Personal tax, trusts and probate: elsewhere in East Anglia in East Anglia

Ashtons Legal

Ashtons Legal has offices across East Anglia and is known for handling complex multi-jurisdictional tax and estate planning and probate matters, with a niche in French legal affairs. It also handles tax and estate planning for the Suffolk and Cambridgeshire professional, academic and agricultural communities. In Bury St Edmunds, head of individual services Alan Brown has more than 30 years' experience with the firm. Matthew Cameron, head of French legal services, handles cross-border private client matters. In Ipswich, senior associates Janette Wand and Louise Cardwell are highly regarded.

Practice head(s):

Alan Brown

Testimonials

I find that information is provided in a clear and concise manner, there is a desire to work in a collaborative way in the best interests of the client. Communication is good.

Janette Wand has a great way with people which is exceedingly valuable in this line of work. Information is always provided to a high standard and queries are dealt with efficiently and promptly. Corporate partner Paul Whittingham provides clear instructions and is able to see the key aspects clearly.

Associate Suzanne Whyman is practical and approachable.

This practice has specialists in cross-border French/UK law. We frequently ask their advice with succession law questions raised by our expatriate clients here in France. The French law team is very reactive, dynamic and efficient, very professional.

People that stand out in Matthew Cameron’s team are Anne Hale, Antonia Ridley, Sophie Hearle and Matthew himself. All are very professional and agreeable.

Barker Gotelee

The private client practice at Barker Gotelee in Ipswich handles wills, tax planning, trusts, estate administration and capacity  issues, as well as related contentious matters, principally for family and farming business across Suffolk. It also acts for entrepreneurs and high-net-worth individuals in the county. The firm is 'easy to engage with and understands well the client's situation'. Partners James Skellorn and Nick Palmer, and associate Ann-Marie Matthews are the key practitioners to note. They, and associate Rebecca Dixon are noted for their 'polite and courteous manner'.

Other key lawyers:

Rebecca Dixon

Testimonials

Easy to engage with. They understands well the client’s situation. They discuss various solution options free of charge and the charging scale is reasonable.

The problem was examined via phone, emails and face-to-face meetings, initially without charge, in a polite and courteous manner using layman’s language. The initial problem was resolved quickly and efficiently and we were kept informed regularly during the process. Associate Rebecca Dixon was  particularly helpful and dealt with us on a professional but down to earth basis.

Rebecca Dixon is an expert in the recovery of assets from the failed Universal Wealth Protection company. She is confident, friendly and very helpful.

Since engaging with Barker Gotelee, my wife and I have received excellent professional guidance and advice, presented in an easily understandable way, the associate solicitors from whom we sought advice being always contactable, responding sometimes to emails outside of that which would be considered normal hours.

Our main contact has been Ann-Marie Mathews, from whom we have received exemplary service, courtesy, and good humour when needed.’

They are always available to help and take the time to explain any issue either me or one of my clients may have. I think their response time and clarity when explaining things sets them apart from other firms.

I have worked with many solicitors over my 20 years in financial services and I can honestly say that Ann-Marie Matthews of Barker Gotelee is the most personable, honest and efficient individual I have had the pleasure to deal with over that time. Her ability to explain complex concepts and issues is exceptional which is why I will continue to refer all of my clients, family and friends across to her for wills and estate planning.

Gail Frankland is conscientious and hardworking. She is responsive to my requests for help with research and has a practical approach to her reading of technical matters. Her range of knowledge and experience makes her a practitioner of enviable strength.

Professional but equally approachable which in the circumstances is a big plus. Sense of humour also helps, particularly when dealing with frustrations caused by third parties.

I have only dealt with Lindsey Sharples. I get the impression that Lindsey is going the extra mile over and above what would be adequate for the fee.

What makes Barker Gotelee unique, different and exceptional to me is their professionalism, empathy and fantastic communication. I was genuinely surprised by how fantastically personable each member of staff at Barker Gotelee is. They are so easy to talk to, they have never made me feel stupid and they are ruthlessly efficient.

I have had brief dealings with Peter Gooch who is the manager for probates and trusts. He dealt with my grandmother’s estate after she died and a small amount of money was left to me. He was always warm and friendly to speak to. After my mother passed last year I found letters in her home from Barker Gotelee and phoned then to try and understand the correspondence. James Skellorn dealt with these letters and talking to me about trusts and things my mother had. Again, he was easy to get hold of when I needed to and warm, friendly and very knowledgable. I then decided to try and contest my mother’s will which Barker Gotelee have helped me with.

