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Trusts and estate disputes are on the increase. Reasons include a growing 'blame' culture, a willingness to deal with unpopular trustees, personal representatives or unwelcome decisions through litigation, and a perception that trustees and personal representatives have deep pockets and are a soft target for a plaintiff bar that’s hungry for work. Farrer & Co is widely recognised for providing a full service to private clients and for its strength in the areas needed to handle trusts and estate disputes. 

I have them down as one of London's leading teams, with a real gold-standard client base. They are one of the first names to come to mind for both onshore and offshore trust disputes."

Chambers High Net Worth Guide 2017
  • Award winning

    Trust disputes are on the increase. Reasons include trust mis-selling, trustee fallibility, a growing 'blame' culture, a willingness to deal with unpopular trustees or unwelcome decisions through litigation, and a perception that trustees have deep pockets and are a soft target for a plaintiff bar that’s hungry for work. Whatever the reasons, such disputes require knowledge and understanding of tax and trusts (and related disciplines including family and charity). Farrer & Co is widely recognised for providing a full service to private clients and its strength in the areas needed to handle trust disputes. 

    Experienced

    We have considerable experience of guiding our clients through all stages of court proceedings ranging from "friendly" applications to vary the terms of the trust or to give trustees directions through to hostile claims such as "internal" claims (such as claims for compensation for a breach of trust or for removal of trustees or protectors) and "external" claims (such as from a creditor, former spouse in divorce proceedings or heir of the settlor attacking the validity of the trust).  

    Sensitive handling

    Trust disputes are often detrimental to family harmony and personal privacy. For these reasons they require careful and sensitive handling which ensures the situation does not escalate and costs are minimised. We pride ourselves in finding out of court solutions solutions, and Jeremy Gordon is a CEDR accredited mediator. When required we are equally effective at protecting and promoting our clients' interests throughout the litigation process.

    International

    We have a long history of working with clients and intermediaries in other parts of the world. We have extensive experience in big-ticket multi-jurisdiction trust disputes, sometimes raising important legal principles. Although we only advise on English law, we are also familiar with other legal systems, traditions and procedures. 

    Our clients

    We benefit from the firm's stable of high net worth clients, trust companies, protectors and other fiduciaries from England and Wales and abroad, providing a flow of interesting and high-profile instructions in this area. We regularly act for high net worth families, settlors, trustees, protectors, beneficiaries and lawyers from around the world. We pride ourselves on our close, enduring relationships with such clients and intermediaries. We are committed to getting to know our clients, to understanding their requirements and objectives. We strive to meet them in a timely manner. We understand the importance of cost pressures, and seek to deliver cost-effective solutions.

    Confidentiality

    Confidentiality and discretion are of the utmost importance to us. Our clients have long benefited from the highest standards of privacy, sensitivity and discretion.

  • It should be borne in mind that most disputes settle, and therefore do not feature in the law reports.  However, the following are just some examples of the reported cases we have been involved with in recent years.

    • RBC Trustees (CI) Ltd v Stubbs & Ors [2017] EWHC 180 (Ch)
    • Sir Owen Glenn KNZM ONZM & Anor v Watson and Ors [2016] EWHC 3259 (Ch)
    • Representation of Schroder Cayman Bank and Trust Company Limited [2015] JRC 125
    • JSC Mezhdunarodniy Promyshlenniy Bank v Pugachev [2015] EWCA Civ 139
    • Re K Trust BI and Others v Protector & Anor 18 ITELR 627
    • FHR European Ventures LLP & Cedar Capital Partners LLC [2014] UKSC 45
    • Sheffield v Sheffield and others [2014] All ER (D) 103
    • Novatrust Ltd v Kea Investments Ltd and others [2014] EWHC 4061 (Ch)
    • AB Jnr & Another v MB & Others [2013] (1) CILR 1
    • Rybolovlev v Rybolovleva 15 ITELR 554
    • Stiftung Salle Modulable and Rutli Stiftung v Butterfield Trust (Bermuda) Ltd [2013] SC (Bda) 47 (Civ)
    • BQ v DQ and others [2010] SC Bda 40 Civ 16 April 2010
    • Gomez v Gomez Monches‑Vives [2008] EWCA Civ 1065
    • Close Trustees (Switzerland) v Vildasola [2008] EWHC 1267 
    • Wingate v Butterfield Trust (Bermuda) Ltd [2008] WTLR 357
    • Alhamrani v Russa Management Limited and others (Re Intertraders) 
    • Frances v Al Assad [2007] EWHC
    • Goodman v Goodman [2006] EWHC 1757 (ch)
    • Taylor v Midland Bank Trust Company [2002] WTLR 95 
    • Brown v Executors of Estate of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother
    • Frey v Royal Bank of Scotland (Nassau) Limited [2001] 3 ITELR 775. 
    • Aroso v Coutts & Co [2001] EWHC Ch 443 
    • Omar v Omar [1999] All ER 560 
  • Award winning

    Estate disputes are on the increase. Reasons include a growing 'blame' culture, a willingness to deal with unpopular personal representatives or unwelcome decisions through litigation, and a perception that personal representatives have deep pockets and are a soft target for a plaintiff bar that’s hungry for work. Whatever the reasons, such disputes require knowledge and understanding of tax, will drafting, mental capacity and trusts (and related disciplines including  family and charity). Farrer & Co is widely recognised for providing a full service to private clients and its strength in the areas needed to handle estate disputes. 

