Head of Will, Trust & Estate Disputes

Nicholas Horton

Nick specialises in heavyweight cases where there are disputes relating to wills, trusts and estates, and in related professional negligence matters. He has excellent working relationships with colleagues in the firm’s Wills, Estate & Tax Planning team, the firm’s Probate team and the firm’s Trust Management team, collaborating with them on multiple matters including Independent Estate Administrations where relationships between parties are often strained. He also has wide-ranging contacts with contentious trust and probate lawyers in other firms, with specialist counsel and with expert witnesses in this field.

Nick trained and qualified with the firm. He has over 25 years’ experience as a litigator, gained not just from will, trust and estate disputes but also from more general commercial disputes, professional negligence cases involving complex property issues, and planning law. This enables him to see the wider picture, and to bring a strategic approach to his matters for the benefit of his clients. He is able to explain complex matters in a way that clients find easy to understand and he puts clients at ease.

He always strives to obtain the best results, knowing tactically when to issue or defend court proceedings and when to try to compromise through negotiation or more formal ADR. He always has clients’ best interests in mind, questioning whether the cost (and potential exposure for opponent’s costs) of taking any particular step justify the likely benefits to be gained by doing so.

Nicholas Horton

Specialisms & expertise

  • Will validity challenges
  • Claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family & Dependants) Act 1975
  • Proprietary estoppel / constructive trust claims
  • Cases where there are problems with the administration of trusts and estates (delay / excessive costs / lack of information / withholding of documents etc)
  • Disputes with, or between, executors and trustees
  • Cases where executors or trustees need to be removed or are being threatened with removal applications
  • Cases concerning the interpretation (construction) of a Will or of trust documents
  • Rectification applications
  • Applications to the court for directions, costs protection or the blessing of decisions / settlements
  • Professional negligence cases relating to estate or trust administration, Will drafting or tax planning advice.

Examples of work

Representing executors on a 7 year estate administration involving the investigation or pursuit / defence of multiple claims or threatened claims largely relating to the Deceased’s valuable London property.

Acting for beneficiaries who alleged that their father’s £multi-million estate was being mis-managed by his executor and by the firm of solicitors instructed by that executor.

Acting for beneficiaries where the Deceased’s more recent Will, largely cutting them out completely and leaving them £millions worse off than they would have been under the previous Will, had been executed in circumstances where the Deceased allegedly lacked capacity and did not know and understand the contents of the new Will.

Applying successfully for permission to bring a 1975 Act claim out of time for a child with special needs

Advising trustees of a discretionary Will trust

Representing trustees in defending a potential breach of trust claim

Acting for beneficiaries in a professional negligence claim

Pursuing a professional negligence claim against a major law firm

Achievements & other appointments

Nick and his team are highly regarded in the field of Contentious Trusts and Probate:

  • ‘Nicholas Horton has been handling my case. I have found Mr Horton to be exceptional. Calm, constructive and undefeated in his approach in an extremely difficult, complicated case which has caused me great concern. Prior to engaging Mr Horton I felt the situation was impossible. Instantly, with Mr Horton, I felt my case was in safe hands and so it has proved’ – Legal 500, 2023.
  • ‘I have always found the team at Thomson Snell & Passmore to be excellent. Extremely responsive, helpful and forward-thinking in finding a course of action that works for you. Fairly priced and yet a level of service and knowledge far beyond that – Thomson Snell & Passmore in my opinion is beyond compare’ – Legal 500, 2023.

Nicholas is ranked in Chambers HNW.

eprivateclient Top Law Firms 2023 Contentious Wills & Probate Team of the Year - Boutique - Highly commended Chambers ranked in HNW, Nicholas Horton Legal 500 - uk-recommended-lawyer-2023 logo Best will writing firm - Probate - Probate research awards


Nick completed the Graduate Conversion Course in Law at Sussex University and the Law Society Finals at the College of Law, Guildford.

Nick was admitted as a Solicitor in 1995 and became an Equity Partner in 2005.