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Philip D'Arcy

Philip D'Arcy

Partner, Dispute Resolution and Notary Public

+44 (0)118 951 6821

  • Awards and accreditations

Contentious Trusts and probate including:

  • Disputed Wills; including validity disputes, claims for rectification and disputes as to interpretation
  • Disputes over the administration of the estate; who may take out the grant; caveats and warnings
  • Disputes over inheritance including claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975
  • Issues over what is included in the estate such as jointly owned property and Trust property
  • Claims based on a lifetime promise (Promissory estoppel claims)
  • Contentious probate issues
  • Trust disputes, including resulting Trusts
  • Claims against Executors and Trustees; including compensation for breach of trust, actions for an account, removal of executors and trustees
  • Claims against advisers; including negligent drafting of Wills; wrongful handling of the Estate or Will Trusts
  • Claims against Attorneys for wrongful dealings or failing to account
  • Death bed gift disputes
  • Mutual Wills
  • Secret Trusts

Property-related disputes including:

  • Landlord and tenant issues
  • Joint ownership disputes
  • Dilapidations claims
  • Renewal proceedings under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954
  • Rent arrears claims
  • Possession cases
  • Claims for breaches of covenant
  • Forfeiture
  • Distress
  • Trespassers, squatters and adverse possession claims
  • Manchester Metropolitan University, Diploma in Law Firm Management
  • Cambridge University, Notary Public qualification
  • College of Law, ACTAPS (Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists) Diploma
  • College of Law (Guildford), LPC
  • University of Reading, LLB
  • Member, Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS) 
  • Member, Notaries Society

Re: D Dec’d – Promissory estoppel and key taxation aspects

The deceased was a wealthy industrialist who was divorced, but only a couple of years before his death married his then housekeeper.  He made a new Will, leaving his new wife a very modest legacy with the vast bulk of his estate being left to his children after a limited life interest in favour of the widow; so as to save tax. Not surprisingly, the widow brought a claim. We were able to negotiate a settlement which protected the crucial IHT saving, ensured that the widow received a fair settlement and preserved the larger part of the estate for the deceased’s children.

Re: M v M – appointment of independent solicitor to administer estate and obtain compensation from an attorney

We acted for a beneficiary, one of three children whose brother had taken out a Grant but was failing to administer the estate or make distributions. The brother had also acted under a Power of Attorney for the parents and it appeared that substantial sums had been transferred by the parents to this brother during their lifetime whilst he held the Power of Attorney. We took proceedings, resulting in an independent solicitor being appointed to administer the estate who had power to investigate the pre-death transactions and who recovered compensation for our client.

Re: B v B - resolution of business related issues through mediation

We acted for one of the three children of a businessman who died intestate and the principal asset was his business. As a result of a Deed of Variation, the business had passed to his three children in equal shares. Later the brother executor purported to expel our client from the business. Issues arose as to whether or not the expulsion was effective: the true extent of her share in the business and the value of the business. The matter was resolved at a successful all-day mediation.

Re: Y – resulting trust and estoppel

We acted for former wife of the deceased. Although she was divorced, no financial order had ever been made in the divorce as her ex-husband had been paying her and had made various promises in relation to his pension, upon which she relied.  We were able to achieve a satisfactory settlement following a claim based on a resulting trust/proprietory estoppel.

Re: R v S – settlement of Inheritance Act claim on tax efficient basis

A nephew was left most of the deceased’s estate in his Will. The widow brought a claim and there were significant issues as to her true financial position. The case was settled on the basis that the property, which formed the bulk of the estate, was sold, with a significant sum going to the widow but the majority going to our client. The deal managed to avoid any immediate liability to Inheritance Tax and the widow’s life was insured for 7 years to cover any tax that be due if she died within that time.

Re: Mrs F in the Estate of F - revocation of will due to marriage

Our client had lived with the deceased for many years. He had a Will leaving everything to her but they were married shortly before he died, which revoked this Will. She inherited only £125,000 and a life interest in half the remainder of the estate under the then intestacy rules; the remainder of the estate went to his son from an earlier marriage who had sued his father during his lifetime. This had caused the deceased considerable distress. An issue also arose about whether the house was part of the estate and so would also go to the son. Matters were settled by negotiation so the widow kept her home and the son received a modest cash payment.

  • "A polite, sensitive and efficient team." 
    The Legal 500

    "Thank you. You did a brilliant job and I will be continuing to use you in any legal capacity.”

    “We are all very appreciative of what you have achieved for us, we could not have done it without you.”

    “You have been wonderful and I cannot thank you enough for your assistance for what has been a very distressful and emotional time for both myself and my family.”

    “Thanks for the lovely care I received.”

"Wonderful. I cannot thank you enough.”

Philip D'Arcy is a partner and head of our Dispute Resolution team, which spans our Reading, Henley-on-Thames and London offices.

He is a highly experienced and acknowledged expert in resolving disputes in relation to trusts, probate and inheritance matters, including disputed wills, claims to remove Executors or Trustees, breach of trust cases and Inheritance Act claims.

Philip also handles a wide range of property-related disputes, particularly those involving commercial property, including rent arrears claims, possession cases, claims for breaches of covenant, dilapidations claims and renewal proceedings.

He has experience of the full range of dispute resolution methods - from negotiation, through mediation to arbitration and tribunal and Court proceedings. His approach is to understand clearly his clients' priorities, to advise them of the options, recommend the best approach, and then to seek to achieve the most cost-effective resolution possible.

Philip is a full member of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS), one of only a few Thames Valley solicitors to have achieved this accreditation. He is recognised in the annual Citywealth Leaders List for his expertise. He is also a Notary Public.

Outside of work, Philip is a keen, if only moderately talented, golfer and also enjoys music, travelling and good company.

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