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Trusts, Tax, Probate & Estates

Thomas acts and advises in a wide range of contentious and non contentious trusts, charity, probate and estate matters, including;

  • Breach of trust disputes.
  • Construction and rectification of trust documents, contentious trust matters.
  • Claims by trustees against advisors/third parties.
  • Charity matters generally, including charitable trusts.
  • Probate and estates, construction and rectification of wills, the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, probate claims, issues and claims concerning the administration of estates (both internal and third-party claims), Beddoe proceedings, statutory wills, Court of Protection and next of kin enquiries.

Representative matters include: 

  • Jeffreys and others v Scruton and others: a case which demonstrates the value of stating in clear terms the event upon which the ultimate trust is intended to take effect and also illustrates that the court will not lightly assume that there is anything in the will, or surrounding circumstances, which makes the will ambiguous so as to justify admitting extrinsic evidence under S.21 AJA 1982.
  • Acting for an infant (and representative) beneficiary under settlements in proceedings in Bermuda concerning a proposal for rearrangement of the trusts and a confidential interim application (December 2017).
  • Acting for the settlor and principal beneficiary of multi-million pound settlements in proceedings in the Cayman Islands by the Trustees against the Bank of New York Trust Company Limited, to which the settlor was joined as third-party.
  • Acting for the offshore trustees of settlements in an eight-year long dispute concerning property in London held through a corporate structure.
  • Advising on an Inheritance Act claim by a second wife claiming against an estate largely comprising shares in a family company.
  • Advising on whether school buildings erected in the 19th Century and used as a school are subject to a charitable trust.
  • Acting and advising in contentious litigation concerning a building in a consecrated churchyard in central London and involving a complex web of trust, property and ecclesiastical issues, including a trust arising under the Open Spaces Act 1906.
  • Acting for the trustees in litigation – and on the compromise (approved by the Court in 2015) – of a claim to set aside a settlement of a reversionary interest upon equitable grounds.
  • Acting for the trustee of a family settlement, bringing proceedings in Gibraltar, joining the beneficiaries and settlor to determine whether the shares had been effectively settled or remained vested in the settlor.
  • Acting for the corporate investment vehicle sued as defendant in major trust-related litigation in Gibraltar in the High Court and in the Court of Appeal (2008-9: subject-matter confidential).