Inheritance, Trust and Probate Dispute Resolution
We understand the emotional challenges that families face when disputes arise over an inheritance, will or trust which is why we always combine the right balance of expertise, sensitivity and tenacity when resolving these issues.
Wedlake Bell LLP has ‘a very strong and experienced practice that is accustomed to dealing with high-value and complex estates and trusts’.
Legal 500, 2016
The team's service is characterised by ‘personal chemistry both within the firm and towards the client' and by its‘readiness to wrestle with the intractable problems and to reach wise and humane solutions'.
Legal 500, 2014
The team is appreciated for its ‘good response times and realistic time schedules’.
Legal 500, 2013
We advise on all matters relating to disputed inheritances and wills. This includes challenging the validity of a will and claims that a beneficiary has not been left adequate provision by the deceased - either under the will or, where there is no will, under the intestacy rules.
We also advise on disputes in connection with trusts. This includes disputes between trustees and beneficiaries over the management of the trust fund or the distributions made to beneficiaries in addition to challenges to the trust itself and the assets held within it.
We will often advise on professional negligence claims in connection with the drafting of the will or trust or where inaccurate tax advice has been given.
Our dispute resolution experience means we can act for individuals or groups of beneficiaries, trustees and personal representatives - even if the disputes involve cross border issues (with beneficiaries, trustees or assets situated outside the UK).
Whatever the situation, we know that each will and trust is unique in representing the wishes and lifetime achievements of an individual. As a result, any disputes are likely to be stressful so we aim for an early resolution - using alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation, wherever possible.
- Challenges to trusts;
- Bringing or defending claims against trustees;
- Variation and rectification of trusts.
- Challenges to the validity of the will;
- Rectification of the will.
- Bringing or defending claims against personal representatives;
- Claims against third parties.
- Bringing or defending claims that a beneficiary has received inadequate provision under a will or on intestacy.
- Negligent drafting of a will or trust document;
- Negligent tax or other advice.
Acting in a dispute relating to the estate of Lucian Freud (Executors of Lucian Freud c Paul McAdam Freud  EWHC 2577 (ch))
Resolving a dispute between two brothers who were the trustees and beneficiaries of a landed estate with a mansion house, agricultural land and woodland. The dispute had been on-going for a number of years but we were able to conclude this without resort to litigation, which represented a significant saving in costs;
Acting for the executor of an estate valued at £10 million in a dispute between the deceased's second wife and the daughter from his first marriage over the estate and their respective inheritances. The matter was successfully resolved at mediation and the settlement approved by the Court;
Advising beneficiaries in a dispute with the Guernsey-based trustees of a family trust including the potential replacement of the trustees for breach of trust, the separation of sub-trusts and the possible repatriation of the trusts to the UK;
Advising a family over a challenge to their mother's will in circumstances where she had changed the will shortly before her death when her mental capacity was in doubt;
Acting for the family of a Kuwaiti individual who died leaving property in the UK. The deceased had left a will and the issue to be determined was how the estate should pass in view of the terms of the will and the rules of Shari'a law.