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Probate Practitioner’s Day – Thursday 30 March 2023

Probate Practitioner’s Day – Thursday 30 March 2023



Probate Practitioners Day

This popular event is back at the Stormont Hotel for 2023, complete with sit-down lunch to facilitate maximum networking. The programme has been designed to ensure that all key statutory and case-law developments since last year’s event are covered, with a practical emphasis throughout, including a number of case study discussions.

Blue Sky Training is delighted that Master Hardstaff (the Probate Master) has accepted an invitation to attend the event, and has agreed to engage in an informal ‘Question and Answer’ session which will cover the full remit of his ‘non-contentious’ probate jurisdiction.

9.30am – 10.00am – Tea, Coffee & Registration

10.00am – 11.15am – Succession Law Update – Sheena Grattan

This session will cover the main case law developments in Northern Ireland, England and further afield including:

  • Validity challenges including the Estate of Terence McQuaid [2022] NI Ch 18
  • The Supreme Court decision in Guest v Guest (October 2022) – where now for proprietary estoppel?
  • Disputes with (and between) personal representatives including in the Matter of Rose Lappin Dec [2022] Ch NI 14
  • Developments in the family provision jurisdiction
  • Developments in the construction (and rectification) of wills

There is anecdotal evidence that the number of intestacies has increased as a result of the COVID 19 lockdowns.  This session will also provide a ‘back to basics’ reminder of the main rules that apply in NI as well as highlighting common misconceptions, traps and pitfalls including:

  • The current differences between Northern Ireland and England and the importance of domicile
  • The perennial problem of cousins
  • The need for a grant of representation
  • Tracing intestate beneficiaries – what are the options?
  • Disclaimer of intestate benefits in Northern Ireland
  • The interplay with matrimonial agreements
  • Partial intestacy: debts, liabilities and legacies
  • The intestate estate in litigation: numerous and/or incapable beneficiaries

11.15am – 11.45am – Tea & Coffee served

11.45am –12.45 pm – Will Drafting for IHT Planning, Deeds of Variation & Section 39 – Mike Nangle

This session will cover:

  • The importance of IHT Planning in Will Drafting, opportunities & pitfalls
  • A second bite of the cherry? Deeds of Variation & tax planning including the interaction of S142 & 144
  • Traps for the unwary in Section 39A apportionments between exempt & non-exempt beneficiaries.
  • Case law update & other topical IHT issues.

12.45 – 1.00pm – Excepted Estates & Probate Application Update – Michael Graham

Confirmation of the current rules for excepted estates for IHT & a review of the current state of play with standard probate applications.

1.00pm – 1.45pm – Lunch served

1.45pm – 2.45pm – Question & Answer session with Master Hardstaff

2.45pm – 3.00pm – Trust Registration Service update – Michael Graham

A review of the current registration requirements, timescales & potential penalties

3.00pm – 3.15pm – Tea & Coffee served

3.15pm – 5.00pm – Probate Practitioner’s Dilemmas – a selection of case studies – Sheena Grattan and Michael Graham

 The final session of the afternoon will concentrate on some problematic aspects of the probate practitioner’s lot, contentious as well as non-contentious and will consider (hopefully with lots of audience participation) several day to day scenarios which have been based on real cases.


Sheena Grattan: is a practising barrister.  She specialises in estates and trusts issues, both contentious and non-contentious.  She was formerly a Senior Lecturer at QUB, is the author of numerous texts and articles including Succession Law in Northern Ireland and Drafting Trusts and Will Trusts in Northern Ireland (with James Kessler QC).  She is also the examiner of both legal components for the STEP NI Diploma and was the chair of the Northern Ireland branch of STEP 2018 to 2022.

Michael Graham: is a Director in the Private Client Department of Cleaver Fulton Rankin & is a member of the Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners & the Former Chair of its Northern Ireland Branch.  He is also a member of the Executive Committee of Will to Give, a local charity created to promote charitable giving by will in Northern Ireland, and a member of the Solicitors For The Elderly.

Mike Nangle: Managing Director of DNT Chartered Accountants one of the Province’s leading independent firms of Chartered Accountants.  Formerly a Senior Inspector of Taxes, Mike is a Chartered Accountant who has worked in the tax field for over 20 years and advises on many aspects of taxation.


Price:                      £235.00 + VAT (£47.00)                                                                   Date:      Thursday 30th March 2023

Location:              The Ballroom, Stormont Hotel                                                                           9.00pm – 5.00pm

Upper Newtownards Road, Belfast, BT4 3LP                                Accreditation:      6 CPD Points

Please contact Anna Harkness, Blue Sky Training Ltd if you have any queries: 

Tel:        028 90 261 149         Email:     Web: