International trusts and estates disputes

A first-rate reputation, handling cases with calm diplomacy.

The Legal 500
Private Client and Tax

The proper administration of both estates and trusts often involves not only English law but also the law of other countries. Our experienced team resolves disputes involving international aspects such as court proceedings in other countries, enforcement of judgments here and abroad, and potential conflicts between the laws of different countries.

Our probate and trust disputes team will quickly identify the numerous ways in which international laws might be relevant to a trust or estate dispute and advise clients accordingly. International issues can also apply if a person has invoked the law of a foreign country by, for example, owning assets abroad or marrying a foreign national.

The domicile of persons who have moved abroad before their death will affect the way in which their assets are distributed and the tax payable on their death. For example, many other countries have “forced heirship” laws which determine how the assets in an estate are distributed regardless of any will.

Even where a person has remained in England, they may own assets abroad which might be owned outright or held in an offshore trust. The way in which those assets are dealt with will involve an analysis of the proper law to be applied and a resolution if the laws of various countries conflict.

Where a dispute with a foreign element arises, the correct country in which any court proceedings should be started and the applicable law should be determined as these factors can have a significant bearing on the likely outcome of a dispute. As a member of the MultiLaw network, we also have quick access to reputable legal advisers in other countries.

We offer expert advice on:

  • private client disputes involving an international element such as foreign court proceedings or the application of foreign law
  • validity and application of wills where the testator died abroad or held assets abroad
  • administration of estates involving assets located abroad
  • disputes arising in relation to offshore trusts
  • administration of estates of persons who have died whilst living abroad

Recent work highlights

UK and Spanish assets

Advising on the administration of an estate where the deceased was domiciled in Spain but held assets in both the UK and Spain and on the Spanish forced heirship rules and a UK will.


Judgement for Australian executor

Securing a favourable judgment for an Australian executor following a five day trial at the High Court to secure a UK property for the estate and defending a claim by UK relatives of the Australian deceased.


English court proceedings

Advising on the issue and service of proceedings in the English courts on trustees living abroad and outside the jurisdiction.

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Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP