Our specialist team are experts at resolving all kinds of contentious trust and probate issues and we pride ourselves in providing clear and transparent advice tailored to the specific needs of each individual client.
Please contact a member of our team on 01473 406386 or at email@example.com
Partner, Head of Contentious Trusts and Probate
Bernadette is head of Birketts’ Contentious Trusts and Probate Team. She has over 20 years’ experience and is a full member of the Association of Contentious Trusts and Probate Specialists. Bernadette is recognised as a leader in her field by both the Legal 500 and Chambers.
Bernadette advises a range of clients (private individuals, beneficiaries, trustees, executors, deputies, attorneys and charities) often involving international and cross border issues. She is experienced in disputes involving the administration of estates, will validity claims, issues of construction and rectification of wills and deeds, proprietary estoppel, claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 and professional negligence claims involving estate planning, trust and succession issues. Bernadette advises beneficiaries, trustees and other fiduciaries on trust disputes both onshore and offshore.
Chambers High Net Worth records that “her biggest strength is her ability to listen to clients and give consideration to the best approach. Her communication skills are excellent“. The Legal 500 describes Bernadette as “tenacious and clever” and a lawyer who “fights very hard for her clients but recognises the need to resolve differences and reach a negotiated settlement‘.
Kate is a Legal Director in Birketts’ Contentious Trust and Probate Team. She is a full member of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS) and of ConTrA, the Contentious Trusts Association, and is recognised as a Rising Star in the Legal 500 with clients being “hugely impressed by her robust and common-sense approach to difficult litigation”. She is also named as a “stand out individual” and someone who is “utterly reliable and will forge ahead to find a resolution”.
Kate acts for a variety of clients advising private individuals, trustees, executors, administrators and beneficiaries in relation to a broad range of inheritance, estate and trust disputes. Kate’s experience covers will validity claims, estate, trust administration disputes, claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, proprietary estoppel claims and applications for the rectification or construction of a will or trust document where the wording or meaning of the document is not clear. Kate can also advise in relation to professional negligence claims arising from estate and trust matters.
Kate is an advocate of mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution and is committed to seeking a resolution of disputes in the most practical and cost-effective way possible. She also recognises that Court proceedings can be unavoidable in certain circumstances and will guide and support clients through this process.
Sharon is a Legal Director in Birketts’ Contentious Trust and Probate Team. She is a full member of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS). Sharon has over 15 years’ experience in this area of law having qualified in 2006.
Sharon advises on all types of inheritance disputes including cross border domicile issues, Will validity and trusts law, executor/beneficiary disputes and Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975 claims. Sharon also deals with proprietary/promissory estoppel cases, Will construction and rectification issues.
Sharon has dealt with cases of a contested nature involving the disposal of gifts during lifetime and contested Court of Protection matters.
Sharon advises both Claimant’s and Defendants in this area of litigation, so clients are always prepared for what is coming from the other side.
Sharon is empathetic and compassionate during the litigation process as this is usually a stressful time for clients and their families. Sharon is an advocate for ADR with 100% success rate dealing with cases at mediation.
Nick is a Legal Director in Birketts’ Contentious Trust and Probate Team. He is a full member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and has been recognised as “..highly regarded..” in the Legal 500 for contentious probate work.
Nick acts primarily for private individuals both as claimant or defendant in relation to will validity claims, estate administration disputes, claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, and applications for the construction of a will.
Nick believes that given that all litigation carries an element of risk, alternative dispute resolution and mediation should always be considered as a cost-effective approach to settling estate disputes. He also recognises that in some instances Court proceedings are inevitable and has represented clients at all levels of the Civil Courts in England and Wales including the Supreme Court.
Anna is an Associate in Birketts’ Contentious Trust and Probate team, qualifying in 2017. Anna has completed the ACTAPS course and is currently an associate member.
Anna advises on a range of contentious trust and probate matters, including will challenges on the grounds of lack of capacity, undue influence, fraudulent calumny and want of knowledge and approval. Anna also has experience advising in relation to claims pursuant to the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. Anna acts for both claimants and defendants in will dispute cases.
Anna understands that all types of disputes concerning a loved one’s will can be upsetting. You are often in conflict with another family member and that can take a significant emotional toll. Anna is alive to these issues and approaches any form of dispute with these matters in mind. Anna takes a sensitive and considered approach to both advancing her client’s position but also seeking a resolution at an early stage and has extensive experience settling claims at mediation. Equally, if settlement is not possible, Anna is robust in advancing her client’s position.
Rachel is an Associate solicitor with over 6 years of experience dealing with Contentious Trust and Probate matters. Rachel is a full member of ACTAPS (Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists) and ConTrA (Contentious Trust Association).
Rachel has been recognised in the Legal 500 and praised for being “a most impressive solicitor. She is wise beyond her years and is certainly one to watch. I have worked with Rachel on complex contentious probate litigation and have always been impressed by the control she displays over her cases and her insight” as well as “talented, meticulous, very bright, caring.
Rachel has experience acting for disappointed beneficiaries, executors, trustees and charities in a wide range of matters including claims regarding the validity of wills; acting for claimants and defendants of claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975; proprietary estoppel claims; and disputes with executors or trustees.
Rachel settles most matters without the need for Court proceedings but has taken matters to trial, most notably the cases of Clitheroe v Bond  EWHC 1185 (Ch) and Wrangle v Brunt  1 WLUK 332 , which both concerned challenges to the validity of wills.
Jenny is an associate in Birketts’ Contentious Trusts and Probate Team, handling the full range of cases across this specialist field. Jenny acts for executor, trustee and beneficiary clients in disputes and the avoidance of disputes.
Jenny advises regularly on bringing and defending claims for financial provision from an estate, challenging and defending the validity of wills on grounds of lack of capacity and undue influence, and the myriad of issues which can arise in estate and trust administration.
Jenny’s practice also takes in the availability of remedies such as the interpretation and rectification of wills and trust documents, as well as professional negligence claims in the context of the preparation of testamentary and trust documents and estate administration.
Jenny is an associate member of ACTAPS and will be eligible for full membership in November 2023.
Lauren is an Associate in Birketts’ Contentious Trusts & Probate team, having joined from a specialist litigation practice in January 2022. She qualified as a solicitor in March 2018.
Lauren has experience and expertise in advising across the full spectrum of probate and trust disputes.
She routinely advises executors, disappointed beneficiaries, trustees and administrators on their positions in respect of a diverse range of disputes covering wills, trusts and disputed estates.
These include matters ranging from challenges to the validity of a will (including testamentary capacity and undue influence issues) and claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 through to claims relating to the administration of estates and actions in proprietary estoppel.
Lauren is currently a Student Member of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS). She is also a member of the Contentious Trusts Association (ConTrA).