Dealing with the people within Barker Gotelee eased a painful and very upsetting situation. They have been nothing short of amazing. The person I have dealt with the most is Katie Emerson who deals with wills and mental capacity issues. Although Katie and I have never met, I would consider her a friend. Words cannot describe how she has helped and guided me through the difficulty of being cut from a will and having to deal with other solicitors who are frustratingly rude and incompetent. Katie is efficient, knowledgeable and always available when needed. She has listened to me rant and cry about the situation. I cannot speak more highly of her, she is amazing in every way. When probate is finally granted on my mother’s estate I will actually be sad to not speak to her any more.

I shall be using Barker Gotelee in the future for any other legal requirements certainly.

They always deal with our clients in a professional and understanding manner. Everything is clearly explained and communicated to clients so that they are completely comfortable with the service they are receiving. We often receive compliments from our clients who have used Ann-Marie Matthews’ service.

Ann-Marie Matthews is always professional and sensitive to our client needs. She has an excellent manner with them and we always receive compliments on her service. She’s also very knowledgeable and able to deal with any ad hoc queries that we have.

In our experience we found from Day One that all the staff were considerate, compassionate and efficient. There was always someone available to consult with and provide advice. Nothing was too much trouble for them. Unlike some other practices we have dealt with they provided the assistance we needed, with a human touch, at an extremely difficult and upsetting time.

In the main, we dealt with Rebecca Dixon and her secretary. We also had meetings that included Ann-Marie Matthews. The three of them took time to listen to us and showed great understanding of our concerns and the situation. Through their assistance a very difficult matter was dealt with and brought to a satisfactory conclusion.

Work highlights

  • Advising two sons who are the executors of their father’s estate on the estate administration as well as regarding complex interrelated contentious matters relating to their grandparents’ Wills/Will Trusts of which their father was a beneficiary.

Birketts LLP

The Ipswich office of Birketts LLP is a central hub for the firm's cross-office private client practice, which is 'knowledgeable, professional and client-focused'. Handling the full range of work for high-net-worth individuals, small and family-owned business owners and large estates, the firm has recruited experts to boost its flow of cross-border private client work. Partner Louise Long leads the practice. Senior associates Katie Hawksley, who joined from London firm Boodle Hatfield LLP, and Richard Guy (who is 'on top of his game and deals with clients in their own language') are recommended.

Practice head(s):

Louise Long

Other key lawyers:

Richard Guy; Katie HawksleyKatie Mayes

Testimonials

The team at Birketts is knowledgeable, professional and client-focused. They have everything I need as an introducer, for my clients.

Richard Guy is my main contact. He is on top of his game in terms of knowledge and deals with clients in their own language. I have referred many clients for different estate planning areas and the feedback has been universally positive from them.

The team is technically very capable, approachable and helpful.

Greene & Greene

Greene & Greene in Bury St Edmunds has a deep bench of talent and a client base that extends across East Anglia and beyond. The firm's clients include high-net-worth individuals and business owners. Wayne Perrin is the lead partner and is a dual-qualified solicitor and chartered tax adviser. Tax director Nigel Scase  and Martine Swaep are rising stars. Solicitor Zoe Hodge, formerly a partner at Prettys Solicitors LLP in Ipswich, is STEP member with 15 years' experience in private client law.

Practice head(s):

Wayne Perrin

Other key lawyers:

Zoe Hodge ; Nigel Scase; Martine Swaep

Testimonials

Efficient and practical advice from Wayne Perrin, who responds quickly with good judgement. I recommended him to some close friends who have been delighted with his approach.

As a financial planner, I recommend my clients to Greene & Greene for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I trust their technical ability, but most importantly they speak in a language that my clients understand. That is very important.

Wayne Perrin is my main contact. He provides a great service, feeds back on what he is doing for my clients and speaks in a language my clients understand.

The private client personal taxation team is close working and shares knowledge of private customers to ensure that all facets of the client’s requirements are fully covered. Nothing falls through a gap.

The two associates we have dealt with in the past year have been exceptional in keeping in touch and ensuring that we are aware of progress and costs as the work undertaken has progressed. Our dealings have been with Nigel Scase for probate work and Martine Swaep for wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney. We have an excellent relationship with both associates and their staff.

