Disputes over inheritance can be difficult and sensitive. FSP’s highly regarded will disputes and contentious probate team will guide you expertly through the process.

Group contact

Katharine Riley

Katharine Riley group contact

Recent experience of work undertaken by members of the group includes:

Trusts

Acting for beneficiaries in a dispute with a major bank concerning a disputed trustee appointment in a family settlement trust.

Acting for a claimant in a complex beneficial interest/constructive trust case in a high value estate coupled with an alternative claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 as a spouse of the deceased.

Labrouche v Frey (2016): Acting for trustees of an overseas foundation involved in High Court litigation in London (together with parallel proceedings overseas) brought by one of the beneficiaries. Recent judgement ruled on a variety of issues including the nature of a trustee's duty to account, correct approach to drawing inferences from historical events and defences for trustees who act honestly and reasonably.

Acting for several minors in complex High Court litigation involving allegations of breach of trust in respect of a £70 million family trust.

Acting for the settlor in a dispute with professional trustees of a Channel Islands trust in respect of wrongful charges.

Advising the beneficiaries of a Channel Islands family trust on a potential multi-million pound claim against professional trustees for mismanagement of a portfolio of investments.

Challenges to Wills

Advising a family in connection with a complex want of knowledge and approval undue influence case involving inclusion of a professional carer in a will of a very elderly testator a month before death.

Acting for a client in an undue influence claim involving fraudulent calumny in a high value estate.

Acting for an 85-year-old woman in a case in which her step-children challenged the ability of her husband (their father) to make a cash gift to her prior to his death at a time when he was suffering from advanced dementia. The case was satisfactorily settled in favour of the widow. A decision not to proceed to trial was made because of the age and the frailty of the wife.

Claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975

Acting for a widow who, although she had received a legacy under her late husband's will, was not satisfied that she had been properly provided for. Proceedings were brought pursuant to the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 and the widow was successful in securing for herself a mortgage-free home together with financial security for the rest of her life.

Acting in a case in which a husband changed his will cutting his wife out of his estate and leaving all of his wealth to a charity. We negotiated a settlement which meant that the charity received a substantial legacy pursuant to the husband's wishes but that also ensured that the wife was adequately provided for.

Acting for a former spouse of a deceased who was still receiving maintenance payments at the date of death, successfully capitalised into an acceptable settlement, having notified a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

Acting for a widow where heavily mortgaged property was held in her husband’s sole name and fell into a life interest trust leaving inadequate provision for her and negotiating a claim whereby her income and housing needs were met.

Acting in numerous claims made by adult children against estates resolved by negotiation and mediation.

Court of Protection Disputes

Acting for a former Court of Protection Deputy in a dispute with beneficiaries regarding the application of Schedule 2 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 whereby the proceeds of sale of real property were protected from ademption where the property was sold by the deputy and a partial distribution of the estate based on ademption had already been made.

Bringing Court of Protection proceedings, which were vigorously contested, to trial in which the Court of Protection were being asked to appoint a professional deputy to manage the property and affairs of a severely mentally-impaired man. Following trial we were successful in securing the appointment of a professional deputy so that the children of the mentally-impaired man could now bene fit from his assets and income in a way that he would have wished, had he been able to make decisions for himself.

Rectification, Construction and Executor disputes

Acting on a rectification claim against the executors of an estate involving a portfolio of residential properties.

Acting for an executor successfully defending an attempt to remove him in the context of a family dispute.

Advising beneficiaries regarding removal of an executor and trustee who had failed to administer the estate and made distributions to herself.