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Birketts LLP has a full service private client practice that handles trusts, tax, succession planning and probate matters. It frequently advises landowners, business executives, trustees and beneficiaries on domestic and offshore trust and tax issues, trust creation and administration, landed estates matters, wills and lifetime planning, inheritance tax and capital gains tax, and Court of Protection applications. Caroline Stenner leads the practice and recently supported a board of trustees with a large shareholding in a family company on tax and trust administration. Senior associate Catherine Bacon is recommended for her tax and trusts work for non-dom and non-resident clients. Senior associate Rachel Winter has a strong following among the local business community and is recommended for Court of Protection applications. Associate Kimberly Sayward, formerly of Mills & Reeve LLP, is ‘particularly highly regarded as empathic and thorough'. Solicitor Melissa de Carvalho joined the team having completed her training contract at Prettys Solicitors LLP.

Hewitsons provides ‘excellent prompt, reliable and trustworthy service‘. 'Its expertise in this area is excellent and it provides very practical advice', remarks one client. The practice administers a large number of trusts and has recognised expertise in tax planning and probate matters. Head of department Daniel Curtis is ‘extremely experienced and knowledgeable and is adept at asking pertinent questions, anticipating issues and suggesting solutions'. He regularly advises family trusts on issues including succession planning, the establishment of limited liability partnerships, inheritance tax and property relief. Elizabeth Davies handles estates with complex agricultural and business tax relief issues and is ‘first class – friendly, patient, good at explaining issues in an unhurried manner‘. Bernadette O’Reilly, who advises on trusts, tax, charities, probate and succession planning issues for UK and international clients, and associates Emma Satterly and Kelly Wardell 'provide an outstanding service with a huge amount of common sense and practical advice'. Clients also describe solicitor Elizabeth Herbert as ‘extremely pleasant, friendly, and up-to-date in her knowledge of international law; she gives welcome and sound advice’.

At Mills & Reeve LLP ‘the overall level of service is excellent from a well-qualified team that has many years of experience; they respond quickly and provide helpful and practical advice at a reasonable cost‘. Clients are ‘impressed with the quality of the advice and fairness of the fees‘ and one source remarks that it 'certainly punches above its weight in terms of the calibre of clients and the advice it gives; it is a London standard firm based in the provinces'. The firm advises many business owners, landowners, high-net-worth individuals, trusts and charities across East Anglia and beyond. Chris Belcher (who has 'unrivalled knowledge of clients' needs and expectations') and ‘quick-witted, clear and pragmatic‘ rising star senior associate Alex Hunt are ‘excellent at understanding clients’ needs quickly and providing appropriate advice; they make an effort to provide advice which is practical and easy to understand where matters might be quite complex, and apart from the expected technical expertise, they understand the requirement for a fast response‘. Hunt has 'great in-depth knowledge of the taxation of non-domiciled individuals'. Kimberly Sayward  joined Birketts LLP.

The team at Taylor Vinters delivers ‘very high levels of service across the board‘. One client remarks that ‘the overall level of service is excellent and the quality of advice regarding wills, trusts, general wealth management and inheritance tax issues is extremely helpful with a very high level of service'. James Packer is the key contact in Cambridge and clients remark that he is ‘knowledgable, quick and concise, no fuss'. One describes him as ‘pragmatic, approachable and great to deal with'. Rural partner Adrian Horwood-Smart advises farming clients and large landed estates on on strategic planning. Senior associate Emma Parsons is a rising star who handles complex estate planning and administers large estates for some of the largest landowners in the UK, as well as advising high-net-worth entrepreneurial clients in the technology sector. Senior associate and estate and tax planning specialist Fiona Lewsey is ‘very professional, proactive and helpful; she has a concise style and is always very lucid in her analysis of problem areas’.

At Ashtons Legal the lawyers are 'friendly, easy to talk to and clear in what they say, as well as knowledgeable about the areas in which they work'. High-net-worth estate planning expert and 'first-class lawyer' Jennie Pratt is the key partner in Cambridge and clients describe her as ‘patient and efficient; she has excellent grasp of the situation and is very discreet‘. 'I have every trust in her very considerable legal abilities, her meticulous judgement and wise advice', says one client. Lifetime planning specialist Lynn Wicks  has a strong practice in continuing care, statutory wills and other Solicitors for the Elderly matters. Clients note that she is 'warm and openly compassionate'. Associates and STEP members Christina Duck  and Gillian Brasher are also recommended.

‘The firm is very efficient in providing reasoned advice regarding probate and estate matters‘, says a client of Tees Law, who also remarks that the team is ‘good at briefing clients as to what to expect‘. Another notes that the service is 'exceptional - very efficient and professional'. As well as handling a large number of high-value estates, including those with agricultural and international elements, the practice also specialises in elderly client work, including long-term care planning and high value deputyships, and works closely with its top-tier clinical negligence department. Practice head Catherine Mowat 'understands the need for the client to have time to consider options; she provides excellent service and clear analysis of available options'. Rising star and senior associate James Marsh is ‘efficient and delivers advice in a calm and comprehensive manner'. 'Extremely personable and thorough' associate Sarah Baber 'explains clearly every detail of the processes, making the process very simple and straightforward'. Solicitor Angela Sewell is also recommended.

The team at Woodfines LLP underwent significant change last year but it still retains an experienced and respected team of private client lawyers. Karl Dembicki moved to Buckles Solicitors LLP but Tim Addinell joined from Greenwoods GRM to work with veteran consultant Alun Butler and Esther Marchant, who has 30 years' experience in private client matters. The firm-wide practice is also led by a new recruit in the form of Stephen Patch who joined from Taylor Vinters. The firm handles the full range of wills, taxation, estate planning, trusts and probate work for high-net-worth individuals, business owners, academics and entrepreneurs. Addinell recently acted for an estate valued at more than £20m in a highly complex probate matter involving substantial shares and property.

‘Friendly and efficient firm‘ Greenwoods GRM ‘offers a very good level of service to clients thanks to exceptionally professional and pleasant staff and partners who are very approachable and helpful‘. Former head of private client Tim Addinell  joined Woodfines LLP, so associate Kerri Pellington Woodrow, who works between the Cambridge and Peterborough offices, now oversees the department. STEP-qualified senior solicitor Clare Harris is ‘accessible, clear with her advice and reliable; she can explain the issues in layman’s terms'. 'The service provided has been excellent throughout', says one client who praises Harris for her 'very personal, empathetic and excellent professional approach'. She recently handled the administration of the multimillion-pound estate of a senior executive at a FTSE100 company.

Howes Percival LLP joins the ranking now that private client associate Amy Wallhead , who joined from Hewitsons, is permanently based in the Cambridge office. Wallhead specialises in the drafting of wills, Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax planning, administering estates, and Deeds of Variation. She worked with litigation partner Michael Green  on a case involving the estate of a deceased bankrupt that included locating deeds for unregistered properties. In another complex matter, she advised an elderly client on rewriting her will after one of her children set up lasting power of attorney and withdrew large sums from her bank accounts. The firm is known for high-quality, bespoke tax and estate planning advice for high-net-worth individuals and for advice on family ownership and business relief matters for its large agricultural client base.

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