Private Wealth Disputes

Private Wealth Disputes

The UK left the EU on 31 January 2020. A transition period, during which EU laws continue to apply in the UK, is due to end on 31 December 2020. The UK/EU Withdrawal Agreement sets out transitional arrangements and negotiations for the future UK/EU relationship are ongoing.

Issues around inheritance, wills, trusts or mental capacity can bring discord to families in jurisdictions across the world; with one of the largest Private Wealth Disputes teams in the country, we can advise on all challenges that a client might face.

We understand the matters that cause concern to family members, whether it's challenging a trustee or executor over the discharge of their duties, contesting the validity of a will due to undue influence or dealing with issues of mental incapacity caused by dementia, we have an experienced and empathetic team to help you navigate your way through these sensitive situations. 

We can advise trustees, protectors and executors who may find themselves the subject of attack by dissatisfied beneficiaries or needing advice to steer the right course.

We can handle any situation where there is a potential dispute regarding a trust, estate, will or succession matter, both domestic and cross-border, working with and co-ordinating lawyers from other jurisdictions as necessary. We are involved in many trust and inheritance disputes not only in England but also offshore jurisdictions including Cayman, Bermuda, BVI, the Bahamas, Nevis, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, the Channel Islands, Singapore, Hong Kong and New Zealand, amongst others.

We work with our colleagues from across Mishcon Private to efficiently deal with specialised issues including tax and structuring, reputation, family matters or art and luxury assets.

Our team sits at the heart of the Private department which means that we are able to meet the needs which our clients encounter in their wider personal and business lives. We recognise that going to court is not the answer to every problem and we will give clear and dispassionate advice on your options from the outset. We are ready to be measured and diplomatic, but will act with toughness in adversity as required.

We advise trustees, protectors, settlors and beneficiaries in relation to various different types of situations, applications and claims, such as:

  • Removal of trustee claims together with assisting with the transfer of trusteeship;
  • Claims for breach of trust or by beneficiaries to enforce their rights under the trust;
  • Various applications to court including for the court's blessing/approval and in variation, rectification, construction and mistake applications;
  • Making or dealing with requests for information/other correspondence from beneficiaries;
  • Administering assets of a trust (including will trusts) in contentious situations;
  • Claims brought by creditors or other third parties against a trust; and
  • Carrying out trust audits and producing reports for health check purposes and/or to identify potential issues with trusts.

We work with our colleagues in the Family team to assist where trusts are relevant on the breakdown of a relationship as well as our Tax and Wealth Planning team where tax/structuring issues arise.

We advise clients where someone connected to them may not have the requisite mental capacity to take certain decisions, in relation to either their finances or personal welfare. We can advise on all aspects of Court of Protection work, including challenging the actions taken by an attorney/deputy, seeking the court's approval of actions by an attorney/deputy, seeking the appointment or removal of a deputy, applications for statutory wills and representation at Best Interest meetings.

We are experienced in working with lawyers in jurisdictions all over the world in relation to succession and trust disputes involving complex cross-border issues. We can provide advice on English legal issues, advise on conflict of laws or manage the case from England, whilst coordinating the necessary input of lawyers in different countries.

We advise clients on all types of challenges to Wills (whether bringing or defending and action), including those relating to lack of testamentary capacity, lack of knowledge and approval, undue influence, fraud and when a Will has not been properly executed.

We can assist with any contentious issues relating to the administration of an estate, including if necessary, advising on the removal of executors or trustees.

We act for people who have a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 for reasonable financial provision from the deceased's estate.  We can also advise beneficiaries of estates and executors who may need to defend, or be a party to, a 1975 Act claim.

We act for charities needing advice in a range of different situations, from corporate governance and trustee disputes to handling correspondence and dealing with investigations or cases instigated by the Charity Commission or Fundraising Regulator. We are also experienced in advising on challenges to Wills where charities are beneficiaries.

We can advise on claims against professionals, such as solicitors or accountants, in relation to matters concerning estates and trusts.

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