Professional Development for qualified solicitors

Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS)


If you are working in the field of contentious probate and trusts, or want to move into this area, this comprehensive course will give your career a real boost and provide a recognised qualification as an associate member of a well-regarded organisation.

The University of Law, in association with the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS), offers this training course for those specialising in contentious probate and trusts who wish to become members of this specialist association.

Predominantly distance learning, supported by study sessions at our London Moorgate or London Bloomsbury centres, this three-year course is designed to develop expertise in contentious trusts and probate. Candidates can choose to study our fast-track option over two-years.

Counting as 100% of annual CPD requirements, our ACTAPS course is open to all solicitors, barristers and legal executives. Successful participants become associate members of ACTAPS, a forum which allows specialists in this field to exchange experience and expertise – and after two years will be eligible to complete an application form for full membership of the association, which is in the absolute discretion of the Association Committee.

"NB In this connection, for the avoidance of any doubt, the Association has asked us to point out that merely successfully completing the education course will not in any way guarantee a successful application for full membership. Indeed, if having successfully completed the education course, you do not then have an active contentious trust and probate practice during your two years of associate membership, this may very well adversely affect an application for full membership.”

ACTAPS will issue associate membership certificates once a year; this will be in the September following completion of all the elements of the course.

The three-year course is structured around five compulsory core modules, with an additional session on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), which can be studied either in the second or third year:

  • Probate Actions (year one – Oct-Jan)
  • Mental Capacity (year one – Feb-Jun)
  • Inheritance Act Claims (year two – Oct-Jan)
  • Trust Actions (year two – Jan-Mar)
  • Sham Trusts/Asset Tracing (year three – Mar-Jun)
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution (year two or three)

Information on the above ACTAPS modules can be found in our ‘Modules’ tab on this page. 

The course is predominantly distance learning based, although each module incorporates at least one evening face-to-face session of two hours led by an experienced practitioner. The ADR session is delivered as an afternoon face-to-face session of three hours.
Coursework is supported by a comprehensive learning pack and study is designed to replicate practice, with exercises including writing letters, assessing the strengths and weaknesses of a case and determining the steps required to progress a transaction. The course is assessed through coursework submitted at the end of each module (apart from ADR which is not assessed).

The course aims to enable you to:

  • Identify the strengths and weaknesses of a client’s claim in probate and trust disputes
  • Progress a case using correct procedure
  • Draft appropriate documentation and letters
  • Determine a basis for negotiation
  • Assist a client in alternative dispute resolution
  • Advise settlors, beneficiaries and trustees where there is a possibility that a trust may be a sham
  • Advise on steps to trace and recover assets
Find out more

Call +44 (0)1483 216216 or e-mail actaps@law.ac.uk

Important information

We go to great lengths to ensure that the information provided is correct at the time of publication. However, we reserve the right to withdraw or change, for any reason and without notice, any of the programmes and/or to alter tuition fees, locations, entry requirements and/or the facilities and/or services available from or provided by or on behalf of the University. Please note that the choice of subjects may be limited by considerations of timetable, staffing and/or available places on a course.

Who?
Predominantly distance-learning based, this three-year course aims to develop specialist expertise in this field and to provide a recognised professional qualification to those already working in the field and those wanting to move into the area. It is open to all qualified solicitors, barristers and legal executives.

Why?
  • Gain a recognised specialist qualification
  • Learn how to advise clients, progress a case and draft appropriate documentation for key areas of trust and probate law
  • Become associate members of ACTAPS and, after two years, be eligible to apply for full membership subject to fulfilling the necessary requirements at that date*
  • Complete the course in just two years with our fast-track option

Please note that ACTAPS will issue associate membership certificates once a year - this will be in the June following completion of all the elements of the course.

Important Information: Upon successful completion of the course, you will be granted time-limited associate membership of ACTAPS, which willautomatically terminate two years following successful completion of the course. If following completion of the course and the expiry of the two years ofassociate membership, you apply for full membership of ACTAPS, you do so in the full knowledge that such application is in the absolute discretion of theACTAPS Committee, and the University accepts no responsibility as a result of any such application for full membership being declined by ACTAPS.For details of eligibility requirements for full membership please refer to: http://www.actaps.com/join.cfm

Modules
When: Year 1 – Oct-Jan
Who: Henry Frydenson, Frydenson & Co, and Professor Lesley King, The University of Law

Grounds for challenging a will
  • Formalities
  • Capacity
  • Knowledge and approval
  • Undue influence
  • Solicitor’s negligence
Jurisdiction
  • Which court?
  • Limitation periods
  • Foreign element
Procedure
  • Initial steps – pre-action protocol and Larke v Nugus
  • Costs
  • Use of counsel
  • County Court and High Court proceedings
Running a case
  • Taking instructions
  • Gathering evidence
  • Tactics and strategy
Other types of action
  • Inheritance Act claims
  • Claims against personal representatives
  • Mutual wills
  • Proprietary estoppel
  • Beddoe orders
  • Charity proceedings

