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Beth King-Smith, Partner, Head of Disputed Wills, Trusts and Estates

Dispute Resolution

Direct Dial: 01905 744 842
Mobile: 07384 119 523

A bit about me

Listening and understanding are the key to success for me, along with a focus on what matters to my client and what doesn’t. Where wills are concerned, blood isn’t always thicker than water and families can self-destruct following a death. Grieving for a loved one and warring with other family members can create a difficult and upsetting situation for everyone involved. This is especially the case in disputes in a farming context where family members are also in partnership with each other.

I focus on my clients’ objectives and take the worry and burden of litigation away from them. Whether they are executors, trustees, charities, beneficiaries or those who have been cut out of a loved one’s will, I can help.

Outside work, skiing, cycling and the outdoors are my great loves – if I’m not at work, I’m gearing up for my next challenge.

Want to know more?

No-one ever imagines a will or inheritance dispute will wreck their families. That happens to other families, doesn’t it? No family is free of conflict and there is no such thing as a ‘normal’ family, so don’t be ashamed; I will have seen and heard worse.

Be prepared for it to get worse before it gets better. Death, money and inheritance can be an extremely toxic mix, but the one who acts the gentleman will always win.

If you have been cut out of a will, do not panic. The English legal system endeavours to help the vulnerable and meritorious. Take specialist legal advice as soon as possible.

How much will it cost?

It depends on both the approach and strategy we adopt, and those which the other side and the court take. I will always let you have costs for the next stage.

Do you think I will win?

Winning is subjective and a moveable concept – what you consider a win will change as the case progresses. I will always keep coming back to your objectives and checking in with you.

How long will it take?

Litigation can be lengthy; the answer here depends on many factors, including the stance of the other side and family relationships. I will always try to give time estimates for each stage and see court as a last resort.

Where I work

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latest articles

What happens when a will is contested?

Administering an estate can often be a difficult and stressful time for the deceased’s loved…

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Blended families and inheritance – what is the best way to leave my money?

Happily, in many ways, second marriages are more commonplace now than even 20 years ago.…

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Writing your will in lockdown: top tips to avoid disputes

The number of people looking to write a will has risen sharply in the last…

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Disputed wills and Covid-19

A person may decide to make a will for a number of reasons, including for…

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Family Businesses working webinar series: Can my business survive my family?

Family business owners met for a working webinar, the second in a series in four,…

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Praise from clients wins lawyers top rankings

Specialist knowledge, expertise, efficiency and professionalism are the hallmarks of Harrison Clark Rickerbys’ private client…

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Can I contest my father’s will? He has left the family farm to my brother

Under the law in England and Wales, your father (as the testator) is free to…

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My relative made a DIY will and I have concerns. What can I do?

When a loved one passes away, it is a very emotional and challenging time. This…

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Contesting a will – top 10 frequently asked questions

1. Who can contest a will? Anyone may be able to contest a will. If…

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Vulnerability of unmarried couples in probate disputes exposed

Dying without a will A recent Court of Appeal decision in Kahrmann v Harrison-Morgan 2019,…

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Beddoe Orders: invaluable tool for trustees to manage their litigation risks

Trustees’ liability for costs in litigation A Beddoe order is based on the case Re…

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Can professional trustees and executors charge for their services?

A lay trustee is not generally entitled to remuneration. The general principle of trust law…

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Brothers miss out on £1m home in ruling over mother’s will

The High Court has ruled against three brothers who were written out of their mother’s…

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The Court of Appeal, estate litigation and standstill agreements – no need to panic

The Court of Appeal reversed the judgment in Cowan v Foreman [2019] EWCA Civ 1336;…

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Can I claim against my partner’s estate if we weren’t married?

Dealing with the loss of a partner is difficult enough without worrying about financial pressures.…

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Midlands solicitors leaders in their field for private client advice

Awarded top-level ranking for legal advice to private individuals across the Midlands, nationally and internationally,…

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Who should I appoint as my executor and why?

One of the most important decisions to make when making a will is who to…

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What can I do if I have been left out of a will?

Under the current law in England and Wales, anyone is entitled to make whatever will…

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Are probate fees rising and how will that affect me?

The cost of obtaining a Grant of Probate was due to rise this April but…

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What to do with difficult executors

Losing a loved one can be overwhelming, and a difficult executor refusing to give you…

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Challenging a will – what to do if you think you have a claim

Most wills are straightforward to administer with executors ensuring that estates are distributed to beneficiaries…

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If you give up your career to become a relative’s full-time carer, should their will reflect that?

Lynsey Delaforte, a former ballet dancer who gave up her career to become her grandmother’s…

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Four new partners join thriving firm

Four new partners have come on board at Harrison Clark Rickerbys in different specialisms across…

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New litigation expert boosts disputed wills and estates team

Developing Harrison Clark Rickerbys’ contentious probate service in response to client demand, partner Beth King-Smith…

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