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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 > South East > Private client > Personal tax, trusts and probate: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



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  1. Personal tax, trusts and probate: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx
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B P Collins LLP’s ‘knowledgeable’ team provides ‘an excellent level of service’ and ‘always keeps the client up-to-date with probate procedures’. Key specialisms for the team include trust and estate administration, elderly client advice and Court of Protection work, as well as lifetime planning and the preparation of wills. Practice head Craig Williams is noted for his expertise in contentious inheritance disputes, and regularly deals with claims against the validity of testamentary documents. Other names to note include senior associate Lucy Fisher, who is ‘very approachable and accommodating, quick to respond to requests’ and ‘can transmit information in a clear manner which is easy to follow’, and Vicky Johnson, who advises on cross-border assets.

Debenhams Ottaway has ‘the expertise to deal with complex legal issues in a straightforward and accessible manner’, and the group ‘takes the time to communicate its advice effectively, ensuring that the client understands what is being recommended and why’. The firm advises clients on inheritance tax, estate planning, trust administration and probate, and also has strong expertise in lifetime planning matters including lasting powers of attorney and Court of Protection matters. Department head Susan Glenholme, who is ‘a smart lawyer who is very personable and approachable’, advises a range of high net-worth clients both nationally and globally. Claire Sharp specialises in elderly care, and manages a significant number of trusts containing multifarious assets.

Hewitsons is ‘one of the premier firms in its area’ and its team ‘deals with all queries quickly and efficiently, completing each matter as smoothly as possible’. Supported by its charities and rural departments, the team handles the full range of private client issues, including inheritance tax planning, trust reorganisations, heritage property matters and lifetime gifts and wills. Carolyn Bagley, who is ‘an impressive communicator with exceptional emotional intelligence’, is ‘proactive in teasing out potential problems, inventive with solutions’ and has ‘an extensive knowledge of tax and trusts laws’. Clare Colacicchi is the other key practitioner.

IBB (Iliffes Booth Bennett) has ‘an excellent reputation in its field’, and its ‘competent team of solicitors’ provides ‘a professional and efficient service at every level, from initial contact to client meetings and all the way through to completion’. The practice has strong expertise in international matters, frequently advising on UK and foreign tax issues, the drafting of wills and trusts and the administration of foreign estates. Personal injury trusts are also a niche area of specialism, and the team has extensive experience handling Court of Protection and power of attorney issues. Practice head Jacqueline Almond is ‘a dedicated, professional and approachable individual’, who is ‘particularly knowledgeable when it comes to will writing’.

Sherrards Solicitors LLP provides ‘excellent advice which is given without delay, communicated properly and always tailored to suit the client’s needs’. The practice is noted for its strong international client base, advising private individuals across Russia, India and the Middle East on will preparation and tax and estate planning. The team also handles a broad range of trust work, assisting with the establishment of life-interest, charitable and disabled and discretionary trusts. Nicole Marmor heads the practice, and is praised for her ‘extremely competent manner’.

The team at Shoosmiths LLP has ‘a broad range of experience and expertise’, its client base including a mix of business owners, lottery winners, celebrities and wealthy retired individuals. The practice advises primarily on trust and estate planning, and also handles matters such as will drafting, trust rearrangement and lasting powers of attorney. Practice head Charlotte Dunn is ‘a true expert’ and ‘is very personable, with great attention to detail’. Melissa Maple joined from Hedges Law.

Taylor Walton LLP is ‘excellent in all respects’, providing ‘timely responses, valuable advice and effective solutions to unusual requirements’. Practice head Richard Crocker advises on tax planning and high-value probate matters. Other key figures include the ‘professional, personable and responsiveAlison Voyce, who advises high net-worth clients on tax and succession concerns; Steven Hamilton, who deals with the creation and administration of trusts, probate and property-related matters; and Alex Drake, who has ‘a very practical approach to all issues’.

Woodfines LLP’s ‘knowledgeable’ team ‘builds a trusted relationship with its clients’ and ‘can be relied on with complete confidence’. Key areas of expertise include will drafting, estate administration, inheritance tax and Court of Protection matters. Practice head Mike Cox has ‘a wide knowledge of the practice area, and responds to all questions with congeniality, patience and ease’, and senior associate Esther Marchant is ‘clear and concise, outlining all relevant information and making a difficult process easy’.

Blaser Mills advises on administration, tax planning and lasting powers of attorney, drafts and reviews wills and also has strong expertise in handling Court of Protection applications. Minesh Thakrar primarily focuses on wills, inheritance tax mitigation and issues affecting the elderly.

The ‘highly capable’ team at Longmores Solicitors LLP is noted for its expertise in inheritance tax planning, particularly on behalf of land and business owners, and also regularly acts for elderly and vulnerable clients on will preparation, Court of Protection work and lasting powers of attorney. Practice head Richard Horwood has ‘an agile and incisive mind’ and ‘a sound grasp of relevant legislation, along with a real commercial awareness’.

At Machins Solicitors LLP, recent work included preparing wills for several well-known sports personalities and musicians, advising high net-worth clients on trusts and inheritance tax planning, and administering a number of high-value estates. Nic Pestell heads the department, advising domestic and overseas clients on wills and taxes, and associate Nigel Gibson-Birch is the go-to figure for residential conveyancing matters.

Nockolds Solicitors has strong expertise in all aspects of private client work, most notably in the administration of estates with business and agricultural assets. The firm also handles Court of Protection applications, all trusts-related matters and will preparation and wealth management. Peter King heads the ‘efficient’ practice.

Tees Law provides ‘a very good service’, specialising in the administration of high-value estates with international and agricultural elements. Cathy Izzard heads the private client practice, and is noted for her expertise in the interactions between French and English law. Senior associate Patrick Green specialises in wills, trusts and probate work, and solicitor Aisling Kelly, who is ‘excellent’, stands out for her ‘high level of care in cases involving elderly individuals’.

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Legal Developments in South East for Personal tax, trusts and probate: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx

  • Parking rights: here to stay? Consent might be the surprising answer 

    In the field of the acquisition of easements by prescription, little has caused more consternation over the last decade or so than the question of whether a right to park cars can be acquired by twenty years user as of right. The types of property capable of being adversely affected range from individual residential units all the way up to major development sites. The establishment of such a right can have a devastating impact on the value of the burdened land.

    - Falcon Chambers

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