Debra Burton

Partner – Inheritance Disputes

Debra specialises in contentious trusts and probate and represents private individuals, trusts and charities. Her areas of expertise include advising on disputes concerning the validity of wills and applications for rectification and variation of wills. She also acts in claims brought under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 for reasonable financial provision from the estate of the deceased. Debra has a particular interest in claims involving trusts; advising on claims for breach of a trustee’s duties, removal of executors and trustees and claims for a declaration of trusts in assets such as land.

Debra adopts a sensitive yet practical approach to handling such disputes and as well as the traditional court route, advocates the use of alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation.

Case Highlights

Debra’s recent case highlights include:

  • Successfully defended an application brought by a widow for permission to bring a 1975 Act claim outside the primary limitation period (Sargeant v Sargeant [2018] EWHC 8 (Ch)
  • Representing an animal charity in connection with several will challenge/1975 Act claims
  • Defending a 1975 Act claim brought by a cohabitee against an estate worth £30million
  • Successfully negotiated settlement on behalf of a husband in a 1975 Act claim against his late wife’s estate
  • Representing the executors in connection with a will challenge/1975 Act claim against an estate worth in excess of £6.5 million
  • Acted for a defendant beneficiary in a 1975 Act claim brought by three separate parties against an estate worth in excess of £1 million. The claim involved the rectification of the grant of probate.
  • Represented the executors of an £11million estate in connection with a Variation of Trust application and infant approval hearing thus saving the estate millions of pounds in inheritance tax
  • Defended a trustee in connection with a trustee removal application in relation to a multi-million pound trust, involving numerous parties and complex trust and business structures