Trusts, Estates, Probate and Private Client

Traditional Chancery is a main area of interest for several members of Chambers’ civil team, who balance detailed legal knowledge with an ability to deal with the acrimonious personal nature of many of these disputes. The team has a strength and depth rarely seen outside London in such a specialist area of law, and is viewed as the ‘go to’ set for many solicitor clients faced with such disputes.

Trust of Land Act (TOLATA) Claims

Pallant Chambers is fortunate to possess a deep well of expertise across its civil team from which to draw upon when assisting clients with matters related to the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996.

Members of the team are regularly instructed in disputes over the co-ownership of land and the availability of proprietary estoppel. Our members have considerable experience advising and litigating on the various possible trusts of land which can arise in relation to substantial assets such as the family home, including common intention constructive trusts, resulting trusts and joint venture constructive trusts.

Our team is able to provide advice and representation in relation to all TOLATA matters. Members regularly appear in the High Court, County Court and First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) on behalf of both Claimants and Defendants to such actions.

Pallant Chambers also benefits from a broad range of expertise within the family team concerning proceedings under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989, which gives Chambers the flexibility and pooled knowledge to advise on whether TOLATA or Schedule 1 is the appropriate enactment to use, and the steps to take where conflicting claims are made under both enactments.

Recent instructions include:

  • TOLATA trials including claims for occupation rent
  • Orders for sale
  • Beddoe applications for proposed TOLATA proceedings by the deceased’s estate
  • Advising in respect of a co-ownership dispute involving multiple investment properties purchased by an unmarried couple
  • Advising in respect of a co-ownership dispute between siblings
  • Intervention and joinder of third parties in Financial Remedy proceedings

Administration of Estates

Our members frequently advise on the administration of estates including applications for accounts, uncertainty regarding the meaning of wills, the removal of personal representatives, orders to administer estates, and Beddoe applications.

Recent notable instructions include:

  • Proceedings against the administrator of an intestate estate for an administration order, devastavit, restitution, breach of fiduciary duty and interim injunctive and declarative relief
  • Providing written advice pursuant to a Court Order as to the interpretation of an obscurely worded will
  • A dispute between trustees, relatives and a charity as to the interpretation and effect of an obscurely worded will
  • An application for the removal of a personal representative on the grounds that the beneficiaries have lost confidence in him to act independently

Contentious and Non-contentious Probate

Members of the team provide specialist advice and representation on all matters of contentious probate including questions as to capacity, duress and undue influence, statutory wills, rectification, and intestacy.

Members also appear in the Probate Registries and before the Family Division in non-contentious probate matters including applications for the removal of caveats, applications in respect of the grant of probate and to pass over personal representatives, and applications for ad colligenda bona.

Recent notable instructions include:

  • High Court litigation regarding a challenge a will on the grounds of undue influence ,capacity, and want of knowledge and approval
  • High Court litigation regarding a challenge to a will on the grounds of lack of formal validity, disputing whether the will was properly witnessed
  • Proceedings concerning whether an elderly testator and trustee had the capacity to conduct various discretionary trusts
  • Proceedings seeking to rectify a will which incorrectly failed to cover investment trust assets outside of the UK
  • A challenge to a ‘death bed’ will amending a previous will in favour of certain relatives at the expense of other relatives by a testatrix suffering from late stage cancer and consequently subject to delusions and increased suggestibility

Inheritance Act 1975

Our team acts for claimants, defendants and personal representatives in claims brought under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, aiming to give pragmatic early advice to increase the chances of settlement where possible, but also to contest trials as strongly as possible where litigation is necessary.

Recent instructions include:

  • A claim for provision concerning a multi-million pound estate spread across several continents
  • A claim for provision coupled with a proprietary estoppel claim relating to farming property and land
  • Defending a claim for provision on the grounds that the claimant had created her own circumstances of poverty by divesting herself of assets
  • Various claims by estranged adult children following on from the decision in Illot v Mitson

Contentious & Non-contentious Trusts

Our Members advise and provide representation in contentious trust matters including the interpretation of trusts, and claims for breach of trust, fraud and asset recovery.

The team is also able to provide advice and representation in relation to the variation of trusts and the approval of transactions.

Recent instructions include:

  • Advising and drafting proceedings on behalf of a trustee who wished to step down from his position without adverse consequences.
  • Advising in a dispute between trustees as to the correct use of funds held under a discretionary trust.
  • A High Court will trust dispute regarding a detailed account as to the stewardship of property held in England for the benefit of an Iranian family.

Court of Protection

The team is frequently instructed in the Court of Protection and have specialist knowledge of that court and its procedures. Members frequently appear in relation to powers of attorney, the appointment and authority of deputies, statutory wills and gifts, the sale and disposition of property, capacity, and varying trusts.

  • The team is instructed in property and welfare cases in the Court of Protection, both in London and in regional centres. Members’ expertise includes cases relating to powers of attorney, the appointment and authority of deputies, statutory wills and gifts, the sale and disposition of property, capacity, and varying trusts.

Recent instructions include:

  • An application for a statutory will in the context of a multi-million pound estate following the alleged breakdown of the protected person’s relationship and disputes regarding the validity of the current will
  • Representing one of P’s children at first instance and on appeal in a dispute raising an unusual point as to the interaction between the costs rules relating to property and welfare cases
  • Obtaining an order for the removal and replacement of a deputy and permission to conduct litigation against him
  • Resisting an application brought by a deputy for a statutory will on the basis of the deceased’s alleged lack of capacity

Our Members advise and provide representation in contentious trust matters including the interpretation of trusts, and claims for breach of trust, fraud and asset recovery.