About James Wallace
James specialises in the resolution of disputes involving Wills, Trusts and Estates. He has particular expertise in dealing with challenges to wills, often on grounds of lack of testamentary capacity, undue influence or fraud. He also represents individuals and estates in respect of claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975.
James also specialises in the resolution of trust disputes, both between trustees themselves and with beneficiaries. This includes advising executors and trustees of estates where a dispute has arisen in the course of an estate administration and beneficiaries of estates who might be unsatisfied with the conduct of the executors and trustees.
James uses a creative and collaborative approach to finding common ground between parties involved in estate disputes and where possible seeks to find a satisfactory resolution without having to involve the courts. Where the involvement of the court is required, he advises clients as to the most appropriate method of achieving their objective as quickly and as cost effectively as possible. He has a network of highly specialist mediators and barristers practising in this area and is able to draw on their additional expertise as and when required. With his in depth knowledge of tax law, James is also able to structure settlements in a tax efficient manner for the benefit of all parties involved.
James is a fully qualified member of STEP (Society of Estate & Trust Practitioners) and a member of ACTAPS (The Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists).
Examples of cases in which James has been involved include the following:
- Acting for beneficiaries seeking to set aside a will believed to be invalid on grounds of lack of testamentary capacity
- Acting for the beneficiaries of a Will being challenged on grounds of undue influence
- Representing a spouse bringing a claim against her husband’s estate for financial provision under the Inheritance Act
- Advising an executor of an estate involved in a dispute with his co-executor about how the estate should be administered
- Successfully reaching a settlement for a client challenging a Will on grounds of undue influence and fraud
- Achieving a settlement for a client seeking provision from an estate for care services provided to the deceased on grounds of promissory estoppel
- Advising trustees with regards to the removal of a trustee where the trustees could not agree a course of action
- Assisting beneficiaries with the interpretation and validity of a poorly drafted homemade will
- Pursuing 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
James’s specialist knowledge also encompasses traditional wills and estates work. Given James’s 12 years of experience working within the field of wills, tax and estates, he is well placed to advice in relation to complex wills, lasting powers of attorney, trusts, tax planning and estate administration on a national and international level.
Chambers and Partners 2021 High Net Worth Private Wealth Disputes
– “He is a very knowledgeable practitioner who was able to explain our options clearly and unambiguously whilst still being prepared to listen to our concerns and answer all questions patiently and empathetically.”
– “James Wallace is an expert in contentious private client matters, including will challenges and Inheritance Act claims. “He is very easy to deal with and gives clear, practical advice. I have always been impressed with his clarity of thinking,” says an interviewee, who adds: “He is also able to assist very promptly when there is an urgent need.”
– “professional, thorough and considerate”
Legal 500 North West Contentious Trusts and Probate
– “James Wallace provides ‘excellent support’ and is especially recommended for his work on disputes involving wills, trusts and estates.”
– “jointly heads up the contentious trusts and probate team”
– “acts for a large number of high-net-worth individuals”
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.