Next Generation Partners

Personal tax, trusts and probate: Cambridge in East Anglia

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP‘s ‘exceptional practice’ handles the full range of private client matters from Cambridge, thanks to a deep bench of experienced lawyers led by key partner Caroline Stenner. Another name to note in the team is Rachel Winter who is regarded as being ‘someone you can fully trust to give you the best advice to fit your circumstances’. STEP-qualified senior associates Kimberly Sayward who is ‘precise, efficient and has a high level of attention-to-detail’; James Marsh; and Alex Hunt, who joined from Mills & Reeve LLP in January 2023, also play pivotal roles in the practice.

Practice head(s):

Rachel Winter; Caroline Stenner

Other key lawyers:

Kimberly Sayward; James Marsh


‘This to my mind is an exceptional practice in that they value you as a person, not simply as a client for a source of income, by offering legal solutions to fit your needs rather than forcing you to take a solution you may not be entirely happy with.’

‘They are transparent about costs from the outset so you know where you are, and they respond when contacted.’

‘When you engage a solicitor to look after your personal affairs you need someone with sound professional knowledge and experience that you can fully trust to give you the best advice to fit your circumstances and family situation. Rachel Winter is one such, I feel extremely fortunate to have her as my advisor. She would be a good role model for a junior in private client work.’

‘The team are able to take a big picture view and are pragmatic when dealing with problems.’

‘Kimberley Sayward has a sharp mind and is able to advise on complex family matters. Her experience with Family Investment Companies is unrivalled in Cambridge.’

‘A key player in East Anglia with major clients in personal tax, trusts and probate. The team’s strength is the depth of their expertise on both domestic and international matters.’

‘The standout individual is Kimberly Sayward: she is precise, efficient and has a high level of attention-to-detail.’

‘Rachel Winter is responsive, warm and reassuring with clients with a great all-round knowledge.’

HCR Hewitsons

The private client practice at HCR Hewitsons, described as being ‘very strong technically' is led from Cambridge by Daniel Curtis, whose broad practice includes advising clients with foreign property or those who are domiciled abroad. Key practitioner Bernadette O’Reilly handles specific reliefs such as BPR and APR, and the protection of family assets and succession planning through wills and other measures. Elizabeth Davies frequently acts as trustee for trusts including private company shares, development land and diversified landed estates. The ‘brilliant' Katherine Hague advises on capital tax planning for individuals and trustees. Senior associate Kelly Wardell is sought after for advice on estate planning.

Practice head(s):

Daniel Curtis

Other key lawyers:

Bernadette O’Reilly; Elizabeth Davies; Kelly Wardell; Katherine Hague;


‘They are very strong technically but also personable and work well collaboratively. They are able to combine technical positions with practical solutions.’

‘The core ethos of the practice is working closely with all aspects of their clients’ business and private affairs, to provide a continuity of advice across generations.’

‘They are technically and commercially very experienced, which enables clients’ advice to be clear and relevant and not simply a generic list of options.’

‘The business has gone from strength to strength. The firm now combines outstanding individuals with a very good team and departmental approach. Clients therefore benefit from seamless overall advice which is particularly important when looking at tax, estates and succession planning matters.’

‘A key aspect of Hewitsons is the strong inter-departmental approach which is so important when looking at strategic issues and succession planning, not to mention tax and structure planning generally. Katherine Hague is brilliant – she combines outstanding advice with exceptional and succinct clarity.’

Mills & Reeve LLP

The team based at the Cambridge office of Mills & Reeve LLP has ‘a very broad range of expertise, such that all of their clients’ legal needs can be met in-house’. It is noted that the practitioners in the practice, which is led by partner Chris Belcher, are ‘very approachable and advise using plain English, making complex matters accessible to all’. The firm advises high-net-worth estates, including some with assets exceeding £100m, on the full-range of tax and trusts matters. Senior associates Emma Geale and Katrina Hopkins have broad practices that encompass succession planning, tax, trusts, the restructuring of property ownership and the creation of corporate structures to hold investments. Alex Hunt moved to Birketts LLP in January 2023.

Practice head(s):

Chris Belcher

Other key lawyers:

Emma Geale; Katrina Hopkins


‘A very broad range of expertise, such that all of their clients’ legal needs can be met in-house. They are very approachable and advise using plain English, making complex matters accessible to all.’

