Stephen Richards


Stephen is a partner in the trust, estate and inheritance 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.


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.


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

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

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

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

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

Stephen Richards is great with clients and really knows his stuff. He is incredibly well liked, genuinely wants to resolve disputes to move matters forward, forward thinking, very commercial and very analytical.

Legal 500 UK, 2020

His dedication to the client and their aims and needs is second to none, he really goes above and beyond the call of duty in getting the best possible result for his client.

Chambers HNW, 2021

He knows the area really well and has a real feel for what a judge is or isn’t going to be interested in, and the best way of getting points across to the judge.

Chambers HNW, 2021

He is phenomenal, he has got a great client manner and is very approachable. He is good with difficult clients but straightforward at the same time. He is legally very strong.

Chambers HNW, 2022

Track record





Stephen Richards, along with Alexandra Dix, acted for the successful claimant in Tish v Olley & Others [2018], where the judge agreed with their interpretation of the will. Click here to read our briefing note on the case and here for the judgment.

Stephen, together with Ceri Vokes and Olivia Turner, set aside a previous transfer of shares into an Isle of Man trust structure, which mistakenly resulted in adverse tax consequences. Working with Isle of Man advocates we also advised on making the relevant arrangements for minor and unborn beneficiaries. Read the Judgment here.

Stephen together with Paul Hewitt acted for the charity in RSPCA v Sharp & Others [2010] in which the Court of Appeal unanimously upheld the RSPCA’s case that its benefactor, the late George Mason, had intended his estate to pass free of inheritance tax. Click here to read our summary of the case and click here read the Judgment.

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


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.



  • English





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