Wills, Trusts and Inheritance Disputes

"They do serious, high-value and complex work. These are noteworthy cases which make a splash in our industry"

Chambers and Partners HNW Guide 2018

By their nature, disputes over Wills, Trusts and Estates often occur at times of emotional vulnerability and distress.  Bringing or defending such claims is especially demanding and can become acrimonious and fraught very quickly.  

Seeking expert legal advice at an early stage to help resolve matters can therefore be crucial and can potentially avoid litigation and costly court proceedings.

Our specialist Wills, Trusts and Inheritance Disputes team is ranked in both Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 as experts in this field. 

The spectrum of disputes is as varied as the families affected.  We act for trustees, executors, personal representatives and for individuals claiming against estates, trustees or other parties. We also often advise on complex and cross-jurisdictional issues, and regularly work alongside other intermediaries based offshore. Our team is recognised for our expertise in this field by the legal directories The Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners. We can assist beneficiaries, trustees, executors and others in claims and disputes in relation to:

  • Invalid wills (including lack of capacity and undue influence claims)
  • Fraud, including forged or fraudulent Wills
  • Claims for reasonable provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975
  • Rectification of Wills 
  • Professional negligence claims relating to Wills, Trusts and Estates 
  • Domicile issues
  • Interpretation of Wills, Trusts and/or the administration of Estates
  • Removal of executors, administrators or trustees
  • Misappropriation of Trust or Estate property
  • Breaches of Trust
  • Proprietary Estoppel, Constructive Trust and Resulting Trust claims
  • Claims for restitution of Trust funds
  • Asset recovery and tracing claims for trustees, including obtaining freezing injunctions
  • Court of Protection

The circumstances of each case are unique, which requires a tailored response to our clients’ individual needs and an approach that balances sensitivity with pragmatism.  We employ a wide range of methods to help promote early settlement where it is possible, including setting up informal meetings with opponents or representing clients at mediation. However, if a resolution cannot be found, we engage in and manage litigation as pro-actively, efficiently and cost effectively as possible to ensure success for our client at trial. We always give clear advice to our clients about costs and the various options for funding a claim. 

Our specialist team of lawyers from our Dispute Resolution and Private Client teams includes members of the Association of Contentious Trusts and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS), the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and trained mediators.

For more information, read our frequently asked questions on wills, trusts and inheritance disputes and our Trustees Need to Know guide.


"the most valuable thing he did was to be able to see the big picture. He made sure the client got what he wanted to achieve. He has great commercial awareness."

Chambers UK High Net Worth, 2017

"'Efficient and pragmatic team' - is well equipped to handle complex multi-jurisdictional work"

Legal 500, 2016

"Kingsley Napley LLP’s ‘efficient and pragmatic team’ is well equipped to handle complex multi-jurisdictional work. Head of team Ryan Mowat ‘throws his heart and soul into his clients’ cases and knows when to fight and when to settle’"

Legal 500, 2016

Also recommended are the ‘exceedingly bright’ Katherine Pymont, ‘very reliable and capable’ Kate Salter, and associate Laura Phillips, who ‘really knows her stuff’

Legal 500, 2016

"Sources describe him as "extremely thorough and responsive" and appreciate that he "rolls his sleeves up and gets stuck in."

Chambers UK, 2016

"Responsible for coming in and really growing this area at the firm''

Legal 500 UK, 2014

"Mowat 'gives robust advice and is not afraid of the fight'"

Legal 500 UK, 2014

"Clients of Kingsley Napley LLP can draw on the expertise of the flawless Ryan Mowat."

Legal 500 UK, 2014


"They are very good at getting on top of things quickly and efficiently to achieve an advantageous settlement."


 Chambers UK High Net Worth, 2017


Sources describe him as "extremely thorough and responsive" and appreciate that he "rolls his sleeves up and gets stuck in".

Chambers UK, 2016

"Responsible for coming in and really growing this area at the firm."

Legal 500 UK, 2014

Mowat "gives robust advice and is not afraid of the fight."

Legal 500 UK, 2014

"Clients of Kingsley Napley LLP can draw on the expertise of the flawless Ryan Mowat."

Legal 500 UK, 2014


"Practice head Ryan Mowat continues to attract complex and varied work including an increasing proportion of work involving fraud or with offshore elements"

Legal 500 UK, 2019

"Anna Metadjer is 'very competent, calm and reassuring'"

Legal 500 UK, 2019

"adopts an easy and collaborative style which is a great catalyst to case preparation and ultimately a successful outcome for its clients"

Legal 500 UK, 2019

Kingsley Napley have "really penetrated the market" and are "becoming an established player in this area."

Chambers UK High Net Worth, 2018

"They were extremely helpful and delivered everything you could ask for on time. They were prompt, helpful and friendly."

Chambers UK High Net Worth, 2018

"a strong private client team with some real strength in the contentious trust area." 

Chambers and Partners HNW Guide UK, 2018

“Kingsley Napley is becoming a significant player in this area…..The team has considerable expertise in areas such as undue influence claims, validity claims, and complex cross-border asset- and people-tracing cases, as well as professional negligence claims relating to wills and trusts”.

