Contentious estates

"The firm's lawyers are trusted advisers, acting in their clients' long-term interests and paying careful attention to quality and personal service".

Chambers & Partners 2016

Farrer & Co's Contentious Trusts and Estates Team has a wealth of experience in handling complex probate and estate disputes in the UK and in other jurisdictions. In this area, we regularly work with the firm's Private Client Team, stress-testing proposed tax and estate planning structures and advising clients on how to head off litigation in the future.
Our Team regularly advises on will validity challenges as well as claims relating to the construction and rectification of wills and estoppel issues. We have particular expertise in claims involving disclosure issues and beneficiaries' rights to information.

We have also been involved in some of the leading cases in the Court of Protection and regularly advise both claimants and defendants in respect of claims for financial provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 and on proprietary estoppel claims. The team also advises charities on claims involving contested legacies.

We understand the sensitivities involved in family disputes and will seek to provide objective and clear advice with a view to achieving a swift, pragmatic and, if required, creative resolution to the dispute whether by litigation or alternative dispute resolution.

Testament to our expertise in this area is the fact that the team won the STEP Contentious Trusts and Estates Team of the Year award in two consecutive years, in 2013 - 2014 and 2014 – 2015 and was nominated for 2015-2016.

Recent work highlights and reported cases:

  • Acting for a beneficiary in respect of High Court litigation over the division of his father's estate involving issues as to capacity and knowledge and approval.
  • Acting for the widow in respect of a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 against her husband's £250 million estate.
  • Acting for the family defendants of a long-standing family trust in relation to the interpretation of the settlor's intentions and questions of a beneficiary's entitlements to trust income and property.
  • Advising a beneficiary of an Iranian family estate in relation a Court of Protection application concerning incapacity issues.
  • Acting for the residuary beneficiaries of a multi-million pound estate in defending a claim brought against the Estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975.
  • Sheffield v Sheffield [2013] EWHC 3927 (Ch)
  • Re P [2009] 2 All ER 1198 (Application of "best interests" principle in relation to statutory will applications)


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