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Trusts, Tax, Probate & Estates
Mark has long experience in dealing with the law of trusts and settlements both in the UK and overseas and is particularly recommended for his drafting skills. He deals with contentious and non-contentious aspects of wills, probate, succession and inheritance and the administration of estates, including cases in the Court of Protection. Mark has a particular interest in the law of charities and has practical experience in the field as a director of the Barristers’ Benevolent Association and a trustee of other charities.
Recent / notable cases include:
- Advising a religious charity in Hong Kong on questions of title and conveyancing relating to their church site, in particular whether a substantial proposed commercial re-development of the site would trigger certain provisions for reverter of the property included in the declaration of trust contained in the church’s original Incorporation Ordinance, and upon possible consequential applications to the Court in Hong Kong under the Hong Kong Rules of the High Court and/or the Hong Kong Trustee Ordinance.
- Assisting Leading Counsel and Hong Kong Counsel and Solicitors on the Appellants’ case to the Hong Kong Final Court of Appeal in interpretation of the Will of the late Nina Wang and determining against the Hong Kong Government whether the very substantial estate of HK$86 billion was left to the testatrix’s incorporated charitable foundation absolutely as legatee or upon a new and separate charitable trust of which new trustees might be appointed, raising questions of the construction and status of gifts to charitable corporations, gifts upon a condition and precatory trusts.
- Advising pension trustees on the validity of deeds of amendment where the trustees’ signatures had not been attested at the time, but another party who had been present contemporaneously (albeit not in the role of a witness) could have evidenced the relevant execution by a subsequent attestation of the documents.
- Advising the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators as to the status of its East Asia Branch, Model Rules for the Hong Kong charity having been adopted in Hong Kong which did not conform to the requirements of the London HQ, for which its assets were held on trust.
- Advising upon the proper construction (and possible variation) of a number of valuable offshore settlements and the entitlement to benefit under them of the child of a beneficiary born outside marriage but adopted in a different territory, with consideration of conflicts of laws issues as to adoption, domicile and succession involving different jurisdictions in the UK, Bermuda, California and Dutch East Indies.
- Advising, negotiating and appearing on Court applications to vary the trusts of two substantial investment settlements, involving issues of the extension of perpetuity and accumulation periods, the enlargement of administrative powers and provisions, the charging of remuneration by directors of private trust companies and the jurisdiction of the Court of Protection in variation of trusts applications.
- Advising and acting for the professional executor of the estate of a deceased Lloyds’ Name where the administration had taken many years and the estate’s farmland had in the interim been managed by the farming company of one member of the family, the actual proceedings being for possession against the farming company but raising wide issues of Agricultural Holdings Act tenancies, validity of deeds, estoppel and/or equitable forbearance and undue influence; and mediating to an eventual across the board settlement.
- Advising in proceedings in relation to the validity of a contract for the sale of charity land, raising issues of whether the statutory conveyancing requirements had been complied with, whether a challenge by a disappointed purchaser to a sale by the charity constituted “charity proceedings”, whether the claimants were persons interested in the charity for the purposes of the Charities Act 2011 with associated questions of costs.
- Advising with Leading Counsel on law and practice in relation to a substantial claim by settlors’ heirs as to the validity of a Swiss Foundation and derivative Bermudian discretionary trusts, negotiating and drafting a settlement of all disputes between numerous parties by segregating different family interests and establishing new trusts in Bermuda and the US.