Stephen Richards

Partner | London

Stephen is a partner in the trust and succession disputes team.

He advises a range of clients (private individuals, beneficiaries, trustees, executors, deputies, attorneys and charities) in relation to trust, succession/inheritance and Court of Protection disputes, often involving international and crossborder issues.

He regularly advises on challenges to the validity of wills, issues of construction and rectification of wills and deeds, constructive trust and proprietary estoppel claims, claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, and professional negligence claims involving estate planning, trust and succession issues.

He has particular expertise in proceedings before the Court of Protection, where he frequently acts for both applicants and respondents in applications for statutory wills, lifetime gifts, contested registrations of powers of attorney, deputyships and health and welfare decisions. Stephen regularly advises in relation to investigations by the Office of the Public Guardian.

Stephen has spent time at the Official Solicitor’s Department on secondment.

Secretary Carlie Holmes

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We could not possibly hope to have been better advised. I had dinner with my parents afterwards, who looked as though the weight of the world had been removed from their shoulders. It was lovely to see. No client could have asked for more than you gave us.

Anonymous
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Throughout our dealings with him, Stephen proved himself to be extremely professional, knowledgeable and efficient – and it was his expertise that ultimately enabled us to recover from a messy situation, which had rumbled on for years [with another law firm], and to wrap up in a matter of weeks.

Mark Ledsom
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Withers’ service and advice has been faultless. From the start of Stephen’s involvement we felt in completely safe hands. He guided us through the process very well and more importantly, communicated with us regularly.

Jonathan Morshead
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Stephen and colleagues guided us gently and efficiently through the process…it felt like at each stage there was a new legal issue to learn about, but having expert and understanding support from Withers meant that we took the best courses of action open to us and reached an amicable and fare outcome without having to go to court.

Recent client
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It was a great comfort to know that we were not only being advised by an expert with excellent technical knowledge of the specific legalities in our case, but someone who had the humanity to offer the best and quickest way to reach a settlement, saving us time, anguish and cost.

Anonymous client
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Stephen is top notch on procedure and fantastic at managing clients. He always has a way of getting the Court to see the issue from his clients’ point of view and is able to step back and see the bigger picture without losing sight of the details. He manages to combine approachability with tenacity. No doubt this is why his clients adore him.

Citywealth 2017
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Stephen Richards as ‘really approachable, friendly and also very empathetic,’ adding that ‘he understands where the other parties are coming from and so is very capable of finding a pragmatic solution.’

Chambers UK 2018, London
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Stephen Richards is at the top of his game’; ‘if you want a solicitor who will put you in a strong position to settle your dispute with minimum publicity and get you a great financial deal, he is the person you want’.

Legal 500 UK, 2017
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Stephen is a very strong litigator and acts for a range of affluent clients on major trust and succession disputes. He also deals with Court of Protection matters and is recognised as good when you need someone to build bridges.

Chambers HNW 2018, London
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Stephen Richards is recognised as ‘an intelligent and resourceful litigator.’ He deals with all aspects of private wealth disputes, including succession issues, Court of Protection cases and domestic and cross-border trust disputes. ‘He is young but has a wealth of experience. People in the industry have major respect for him.’

Chambers HNW 2017

Track record

Admissions

Publications

Memberships

Talks

Successfully removed a Trustee of a multi-million trust in the High Court.

Acted on behalf of a national charity and successfully applied for a copy will to be admitted to probate where the intestacy rules would have applied if the application was unsuccessful. As a result, the charity was able to realise a substantial legacy.

Assisted a client in successfully removing existing attorneys and installing an independent professional Deputy.

England and Wales, 2004

‘Finance and Law for the Older Client’, Legal Capacity chapter in Tolley’s

The Institute of Legacy Management

‘Probate Disputes and Remedies’, Court of Protection chapter in Jordans

Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists

Charity Law Association

‘Court of Protection update’, Simon Gore - June 2017

‘Deputyship masterclass’, 39 Essex Chambers Court of Protection conference - June 2017

Global Family Office’s Successful Succession seminar - November 2014

Me in a minute

I think that in many ways being a cyclist is like being a litigator.

I love cycling. Since I joined Withers over 15 years ago I have cycled to work virtually every day. Cycling in London can be great fun but you have to have your wits about you. It is not just a case of plodding along, you need to not only use your eyes and ears, you must have a strong sense of direction. It is not only about your current position, but looking ahead and anticipating what might happen. You need to be able to react quickly and decisively.

I think that in many ways being a cyclist is like being a litigator. It is vital you appreciate all angles, not just what is in front of you. Anticipation is everything. It is not just about the next move, it is about the next two or three moves. How can you achieve your desired outcome and deal with the various obstacles in your way? Finding even the narrowest of opportunities can make all the difference to where you want to get to.

Education


Languages


  • English

Dates


Joined

2002
Partner

2013

Recognition


London

20 Old Bailey,

London,

EC4M 7AN

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