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Mary Butler is a Partner and an experienced, multiple award-winning inheritance disputes solicitor with a national reputation for her expertise. Mary is described in the 2019 edition of the Legal 500 as 'experienced and talented ' lawyer who 'combines technical knowledge with a real streetwise, practical sense of how to crack a difficult case'. Earlier editions refer to her as ‘forthright but also pragmatic and approachable; her appreciation of the private client aspects as well as litigation adds real value'.
Mary is the Senior Partner at Bell & Buxton. She studied at the University of Bristol and the College of Law in Chester and undertook her articles with a well-known Bristol firm before returning to God’s own county, having been admitted as a Solicitor in 1984. She has been a Partner in the firm since 1988 and has specialised exclusively in Contested Probate, Court of Protection work and Financial Abuse of the Elderly since 2006; previously she had, since 1991, combined this work with general Probate and Elderly Client work.
Mary heads up our close knit and extremely effective Inheritance Disputes Team. She specialises in handling the most complex contentious probate cases and has particular expertise in cases involving financial abuse of the elderly.
She is recommended in the Legal 500, 2017 as "forthright but also pragmatic and approachable; her appreciation of the private client aspects as well as litigation adds real value".
Mary was a double winner (in 2006 and 2009) of the Yorkshire Lawyer Private Client Award and was also winner of the ACTAPS (Association of Contentious Trusts and Probate Specialists) Contentious Solicitor of the Year Award in 2016.
As well as being an ACTAPS member, she is a member of the Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners (STEP), Solicitors for the Elderly, and Action on Elder Abuse. She was also recently appointed a Trustee of Age UK Sheffield.
Mary frequently receives referral work from other solicitors and law firms when a case needs to be handled by an independent lawyer with greater experience and ability. She is described in the UK Legal 500 as a “no nonsense litigator” and is regularly appointed to act as Court of Protection Deputy for a person lacking mental capacity when no other suitable person can be identified or where there is a dispute.
Having a love of all types of performance, Mary enjoys media work and, has, in the past, appeared on BBC Look North and ITV’s Tonight programme. She provided expert commentary for the Crime and Investigation channel’s “Battle of Wills” series which focussed on various high profile challenges to Wills and, most recently, she appeared on the BBC Radio 4 programme ‘Money Box’. This edition investigated the sale of Care Fees avoidance packages by unregulated probate companies.
Mary also delivers seminars to other professional and client groups including carer support associations as well as being a guest lecturer for various specialist organisations.
Mary’s recent experience includes:
1. Acting in a complex and sensitive financial abuse case involving longstanding abuse of an elderly person by another family member.
2. Appointment as an independent personal representative in a number of estates which have been locked in litigation for years.
3. Advising Executors in relation to the conduct of extremely fraught, complex and high value estates where disputes have arisen between the various parties.
Winner of the Yorkshire Lawyer Private Client Award – 2006 & 2009
Member of the Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners (STEP)
Solicitors for the Elderly
Action on Elder Abuse
Trustee of Age UK Sheffield
"Mary Butler provided reassuring and knowledgeable advice in difficult circumstances."