‘They are very responsive and work within a wide advisory team supporting a large family office. They are prepared to be pragmatic, and work is delivered to a high-standard within tight deadlines. They provide excellent commentary with invoices which means the client is very clear what work has been completed to reach the total billed. Very helpful.’

‘Good depth-of-knowledge and prompt to reply to queries.’

Mishcon de Reya LLP

Their legal knowledge is first-class and the people on the team give clients great confidence‘, note clients of the entrepreneurial wealth practice at Mishcon de Reya LLP. It is led by Jackie Wells and acts for numerous high-value estates, including those with assets in excess of £100m. James Packer focuses on multi-jurisdictional matters and is ‘clear in his advice, prompt and detailed‘. Jocelyn Fox is a specialist in trust, tax and probate law, with a niche specialism in advising on the use of trusts for vulnerable adults and children. The firm’s in-house estate planning surgery for top professional partnerships and organisations is led by ‘knowledgeable, accessible and friendly' senior counsel Fiona Lewsey. Managing associate Sabrina Sears is also recommended by clients.

Practice head(s):

Jackie Wells

Other key lawyers:

Jocelyn Fox; Fiona Lewsey; James Packer; Sabrina Sears


‘Their legal knowledge is first-class and the people on the team give me great confidence. There was always someone to talk to and take action where needed. They dealt with the winding-up of my mother’s estate with great efficiency and compassion. They set up my will and powers of attorney and led me to think of aspects that I might not have otherwise considered. I have been treated with friendliness and helpfulness at all stages of the work involved.’

‘Fiona Lewsey is a truly exceptional associate. She is knowledgeable, accessible and friendly. A credit to her profession and to Taylor Vinters.’

‘A responsive and proactive service. Clear terms of engagement and billing without swamping us in paper and legal stuff.’

‘Jim Packer remembered some of our family details when we requested adjustment of our Wills after seven years, which is a differentiating attribute in any customer service. He was very clear in his advice and prompt and detailed in his follow-up communications. Managing associate, Sabrina Sears, similarly provided a very efficient and responsive service, including advising me on my separate dealings with my SIPP administrator. They make a very good team and I would readily recommend them to others.’

‘The people in the team are knowledgeable, available, understanding and experienced.’

‘I have met a number of the team over the years but only ever worked with Sabrina Sears. She advised the executors, and I advised one of the beneficiaries. Things were very short notice but she was very responsive.’

‘The team is well experienced and formed of experts in their field of knowledge.’

‘Fiona Lewsey is clearly an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer. Fiona clearly explained matters and offered real solutions. Fiona knew when to consider potential cross-border implications and provided clear and concise guidance.’

Work highlights

Ashtons Legal

Ashtons Legal has a large, cross-office private client group led from Cambridge, which is noted as having a ‘vast level of experience'. Court of Protection specialist Lynn Wicks ‘goes the extra mile' for her clients. Jennie Pratt, whose ‘patience and sympathetic manner are remarkable‘, frequently acts for high-net-worth clients, including academics and entrepreneurs. Senior associate Christina Duck and associate Amy Pettitt also play pivotal roles in the practice.

Practice head(s):

Lynn Wicks

Other key lawyers:

Jennie Pratt; Christina Duck; Amy Pettitt


‘The team provided negotiation and drafting skills for the estate of my brother that were of a high quality.’

‘Jennie Pratt’s patience and sympathetic manner when sorting out my difficulties and problems has been remarkable and is greatly appreciated.’

‘The team took us in a straightforward way through difficult and sensitive topics. At every stage, the firm was transparent and we knew exactly where we were in the process. Overall, the remaking our Wills and creating a Lasting Power of Attorney was made into easy and a positive experience.’

‘Christina Duck we approached through a friend’s recommendation. She wasted no time on self-promotion unlike other firms we have instructed. She was able to help us address difficult subjects and make decisions about the future. She brought to our attention topics that we had not thought of or addressed. Overall, her clarity and good sense gave us confidence, and our communications with her were comfortable and wholly satisfying.’

‘Ashtons have guided me quickly and efficiently. There has always been someone to answer questions and take on tasks that needed some official clout.’

‘Vast levels of experience amongst members of the team.’

