Family and inherited wealth disputes are increasingly common.
Multi-jurisdictional families and estates, blended family structures and evolving family dynamics and succession issues are just some of the circumstances that add scope for dispute. We are able to assist on the full range of trust and probate disputes. We assist individuals, family offices, trustees, trust corporations and charities in resolving contentious matters concerning trusts and estates:
- applications for directions concerning the administration of an estate or trust (including blessing applications);
- challenges to the substantive validity of wills and trust deeds;
- reasonable financial provision claims (Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975);
- private international law disputes involving multi-jurisdictional estates and international individuals;
- domicile disputes;
- advice on fiduciary duties and the removal of executors and 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;
- property trust claims concerning the beneficial ownership of properties.
We also have a great deal of experience in relation to capacity cases, including disputes concerning Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) and Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPAs) and court of protection applications and deputies.
We offer pro-active risk management and work with our Private Client team to stress test 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.
Why our Family and inherited wealth disputes solicitors are different
We can draw on the expertise of our colleagues (many leaders in their own fields) where estates or trusts encounter issues ranging from corporate matters to planning, charities, philanthropy, reputation management and real estate. We can supply a genuinely holistic one stop approach to resolving a dispute.
We understand that these disputes are personal to our clients. There is often more at stake than just financial interests. An understanding of relationships within the family is often key to resolving a dispute. We always try to resolve matters through negotiation, 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  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  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  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 (2023) praises the team's "sheer excellence" and "clear wealth of experience". Clients praise the team's client service, and note "everyone in the team is capable and reliable. The support from the partners guides matters beautifully."
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