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Described by a leading industry guide as a “driven individual clearly at the top of his profession”, James leads the dedicated Contentious Trusts and Probate team, dealing with complex, high value estate and trust disputes, including those with a cross-border or overseas element.


Background & Expertise

James began his career with a prominent law firm based in Merseyside, where he qualified in December 2008.

In 2010, James joined Aaron & Partners as a solicitor in the Wills, Trusts & Tax team. Since then, James has developed his specialism in contentious estate and trust matters and has gained vast experience in this niche area of law, becoming a go-to expert for high-net-worth individuals seeking advice on complex estate and trust disputes.

James' passion lies in handling challenging cases, and his expertise encompasses a wide range of matters, including will challenges, estate administration disputes, claims under the Inheritance Act, disputes involving lasting powers of attorney and the Court of Protection, as well as traditional wills and estates work. With 15 years of experience in wills, tax, and estates, he is well-equipped to handle complex wills, tax planning, lasting powers of attorney, trusts, and estate administration on both a national and international level.


Specialisations & Personal Achievements

James primarily serves high-net-worth private clients, charities, and trusts, and is regularly referred cases by other law firms due to the specialised nature of his work. Clients appreciate his commercial acumen, empathy, and understanding of the bigger picture, enabling him to tailor his advice and solutions to meet their unique needs and objectives promptly and cost-effectively.

His success stories include settling numerous disputes through various strategies, with mediation being one of his notable strengths. Additionally, James has been appointed as an independent administrator by the court, in cases involving the removal of executors and complicated estate administration issues.

As recognition of his expertise, James is featured as a recommended specialist in trust and estate disputes in both the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners High Net Worth industry guides. He holds full memberships with the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS), having completed both diplomas.

Beyond his professional achievements, James is known for being easy to work with, providing clear and practical advice promptly, and showing genuine empathy and consideration for his clients' concerns.


Recent Work Examples

  • Successfully obtained an order from the High Court for the removal of an obstructive executor with costs recovered for the client
  • Resolved a complicated cross border estate dispute involving Spanish inheritance laws, the validity of deeds of variation in Spain, limitation for Spanish inheritance tax and Spanish gift tax
  • Advised clients in a high-profile dispute about the misuse of a lasting power of attorney with potentially serious consequences for the future of a significant heritage property in North Wales
  • Represented a client in the High Court defending a claim for delayed payment of a legacy with interest
  • Acted for beneficiaries seeking to set aside a will believed to be invalid on grounds of lack of testamentary capacity and undue influence
  • Advised beneficiaries in an action against executors for losses suffered by the estate during the administration including the mismanagement of a family business
  • Represented a spouse bringing a claim against her husband’s estate for financial provision under the Inheritance Act
  • Assisted the executor of an estate in settling a long running and complicated matter involving disputed lifetime financial transactions between the deceased and one of the estate beneficiaries
  • Advised on the right to insist on a DNA test where paternity of a beneficiary was disputed and there were cross border issues involving Moldova and Canada
  • Achieved a settlement for a client seeking provision from an estate for care services provided to the deceased on grounds of promissory estoppel
  • Advised trustees with regards to the removal of a trustee where the trustees could not agree a course of action
  • Assisted beneficiaries with the interpretation and validity of a poorly drafted homemade will
  • Pursued a claim on behalf of an estate for a greater beneficial share in the matrimonial property where the deceased made the majority of the financial contributions


Reported Cases

  • James played a key part in achieving a successful outcome for the client in the reported case of Morton v Morton, [2022] EWHC 163 Ch which involved multiple complex issues including a disputed will, proprietary estoppel, declarations of trust and the dissolution of a farming partnership.
  • James was the leading solicitor in McElroy v McElroy [2023] EWHC 109(Ch), a widely publicised case regarding a dispute over an Australian will which clarified the law regarding delays in starting probate claims.
  • Represented one of the beneficiaries in Wilkinson & Ors v Hicken (Re Last Will of Norman Walter Gill) [2023] EWHC 1983 (Ch) (18 May 2023) in which the last will of Norman Gill was challenged on grounds of lack of testamentary capacity.

