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Trusts, Tax, Probate & Estates
Judith’s practice encompasses a wide range of chancery work, particularly specialised trust work.
Core areas of her practice include:
- Disputes involving trusts and trustees. Recent cases include advising trustees facing a hostile claim by beneficiaries opposing a proposed final distribution of the trust property, and advising beneficiaries whether to agree to a proposed compromise of a claim in relation to the validity of a deed.
- Applications to court under the Variation of Trusts Act 1958. Judith has acted in dozens of applications over the years, most recently almost exclusively to extend perpetuity and accumulation periods. She has a huge wealth of experience in this area, both in promoting variations and in advising whether proposed variations are beneficial to minor and unborn defendants.
- Administration of trusts, including taxation of trusts and drafting trust documents. A large part of Judith’s practice involves advising on the scope and exercise of trustees’ powers and duties and providing drafts for the exercise of powers. She has also appeared in cases about whether settlements and other dispositions should be set aside on the grounds of mistake.
- Construction and rectification of trust documents. Judith regularly advises on the construction of trust documents and has acted in several successful applications for the rectification of settlements and other deeds.
- International trusts and conflict of laws. Judith frequently works with overseas lawyers in Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man and other offshore jurisdictions. Recent conflict of laws cases include advising on the law governing the validity of a will and the exercise of a power under a trust, and the administration of the English estate of an intestate deceased domiciled in Nigeria.
- Trustees’ applications to court for directions. Judith has acted in several Public Trustee v Cooper applications, most recently for approval of the sale of a valuable property in London, and for approval of a major corporate restructuring.
- Wills, including construction, rectification and testamentary capacity. Judith has a broad range of experience in advising on the construction of wills and provides opinions for applications under s.48 of the Administration of Justice Act 1985. She has also appeared for the successful claimant for rectification of a will, and regularly advises in disputes about testamentary capacity and undue influence.
- Appointment and removal of trustees. Over the years Judith has advised on many cases involving questions about the validity of the appointment of trustees and disputes about whether trustees should be removed.
- Administration of estates. Recent cases include acting for an attorney in an application to pay money in an intestate’s estate into court, acting in a dispute about the provisions of estate accounts, and advising a court-appointed receiver what steps he should take in relation to an estate.
- Applications to court under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. Judith has acted in numerous cases under the 1975 Act, for both claimants and defendants, including surviving spouses and partners, children, dependants and personal representatives. She has considerable experience in assessing the merits of such cases and advising on their practical resolution.
- Charities. Judith’s work in relation to charities includes advising on whether gifts are charitable, the powers and duties of charitable trustees and other aspects of the administration of charitable trusts.
- Court of Protection. Judith frequently advises in relation to applications to the Court of Protection for approval of gifts for inheritance tax planning purposes.
- Trust issues in divorce. Judith has advised on various trust issues that arise in divorce including whether a settlement is a nuptial settlement, enforcement of orders against trustees and disclosure of trust information.