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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > Scotland > Private client > Personal tax, trusts and executries > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Personal tax, trusts and executries
  2. Leading individuals

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Brodies LLP’s ‘strong and approachable’ team is ‘highly rated’ and stands out for its ‘professional and straightforward manner’ when handling the full remit of private client work. The recommended Norman Kennedy advised a board of trustees on a number of matters including the administering of an estate. ‘Intellectual heart of the department’ and head of the personal tax planning team Alan Barr advised a client on personal tax planning issues and estate planning structures while advising another client on inheritance tax matters. Susanne Beveridge is a ‘safe pair of hands’ who ‘always looks for innovative strategies’ and is noted for her ‘excellent work ethic and great rapport with clients’. She is experienced in advising on the establishment of family limited partnerships, while Alan Eccles advised the Golden Charter Trust on a number of matters, including trust law issues and financial services regulations. In Aberdeen, ‘extremely knowledgeable’ team head Mark Stewart, whose ‘personable approach puts clients at ease’, assisted a client with estate and succession planning issues.

Turcan Connell excels at advising high-net-worth individuals and trusts on the full spectrum of tax and succession work. This includes advising on charity law and the tax implications of restructuring family-owned groups of companies and landed estates, as well as the establishment of new partnership structures, intra-family gifting and trust restructurings. The highly regarded Alexander Garden heads the team, which includes Peter Littlefield, who ‘has a very good manner with clients’, and the ‘very knowledgeableTom Duguid. Managing partner Ian Clark is recommended for tax-driven issues. Robin Fulton retired from the partnership but remains with the firm as a consultant.

Anderson Strathern focuses on trust advisory work and assists clients with heritage property and tax planning matters, which includes the tax implications of owning assets in a trust, asset structuring work and general succession planning. Client include trustees, beneficiaries, executors, high-net-worth individuals and family offices, such as the Buccleuch family and the Roxburghe family. Practice head Colin Henderson specialises in asset protection, succession and estate planning alongside wealth management matters, heads the team, which includes consultant John Biggar and Martin Campbell. Alec Stewart moved to Thorntons Law LLP, while David Campbell joined from Balfour+Manson LLP.

Maclay Murray & Spens LLP frequently acts for high-net-worth individuals in succession planning matters involving inheritance and capital gains tax issues and the review of wills. Trustees regularly instruct the team to advise on the creation of trusts alongside its administration and on asset protection matters, while executors appreciate the team’s expertise in the administration of large estates, which regularly involves handling assets such as landed estates and other heritable property, shareholdings and private company interests. The ‘extremely empatheticAndrew Biggart heads the team and is known for his trust law and tax planning expertise. Eleanor Kerr and Alexis Graham are also recommended.

Shepherd and Wedderburn has a specialism in providing tax planning and compliance advice to high-net-worth individuals and trusts, as well as advising on wills and estate planning matters. Malcolm Rust heads the private client and charities team, which includes Christopher McGill and Greig Honeyman. Recent work includes advising a client on inheritance planning measures and assisting a client with the creation of a trust. Brian Robertson retired, while consultant Charles Scott joined from Mackinnons and Hamish Lean arrived from Stronachs LLP.

The ‘exceptionally professional’ team at Gillespie Macandrew LLP is ‘extremely knowledgeable about general tax and tax planning issues’, particularly with regards to landed estates, and is noted for its ‘client-focused approach’. The ‘experiencedAgnes Mallon, who ‘handles large cases with ease’, regularly advises clients on contentious executries and has specialist knowledge of judicial factory administrations. Recently, she advised the beneficiaries of a trust on managing a development project. Elspeth Paget heads the practice, which includes the ‘knowledgeableJohn McArthur. He leads the tax advisory and returns team and frequently advises high-net-worth clients on succession and tax-planning issues and on strategies in dealing with HMRC in contentious high-value tax issues.