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James Wallace (partner) was responsive and helpful in mapping out the strategy of the litigation. He flagged issues of concern from an early stage and could call upon his personal experience and that of his team.
Client feedback via The Legal 500
James Wallace and Vlad Macdonald-Munteanu both stand out as extremely conscientious and efficient litigators with clients’ interests very much at heart.
Client feedback via The Legal 500
James Wallace is a wonderful lawyer with real expertise in this area of the law and develops a great rapport with clients.
The Legal 500
James Wallace was calm, collected, and incisive in picking apart the facts of the case and coming to the solution. He displayed a depth of knowledge and experience in contentious trust, Inheritance Act, and proprietary estoppel disputes. He is a solicitor that you would want on your side in probate or trust disputes.
via Chambers and Partners
James has gained my utmost respect and is a driven individual clearly at the top of his profession.
via Chambers and Partners
James Wallace is an expert in contentious private client matters, including will challenges and Inheritance Act claims.
Chambers and Partners
I've worked with James on several occasions, and found him to be professional, friendly and extremely knowledgeable in his field of expertise. He is a great asset to Aaron & Partners and his clients alike.
Richard Medlicott - Chartered Financial Planner
During an extremely dark and difficult period of my life I was faced with having to deal with my late husband’s probate. I contacted Aaron & Partners’ James Wallace to oversee this emotional process for me. From day one I sensed an extreme level of professionalism through his calmness, manner and empathy. Throughout the process of dealing with the complex probate, my opinion on James was enhanced by every interaction I had with him. James radiated a feeling of total professionalism and is the epitome of a compassionate and effective solicitor. I was vulnerable emotionally and financially and James was able to efficiently deal with my matter, whilst showing a great deal of empathy towards my personal situation. I cannot endorse him at a higher level.
Mrs J Welland
We would have no hesitation in recommending James Wallace of Aaron and Partners.  The work carried out for us and on behalf of our clients in respect of difficult trust and estate disputes during the past two years has been exemplary.  Aaron & Partners are efficient, accessible and completely transparent with regard to fees and costs before commencing the assignment.
Nick and Victoria Randall - Alington Ruthin Stockbrokers
Having dealt with James during the very sad and stressful legal management of a close member of my families’ last Will & Testament, I found James to be an extremely competent, understanding and empathetic Solicitor during the sometimes very complex dealings of the estate.
Tony Dilks - Senior Partner, Balance Partnership
I cannot recommend James highly enough. From the initial meeting, to advice on setting up a will for my terminally ill uncle, through to dealing with probate issues etc. At a time when we were emotionally vulnerable, James made sure that my late uncle's wishes were courteously and professionally provided for. James, from all the family, thank you.
Peter Lewis
After a long and emotional process dealing with the Estate of a close family member, where the solicitor initially instructed was not progressing the matter effectively, I sought the services of James Wallace. He intervened and took control of the situation on behalf of our family. After the first phone call with James, I felt as if I had come across someone that genuinely wanted to help. His personable approach put me and my family at ease as he professionally managed and facilitated everything for us.
In our dealings with James Wallace, we found him to be a sensitive, considerate person, always willing to listen in order to appreciate the complexities surrounding a particular situation. He has a sympathetic and supportive approach which is very helpful in enabling an individual to process possibilities for action, particularly under difficult circumvent stances. The judgement made by James are balanced and fair, clearly embedded in an extensive knowledge and experience of legal matters. His work is undertaken with the highest level of expertise and skill, imbuing complete confidence within the client. His professionalism is outstanding and has been greatly appreciated.
Very neat re navigating taxes, capital gains, IOUs, estate, trust and existing ownership. You have served my parents, my brother and myself well. Thank you.
Thank you for your hard work and yes, we are pleased.  R feels our case has been proved and therefore cleared his good name. We do appreciate all you have done and agreeing to continue when we were expecting to have to give up.
James was extremely knowledgeable, approachable and a pleasure to deal with. As a solicitor myself I understand how important it is to provide the highest possible level of client care - and James did that!
Thank you for all the effort you put into sorting my husband’s estate. The way you dealt with things made the worst time in my life a just a little more bearable.
We can only thank you again for your steady and sensitive handling of this painful matter – it has been a bruising experience, but I personally am enormously grateful to you for steering us all carefully to this ‘maximum’ outcome.