Jak has dedicated his practise to contentious trusts and probate work, and is a full member of the Association of Contentious Trusts & Probate Specialists (ACTAPS). Before specialising, Jak gleaned a wealth of experience in general commercial and civil litigation. He is recognised by the Legal 500 as a Next Generation Partner in the East Midlands region for Contentious Trusts and Probate work. His clients describe him as an “able and resilient litigator”, with “strong expertise”, and “he fights his clients’ corner but is always sensible and pragmatic”.
Jak has particular experience in matters relating to:
- disputes regarding the interpretation, construction or validity of a will;
- disagreements in the administration of an estate or trust;
- financial provision claims (as claimant and defendant) under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975;
- financial abuse claims relating to the affairs of a deceased or vulnerable person;
- disputes over co-owned property and trusts of land, typically involving unmarried couples, under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996;
- professional negligence actions, particularly concerning the drafting of wills and proper administration of an estate;
- applications for the removal of executors and trustees; and
- contentious Court of Protection matters, including revocation of Lasting Powers of Attorney, financial abuse applications, and deprivation of liberty damages claims.
Jak regularly appears in the Business & Property Courts division of the High Court of Justice, and has handled reported cases appearing in the Court of Appeal. Jak acts for individual claimants, executors/administrators of wills, trustees and beneficiaries. Jak has also been appointed by the court as a deputy in Court of Protection cases, and as a trustee and a professional administrator of an estate in cases of extreme dispute. Jak receives instructions nationally and from overseas.
Jak will aim to give thorough and robust legal advice, as well as pragmatic advice and practical tips on ultimately achieving his client's objectives. He is a strong advocate of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) as a means of settling disputes, but if such platforms fail then he is equipped with the know-how to litigate cases through the court system.
Career highlights include:
- negotiating a settlement of a complex family trust concerning three farms worth a combined £4.3m;
- acting in the Court of Appeal case, Begum v Ahmed  EWCA Civ 1794, which concerned an application for permission to bring a IPFDA claim after the expiry of the section 4 limitation;
- successfully representing the claimant in the High Court case of Sismey v Salandron  Lex 209, which is the first England & Wales High Court case to consider the interplay between section 11 anti-avoidance applications under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 and contracts to leave property by will.
- successfully achieving a lump sum inheritance award of £100,000 for a child of a deceased who had not been named in a will; and
- defending at trial a will challenge based on lack of testamentary capacity, relating to an estate worth £1m.