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Melanie Fitzsimons

Bedford, United Kingdom

5 Testimonials
2 Case studies
5 Articles

Summary

Practice Areas:

  • Contested Probate
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Civil Litigation
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Contract Disputes
  • Debt recovery
  • Dispute resolution
  • Disputed Wills
  • Insolvency
  • Private Client Litigation
  • Probate
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I began my career in October 2010 as a Team Assistant/Paralegal with a large regional law firm and begun to specialise in all areas of Litigation, including Company & Commercial Disputes, Contentious Trusts and Probate, Property Litigation and Debt Recovery.

 

Subsequently, I joined Premier Solicitors LLP as a Paralegal in February 2013 and have since completed my Training Contract and qualified as a Solicitor in 2016. During that time, I have assisted in the development of a Litigation Team that specilaises in and offers litigation and dispute resolution services for both local and national Clients.

 

Due to the fact that Premier Solicitors have large Private Client and Court of Protection Teams, a significant portion of my team’s workload relates to Contentious Trusts and Probate.

 

My experience and expertise includes:

 

  1. Challenges against the validity of a Will;
  2. Claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975;
  3. Disputes arising from the way in which an Estate is being dealt with and surrounding the appointment of Executors / Personal Representatives;
  4. Claims for the removal of Executors / Personal Representatives;
  5. Ancillary matters such as Caveats, Warnings, Appearances, Summonses;
  6. Taking part in all forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution, including Mediations;
  7. Professional negligence cases arising from Contentious Trusts and Probate;
  8. Related trusts cases, including under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustee Act 1996; and
  9. Contentious Court of Protection cases (including Deputyship applications, Deputyship appointments and Statutory Will applications).

 

My Clients can be those bringing or commencing proceedings (i.e. disappointed beneficiaries or relatives), those defending such proceedings (i.e. Executors, Personal Representatives or beneficiaries), and those caught up in disputes (i.e. Professional Executors and Will writers).

 

I work in affiliation with a variety of introducers, e.g. Will writers, IFAs, Chartered Accounts, with competitive referral fees, and undertake work nationally.

 

Our team is affiliated with the Association of Contentious Trusts and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS) which is a kite-mark for specialist lawyers who deal with this area of work.

 

During the time I have been at Premier Solicitors, I have received very positive feedback from the Clients I have acted for and this comes from my aim to provide clients with excellent client care, a highly efficient and timely service and always seeking to proactively manage and progress matters.

 

I aim to offer competitive fixed fees wherever possible and aim not to be beaten on cost, as well as of course offering high levels of expertise and service. I am also open to other flexible fee arrangements such as a “no win, no fee”, to be considered on a case by case basis.

 

Previous Employment

Tees Law2010 - 2013

Assisting a team of Litigation Solicitors with a variety of Contentious cases. Duties included (i) drafting documents, (ii) undertaking legal research, and (iii) providing general administrative assistance to fee-earners.

Experience

My experience and expertise includes:

 

  1. Challenges against the validity of a Will;
  2. Claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975;
  3. Disputes arising from the way in which an Estate is being dealt with and surrounding the appointment of Executors / Personal Representatives;
  4. Claims for the removal of Executors / Personal Representatives;
  5. Ancillary matters such as Caveats, Warnings, Appearances, Summonses;
  6. Taking part in all forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution, including Mediations;
  7. Professional negligence cases arising from Contentious Trusts and Probate;
  8. Related trusts cases, including under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustee Act 1996; and
  9. Contentious Court of Protection cases (including Deputyship applications, Deputyship appointments and Statutory Will applications).

Education

Bournemouth University

University

2004 - 2008

LLB Law - A four year sandwich degree which included a years placement at Stevenage Citizens Advice Bureau.

Bournemouth University

University

2004 - 2008

LLB Law - A four year sandwich degree which included a years placement at Stevenage Citizens Advice Bureau.

LPC

University of Westminster

2008 - 2009

Legal Practice Course

Testimonials

Client - Application for Executor to Produce Accounts to the Court

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your time and effort involved with such a difficult defendant, very happy we got the result we needed.

Client - Dispute regarding Estate Administration

“We received regular updates that were clear and understandable”.

Client – Challenge to the Validity of a Will

“Melanie was informative and professional throughout. As importantly, she communicated at the right level”.

Client - Dispute with Executor regarding Estate Administration

“The professional behaviour and excellent detail to attention, both in a timely fashion”.

Client - Dispute with Executor regarding Estate Administration

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank you once again for the professional way in which you have handled this case.  I would happily recommend you and Premier Solicitors to anyone as we have been more than impressed with your continued communication, your clarity and your honesty.”

Case Studies

Claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975

I acted for two Executors of a Deceased Estate, facing a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 by the only child of the Deceased.

 

The Deceased had made a Will which, due to the age of his only child, provided for a discretionary trust to be set up so that a portion of the Estate would pass to the child on reaching the age of 25 years.

 

However, due to the nature of the assets in the Estate and other pecuniary legacies made under the terms of the Will, the Property in which the child lived would have to be sold to realise the Deceased’s interest in the same and for the Estate to be administered.


Accordingly, the child brought a claim to secure the Property in which she lived with her Mother and the Executors of the Estate (who were also Legacy Beneficiaries) wished to oppose the same.

 

I investigated the situation, assessing the merit of the proposed Claim, provided legal advice to the Executors in respect of their role, dealt with the threatened formal Court Proceedings, and managed to negotiate a settlement of the Claim. The outcome was that the legacies under the Will were paid in full, whilst the Deceased’s child’s interest under the discretionary trust was crystallised so as to secure her living accommodation.

Challenging the Validity of a Will

I acted for two family members who had been left out of the Deceased’s last Will and testament, but who had previously stood to benefit under an earlier Will.

 

There were some serious concerns as to the Deceased’s testamentary capacity at the time of making the last Will and testament, due to a diagnosis of Dementia and exhibited memory issues.

 

After investigating the situation and advising the Clients, notification of an intention to pursue formal Court Proceedings was provided to the Executors of the Estate. Subsequently, the parties agreed to enter into Alternative Dispute Resolution, in the form of a Mediation.


The outcome of the Mediation was a successful negotiated settlement being reached, with my Clients receiving an equal share of the residuary Estate, in line with the terms of the earlier Will under which they had stood to benefit.

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