""...a calm and assured presence, and a formidable litigator"; "instills complete confidence in her clients, and is an iron fist in a velvet glove with the other side". "
Angela specialises in dealing with contentious trust and probate cases for charities and private individuals. She has 20 years' experience of advising clients upon the full spectrum of wills and trust disputes, including challenges to wills based upon lack of testamentary capacity, want of knowledge and approval and undue influence; applications under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975; proprietary estoppel claims; construction proceedings and rectification applications; and actions to remove executors and trustees.
Recent work highlights include:
- Acting for the three charitable residuary beneficiaries of a large estate, in connection with a sensitive case involving proprietary estoppel and Inheritance Act claims pursued by a friend of the deceased. Following settlement, the claimant's solicitor wrote: "Many thanks for your assistance on this matter. I am well aware of the lengths [to which] you and your client have gone to facilitate a settlement... The compassion you and your clients have shown mine has not gone unnoticed and I thank you all for it".
- Advising two clients in connection with a challenge to the validity of the deceased's last will, in circumstances where there were doubts (i) that the deceased had the requisite testamentary capacity at the time of making the will; and (ii) that she knew and approved the contents of it. Also advising them in connection with a negligence claim against the solicitors who prepared the will, owing to their failure (i) to follow the 'golden rule' and (ii) to adhere to the professional standards required of them, in taking instructions for the will and arranging for it to be executed.
- Acting for three large national charities that had been named as residuary beneficiaries of the deceased's estate in connection with a complex Inheritance Act claim brought by the deceased's spouse (the estate was worth approximately £5 million). The lead charity wrote: "Thank you so much for all your help with this complex case and for achieving such a successful outcome for us".
- Advising four clients in connection with a potential breach of trust claim against the executors of the deceased's estate, pursuant to the deceased's property having been sold for substantially below its market value. Resolving the matter by way of a settlement with the insurers of the agents responsible for advising the executors upon the sale of the property.
- Acting for seven national charities named as residuary beneficiaries of the deceased's estate, in connection with the deceased's godson's challenge to the validity of the deceased's last and penultimate wills. The claim was pursued on the ground of lack of capacity, owing to paranoid delusions from which the deceased was stated to have been suffering during the requisite periods. An amicable settlement was reached with the claimant, whereby the deceased's last will, under which the charities benefit, was upheld.
Angela trained at Kidd Rapinet solicitors and joined Henmans (now Freeths) upon qualification in 1997. Angela became a Partner and Head of the Charity Probate Litigation team at Henmans in 2004, later going on to become joint Head of Charities. Angela left Freeths at the end of 2017 and joined Shoosmiths in February 2018.
Angela is a full member of ACTAPS (the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists) and was named "Contentious Solicitor of the Year" in 2013 (being the first year of the ACTAPS awards).
LLB Law Degree: 2:1 ( Southampton University )
Legal Practice Course: Commendation ( Guildford Law School )
Diploma in Contentious Trust and Probate Litigation ( ACTAPS )