‘The Court of Protection team have been excellent to work with, engaging the expert knowledge of the multidisciplinary team working with the client in order to establish the best, most cost-efficient ways to maximise their independence and quality of life.’

‘Lynn Wicks goes the extra mile.’

Barr Ellison LLP

The personal wealth practice at Barr Ellison LLP acts for a diverse client base that includes world-renowned academics, high-net-worth individuals and business owners. Practice head Emma Parsons ‘leads the private client team with enthusiasm and passion’. Associate Chris Jones ‘always brings a calm approach, coupled with an intelligent and sympathetic manner’. ‘Knowledgeable, friendly and polite’ legal executive Courtney Searle and ‘courteous, understanding’ consultant Francis Durrant have significant roles in the practice. The firm also has an office at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

Practice head(s):

Emma Parsons

Other key lawyers:

Chris Jones; Denise Green; Francis Durrant; Courtney Searle; Serap Karaoglan


‘The support has been very personal, dealing with individuals who respond promptly and building a genuine relationship of trust.’

‘Emma Parsons leads the team with enthusiasm and passion. Clients are engaged in an approachable manner which is underpinned by excellent technical knowledge. There is focus on communication and on keeping all relevant parties updated throughout on progress. This maintains confidence in delivery even when matters have a high degree of complexity.’

‘Chris Jones and Denise Green have both been extremely approachable and seem extremely competent in their particular spheres of expertise.’

‘Chris Jones has been an absolute rock. I have no doubt that the whole team made sure that the tax due was handled properly and any areas that we were able to claim any tax allowances were made correctly. I couldn’t have been in better hands.’

‘Chris Jones delivered an excellent service. I had grown quite anxious about this process and had delayed the matter by some years. I appreciated his patience with my conversation which was garrulous driven by anxiety. They helped us achieve clarity about our intentions and what we needed.’

‘I was impressed by the team’s efficiency, thoroughness and organisation, all of which contributed to a very good experience from my side. Francis Durrant and Chris Jones were both very good at making complex issues seem simple, and communicating clearly the salient points of the documents we were dealing with. They were both courteous, understanding and extremely good at their jobs.’

‘Courtney Searle was very knowledgeable.’

‘In my view, Barr Ellison LLP is the premier law firm in Cambridge. The solicitors have the required level of professional skill and responsiveness, and all of the associates and support staff whom I have met have been cheerful, friendly and prepared to listen and understand the issues which have brought us to them.’

Greenwoods Legal

Greenwoods Legal has a large, national private client practice of which the Cambridge office is a key part. It is described as being 'a diverse team, led brilliantly'; practice head Clare Harris and associate Ellen Eley are noted as being ‘down-to-earth, experienced and friendly'. Harris, a fellow of the ALA, has a STEP diploma in trusts and estates; she frequently acts for clients in the agricultural sector on the full spectrum of wills, trusts and estate planning as well as estates administration, and Court of Protection matters.

Practice head(s):

Clare Harris

Other key lawyers:

Ellen Eley


‘Clare Harris and Ellen Eley are a pleasure to work with and we are keen to recommend them for their expertise and friendliness. They work so well as a team and their clients are in good hands.’

‘A diverse team, led brilliantly.’

‘Down-to-earth, experienced and friendly.’

Work highlights

  • Advised three brothers, who are shareholders of various companies, in relation to Wills and estate planning, taking into account the complex arrangements in place on death of a shareholder and the different familial circumstances of each brother.
  • Administering an estate and winding-up of three lifetime trusts to achieve an overall equal distribution between two sons, taking into consideration the tax implications of one son being US resident.
  • Scrutinising and advising on the vast and complex details of circa £1m in potentially exempt transfers and completing an IHT return to claim exemption from IHT as gifts out of income.

Howes Percival LLP

Howes Percival LLP‘s private client practice is based largely in Norwich but the December 2022 addition of key practitioner and STEP member Stephen Patch to the team from Shoosmiths LLP gives the firm a strong presence in the Cambridge market also. Patch is noted as having ‘hands-on approach and understanding of clients' needs and wishes'. He frequently acts as executor and trustee for high-net-worth clients, among them business owners, farmers and entrepreneurs.