Wayne Perrin and Nigel Scase provide clear and timely advice.

Work highlights

  • Successful defence of HMRC challenge for application of business property relief in a multimillion-pound farming estate.
  • Succession planning advice for £40m entrepreneur-built business.

Buckles Solicitors LLP

'All the team are knowledgeable and keen to help,' says a client of Buckles Solicitors LLP in Peterborough. The practice advises on wealth protection, tax planning and wills, succession planning, setting up charitable trusts, Lasting Power of Attorney, probate, contentious trusts and probate, care home fees and Court of Protection matters. Associate Rebekkah Cooper leads the practice, in which chief executive Duncan Jackson and care home fees specialist Stephen Duffy are standout practitioners. Sarah Westwood in Stamford is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Rebekkah Cooper

Testimonials

All the team are knowledgeable and keen to help. They are obviously professional but also friendly and do not try to be overly technical.

I feel that when I deal with staff at Buckles that they have time for me and interest in my needs. They also do what they promise.

Fosters

Fosters is primarily based in Norwich but its other Norfolk offices are home to significant expertise in wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney, declarations of trust, Court of Protection applications, Deputyships, probate and the administration of estates and trusts. Lisa Glynne in Wymondham now leads the practice following the departure of Julie Sheldrake to Clapham & Collinge Solicitors. STEP member Trina Worden is also recommended. In Lowestoft, Christina Crick is the main contact.

Practice head(s):

Lisa Glynne

Other key lawyers:

Trina Worden; Chrstina Crick

Testimonials

‘All the staff I spoke to at Fosters Solicitors LLP were polite and professional.’

‘The team are extremely well-connected with each other utilising each others skills to ensure a comprehensive job to all different types of clients.’

‘Lisa Glynne is extremely personable, knowledgeable and trustworthy. Clients feel at ease and reassured following on from meetings with her.’

‘My experience so far has been very good customer service and good communication provided.’

Gotelee Solicitors

Gotelee Solicitors has a network of four offices across Suffolk and one source notes that 'if any clients who need some thinking outside of the box, then I know it will be in a safe pair of hands'. The practice works with individuals and, increasingly, family businesses. It has a close relationship with Age UK Suffolk and its whole team has undergone dementia training. Peter Crix and newly promoted partner Karina Jowitt in Ipswich, Matthew Boast in Felixstowe, Nicola Weldon in Woodbridge and accredited mediator Kay Baker in Hadleigh are the main contacts.

Other key lawyers:

Karina Jowitt

Testimonials

We have been dealing with Gotelee for nearly three years in relation to one, extremely complicated, estate. They have been patient and thorough in their work. Kay Baker is the main point of contact and I have always found her to be approachable and professional under some very trying circumstances, especially when dealing with the various beneficiaries of the estate.

We are very lucky to have some great private client lawyers locally, but if I have any clients who need something slightly unusual, or if there is a tight timescale, or some thinking outside of the box is required, then I know that by referring the matter to Gotelee that it will be in a safe pair of hands. The private client partners and their team are always a pleasure to deal with, and they have consistently provided a great service to our clients at fees which I believe represent great value for money.

I have worked mainly with Peter Crix and Kay Baker, and one of the things that stands out for me is how they always go over and above for their clients. In particular I have worked on a very challenging case with Kay, and throughout she has demonstrated her concern for the client who was experiencing a very challenging situation. Kay was also great at explaining the situation to the client clearly and in plain English. Her practical and sympathetic approach, no matter how many times the client needed the situation explained to him, made my role very much easier. I have also always found Peter to be incredibly knowledgeable, approachable, practical, and to consider problems from all angles before presenting a suitable solution which will work in the real world.

Gotelee has acted as my solicitors for over 25 years. The firm is unique in the sense that it offers a very efficient and personal service, of the type that one would only normally find with a much smaller practice. As the owner of a group of companies whose activities span pet food and property investment, I need a firm with wide-ranging expertise, and I am pleased to say that Gotelee is able to cater for all my needs. On those occasions when I have required additional advice on complex personal or commercial matters, Gotelee has introduced me to some exceptional barristers who have achieved very satisfactory results. On those occasions when it has been necessary for me to use other local solicitors, I have found that the majority of them lack Gotelee’s integrity and depth of knowledge.

