Sharon Leanne Bell


Sharon Leanne Bell

Partner & Head of Estate & Trust Disputes


Year Qualified


Firm Trained With


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I am an experienced Civil Litigator specialising in Contested Probate matters and all types of Inheritance disputes. I have successfully dealt with a number of validity challenges relating to disputed Wills on grounds including lack of capacity, undue influence, lack of knowledge and approval and failure to comply with the formalities of executing a Will correctly.

I am popular with clients for my down to earth and sympathetic approach which is balanced with my natural ability to fight tenaciously to get the best results I can for my clients.

I am hard working and fully support Alternative Dispute Resolution as all parties to litigation are encouraged at an early stage to try and resolve disputes without issuing formal court proceedings. I have acted for clients at mediation and have successfully negotiated settlements.

I represent both Claimants and Defendants in claims brought under The Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. I have acted for a number of cohabitees in difficult complex relationships, adult children, step-children and dependants in heavily contested claims. I have successfully negotiated significant and favourable sums for all of my clients whilst supporting them through the litigation process.

I deal with claims relating to parties having a beneficial interest in property by contributing cohabitees.  I also act for family members who have assisted other family members to purchase their homes under the "Right to Buy" scheme.

I have also dealt with complex and technical mutual will arguments, constructive, resulting and secret trusts.

I have advised on rectification issues, co-executor disputes, beneficiary disputes and the removal of trustees.

I am extremely passionate about this area of law and pride myself on being able to sensitively help and guide my clients through the litigation process.

Recent Successes

  • I have recently argued that a handwritten Will that was unsigned and undated was invalid as it lacked the requirements to satisfy the formalities of a valid Will despite the purported Will being witnessed by two witnesses who gave witness statement evidence to suggest that the Will was the Last Will and Testament of the deceased and that it had been properly executed. If the Will was deemed to be valid my client would not have had any entitlement to the deceased’s estate.

  • Recent developments in case law suggest that there are now circumstances where a court may decide that a Will prepared in these circumstances may be held to be valid. Following lengthy negotiations the administration of the estate proceeded by agreement on the basis of an intestacy with my client receiving 70% of the estate.

  • I also deal with all contested applications in the Court of Protection including disputed deputyships and Statutory Will applications.

  • I have successfully made an application to the Court of Protection for a Statutory Will for an elderly Aunt who had initially provided instructions to a Solicitor to amend her Will to allow her only nephew to benefit. The Solicitor who took the instructions did not follow up on the Will instruction and when they eventually did the elderly Aunt had lost testamentary capacity. In order to rectify the position, an application had to be made to the Court of Protection for a Statutory Will. The Official Solicitor instructed on behalf of the elderly Aunt was complimentary about the paperwork that was submitted to the Court as it thoroughly set out the deceased’s previous testamentary history, family history and I have been pro-active in consulting all persons who may have had an entitlement to the estate to ensure that all views were before the Court at the first hearing. This ensured that the matter could progress as quickly and cost efficiently as possible. A Statutory Will was made by the Court of Protection so the nephew received the whole of the residuary estate which equated to circa. £750k as was initially intended by his elderly Aunt. Any out of pocket expenses and costs not recovered in the proceedings were sought from the original Solicitor who failed to follow up on an elderly testator's instructions to amend her Will.

  • I have successfully assisted in the revocation of a Grant of Representation where an elderly brother thought that he would be entitled upon intestacy upon the death of his brother. The deceased had a secret son who had been placed with foster parents at a young age. As the son had not been formally adopted he was entitled to receive the entirety of the estate under the intestacy rules

Awards, Accreditations and Memberships

  • ACTAPS accredited

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