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Freeths - Law firm

Charity Disputes

Dealing with estates and claims

What is involved?

Our charities team frequently acts on complex wills, trusts and probate disputes where charities are major beneficiaries. We regularly deal with extremely high value estates and claims.

The team’s expertise includes handling trust and probate disputes involving:

  • Applications under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975
  • Issues over the deceased’s mental capacity, knowledge and approval, and undue influence
  • Claims against trustees, executors and administrators for negligence, breach of trust and fraud
  • Disputes involving the interpretation of wills and trusts and rectification cases
  • Applications to remove/ substitute executors and trustees
  • Inventory and account applications
  • Acting for multiple charities which have an interest in a complex estate

Why choose Freeths?

We are known for our technical legal-services and high quality advice.Legal 500, 2020 Leading Firm Freeths LLP

With a longstanding commitment to the third sector, we understand the need to preserve charity assets while bearing in mind the reputational issues that can arise when charities become engaged in disputes. Our approach in such disputes is ‘firm but fair’.

We also act for charity clients on the full range of commercial litigation and property disputes.

Find more information about our services in those areas here.


Meet the team

Charity Disputes Lawyers

Paul Brown

Paul Brown
Managing Associate

0186 578 1020

Christopher Clayton

Christopher Clayton

0845 166 6308

Sarah Foster

Sarah Foster
Managing Partner

0186 578 1055

Rachel Gaffney

Rachel Gaffney

0115 935 1860

Sally Goodger

Sally Goodger
Managing Associate

0186 578 1061

Robert Hill

Robert Hill
Managing Associate

0845 274 6924

Mark Keeley

Mark Keeley

0845 274 6875

Rosalyn Shephard

Rosalyn Shephard
Senior Associate

01865 781 023


"Ranked in the top tier in the South East by The Legal 500 (2017 edition), our charities team are described by clients as 'excellent', with a 'good breadth of knowledge' and 'always prompt to respond to queries'."

"Robert Nieri is noted for his dispute resolution and commercial law expertise."

(The Legal 500, 2017)

"Robert's responsive and thorough eye for detail has proved to be invaluable over the last 12 months. His knowledge of charitable law and regulation has ensured his advice and guidance has been detailed and relevant to work within the third sector."

Notable Work
  • Advising charity clients on governance and the resolution of internal disputes.
  • Diffusing a number of disputes before escalating into full-blown litigation. In particular achieving a rapid, cost-effective and discreet negotiated settlement to a long-running business. dispute in which court proceedings had been issued, through engagement with mediation, when a previous offer to mediate had been declined prior to his involvement.
  • Addressing and disposing of a complaint against national charity alleging failure to comply with its own policies.
  • Acted for three large national charities that had been named as residuary beneficiaries of the deceased’s estate in connection with a complex Inheritance Act claim brought by the deceased’s spouse (the estate was worth about £5 million).
  • Acted for seven national charities named as residuary beneficiaries of the deceased’s estate, in connection with the deceased’s godson’s challenge to the validity of the deceased’s last and penultimate wills. The claim was pursued on the ground of lack of capacity, owing to paranoid delusions from which the deceased was stated to have been suffering during the requisite periods.  An amicable settlement was reached with the claimant, whereby the deceased’s last will, under which the charities benefit, has been upheld.
  • Acted for two national charities who were the residuary beneficiaries of an estate where the lay executors had failed to deal with the administration in a timely fashion. Despite many attempts over a number of years to assist the executors with the administration, the charities were left with no option but to obtain an order for an inventory and account of the estate which then had to be enforced by way of an unless order with costs (secured by way of a charging order over the lay executors’ properties) in order to bring the administration to an end.

Client service

‘Doing the right thing’ is at the heart of Freeths. Find out more about our excellent client service and the strong set of values that guide the way we work.

Our service


Talk to us

Freeths are a leading national law firm with 13 offices across the UK. If you have a query about our services or just want to find out more, why not give us a call?

Contact: 03301 001 014

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