Over the years, I have sought advice from a number of Gotelee’s partners, but have mainly worked with the senior partner, Peter Crix who has given me excellent advice on personal tax matters, trusts and probate, plus one particularly large and complex VAT claim, in which we were successful. I find Peter easy to work with, he is a calm, quiet and resourceful man who has a great deal of integrity.

Greenwoods GRM

Clients of Greenwoods GRM praise the private client team for being 'professional, caring and very clear and precise in explaining the process'. The firm's cross-office practice, based in London, Peterborough and Cambridge, works across the whole spectrum of private client matters from wills, trusts and estate planning through to estates administration and the management of lifetime affairs and Court of Protection matters. Practice head Gareth Hughes, who is mainly based in London, can call on significant expertise in Peterborough despite Kerri Pellington-Woodrow's move to HCR Hewitsons.

Practice head(s):

Gareth Hughes

Testimonials

I found the firm very efficient in the way that they conducted their business when I contacted them. I would recommend them to anyone!

The individual who dealt with my case was Ellen Eley, and I couldn’t have wished for a more helpful, efficient or caring person. I would not hesitate to recommend Ellen to anyone, and should I need a solicitor in the future, I would ask for her!

From the moment we walked through the doors, we felt the staff were professional and at the same time welcoming.’

The person who we dealt with was professional, caring and very clear and precise when explaining what the probate process entailed. Very knowledgeable as you would expect but at the same time wanted to ensure that we fully understood the process. She was on time for the appointment and whenever I needed to communicate with her she always responded back in a timely and positive way.

The longevity of the firm made access of past information convenient, even if partners had moved on.

Rebecca Towey and her assistant were excellent in long-distance communication over this rather long and drawn out process.’

A pragmatic and helpful approach, which makes things understandable.’

Ellen Eley always responded promptly and prepared to listen, challenge and come up with alternatives.

The private client team is very good at speaking in plain English to clients so they understand.

We started the will-making process with another company but they let us down. We then asked Greenwoods to prepare our wills for us, and they were thorough, professional and helpful. We had them sorted in no time.

We dealt with Mel Messenger and she was exceptionally good and made sure we had thought of everything. She made the whole process feel very easy and not at all stressful.

Hunt & Coombs LLP

From its base in Peterborough and its network of satellite offices, Hunt & Coombs LLP has a ten-lawyer practice with a broad client base of high-net-worth families and individuals, to whom it provides comprehensive services in tax, wills and probate. The firm has two long-serving specialist probate partners in Henry Anstey in Peterborough and Paddy Appleton in Oundle. Associates Sally Power in Oundle and Fiona Prince  in St Neots are also recommended in 'a very approachable team with great knowledge of their subject matter'. In early 2020, the firm hired experienced associate Sallyann Short from Buckles Solicitors LLP.

Practice head(s):

Paddy Appleton; Henry Anstey

Testimonials

They are a very approachable team with great knowledge of their subject matter. They are always willing to take calls out of the blue and to adapt their diaries to help clients quickly.

Paddy Appleton has been superb. He has a great bedside manner, superb knowledge and an ability to package complicated information into ways that clients can easily understand.

A good solid firm with traditional values. Anna Spriggs is first-class at what she does. Henry Anstey goes the extra mile for his clients.

I have worked with a number of the partners and staff of Hunt & Coombs solicitors over the last 35 years as a senior manager at [an accountancy firm]. I manage a portfolio of some 300 clients and have a number of mutual clients with Hunt & Coombs. I have found Henry Anstey, Paddy Appleton, Jenny Newell and John Wright to be friendly, efficient and very professional in their dealings with us and the clients.

Work flows more efficiently and they don’t leave things to the last minute like others sometimes do. I would not hesitate to recommend Hunt & Coombs.

For a provincial firm they have a very good breadth and depth of knowledge, and are my “go to” firm for anything complicated. They also have an office in the small town in which I work.

Paddy Appleton is the local partner, with a broad depth of knowledge, whilst Henry Anstey at the Peterborough office is very good on more complicated matters.

