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Joseph Steadman

Call: 2015   

+44 (0)20 7306

Trusts, Tax, Probates & Estates

Joseph has a busy trusts and probate practice across a wide variety of contexts, including commercial fraud/asset-tracing, divorce and relationship breakdown, and more “traditional” private client work.

Joseph’s trusts experience includes acting in relation to both onshore and offshore trusts, often requiring an awareness of tax concerns. Joseph’s experience includes:

  • acting (with Jonathan Hilliard QC and Graeme Halkerston) for a claimant in successfully obtaining a pre-action freezing injunction in the BVI to restrain assets in Monaco, in support of claims that the defendant – for whom the assets were held as nominee pursuant to written declarations of trust – himself held those assets on oral trusts for the claimant;
  • advising the trustee of a will trust in relation to a claim that she had negligently failed to invest the trust fund, including detailed consideration of expert evidence concerning how the fund would have performed had it been properly invested;
  • advising the trustee of an Isle of Man trust concerning loans which the trust’s accounts showed had been made to a beneficiary, but which the beneficiary’s trustee in bankruptcy alleged were not in fact made;
  • advising a trustee in relation to the steps to be taken where his co-trustee had started Part 8 proceedings and then died before their conclusion; and
  • acting for a firm of solicitors in a Part 8 claim for directions concerning the destination of proceeds from the sale of a property formerly held within a SIPP.

Joseph is increasingly in demand as a chancery practitioner in relation to matrimonial finance proceedings—whether for a party to the marriage, a member of their family, or a third party such as a trustee. He enjoys working as part of a multi-disciplinary team and deploying chancery concepts in the context of divorce. Joseph’s experience includes:

  • acting (with Richard Harrison QC and Jonathan Hilliard QC) for a business associate of the husband in a high-value cross-jurisdictional matrimonial claim, in which it is alleged that a complex offshore structure has been used to hide the fact that the business associate holds assets as the husband’s nominee;
  • advising a wife in relation to her husband’s interest in an Isle of Man pension fund, including issues concerning the English court’s extraterritorial jurisdiction and questions of cross-border enforcement including “firewall” legislation and disclosure;
  • advising and acting for a minor whose parents had settled almost all of the family’s assets on trust for him, and sought in their divorce to access those assets—Joseph appeared at the FDR as sole chancery counsel (with matrimonial counsel Deepak Nagpal);
  • advising a husband in relation to agency arguments relied upon by Leading Counsel for the wife (Nigel Dyer QC) in a Thwaite application; and
  • acting (with Richard Todd QC, Nicholas Yates QC and Jonathan Hilliard QC) on behalf of the applicant wife in ancillary relief proceedings, seeking a share of a multi-billion-dollar offshore trust and company structure.

Joseph’s probate and estates experience includes:

  • acting for one of the beneficiaries of an estate in a dispute with the executor concerning his claim to hundreds of thousands of pounds in fees;
  • acting for a widower in a long-running dispute with his late wife’s ex-husband concerning the beneficial ownership of the former matrimonial home, including obtaining a without-notice injunction to restrain the ex-husband from harassing the widower;
  • acting for an executor in a successful application to remove the other executor where a stalemate had arisen between the two of them concerning the marketing and sale of properties in Highgate;
  • acting on behalf of the beneficiaries of an estate in a professional negligence claim against solicitors whose poor advice and drafting resulted in a deed of variation having to be rectified by the High Court;
  • advising the executor of an estate concerning the steps to be taken where letters of administration had been obtained by a third party on the incorrect basis that the deceased died intestate, including the steps required to prevent disposal of the property which was the main asset of the estate;
  • advising in relation to the validity and construction of will trusts, and on the exercise of powers by the trustees;
  • advising in relation to the validity and construction of various wills and codicils, including the presumption in section 22 of the Administration of Justice Act 1982, the application of the “rule against double portions”;
  • drafting proceedings concerning the construction of a will and the ownership of joint bank accounts in relation to an estate in Singapore; and
  • advising in relation to unexplained transfers made shortly before a testator’s death to one of the beneficiaries of his will.

In addition, Joseph has extensive experience of deploying his trusts expertise in the context of pension schemes and co-owned properties—please see the Pensions and Property sections for details.