Executor and trustee disputes

What is an ‘estate’ and who is an ‘executor’?

When someone dies, the property, money and other assets that they own, and which need to be transferred to their beneficiaries, is called their estate.


The person responsible for transferring the assets to the beneficiaries is known as the executor. If there is no Will, this person is instead called an ‘administrator’.


Executor disputes

It is not uncommon for disagreements to occur between executors and beneficiaries.


What are the most common types of executor disputes?

– The correct meaning of the terms of a Will;
– Delay;
– Disputes over the sharing of information;
– Disagreements over the value and sale of assets, especially property;
– Costs and expenses;
– Executors acting where there is a conflict of interests;
– Disputes between executors;
– Allegations of loss and negligence;
– Removing or replacing executors.


What is a ‘trust’ and who is a ‘trustee’?

A trust is a vehicle used to control the distribution of a person’s assets and/or to minimise the tax liability upon their estate on their death.


Trusts can be created during a person’s lifetime or on their death by their Will.


The person responsible for managing the trust is called the trustee.


Trust disputes

Even with careful planning, trust disputes can, and do, arise. Common types of trust disputes include:
– Disputes concerning the trust document itself, for example if the trust document is ambiguous or contains mistakes;
– Disputes over the making of payments from the Trust;
– Disputes between Trustees over the exercise of their duties;
– Disputes about the provision of information;
– Allegations of loss or negligence;
– Removing or replacing Trustees.


How can we help you?

Our specialist trust and estate dispute lawyers resolve disagreements as quickly as possible. We are one of the largest and most experienced trust dispute teams in the country and we deal with all manner of disputes – including instances involving children, multiple parties, or when the trustees or executors themselves are at loggerheads.


As all our solicitors belong to the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists, you will be looked after by an expert. We guide you through the process step by step.


We understand that, for many of our clients, disputing the administration of a trust or an estate is a last resort. We also appreciate you may want to stay in touch with those involved in the dispute afterwards – it is commonly the case that executors and trustees have personal connections with the beneficiaries whose interests they should be protecting. You can rest assured we will handle your dispute with care and sensitivity.


We listen to your instructions carefully and arrange payment terms that suit your circumstances; in many cases we offer fixed fees, deferred payments, or no win, no fee terms.


Our lawyers are based in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, and in London. Whilst many of our clients are from the South East (including Kent, Sussex, Surrey and London), we act for clients based throughout England and Wales and from abroad. We are always willing to meet with our clients at any of our offices, at their home or their place of work. We also meet with clients via online communication channels, such as Skype or video conferencing. Wherever our clients are based, we ensure we communicate with them in a way that suits their needs.


Call us for a free no obligation consultation.

  • Contesting a trust
  • Seeking the removal of trustees
  • Guidance on the duties of trustees and the rights of beneficiaries
  • Mistakes in a trust
  • Requests to trustees for disclosure of information
  • Ambiguous, or poorly written trust
  • Bringing a claim against a trustee for breach of trust
Key Contact

Philip Youdan


+44 (0)1892 489 588

Key Contact

Sharon Borrows

Legal Secretary

+44 (0)1892 506 167

Key Contact

Tristam Razzell


+44 (0)1892 765 428

Key Contact

Dino Sikkel

Managing Associate

+44 (0)1892 489 587

Key Contact

Russell Simpson


+44 (0)1892 506 139

Key Contact

Myles McIntosh


+44 (0)1892 506 136

  • Successfully bringing a claim against an estate worth in excess of £50 million. The client received a very significant seven figure settlement plus annual income, the exact terms being confidential.
  • Acting for a client in a complex Inheritance Act dispute requiring an application to the Probate Registry to cancel a grant of probate improperly obtained and negotiating with multi-party defendants in numerous jurisdictions.
  • Defending a challenge to a £2 million estate involving minors and complex business assets for the children of a prominent local businessman.
  • Successfully resolving via mediation a complex multi-party dispute concerning an estate valued at £6 million. Claims from the parties involved promissory and proprietary estoppel, Inheritance Act claims, removal and appointment of alternative executors, rectification of wills, claims of undue influence and off-shore asset tracing.
  • Acting for a beneficiary under a substantial family trust containing assets valued by that trust of £20 million. The core issue concerned the mismanagement of the trust by the trustees.
  • Challenging the validity of a will with an estate valued in excess of £1 million. The case concerned allegations of forgery and the use of expert handwriting evidence.
  • Acting for an adult child claimant in an Inheritance Act claim against the estate of deceased father. Proceedings were issued within two weeks of instructions from the client due to the pressure of limitation. The matter settled swiftly and favourably by correspondence.
  • Acting for relatives of a deceased in defending an Inheritance Act claim against the estate. The deceased died intestate and the claim was brought against the estate by a friend of the deceased who claimed to have been living with the deceased as husband and wife in the two years immediately prior to her death.
  • Acting for beneficiaries in a complex claim involving estate valued at seven figures with claims by the estranged husband of deceased under IPFDA 1975. Issues of severance of joint tenancy and application for an Occupation Order on behalf of beneficiaries in relation to deceased’s home owned jointly by the estranged husband, beneficiaries and deceased.
  • Acting on behalf of clients in a long running trust dispute where an executor committed a serious breach of his duties. Proceedings against former executor for an account and recovery of losses as well as an associated professional negligence claim against the solicitors who acted for the former executors. The matter was successfully settled at a one day mediation

Don't just take our word for it...