Churchgates

Churchgates in Bury St Edmunds began its life as an accountancy and financial services practice, following a management buyout of former Grant Thornton accountants' Bury office, but during the last ten years it has evolved to handle non-contentious legal matters alongside accountancy, financial planning and investment management. Matthew Boardman leads the practice. Suzanne Alston has 30 years' experience in strategic estate planning.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Boardman

Other key lawyers:

Suzanne Alston

Clapham & Collinge Solicitors

Clapham & Collinge Solicitors is primarily based in Norwich, where practice head Lin Whitehead is highly regarded, but its other Norfolk offices also handle a significant flow of private client matters. Julie Sheldrake in North Walsham, who joined from Fosters, Susan Dawe in Sheringham and Joseph Keeping, who works between both offices, handle the full range of work, with particular focus on the needs of the elderly and those with dementia.

Practice head(s):

Lin Whitehead

Testimonials

A very competent and capable firm, with the particular skills set needed to deal with older clients. Unlike some firms, each client is treated as important, and not just a number.

They are extremely personable. There is no stuffiness whatsoever, and they show attention to detail.’

I recently remade my will and the department I dealt with was efficient, kind and personable. My appointments were always on time, with hardly a wait, during which time I was offered tea or coffee and a newspaper. Any phone calls to them have been quickly answered, and they have never failed to ring me back if necessary.’

I was dealt with by the charming Joe Keeping. Always smiling, chatty without being garrulous, and highly efficient. He took a lot of trouble to explain everything to me, and always ensured that I was happy with my will. I met some of the other staff when we needed a witness to my signature, again, always smiling, smartly dressed and friendly.

Joseph Keeping gave me advice on updating my will. He was friendly, very professional and knowledgeable. He was able to answer all of my questions and explained things in a way that I could understand not just “legal speak”. I received a warm welcome when I arrived at the office, was offered coffee, and the young lady on reception was very pleasant. I would recommend Clapham & Collinge and would not hesitate to use their services in the future. I have also recommended them to other people.

Work highlights

  • Assisted in making arrangements for a client with a history of mental illness to be relocated to a care home suitable to their needs following a prolonged period in hospital.
  • Dealing with the administration of a multimillion-pound estate with various charity beneficiaries.
  • Assisting the Trustees dealing with a Trust Fund which had been established through the beneficiary’s late father’s will. The beneficiary suffers from a significant mental health illness and the Trust was set up to help support the beneficiary in managing the money.

Kerseys Solicitors LLP

Kerseys Solicitors LLP is well known in the Ipswich area for the preparation of wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney for clients, the administration of both testate and intestate estates, and the running and winding up of Will Trusts. It also handles Deputyship matters. Peter Awad's team includes the 'extremely helpful and sympathetic' Geoffrey Sutton and up-and-coming partner Leila Murray.

Practice head(s):

Peter Awad

Other key lawyers:

Geoffrey Sutton; Leila Murray

Testimonials

Geoffrey Sutton handled all my wife’s affairs after her death. He, the secretary and the lady on reception of the company, were all extremely helpful and sympathetic during the handling of this whole affair. Mr Sutton’s estimate of the costs for the operation was extremely accurate.

Kerseys solicitors has an excellent reputation within the town. It is well situated in the centre of town with car parking and bus routes, all within short walking distances of their central office. Geoffrey Sutton, his secretary and the lady on reception were all very sympathetic and helpful during this period. I can only speak very highly from my experience of the company.

Kerseys Solicitors has always had a good name for a quality service. Having to sort out the probate for my late father’s estate was very daunting. The professional service from Kerseys made the whole situation easy and understandable.

Leila Murray dealt with my late father’s probate. She was always very professional and highly organised. She made any filling in or signing of paperwork straight forward. She was very prompt at returning my calls and emails. She gave me excellent advice and made the whole process a smooth journey. I would highly recommend Leila Murray as she is on the ball and gives outstanding service.

When I first contacted Kerseys Solicitors I had recently had two close family bereavements. I was met by a warm, professional team who quickly put me at ease and guided me through everything required to obtain probate on two estates.

Leila Murray was assigned to both my cases. I found her compassionate and professional, always quick to respond to any questions and communicated regular updates.

I have used this firm twice now – the phone has always been answered immediately, enquiries dealt with promptly and all messages passed on as requested. Every member of staff I’ve dealt with has been polite and helpful and face-to-face appointments were available quickly. A specific request to deal with an issue immediately was not a problem. I cannot think of many companies who offer such a good, reliable service these days.

