton
Bell & Buxton's practice leverages the close collaboration between the commercial and private client departments. Alongside contentious probate claims, the firm also handles disputed Court of Protection applications, and cases concerning financial abuse of the elderly. Key members of the team include practice head John Breeze, and solicitor Katie Winslow, who frequently represents claimants, defendants, and executors in a wide range of financial abuse claims.
Other key lawyers:
‘Led by the capable John Breeze, the members of the team are friendly, approachable and conscientious in their dealings with clients.‘
‘John Breeze is professional, knowledgeable, approachable and readily available for his clients. He goes beyond what is required.‘
‘The team has a wealth of experience and specialism, and is highly regarded.‘
‘John Breeze has excellent rapport with clients and is a tough negotiator.‘
‘Katie Winslow has an absolutely superb grasp of detail.‘
‘Friendly but very capable.‘
‘John Breeze is an erudite and worthy opponent. His specialist knowledge in this area and his reasoned approach to cases makes him a welcome peer.‘
The contentious trusts and probate team at Freeths LLP regularly act in claims under the Inheritance Act, will challenges, removal applications, financial abuse claims, and estoppel claims. In addition, practice head Mark Keeley, who operates from Nottingham and Birmingham as well as Leeds, is often appointed as an independent administrator. The group is increasingly acting for wealthy agricultural clients in high-value disputes involving farming estates, as well as handling matters with an international element. Also notable in Leeds is associate Laura Short, who regularly acts in cases involving multi-million pound estates with a mix of personal and business assets.
Other key lawyers:
‘Proactive, practical advice backed up by excellent technical knowledge. Great service and client led approach which results in clear, and where necessary (and in a positive way) ‘blunt’ advice.’
‘Laura Short – highly commercial, proactive, practical and technically proficient lawyer.’
IDR Law is a boutique firm specialising in inheritance dispute resolution, acting solely in cases involving contentious wills, trusts and probate. The team handles a wide range of matters, including equitable remedy claims, probate negligence issues, and beneficiary and executor disputes. Founder and director Martin Holdsworth, who is an ACTAPS national committee member, receives frequent instructions from local and national clients, including those with global assets. The practice was strengthened by the arrival of solicitors Kate Saunders and Louise Sackey, formerly of Irwin Mitchell and Else Solicitors LLP, respectively.
‘Martin Holdsworth heads up the team and brings an entrepreneurial spirit to litigation, and has bags of knowledge and experience.‘
‘Richard Thomas is very capable.‘
‘Martin Holdsworth’s knowledge in this area is second to none.‘
At LCF Law, all the members of the contentious trusts and probate team are also property litigation specialists, which allows the practice to provide advice on a wide range of property-related matters. As well as trustees and beneficiaries, the team is also frequently instructed by administrators. Under the leadership of accredited mediator Ragan Montgomery, the practice handles a wide spectrum of work, including acting in disputes arising between trustees and beneficiaries, advising on issues involving capacity, and handling Court of Protection matters. Also recommended is solicitor Caroline Deathe.
Other key lawyers:
‘They give good, practical advice and are a pleasure to deal with.‘
‘Caroline Deathe is an empathetic, pragmatic and driven litigator. She gives good advice and is always aware of the client’s needs and objectives.‘
‘Ragan Montgomery leads the team and is impressive and does a good job of juggling many different challenges.‘
- Represented the beneficiaries of a trust in a claim for breach of trust against the trustees.
Taylor & Emmet LLP
Representing both claimants and defendants, the team at Taylor & Emmet LLP acts in trust and estate disputes including Inheritance Act 1975 claims, validity of will issues, and rectification claims. The group also collaborates closely with the non-contentious probate private client team. ACTAPS-certified practice head Alexander Watkinson brings his prior family law experience to the team, which also includes associate John Tunnard, who frequently represents the administrators and trustees of estates.
Other key lawyers:
Working closely alongside the firm's commercial dispute resolution and private wealth departments, the contentious trusts and probate team at Knights plc is well placed to advise a wide range of clients, including British expats dealing with UK-based estates, probate management companies, and Court of Protection clients.
Lupton Fawcett's contentious trusts and probate team represents a variety of clients, including trustees, professionals, executors and beneficiaries, in a wide range of disputes. The practice frequently acts in cases involving proprietary estoppel in relation to family homes and farms. Key practitioners include Howard Rutter.
The contentious trusts and probate team at McCormicks is singled out for assisting the executors, trustees and potential beneficiaries of significant family estates and trusts. The practice acts in a variety of private wealth disputes, including those with an international element. Key names include Philip Edmondson, who frequently represents clients in TOLATA claims; and Elaine Lightfoot, who regularly acts in cases involving challenges to testamentary capacity.
Ramsdens Solicitors LLP
Alongside representing clients in inheritance tax claims, executor and beneficiary disputes and financial abuse claims, the team at Ramsdens Solicitors LLP also acts in a significant number of statutory wills cases. In addition, the practice has seen notable growth in Court of Protection work. Group head Steven Singh is supported in the practice by Jeremy Cook and associate Katie Whitehead.
Ridley & Hall
The key focus of the contentious trusts and probate team at Ridley & Hall remains cases involving financial abuse of the elderly, particularly those with a predatory marriage element. Other work undertaken by the firm includes assisting the families of missing persons, and handling executor and beneficiary disputes. The practice, which is headed up by Sarah Young, was strengthened by the arrival of James Urquhart-Burton, formerly of Simpson Millar LLP, in early 2020.
‘Sarah Young is outstanding in this field of practice.‘
‘Very friendly and empathetic whilst also being very efficient and personable.‘
‘An excellent firm of professional solicitors that work very much as a team, while demonstrating their own individual professional knowledge, experience and interest.‘
‘Sarah Young is one of those lawyers who almost sweats blood for her clients, she works very, very hard and gets good results – extremely approachable and well liked.‘
‘Highly respected and effective team.‘
‘Sarah Young is outstanding in her dedication.‘
With support from the firm's STEP-qualified and family lawyers, the contentious trusts and probate team at Weightmans acts in a wide range of matters, including Inheritance Act and proprietary estoppel claims. The group is led by principal associate Matthew Morton, who is a member of ACTAPS, and is frequently instructed by financial advisers, professional deputies and accountants. Also noted is associate David McGuire, who frequently represents claimants and defendants in challenges to the validity of wills.
Other key lawyers:
‘A strong team who are always available and willing to help.‘
‘Matthew Morton is kind, sensitive and approachable. He is also immensely knowledgeable in his area of law.‘