When: Year one – Feb-Jun
Who: Senior Judge Denzil Lush of the Court of Protection and Nori Graham, Geriatric Psychiatrist

Testamentary capacity
  • The test
  • Duty of solicitor in relation to capacity
  • Instructing a medical practitioner

Enduring powers of attorney
  • Capacity
  • Prescribed form
  • Registration
  • Reasons for invalidity
  • Review and appeals
  • Danger and abuse

Lasting powers of attorney
  • Validity
  • The role of the certificate provider
  • Prescribed forms of LPA
  • Procedure for registration
  • Matters which will prevent registration
  • Objections to registration
  • The two types of LPA
  • Comparison between health and welfare LPA and advance decisions
  • Comparison of EPAs and LPAs

Decision making and deputies
  • Court of protection’s powers
  • Duties of deputies
  • When will a deputy be appointed?
  • Security and Protection
  • Urgent applications
  • Appeals

Statutory wills
  • Requirements
  • Documentation
  • Evidence
  • Procedure

Capacity to marry
  • Effect of lack of capacity
  • Test
  • Capacity to divorce

Capacity to make lifetime gifts
  • Test
  • Undue influence
  • Duties of solicitor
  • Gifts on behalf of incapacitated principal
  • Gifts under an EPA/LPA

When: Year two – Oct-Jan
Who: Henry Frydenson, Frydenson & Co, and Professor Lesley King, The University of Law

  • The statutory basis for bringing a claim
  • Problems in relation to particular categories of applicants
  • Costs and applications in small estates
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Issuing proceedings
  • The hearing
  • Legal professional privilege
  • Compromise and Part 36 offers
  • Appeals
  • Running a case
When: Year two – Jan-Mar
Who: Dawn Goodman, Withers

Disputes as to the validity of trusts
  • Failure to satisfy one of the three certainties or the beneficiary principle
  • The trust is a sham failing to impose trustee obligations

The duties of trustees, for example
  • To acquaint themselves with the nature of the trust property and the terms of the trust
  • To act impartially
  • To invest properly under the terms of the trust instrument and the general law
  • Ability to charge
  • Hastings-Bass principle

Remedial action
  • Problems associated with restitution
  • Injunctions
  • Removal of trustees
  • Gains
  • Evidence

Defences
  • Trustee Act 1925, s61
  • Exoneration clauses
  • Limitation
  • Release by the beneficiary
  • The ‘Prudent’ defence

Avoiding a breach
  • Obtaining directions from court
  • Trustee Act 1925, s57
  • Variation of Trusts Act 1958

Use of protectors
  • Functions
  • Litigation involving protectors

When: Year three – Mar-Jun
Who: Robert Hunter, Herbert Smith

Sham Trusts

What is a sham?

Indicators of a sham:

Forced heirship
  • Community of property
  • Restrictions on testamentary freedom

Problems for trustees
  • Failing to put beneficiaries first
  • Position of trustees when trust attacked
  • Rights of beneficiaries

Challenging the trust
  • Basis of challenge
  • Attack by creditors
  • How to challenge

Asset Tracing
The legal basis of claims
  • Elements of fraud
  • Proprietary remedies
  • Personal remedies
  • The original wrongdoer
  • Recipients of assets
  • Third parties with knowledge

How to recover assets
  • Obtaining information from respondent before starting action
  • Obtaining information from third parties
  • Breaking legal privilege
  • Freezing injunctions
  • Tracing injunctions
  • Costs
When: Year two or three

There is an additional face-to-face session on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). This gives you the opportunity to participate in a role play of a mediation in a trust or wills context. You can choose whether to do ADR in your second or third year.

Our ACTAPS course commences in October 2019 and study takes place over three years. Delegates have the option of completing the course in just two years by studying years two and three simultaneously. This decision is taken on completion of year one.

Face-to-face sessions are held as evening seminars at our London Moorgate centre or our London Bloomsbury centre (to be confirmed at time of booking) running from 5pm to 7pm. The ADR session is held as an afternoon seminar, running from 2pm to 5pm. Dates to be confirmed after booking.

The 2018/19 fee is £900 + VAT for each year of the course and is subject to review for the 2019/20 intake. Your payment options are as follows:

  • Pay for the full three-year course at time of booking (£2,700 + VAT), or
  • Pay for year one at time of booking (£900 + VAT) and pay for years two and three (£1,800 + VAT) at the start of year two. (This payment options applies whether or not you plan to take our fast-track option.

The booking form for the course starting in October 2019 will be available from June 2019. To secure a place on the course, please complete the booking form and send it to our address on the form, together with payment. Bookings are accepted on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.

Download the ACTAPS booking form

We go to great lengths to ensure that the information provided is correct at the time of publication. However, we reserve the right to withdraw or change, for any reason and without notice, any of the programmes and/or to alter tuition fees, locations, entry requirements and/or the facilities and/or services available from or provided by or on behalf of the University. Please note that the choice of subjects may be limited by considerations of timetable, staffing and/or available places on a course.