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Trust and succession disputes
Who should inherit what? What was promised? What is fair? These questions are not easy to answer, but where there are disputes our leading trusts and succession lawyers can help.
It might be that you’ve lost faith in a trustee or protector controlling a trust. Maybe a vulnerable parent was persuaded to draft a will disinheriting you. Your trust may be under attack during a divorce; or perhaps you represent a charity defending a legacy.
Disputes are often complicated, with a family’s wealth spread across the world in trusts and other assets. They can also be highly stressful, especially when you are grieving for a loved one. With so much at stake, you need the very best legal advice.
Withers is top-ranked in trust and succession disputes, with the world’s largest team of lawyers dedicated to them. With 17 offices around the world including London, New York, New Haven, California, Hong Kong and Singapore, we are especially well placed to advise on cross-border issues.
Only a small percentage of our cases end up in court. In our view going to trial is rarely in the best financial or personal interests of clients facing bereavement, divorce or some manner of family feud. However this does not mean compromising on results.
In some cases, clear and robust correspondence from us is enough to secure the outcome you want. In others, a round-table meeting will achieve the best result. Should the matter go to mediation, several of our team are trained mediators and can help you to reach a fair outcome through negotiation without the stress and uncertainty of going to court. Some disputes may be suitable for arbitration, which is similar to the court process in that the parties have to abide by the decision of the arbitrator, but on a private basis. This approach offers a faster outcome and the privacy is especially welcome in trust and succession disputes.
Renowned for winning complex onshore and offshore cases
Should court proceedings prove unavoidable, we are renowned for our ability to win the most complex onshore and offshore cases, having achieved many ‘firsts’, such as obtaining a Singapore High Court decision that certain stamp duties should not apply to residential property purchased by charitable purpose trust, removing a protector from a Guernsey trust and setting aside a trustee decision in Bermuda. Our lawyers are leaders in their field, with partner Paul Hewitt described as ‘a big name in the field’ and partner Dawn Goodman rated as “fantastic,” “a leading light” and “one of the elite” in Chambers’ High Net Worth guide.
At all stages, we think several moves ahead on the ‘chess board’ of your dispute, aiming to resolve it as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. This is one reason we are chosen to represent many charities, including the RSPCA, Macmillan Cancer Support and the Royal Society.
‘One of the things Withers does exceptionally well is that we think creatively,’ says San Diego-based counsel Mary F. Gillick. ‘Our attorneys have the ability to see solutions other people can’t see.’
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Top ranked firm for contentious trusts
Leading firm - Band 1 for private wealth disputes in the UK
Top ranked firm for private wealth disputes
Top tier firm for contentious trusts and probate
Contentious trusts and estates team of the year (2015-2017)
International trusts - control and management
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