Our contentious executry, trusts and probate team is one of the largest currently operating in Scotland. Working closely with our Private Client team, our specialists focus on resolving high value and complex trust and executry disputes, acting for institutional clients, such as major high street banks, as well as for private individuals and trustees.

We have extensive experience in a wide range of trust and executry disputes, associated professional negligence actions and contentious private tax matters. 

As well as Scots law, we regularly undertake cross-border work, advising on matters governed by English Law, and our team includes a number of dual-qualified solicitors. 

We are able to draw on the expertise of contentious and non-contentious specialists from across the firm for the benefit of our clients, ensuring they receive advice of the very highest quality. This allows us to address a wide variety of often complex issues to achieve results for clients in an expedient manner. 

Contentious executries/probate 

Our team has extensive experience in:

  • the interpretation of wills and other testamentary writings 
  • proving the tenor of a lost will proceedings; 
  • the removal of executors;
  • professional negligence claims against executors and solicitors;
  • advising in relation to the validity of wills, including homemade wills;
  • challenging wills in situations where the testator may have lacked capacity or was under undue influence, or due to a potentially fraudulent will;
  • securing the appointment of judicial factor to executry estates;
  • the unique requirements of succession in crofting executries;
  • raising actions for division and sale in respect of succession in a family farming partnership; 
  • legal rights claims for both claimants and executors; and
  • advising on the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

Contentious Trusts

The team has experience in contentious trust matters. Recent examples include:

  • acting for the trustees of a trust in raising a “Special Case” before the Court of Session;
  • petitioning the Inner House of the Court of Session to amend the terms of private trusts;
  • advising one of Scotland’s oldest trust funds on restructuring through Scottish Parliament legislation;
  • acting for a beneficiary of a public trust in relation to an application to the Lord Advocate to have the terms of the trust amended;
  • advising the beneficiaries in relation to the removal of trustees due to maladministration;
  • advising on professional negligence matters in relation to trusts; and
  • negotiating the resolution of disputes between competing groups of beneficiaries.

Contentious Tax

Advising:

  • executors and trustees in relation to disputes with HMRC;
  • on the application of Agricultural Property Relief to an executry estate;
  • on the validity of “discovery assessments” raised against a deceased individual; and
  • on professional negligence matters in relation to testamentary tax planning.
  • Elaine Brailsford is a partner of renown, with comprehensive knowledge and skills in litigation.

  • The firm has an excellent crossover between litigation and private client solicitors. Accordingly, there is technical expertise and tactical expertise. This sets the team apart.