    Experienced

    We have considerable experience in all manner of estate disputes including challenges to the validity of wills, forced heirship claims, removing executors, claims for reasonable financial provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, claims against negligent will draftsmen and applications for authorisation for statutory wills and other matters under the Mental Capacity Act.    

    Sensitive handling

    Estate disputes are often detrimental to family harmony and personal privacy. For these reasons they require careful and sensitive handling which ensures the situation does not escalate and costs are minimised. We pride ourselves in finding out of court solutions, and Jeremy Gordon is a CEDR accredited mediator. When required we are equally effective at protecting and promoting our clients' interests throughout the litigation process.

    International

    We have a long history of working with clients and intermediaries in other parts of the world. We have extensive experience in big-ticket multi-jurisdiction estate disputes, sometimes raising important legal principles. Although we only advise on English law, we are familiar with other succession laws of legal systems and their different traditions and procedures. 

    Our clients

    We benefit from the firm's stable of high net worth families and fiduciaries from England and Wales and abroad. We regularly act for disappointed heirs/beneficiaries, personal representatives, charities, lawyers and other intermediaries. We pride ourselves on our close, enduring relationships. We are committed to getting to know our clients, to understanding their requirements and objectives. We strive to meet them in a timely manner. We understand the importance of cost pressures, and seek to deliver cost-effective solutions.

    Disputes concerning legacies to charities

    Increasingly charities are facing challenges to the validity of wills or claims for reasonable financial provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975. We work closely with colleagues in the non-contentious Charity team assisting charity clients to handle such cases cost effectively, seeking where possible to find an out of court solution.    

    Confidentiality

    Confidentiality and discretion are of the utmost importance to us. Our clients have long benefited from the highest standards of privacy, sensitivity and discretion.

  • It should be borne in mind that most disputes settle, and therefore do not feature in the law reports.  However, the following are just some examples of the reported cases we have been involved with in recent years.

    • RBC Trustees (CI) Ltd v Stubbs & Ors [2017] EWHC 180 (Ch)
    • Re Estate of Staveley, decd [2017] UKUT 4 (TCC)
    • Re Peter Cundill, decd [2017] EWHC 2072 (Ch)
    • Sir Owen Glenn KNZM ONZM & Anor v Watson and Ors [2016] EWHC 3259 (Ch)
    • Inchbald v Inchbald [2017] EWHC 616 (Ch)
    • Representation of Schroder Cayman Bank and Trust Company Limited [2015] JRC 125
    • JSC Mezhdunarodniy Promyshlenniy Bank v Pugachev [2015] EWCA Civ 139
    • Re K Trust BI and Others v Protector & Anor 18 ITELR 627
    • FHR European Ventures LLP & Cedar Capital Partners LLC [2014] UKSC 45
    • Sheffield v Sheffield and others [2014] All ER (D) 103
    • Novatrust Ltd v Kea Investments Ltd and others [2014] EWHC 4061 (Ch)
    • AB Jnr & Another v MB & Others [2013] (1) CILR 1
    • Rybolovlev v Rybolovleva 15 ITELR 554
    • Stiftung Salle Modulable and Rutli Stiftung v Butterfield Trust (Bermuda) Ltd [2013] SC (Bda) 47 (Civ)
    • BQ v DQ and others [2010] SC Bda 40 Civ 16 April 2010
    • Gomez v Gomez Monches‑Vives [2008] EWCA Civ 1065
    • Close Trustees (Switzerland) v Vildasola [2008] EWHC 1267
    • Wingate v Butterfield Trust (Bermuda) Ltd [2008] WTLR 357 
    • Alhamrani v Russa Management Limited and others (Re Intertraders)
    • Brown v Executors of Estate of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother
    • Frances v Al Assad [2007] EWHC 
    • Goodman v Goodman [2006] EWHC 1757 (ch)
    • Taylor v Midland Bank Trust Company [2002] WTLR 95
    • Frey v Royal Bank of Scotland (Nassau) Limited [2001] 3 ITELR 775 
    • Aroso v Coutts & Co [2001] EWHC Ch 443 
    • Omar v Omar [1999] All ER 560 

They are a solid team with quality running all throughout. They have a real presence both in the UK and internationally. They're a real blue-blood firm and are always involved in the biggest cases."

Chambers High Net Worth Guide 2017

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