Lindsaysadapts well to different clients’ circumstances’ and ‘works in a friendly and efficient manner’. The ‘knowledgeable and client-focused’ team deals with a wide range of private client work. Team head Callum Kennedy is well versed in providing agricultural and estate clients with tax planning and tax mitigation advice. His work includes the appointment as guardian for a farmer and the management of a number of charitable endowments. The ‘approachableGrant Johnson, who ‘is eager to listen’ and ‘finds sensible and practical solutions’, frequently assists individuals and families with the drafting of wills and provides advice on associated succession and taxation implications, alongside trust and executry matters. He also advises on charitable and non-charitable trust creation and administration matters. Sandy Lamb is particularly experienced in advising executors and beneficiaries on the administration of executry estates. Dorothy Kellas is another name to note.

MacRoberts LLP’s ‘professional’ team ‘demonstrates great attention to detail and understanding of clients’ requirements’. Areas of expertise include the preparation of tax-efficient wills and guardianship orders, the creation and administration of trusts, general capital gains and income tax advice as well as handling succession disputes including contentious probate cases. The team also handles executry administration work and negotiations with HMRC on claims for agricultural property and business property relief, as well as claims for gifts out of excess income. Recently, the team was instructed by a high-net-worth executry to advise on the potential transfer of the client’s inheritance to an offshore company, which included inheritance tax, stamp duty and land tax issues. The team also assisted an individual, who had received a considerable personal injury award from an accident, with the creation of a personal injury trust, and acted for the executors of a deceased individual, who had prepared a will before the birth of his children. ‘Thorough, knowledgeable and diligent’ team head Carole McAlpine-Scott, who has ‘exceptional client skills’, advised a number of multimillion-pound estate owners on heritable assets and trust issues. James Inglis is another key member of the team.

Morton Fraser’s ‘professional and compassionate’ team is ‘a breath of fresh air’ and is well equipped to guide clients through a broad range of private client matters. The team advises boards of trustees and individuals on the administration of trusts, estate planning and tax matters, as well as the drafting of wills. The firm also handles general succession planning and contentious executry work. ‘Tough and smart’ team head Sue Hunter is ‘a real people person’, and Graham Scott is praised as ‘having an encyclopaedic knowledge of trust law’. Robin Morton is also recommended. Christian Melville moved to Thorntons Law LLP.

Murray Beith Murray regularly advises high-net-worth clients on matters arising from trusts and estates alongside succession planning and taxation issues. It also handles contentious and non-contentious executry work. The ‘diligent’ Andrew Paterson, who is ‘easy to work with’, advised a family on the administration of an estate following the death of the owner without a will to allow the heritable property to be sold and all the estate funds to be distributed to the correct beneficiaries. Senior partner Hugh Younger acted for a beneficiary in setting up a life-rent trust following the death of a family member. Peter Shand heads the team, which includes Carole Hope and Ruthven Gemmell.

Harper Macleod LLP is ‘very knowledgeable in the field’ and ‘has very strong insight into the nuances of clients’ circumstances’. The team is adept at advising on executry matters such as the administration of estates, estate planning and taxation issues, and also handles trusts, including personal injury trusts, and the drafting of wills. Team head Pamela Niven is ‘exceptionally personable’, and Jacqueline Leslie’s ‘reassuring manner gives clients confidence’. The ‘highly motivated’ Julie Doncaster is ‘willing to put in extra work to ensure the best result for her clients’. Other key figures include Tom Monteith, whio ‘has the ability to get to the nub of his clients’ aims and objectives with a pragmatic solution, and explains complex matters in an understandable way’. Associate Susie Cowan is ‘very strong in handling executry work’.

High-net-worth individuals call on Thorntons Law LLP to handle trust matters and advise on tax planning and asset protection issues. It is also experienced in dealing with wills and estate executry work. Malcolm Farquhar and Murray Etherington are key figures of the team, which includes Audrey Dishington, who joined from Pagan Osborne Limited. Lynn Melville moved to BTO Solicitors LLP.

Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie LLP assists clients with the establishment of family office structures such as family partnerships, which frequently involves advice on asset structuring, asset protection and tax planning. High-net-worth individuals, families and trusts also call on the firm to advise on establishing trusts and drafting wills. Following the firm’s merger with BMK Wilson in May 2017, the team led by Ian Macdonald has significantly increased its bench strength by the addition of Rosina Dolan, Kathleen McArthur and Beth Hamilton. Other key figures include Graham Murray – who was recently elevated to the partnership – Susan Hoyle and Grant Johnston.

Addleshaw Goddard’s team is going through a transition phase after former practice head Sarah McKinlay left the firm. Alastair Shepherd, Louise Williams and Ross MacKay also left the team to work in-house. Douglas Hunter, who is experienced in dealing with tax, trust and succession matters, remains with the firm, while Gregor Mitchell joined from Stronachs LLP.

The ‘professional, knowledgeable and supportive’ team at BTO Solicitors LLP is particularly active in advising high-net-worth individuals on inheritance tax, capital gains tax and income tax planning matters alongside estate administration and will interpretation issues. Team head Roddy Harrison, who is known for his experience in business succession planning, advised a business client on capital gains and inheritance tax issues. He also advised a company shareholder and chairman entering retirement on loan notes with the aim of extracting him from the business with a continued income through the partial gifting and partial selling of shares in exchange for loan notes. In a separate matter, he assisted an entrepreneur with a will and other succession planning issues. Neil Headrick advised trustees on tax matters pertaining to land held for development. Claire MacPherson moved to Burness Paull LLP.

The ‘courteous’ team at Balfour+Manson LLPresponds promptly’ and ‘always takes time to explain and clarify issues’. The ‘reliable and highly conscientiousShona Browncombines excellent technical legal skills with an ability to remain empathetic’. She is regularly instructed to advise on wills and the creation and management of trusts, including personal injury trusts, succession planning, asset protection and tax mitigation. Ken Robertson has a focus on residential property matters. Senior associate Margaret Ross is ‘very good at handling trust and executry work’. David Campbell moved to Anderson Strathern.

Blackadders LLP frequently acts in a range of succession planning matters, including tax advice, estate administration issues and disputes over the interpretation of wills. Scott Williamson handled a cross-border will execution matter, while Laura McDowall advised a client on a heritable estate including its administration. Managing partner Johnston Clark acted for a beneficiary in a will interpretation dispute.

Pagan Osborne Limited is best known for its contentious and non-contentious succession and inheritance planning work, which often involves assisting with wills, but it also deals with charitable trust matters. Key members of the team include Elizabeth Calderwood, Douglas Turner and Sue Arrowsmith Rodger. Former practice head Audrey Dishington moved to Thorntons Law LLP.

Shoosmiths’s ‘knowledgeable’ team ‘lifts the burden from the client’s shoulder’, ‘inspires confidence’ and ‘provides prompt replies’ to high-net-worth individuals. Often working in conjunction with the firm’s real estate, family law and corporate practices, the team regularly handles income tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax matters, estate administration and will reviews and preparations. ‘Very supportive, efficient and polite’ senior associate Sara Smith ‘explains each step in detail’ and ‘shows a very caring and considerate manner while remaining highly professional’. Trust and executry manager Neil McNab is ‘knowledgeable, calm, very efficient and a joy to deal with’.

Stronachs LLP provides high-net-worth individuals with ‘sound and helpful advice’ on taxation, estate planning and executry matters while also dealing with private trust arrangements. George Stevenson, who heads the team after Gregor Mitchell’s move to HBJ Gateley (now Addleshaw Goddard), advised a client on matters arising from a tax avoidance scheme and inheritance tax mitigation measurements. The ‘very knowledgeable’ team also advised trustees on the establishment of trading vehicles to hold farming and woodland assets and on the creation of a sub-fund in the existing trust. ‘Very dedicated’ senior associate Jaclyn Russell acted in a high-value executry matter involving Spanish property. Carol Crowther is another key member of the team. Senior associate Leigh Gould moved to Brodies LLP and Hamish Lean joined Shepherd and Wedderburn.

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Legal Developments in Scotland for Personal tax, trusts and executries

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