Legal 500, 2017

"They always produce consistently high quality work and I feel they have the ability to deal with complex and sophisticated disputes"

Chambers UK High Net Worth, 2017

Recent Cases

Recent Cases

Removal of trustees and/or executors may not be the only option


Setting aside a will on the ground of a lack of capacity


Setting aside a will on the ground of want of knowledge and approval


Setting aside a will on the ground of fraud


A beneficiaries entitlement to trust documents


Disputes about interests in property


Spouse claims for provision from an estate


No inheritance for an adult child


Undue Influence and misappropriation of assets


Related pages

Wills, Trusts and Inheritance Disputes FAQs

This page sets out a number of Frequently Asked Questions in relation to Wills, Trusts and inheritance disputes as well as a glossary of terms.

Trustees: Need to Know

A comprehensive suite of "Need to Know" information for Trustees.

Civil Fraud and Investigations

The international nature of commerce and growing reliance on electronic communications mean that the number and value of fraud claims is rising.

Commercial and Contract Disputes

Corporate disputes can be stressful, disruptive and damaging. We provide tactical and strategic advice to businesses and individuals.

Dispute Resolution

Dealing with a dispute professionally and commercially takes skill. We assist and support our clients with both legal knowledge and strategy.


If you need to prevent the loss of an asset, damage to reputation, or protect against personal harm, it may be necessary to apply for an injunction.

International and Cross-Border Disputes

When disputes involve individuals or organisations in different countries, those involved often face an array of complex issues in various jurisdictions.

Litigation Funding Options

Funding litigation can be expensive and cause concern. We hope to alleviate these concerns by offering our clients a bespoke funding package.

Professional Negligence

Our experienced team of litigators act for claimants in bringing claims against professionals when they get it wrong.

Real Estate Litigation

Owners, occupiers, investors or developers might encounter property issues relating to anything from a lease or contract dispute to potential fraud.

Reputation and Media

Protecting our clients’ reputation and maintaining control when they are the subject of media scrutiny is what we do.

News and blogs

View all


Contentious Trust and Probate Quarterly Round-Up Autumn 2018

Contentious Trusts and Probate Round-Up: January 2018

Contentious Trusts and Probate Monthly Round-Up: June 2017

Contentious Trusts and Probate Monthly Round-Up: May 2017

Contentious Trusts and Probate Monthly Round-Up: April 2017

View all


Dealing with costs in trusts and probate proceedings – Part 2: exceptions to the general rule in probate claims

Dealing with costs in trusts and probate proceedings - Part 1: liability for trustees

Minor children and reasonable financial provision

Capacity on the cobbles, Coronation Street’s inheritance dispute storyline

The extent of restrictions placed on trustees by a trust deed (South Downs Trustees Ltd v GH)

Sign on the dotted line… Does a will need a witness’ signature to be valid?

Knowledge approval claim fails because the circumstances surrounding the will were not suspicious

“But you promised me!” – Are promises enough when someone passes away?

A recent court ruling on the forfeiture rule

Time’s up! When does “late” become “too late” to make an application for provision under the 1975 Act?

Wills by WhatsApp?

Protecting vulnerable will makers – will the Law Commission review go far enough?

Annual statistics for Trusts, Wills and Probate released

The difficulties (but not impossibility) of challenging wills prepared by solicitors

The residence nil rate band - do I qualify and should I change my Will?

Contesting a forged or fraudulent will

Contentious Trusts and Probate Monthly Round-Up: February 2017

Challenging the Status Quo? Is Rick Parfitt's third wife entitled to a claim after he purportedly changed his will five days before his death?

Trust Litigation Cases – 2016 Round Up

Adult child’s claim in respect of her father’s estate fails

Contentious Trusts and Probate Monthly Round-Up: Bumper Summer Vacation Edition 2016

Disputed wills and mental capacity

What happens to a divorce settlement if a spouse dies during or after divorce proceedings?

Practical advice for avoiding potential inheritance disputes

Battle of the beneficiaries

Rights of cohabitants - setting the record straight

Will Forgery Claims: The 2015 Lowdown

Ramsey vs Ramsay – Will declared valid despite controversial split and question of mental capacity

Inheritance disputes are hardly the preserve of the few

Mediation: The question is not if, but when

Inheritance claims by adult children – update

Common problems with wills and how to fix these

Unlikely beneficiary of a Will – Sharp v Hutchins

Robin Williams' brand protection – tax efficient way to protect publicity rights in the afterlife

Legal update - The requirement for suspicious circumstances in 'want of knowledge and approval' claims

“Trusting” fraudulent family

Famous painters and secret trusts

Thinking of excluding children from your inheritance? It may be harder than you think

Constructive trusts and the potential interplay of foreign and religious laws

Legal Update: The Supreme Court rules on religious doctrine in trust dispute

Recent disputed Will cases on the grounds of lacking capacity

Disputed Will cases – Inheritance and Family Provisions Act 1975 claims

Case Update: Intention is key when interpreting frustrated Will

Inheritance dispute: Will not suspicious enough for the court

High Court rules on reasonableness of hourly rate charged by professional trustee

Supreme Court upholds the Wills in a landmark case where a married couple accidentally signed each other’s Wills

High Court examines the interrelationship between Inheritance Act and the Insolvency Act

Expert shopping is not for the privileged

Disputing a Will based on undue influence – a challenge for Claimants?

Court of Appeal disallow Inheritance Act claim brought outside limitation period

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) up for discussion

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