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Patch


‘Stephen Patch was the consummate professional. He responded quickly and gave us sound advice throughout, even in areas beyond the original brief.’

‘Stephen Patch in particular stands out for me, for his willingness to help clients get their affairs in order even at short notice. The client had been sadly diagnosed with a terminal illness and Stephen was very responsive and compassionate for which they were delighted and very thankful.’

‘Stephen is very easy to work with – he has client-centric values and always seeks to do a professional and pragmatic job.’

‘A personal approach and a great level of experience.’

‘Stephen Patch has a hands-on approach and understanding of clients’ needs and wishes.’

Tees Law

Tees Law‘s practice is noted for its ‘friendly, people-oriented approach to client relations’. The firm has a large private client practice in which ‘efficient, professional and compassionate‘ practice head and senior partner Catherine Mowat is highly regarded. Associates to note are the ‘humble and efficient’ Chris Claxton-Shirley, and STEP member Heather Fuff, who ‘gives very clear, relevant and concise advice in an engaged and friendly manner‘. The firm’s diverse client base includes high-net-worth individuals, members of the House of Lords, academics, business owners, farmers and landowners.

Practice head(s):

Catherine Mowat

Other key lawyers:

Chris Claxton-Shirley; Heather Fuff; Sophie Shirley; Angela Sewell; Marta Sikora; Sharon Chan


‘We have dealt with Catherine Mowat for all our family matters and she has proved to be personable and helpful in all matters. Her knowledge has been extensive. Any associates that we have dealt with have also been pleasant and helpful.’

‘Sophie Shirley is very efficient and helpful.’

‘Christopher Claxton-Shirley and Sharon Chan have both been excellent.’

‘A friendly, people-oriented approach to client relations and concise document drafting. They are able to communicate legal terms in layman’s language and are excellent at teasing out pros and cons of various alternatives.’

‘Catherine Mowat is efficient, professional and compassionate.’

‘Tees have been our family’s solicitors for over 25 years. Always setting an exemplary standard, Tees are a well-established, friendly and professional firm that deals with you in a personal manner. You feel confident in their ability to provide sound advice to suit your specific circumstances. I would have no hesitation in recommending Tees.’

‘Angela Sewell has provided an excellent service. Professional yet friendly, she remembered specific details about us whilst advising us of our options and associated costs.’

‘Heather Fuff is very knowledgeable, gives very clear, relevant and concise advice, in an engaged and friendly manner.’

Work highlights

  • Acting as executors and trustees in the administration of a married couple’s estate with an active farming estate worth in excess of £4m and failed lifetime gifts of £1m.
  • Advising on a Court of Protection application to establish a PI trust for a minor who sustained lifechanging injuries due to negligence with compensation due in the region of £7m.
  • Providing strategic estate planning advice for a farming family worth in excess of £35m, including consideration of trusts, partnership and other interests.

Woodfines LLP

Woodfines LLP is known for its ‘strong technical knowledge and provision of a personal yet professional service’. The private client practice is led namely from Bedford but the Cambridge office has a deep and talented bench, which includes senior associate John Wright; and associate Zara Bracegirdle, who is a full member of STEP and is ‘always happy to help.’

Other key lawyers:

John Wright; Zara Bracegirdle; Thomas Hale; Phoebe Fortune; Jonathan Dattani


‘Woodfines are excellent and very professional. I would recommend them to anyone.’

‘Jonathan Dattani has been very helpful and is always there to give advice. I couldn’t rate him any higher.’

‘Woodfines has consistently provided an excellent service and I would recommend the company to anyone looking for legal advice.’

‘Phoebe Fortune has been extremely professional and efficient when dealing with my relative’s legal affairs. She was very kind and personable whenever I contacted her and my relative felt at ease with her from the outset.’

‘The firm has a good-sized private client team with a range of experience levels. Its quality of output is consistently good, and knowledge and capability in the team is strong.’

‘Associate Zara Bracegirdle is always happy to help.’

‘I have been dealing with Woodfines Solicitors LLP with regard to long-running and complicated probate matters and they have been excellent and supportive every step of the way. These matters have now successfully come to a conclusion and we are totally satisfied with the outcome. I would like to make special mention of John Wright whose experience and guidance has been invaluable, John has always been available and always supportive.’

‘Strong technical knowledge and a personal yet professional service.’