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I am the national head of contentious probate for Irwin Mitchell.
I specialise in disputes relating to Wills, Trusts and Estates. I have expertise in claims for financial provision for all types of claimants and defendants. I'm experienced in Will cases which involve issues of mental incapacity, undue influence and any validity issues. I also deal with cases which have involved the construction of the terms of a Will or a trust document.
I have brought claims and defended claims for parties where trustees have acted in breach of their fiduciary duties. I also handle claims for high net worth individuals in relation to proprietary estoppels; these have involved farming partnerships and substantial property portfolios.
I'm a qualified mediator and always look to mediate disputes. However, if appropriate and necessary, I will lead cases to a contested trial.
I decided to pursue a career in law as I wanted a challenge and a varied career path. No two days are the same and this allows me to thrive and develop.
I enjoy getting results for clients and resolving disputes which can cause a significant amount of emotional and financial distress for them. The buzz of getting a result for a client is second to none.
I like the forward thinking attitude and approach to clients and work, and the significant national platform that we have to offer clients.
I like to spend my spare time with my family and friends and fit in as much exercise and running as possible, whether it be a half or a full marathon.
"As a trustee of a Will, representing minor beneficiaries, I engaged Paula, as a result of a recommendation, to act on my behalf in a dispute with 2 other trustees.
'Paula was able to quickly recommend a strategy to address the dispute. This gave me confidence to continue to defend the interests of the minors and it was obvious that she was an expert in this area, but also she made the risks clear and throughout the case told me what I needed to hear, not necessarily what I wanted to hear. I was extremely happy with the ultimate settlement that was achieved by the efforts of Paula and her team. It was not inexpensive but in life you get what you pay for. Paula's expertise and approach is well worth paying for and I would not hesitate to recommend her services."
“The increase in the number of wills being contested shows just how important it is to ensure that you leave a valid will which clearly outlines your final wishes.
“Many people also forget to update their wills after major life-changing events such as having children, divorce or remarriage. This can lead to problems in future as the extended family may feel aggrieved at being left out of the ‘old’ will.
“Ensuring your will is up to date and properly communicated to those family and friends affected can potentially prevent damaging family disputes further along the line.”
"Although the conclusion of the case may surprise some people, it shows the complexities and technicalities that litigants may face when challenging the validity of a Will.
"It is important to remember that each case is judged on its own merits and facts. Contesting a Will is a lengthy and often emotional process and litigants should consider their options very carefully before proceeding with this type of action."
“Our research paints a worrying picture about the lack of planning for later life financial and legal issues which could potentially cause serious headaches for families members to sort out in future.
“Failing to have a lasting power of attorney can cause a legal headache over who should be making decisions. Family and friends may dispute who is best placed to make the decisions and the court of protection could step in.
“An LPA takes away that worry and gives people the knowledge that the people they want to make decisions on their behalf will be able to in the event they are found to have lost mental capacity.
“It’s really important that people making a will or LPA speak to their family members and explain their decisions and wishes. This can avoid lengthy disputes in future as their intentions are less of a shock and people know what to expect. Our research shows that while many people are concerned about losing mental capacity in the future, and know that they would like family members to look after their assets, hardly anyone is doing anything to prepare for any future issues.
“If someone loses mental capacity but doesn’t have an LPA, big decisions about finances and healthcare may need to be made by the Court of Protection to ensure they are legally sound and deemed to be in the best interests of the person concerned.”
Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult things any of us have to go through and the grieving process can be made even more difficult when there is a dispute over a Will.
Whilst it’s not unheard of, it’s highly unusual for a person of Prince’s stature to die without leaving a Will and it this is likely this will result in his family having to endure a lengthy court process.
In the first six years after Michael Jackson died his estate made almost $2bn and it is highly likely that Prince’s estate will grow following his tragic passing.
Prince’s tragic case highlights the fact that having an up to date Will and leaving clear direction of how you want your estate to be dealt with, can save surviving family members the anguish of having to go to court at a time when they are coming to terms with a death.