We advise on the full range of trust and probate disputes, often large scale and cross-border.

We assist individuals, family offices, trustees, trust corporations and charities in resolving contentious matters concerning trusts and estates, such as:

  • disputes concerning estates with assets across many jurisdictions;
  • domicile disputes;
  • challenges to the validity of wills and trusts;
  • reasonable financial provision claims (i.e. proceedings under the
  • Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975);
  • disputes concerning the administration of trusts and estates, including the
  • removal of executors and/or trustees;
  • professional negligence claims in the context of wills, trusts or connected tax advice;
  • applications relating to the forfeiture of assets, presumption of death, or burial issues.
  • applications for directions concerning the administration of an estate or trust;
  • applications to deal with foreign property which vests in minor children; and
  • property trust claims concerning the beneficial ownership of properties.

We also have a wealth of experience in dealing with capacity cases, including disputes in relation to lasting powers of attorney (LPAs) and Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPAs) and applications to the Court of Protection.


Why we are different

As a law firm we are unusual in that we offer an exceptionally broad range of service. We can draw on the expertise of our colleagues (many leaders in their own fields) with regards to estates or trusts where issues arise in areas ranging from corporate matters to planning, charities, philanthropy and real estate. This ensures a holistic one stop approach to resolving a dispute.

We also act in a risk management capacity and engage with our Private Client team in terms of advising on stress testing succession or trust structures. A shift in family dynamics, priorities or the political landscape may mean that structures need review from a litigation perspective. We advise from the point of view of the potential attacker, suggesting adjustments or amendments to minimise future challenges.

We understand that these disputes are personal to our clients and that there is often more at stake than just financial interests. Family dynamics are just as important in understanding how best to resolve a dispute. We always try to resolve matters through negotiation or mediation, but will vigorously pursue your matter to trial if this proves necessary.


  • Cross border succession. Acting in a large multi-million pound cross-border succession dispute with assets straddled across many jurisdictions and a dispute with regards to the applicable law to apply and the devolution of the estate.

  • Domicile Disputes: Acting for the long term partner of a deceased, who had links to France, Greece and the UK. The deceased left a will, but it made no provision for his partner. Our client sought reasonable financial provision from the deceased’s substantial estate. As part of that claim, our client argued that the deceased had a permanent intention to remain in the UK. The matter settled at mediation.

  • Family Office: Acting in a team to advise on an estate involving a business estimated to be worth approximately £300million. Applying for an urgent grant of representation to facilitate control of the company and mitigate the risk of disputes with other shareholders.

  • Stevanovic v Knyvett [2019] EWHC 381 (Fam). We successfully defended a claim by a former partner of the deceased for financial provision from his multi-million pound estate. We successfully opposed an application for interim provision in the first reported case to consider the merits requirements.

  • Ubbi & Anori (Minors) v Ubbi [2018] EWHC 1396 (Ch). We successfully defended a claim brought by the two minor children of the deceased. The matter was determined at trial and successfully reduced the quantum of the claim from £2 million to £386,290. This is one of the few (if not only) judgments on such a claim by minor children.

  • Acting in a cross border estate concerning US life interest trusts and dependency rights in Alberta and England.

  • Acting for the court appointed administrator of an estate with assets in England and Cyprus.

  • contentious multi-jurisdictional estate - applications in the administration of a contentious multi-jurisdictional estate with issues regarding residence and domicile and application to the court for Benjamin orders.

  • Resolving a potential claim pursuant to the Inheritance (provision for Family and Dependants)Act 1975 where there was a dispute about domicile and the validity of a civil partnership in the relevant jurisdictions.

  • Will Challenges: Acting in a will dispute in circumstances where the Testator had made a will several years following a diagnosis of dementia. Our client’s will challenge focused on issues of testamentary capacity and knowledge and approval. A settlement was negotiated through correspondence.

  • Will Constructions and Rectification: Acting for the executors and trustees in a claim for construction and/or rectification of the deceased's will. An error found after death was found to have implications for the extent of the class of discretionary beneficiaries. The matter was determined at trial.

  • Property Trust: K v N [2021] unreported. We successfully claimed a declaration that our client was the 100% beneficial ownership of a disputed property. We were able to secure the recovery of our client’s costs on the indemnity basis.

  • Acting for the “wife” (in a bigamous marriage) as well as the step-daughters of the deceased in a dispute concerning the ownership of assets in multiple jurisdictions. We advised on the best jurisdiction in which to proceed and acted as lead lawyers when working with our colleagues in 3 other jurisdictions.

  • Advising an administrator of an estate (as appointed by the Norwegian Court) in his application to be replaced in circumstances where funds misappropriated from the deceased’s business had been transferred to England.

The Legal 500 (2022) quotes us as being a "One of the premier private client litigation practices in London. A private client gem", "A very high-quality team for the whole range of contentious private client matters" and "Extremely client focused practice; essential for private client work. Very user friendly and easy to work with. A top quality firm, but not stuffy."

If you would like to speak with a member of the team, please contact 020 3826 7530 or complete our enquiry form.

The Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists

The Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS) was established on Monday 8th September, 1997 for lawyers specialising in contentious trust and probate work.

www.actaps.com

Private Client Practitioner Top 25 Law Firms

eprivateclient is the leading website and news service for private client practitioners, including lawyers, accountants, trustees and fee-based IFAs. It is the only place to see the results of the Private Client Practitioner Top 25 Law Firms, Top 25 Accountancy Firms, Top 25 Trust Companies, Top 25 IFA Companies, Top 35 Under 35 and 50 Most Influential.

eprivateclient.com

Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners

The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) is a unique professional body providing members with a local, national and international learning and business network focusing on the responsible stewardship of assets today and across the generations. STEP provides education, training, representation and networking for its members. Members advise clients on the broad business of the management of personal finance. Full members of STEP are the most experienced and senior practitioners in the field of trusts and estates.

www.step.org

Resolution

Resolution’s 5700 members are family lawyers committed to the constructive resolution of family disputes. Our members follow a Code of Practice that promotes a non-confrontational approach to family problems. Our members encourage solutions that consider the needs of the whole family - and in particular the best interests of children.

www.resolution.org.uk

Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR)

Leading the field in dispute resolution and conflict management. The Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) is an independent non-profit organisation with a public mission and supported by multinational business, law firms and public sector organisations.

https://www.cedr.com/

ACTAPS

The Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS) was established in 1997 for lawyers specialising in contentious trust and probate work.

http://www.actaps.com/

Office of the Public Guardian

The Office of the Public Guardian supports and promotes decision making for those who lack capacity or would like to plan for their future, within the framework of the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

www.gov.uk

French Property Law

The French team has launched its own dedicated French property website which provides a comprehensive resource for people looking to buy a property or with property interests in France.

www.frenchpropertylaw.co.uk

Successions in Europe

A European Commission website dedicated to succession in Europe which offers basic guidance for 27 countries. Available in 23 languages.

www.successions-europe.eu

STEP

The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) is a unique professional body providing members with a local, national and international learning and business network focusing on the responsible stewardship of assets today and across the generations. STEP provides education, training, representation and networking for its members. Members advise clients on the broad business of the management of personal finance. Full members of STEP are the most experienced and senior practitioners in the field of trusts and estates.

www.step.org

Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR)

Leading the field in dispute resolution and conflict management. The Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) is an independent non-profit organisation with a public mission and supported by multinational business, law firms and public sector organisations.

www.cedr.co.uk

Resolution

Resolution (formerly known as the Solicitors Family Law Association) is an association of family solicitors committed to promoting a non-confrontational approach to conflict resolution.

resolution.org.uk