Private Client Disputes

We have significant experience in advising on a wide range of UK and cross-border disputes concerning estates, trusts and vulnerable clients. We also recognise that disputes can be stressful for those involved and so we always aim for an expedient conclusion, using alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation, wherever possible.

Our particular expertise includes:

1) Estate disputes

  • claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975;
  • challenges to the validity of a Will including those relating to a lack of testamentary capacity and undue influence;
  • applications for the removal of executors;
  • disputes regarding the deceased’s personal possessions or the ownership of a deceased’s ashes;
  • applications for the rectification of a Will and regarding the construction of the terms of a Will; and
  • claims against solicitors and other professionals in connection with errors made in the administration of an estate or trust, negligent drafting, or where incorrect tax advice has been given.

2) Trust disputes:

  • advising trustees and beneficiaries in relation to trust assets and the administration of the trust, such as seeking disclosure of financial or other information;
  • applications for the removal of a trustee;
  • applications to vary the terms of a trust; and
  • proprietary estoppel and constructive trust claims.

3) Vulnerable client disputes:

  • advising on and preparing a wide range of applications to the Court of Protection in respect of incapacitated individuals including: the appointment of a deputy for property and affairs; making a statutory Will or gift; and the appointment or discharge of a trustee;
  • dealing with the Office of the Public Guardian in cases of suspected financial abuse by an attorney;
  • advising on claims against attorneys and deputies including their removal by way of an application to the Court of Protection; and
  • advising on claims relating to financial abuse by someone other than a deputy or attorney.

For further information on our services in respect of vulnerable clients, see: Protection and Planning for the vulnerable – Wedlake Bell

Andrew O’Keeffe is a well-known and rightly respected litigator. Caroline Miller is brilliant. Jemma Goddard and Oliver Embley are outstanding associates who are respected by peers and loved by clients.

— Legal 500, 2021

Caroline Miller is a litigator with deep private client knowledge. The team has a range of talent across the spectrum, including Jemma Goddard who is a future star.

— Legal 500, 2021

A very strong team, especially for larger estates work and for complex trusts and tax issues. Andrew O’Keeffe is plain talking and no nonsense; he knows what he is doing and is very good at getting deals. Caroline Miller is able and expert and very good with clients.

— Legal 500, 2021

Wedlake Bell is a growing presence in this area of law, which is definitely able to take on bigger, higher-profile teams and come out on top. Andrew O’Keeffe is a strong team leader, with great strategic intelligence. Jemma Goddard is a very engaged, knowledgeable associate, keeping everyone else on their toes – she is someone you want on your side.

— Legal 500, 2021

"Wedlake Bell LLP has ‘a very strong practice’ led by Andrew O’Keeffe, who is ‘extremely experienced and a formidable opponent’. "

— Legal 500, 2017

"Also recommended is the ‘very knowledgeable’ Caroline Miller, who ‘deals with her clients well, is immaculately prepared for each case and fights hard for her clients’."

— Legal 500, 2017

"O’Keeffe specialises in contentious probate matters and has extensive experience in trust disputes, the administration of estates, and claims under the Inheritance Act 1975."

— Legal 500, 2017