I specialise in disputes that arise when a person dies. I deal with a wide range of cases and each one is different to the next – just as no two people are the same, neither are any two estates.
I represent people seeking to challenge the validity of wills on grounds of undue influence, lack of testamentary capacity or issues with formalities, and have experience in defending such claims too. I have also worked on bringing and defending claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 when someone’s unhappy with the inheritance that they’ve received under a will or the intestacy rules.
Acting as an Executor, or waiting for your inheritance to arrive, can be a very stressful time. I have experience of dealing with disputes around the administration of estates, including allegations of financial misconduct, delays in administering the estate, and the removal of Executors and appointment of a suitable alternative.
I’m also interested in representing people who want to challenge Court of Protection applications for Deputyship or decisions made under a Lasting Power of Attorney. Having a relative or friend who has lost mental capacity can be an emotional and scary time, and I understand how emotive such applications can be.
- Cadogan v Cadogan  EWHC 1557 (Ch) - Accounts on a footing of wilful default
- Re D’s Estate  - Will validity
- Re: A Property  - Enforcing an order made under TOLATA
- Re: M’s Estate  - Application for pre-action disclosure
- Re: A Property  (first instance)  (appeal) - Challenging lifetime transfer on the basis of fraud
- Re: S’s estate  - Removal of Executor and Trustee
- Re: H Trust  - Bringing a claim for trustees to account in common form
- Re: G’s estate  - Removal of Executors
What inspired you to get into law?
I read Politics at university but soon discovered that it was arguing that I enjoyed most. I combined this love of debate with a desire to help people who find themselves in upsetting situations.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your role?
For me, it is seeing a matter from beginning to end and seeing happy faces at the conclusion of the case. Friends and relatives experience a multitude of emotions when someone passes away. Resolving claims in whatever way is a great relief for all involved and allows everybody to move on with their lives.
What do you like about working at Irwin Mitchell?
We have such a wide variety of cases that, truly, no two days are the same.
What do you do away from the office?
I have a young family so spend my weekends playing trains and cleaning up spaghetti.
"Richard Smaller provides excellent instructions and is always available to talk points through." - Legal 500, 2023
"The standout associate is Richard Smaller – extremely hardworking, very organised, knowledgeable, and a good sense of the broader strategic picture." - Legal 500, 2023
"Richard Smaller stands out for his tenacity, attention to detail, and out-of-the box thinking. He consistently delivers excellent results for his clients and this shows in the high value and complex cases he is entrusted with." - Legal 500, 2022
"Richard Smaller is an impressive associate whose determination and diligence help to secure excellent results for his clients." - Legal 500, 2021
"The business relationship I had with Mr Richard Smaller extended far longer than I had anticipated, being well over a year due to the complexities of the advice I sort and required, relating to challenging the validity of a will on grounds of undue influence, lack of testamentary capacity and issues with formalities.
"It felt very empowered in the situation knowing Richard was on top of everything and should he need any additional support he had the whole firm of IM to call upon - he had my complete confidence. Richard kept me in the loop and fully informed throughout the whole process of the unpleasant situation I was involved with, whilst also being mindful of managing his costs - this was very much appreciated. I have no hesitation in recommending Richard." - 5* Trustpilot review
"Richard Smaller helped us with a very emotional and distressing family matter following the death of my husbands father regarding his estate . He was very understanding and patient and always responded to our questions promptly and sensitively." - 5* Trustpilot review
"Helpful and reassuring" - 5* Trustpilot review
"I have nothing but praise for the professionalism and attention received from Richard Smaller . He was patient and certainly proactive guiding me through every stage of a fairly complex claim to a very successful conclusion. It was a relief to hand everything over to someone who knew what they were doing. The process was smooth, and I was kept informed of progress at every stage. Emails were always answered promptly, and all my questions and queries dealt with patiently and kindly." - Client testimonial
'Administration of estates: a long-running saga’ - (2021) 228 Trusts and Estates Law and Tax Journal 43 (with Francis Ng of 5 Stone Buildings)
'A will from 3003 and 'no-challenge' clauses: A deep dive into Dawson v Dawson' - Irwin Mitchell Private Client Insights, 24th June 2022
'Win For Kirsty Cadogan As Brother Ordered To Pay £1.7m' - Irwin Mitchell, 5th January 2021
'Complex Case Sets Standards On Behaviour For Executors And Administrators' - Irwin Mitchell, 23rd July 2019