Charlotte Watts

Partner

Mental Capacity Principal Contact

“Thanks to all your efforts we appear to be reaching the end of a very long road.”

Charlotte is a partner in our Will & Trusts Disputes team. She trained with Wilsons and qualified as a solicitor in 2005, and became a partner in 2013. Charlotte advises on contentious trust and probate and legacy administration problems, including Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 claims, will validity, construction of wills, problems with executors and trustees, proprietary estoppel and the Non-Contentious Probate Rules.

Charlotte also deals with ex gratia claims, lost wills, joint bank accounts and lifetime gifts.  She regularly advises on proceedings in the Court of Protection including statutory will applications (where the court makes a will for a person who does not have the mental capacity to make his own) and has a special interest in this area.  She is committed to resolving disputes in a sensitive and tactful way, being mindful that they can be extremely difficult emotionally as well as financially.

Recent highlights

  • Representing a charity in a complex multi-party statutory will case involving an estate of over £1.5m, helping the charity to receive 28% of the estate (over £400,000);
  • Representing a number of charities in a claim by the deceased's stepdaughter under the Inheritance Act. The estate was worth around £340,000, and Charlotte settled the claim at an early stage for a payment of only £5,000 inclusive of costs, less than 2% of the estate;
  • Representing three charities in a claim by the deceased's daughter under the Inheritance Act and against the will on the ground of lack of testamentary capacity. The estate was worth £600,000, and the matter settled at mediation for a payment of less than 25% of the estate to the daughter;
  • King v Dubrey [2015] EWCA Civ 581 – acting for the successful appellants in the leading case on donatio mortis causa;
  • RNLI v Headley [2016] EWHC 1948 (Ch) – acting with Alice Vale for the successful charitable remainder beneficiaries of a trust in obtaining an order against the professional trustee to provide accounts.  The judgment clarified the law surrounding the requirement for trustees to provide accounts.

Charlotte is a member of Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS), the Charity Law Association and STEP. Charlotte is also a regular speaker at our annual Charity Legacy Officers' Seminars, and is recommended in the 2016 Edition of the Legal 500.

Charlotte was recently awarded a STEP Excellence Award as the highest scoring student in the STEP Advanced Certificate in Trust Disputes.

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