Spencer West provides strategic and practical solutions on simple to complex matters to help individuals, families and entrepreneurs protect and preserve their wealth.

Our lawyers help UK and international clients navigate the legal issues that arise through the opportunities and challenges life brings. They provide commercially astute and pragmatic advice on wealth protection, succession planning, and personal tax matters.

Trusts, Probate and Estate Disputes

Disputes and problems relating to family wealth following the death of a family member can be difficult enough. In an increasingly interconnected world, many of our clients live in and own assets in different countries and this can present further difficulty.

An almost infinite variety of issues can arise, including difficult or disputed family inheritance claims, family trust disputes, and tax problems or mitigation, resulting in the potential loss of inheritance, family assets and wealth.

Trustees may fail to perform their duties and responsibilities properly; fail to act in an impartial way; act in breach of trust or breach their fiduciary duties. Beneficiaries may be disappointed and wish to challenge the trustees’ exercise of their role or decisions. The actions of the trustees might result in loss to the trust fund and the trustees may need to be replaced and action taken to recover trust assets.

Disputes can often arise challenging the validity of a will. Claims can include that the maker of the will did not have the requisite testamentary capacity, was unduly influenced, did not approve the contents of the will, that the will was superseded by a later will, was not signed in accordance with the legal requirements, or is a forgery or fraud. Disputes also arise regarding the interpretation of a will or the need to rectify the will.

Claims can be made seeking to remove executors and trustees. Disputes can also arise relating to the distribution of the assets of an elderly or infirm person before their death.

Finally, the law in some jurisdictions including England and Wales permits certain categories of people (e.g. spouses, former spouses, people maintained by the deceased and children, even if adult) to make claims against the estate of a deceased person, subject to a short time limit.

Spencer West have an experienced team of specialist lawyers who can assist clients seek to resolve issues and disputes that can arise.

What we advise on
  • applying for a grant of probate or letters of administration
  • administering estates
  • drawing up deeds of variation and appointments under discretionary wills
  • preparation of wills including those for clients with international connections
  • establishment, administration and taxation of UK and foreign trusts and other succession planning vehicles
  • succession planning with a focus on inheritance tax and capital gains tax implications
  • domicile and tax residence
  • pre-arrival tax planning
  • tax efficient structures for investing in UK, in particular real estate
  • trusts used in commercial transactions
Who we work with
  • high net worth and ultra-high net worth individuals and their families
  • entrepreneurs
  • trustees and beneficiaries of UK and foreign trusts
  • family offices
  • private banks
Fees

For details on the fees for uncontested probate services, please refer to the list below:

Meet our team

Stephen Abletshauser
Partner - Corporate, Private Client & Estate Planning
Alison Armstrong
Partner – Private Client
Hilesh Chavda
Partner - Private Client
Bryony Irvine
Solicitor – Employment / Private Client
Diane Liston
Partner - Family, Private Client and Litigation
Zac Lucas
Partner – International Private Client
Duncan McNair
Partner – City/commercial disputes; and Wills/Estates/Inheritance disputes resolution
Hudda Sara Morgan
Partner - Probate, Administration of Estates
Prakash Patel
Partner – Commercial Dispute Resolution
Sangeeta Rabadia
Partner - Private Client
Rich Risino
Partner - Private Client Advisory