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Anna Garde-Evans
Senior Associate
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Anna is an experienced Inheritance and Trusts Disputes specialist, and specialist team lead at Stephens Scown. Anna qualified as a solicitor in 2011 and joined Stephens Scown in 2021.

Anna acts for all types of clients including claimants, defendants, charities, trustees, executors and beneficiaries for all types of contentious probate matters. Anna’s expertise ranges from contesting the validity of a will, claims against an estate where no reasonable financial provision has been left in the will, or under the intestacy rules, challenging lifetime gifts, failures by executors/trustees in their duties (including applications seeking their removal) and trust disputes. Anna advises clients across England and Wales, and has represented clients based abroad including America and Australia.

Anna also has extensive experience dealing with inheritance and property ownership arising in farming disputes.

Anna also specialises in advising unmarried individuals on cohabitation, asset protection and separation. This includes disputes relating to property ownership.

Examples of work include:

  • Successfully removing two executors from a two-million-pound estate. Before proceedings were issued, the executors agreed to step down during a mediation (and signed a binding settlement agreement) and then “changed their minds”. Proceedings were issued which the executors fought to the bitter end resulting in a three-day High Court Hearing. Anna’s client was successful and secured orders for indemnity costs and payment on account of costs (2019)
  • Acting for a charity beneficiary who is the sole residuary beneficiary of a multi-million-pound estate. Assisting the charity in conducting due diligence work in respect of the actions and conduct of the executors and trustees. This work involves evidence gathering in respect of a potential multi-million-pound claim against the executors for breaching their fiduciary duties
  • Acting for a claimant who intervened in her parents’ ancillary relief proceedings with a TOLATA application asserting that she was the sole beneficial owner of the matrimonial home. Her ex-husband also made a competing TOLATA application. Mrs Rowe won and was granted sole beneficial ownership of the property, together with an order for costs in her favour against her ex-husband. He applied for permission to appeal the costs order and the Court of Appeal dismissed his application. Whist doing so, the Court of Appeal provided some guidance as to the interaction of the costs rules under the CPR when dealing with ancillary relief proceedings (Wood v Wood [2009] EWCA Civ 860)
  • Acting for an executor and beneficiary of an estate worth two-million pounds where the validity of the latest will is being disputed by the deceased’s only daughter who had been disinherited because she sold his vintage car for £4.5 million without his consent
  • Representing one of six sons whose father died intestate. The estate is mainly comprised of a large farm worth four million pounds. The client is defending a claim being brought by the deceased’s partner pursuant to the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975 (“the Act”), in addition to bringing a proprietary estoppel counterclaim. There are also issues relating to the partner’s conduct as attorney during the deceased’s lifetime
  • Successfully representing a minor child defending a claim being brought by his aunt (an adult child of the deceased) under the Act. This case proceeded to a fully contested two- day hearing in the Exeter County Court
  • Acting for a spouse who had been disinherited by her husband. Within six months of being instructed, negotiated a deal with the spouse securing her 65% of the value of the estate, including the outright transfer of the property she had lived in for 40 years
  • Representing a client who brought a claim pursuant to the Act as an adult child. Her claim was brought 2 years out of time because the Executors failed to notify her of her mother’s death. Successfully negotiating terms of settlement within 9 months of being instructed
  • Instructed by two sons who were concerned that their brother had misappropriated their mother’s money during her lifetime whilst he acted as her attorney. Successfully gathered enough evidence to show that he had fraudulently taken £40,000 from his mother, claiming they were gifts, when she did not have capacity to do so.

Anna is a full member of ACTAPS (Association of Contentious Trusts and Probate Specialists) and a full member of STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners). Anna also holds the STEP advanced certificate in trust disputes where she obtained a distinction.

Anna’s personal testimonials:

Chambers and Partners (2021) – Associate to watch

“The friendly, professional and efficient service that I have received from Anna and the team has been perfect. I felt supported, well informed through out the whole process. An enormous weight lifted from myself and an opportunity to get on with my life.”

Private Client, May 2022

 

Outside of work Anna enjoys swimming, walking her dogs, theatre, live music and most importantly, spending time with her children.

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