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Will and estate disputes are detrimental to family harmony and personal privacy. For these reasons they require careful and sensitive handling to ensure the situation does not escalate and costs are contained.  We are known for our solutions-orientated approach but the ability to be tough when needed. 

Domestic and International Succession Disputes

Our work in this area tends to relate to very high value estates with complex offshore structures.  We act for those bringing and defending succession disputes where assets within these structures are often held in multiple jurisdictions with conflicting laws.  We also act for those who may be taking a neutral role in relation to the dispute whilst undertaking their duty to look after estate assets pending resolution.

We can assist in all types of dispute, for example:

  • challenges to the validity of a will, whether on grounds of incapacity, undue influence, forgery or fraud
  • claims by disappointed beneficiaries to a greater share in the estate (for example claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, or to recover assets transferred during lifetime including the impact of conflicting laws in different jurisdictions)
  • how to rectify a will or deal with ambiguities in how it is drafted
  • administration disputes, and removal/substitution of executors and personal representatives
  • disputes over burial/cremation
  • dealing with capacity issues in the Court of Protection (and equivalent foreign courts) including applications for statutory wills and deputyship/attorneyship disputes.

They're a fantastic firm to deal with. Definitely one of the top firms in London. They're the firm I go to for a messy contentious private client matter. They're my favourite lawyers.

Chambers High Net Worth

Recent work highlights

  • Estate administration.  Acting for the administrators of the complex cross border estate of a high-profile Russian oligarch in the context of a dispute over the distribution of the estate between family members. 
  • 1975 Act claim in the Court of Appeal. Acting for the executors of Michael Cowan’s estate in the seminal case of Cowan v Foreman [2019] EWCA 1336, which addressed Mr Cowan’s widow’s claim for provision from the estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
  • 1975 Act claim and representation of claimant with disabilities.  Successfully acting for executors in seeking the removal of the claimant’s mother as litigation friend. Keays v Parkinson’s Executors [2018] EWHC 1006 (Ch)
  • Pensions dispute with HMRC in the Supreme Court.  Acting for executors in a tax dispute with HMRC which led to substantial tax savings for the estate. Re Estate of Staveley deceased [2020] UKSC 35.
  • Will validity challenge. Acting for the widow and children of a deceased UNHW in a challenge to the validity of his will, with proceedings taking place in the British Virgin Islands and in the Middle East.
  • Will validity challenge.  Acting for the claimant in a challenge to the validity of his deceased’s mother’s will for want of knowledge and approval. Gupta v Gupta [2018] EWHC 1353 (Ch).
  • Costs following will validity challenge.  Acting for the defendant in a will validity challenge and subsequently in the costs dispute that followed. Inchbald v Inchbald [2016] EWHC 3215 (Ch);  Inchbald v Inchbald [2017] EWHC 616 (Ch)
  • Valuable and heritage chattels. Acting for an ultra-high net worth individual from the Middle East relating to ownership of valuable and heritage chattels within an estate and involving the interaction of English and Sharia law. 
  • Burial Dispute. Acting in a cross-border burial dispute involving English and Sharia law. 
  • Deputyship in the Court of Protection. Acting for the attorneys of an ultra-high net worth individual in Court of Protection Proceedings seeking revocation of a Lasting Power of Attorney.

How can we help?

Contact the team about will and estate disputes:

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