The individual I dealt with, Thara Thangavel, was extremely capable and inspired confidence. She was also very personable and made dealing with my issue a pleasure, rather than stressful or a chore. When I had to revisit the same issue a couple of months later due to a change in personal circumstances, she went above and beyond to help me as quickly as possible. I cannot fault any aspect of the service I received and I would not hesitate to use the company, or Thara, in future. The service was much more personal than I have received with other similar companies.

This firm has always been prompt and very obliging in a situation which was not easy to deal with. They keep me informed of any problems or needs for the person for whom I have power of attorney. Tharani Thangavel has always answered questions and concerns quickly and coherently so we could both act for the client.

Thara Thangavel is always professional [and] polite but with a professional warm touch which is rare in this day. I thank her very much for her concern and help in a situation which was very difficult initially. She answers my questions quickly and suggests the best way forward. Thank you very much for that, it is really appreciated.

Kerseys has managed my family’s affairs for many years and has maintained continuity throughout in a friendly but effective manner. Their first-class record keeping was very helpful in a recent probate case and access to a senior partner clarified a potentially difficult situation.

The service has always been very good from front office through to the personal solicitor dealing with the case.

I have used another local firm for my own will and land conveyancing and did not feel the same degree of confidence as I had in Kerseys in dealing with my parents’ affairs.

My brother and I engaged Leila Murray in my mother’s probate case. She was always polite, very attentive and quickly solved any problems without fuss. Leila also always responded quickly to emails, which greatly reduced what could have been a stressful situation.

Roythornes Solicitors

The Alconbury office of Roythornes Solicitors continues to grow as a hub for the firm's services, among which private client is a key area. The firm is particularly well known for dealing with complex agricultural matters typically with a business succession aspect. The 'professional, friendly and helpful' team, led by Elizabeth Young, works across all of the firm's offices but has a longstanding client base in East Anglia. Jarred Wright and Paul Thompson are the other main partners.

Testimonials

I was very happy with the service – clean offices with professional, friendly and helpful staff.

Joseph Stoehr in the Huntingdon office was the solicitor assigned to help my partner and I with a pair of mirror wills, under the WillAid scheme. He was fantastic – knowledgeable, friendly, respectful, helpful. He explained everything clearly, answered questions fully and also made recommendations where appropriate. As a result, I have confidence that our wills will provide us with security in the event of our deaths and also will be kept safely. He also explained the advantages of a trust for one of us, and so this aspect of our money management is also covered now. I can’t praise him highly enough.

Spire Solicitors LLP

Spire Solicitors LLP has a strong set of offices across Norfolk offering private client services. With one of the county's largest practices it is a trusted adviser on wills, Court of Protection, probate, lasting powers of attorney, NHS continuing healthcare, attorneyships, trust administration and tax planning. Ejike Ndaji in Wymondham and Emma Trick in Diss are the main partner contacts. Senior associate Kiri Nichols in Aylsham is also recommended. The firm also has offices in Attleborough, Dereham and Watton.

Practice head(s):

Ejike Ndaji; Emma Trick

Other key lawyers:

Kiri Nichols

Testimonials

The Spire Solicitors team at the Diss office is unique in my opinion for the exceptional level of person care and attention they provide to their clients. I really want to thank them so very much for the caring way they went the extra mile, and put themselves out to help us during a very difficult time. My previous experience of other solicitor firms has been that they were somewhat cold and slightly condescending unfortunately. This is most definitely not the case with Spire in Diss.

Whilst being extremely knowledgeable about all areas of law, and covering everything we required in our meetings, the Diss office team always managed to make it a pleasure rather than a chore to meet with them. They were always available to talk when we called and were extremely understanding about the issues some family members create during the difficult time sorting out probate. We originally appointed Spire Solicitors’ Diss office, because my late grandfather had used them for years, and recommended them. He was always a very good judge of character. Having used them now for multiple probate work and more recently four times for conveyancing, I understand completely why he thought so highly of them.

I would like to particularly mention Emma Trick and her secretary Kelly Smith. They have both been amazing. Their in-house peers should pay close attention to the understanding and caring manner in which they relate to and work with clients, as I feel they could learn a lot from them both. Emma and Kelly provided much more than just legal assistance, they helped us through an extremely difficult time. We would not hesitate to recommend Spire solicitors’ Diss office to anyone dealing with personal tax, trusts and probate issues. We will be using them again soon to draw up a will for myself and my partner.

Work highlights

  • Advising clients on estate planning, most recently for a client with assets in excess of £5m.
  • Dealing with medium-sized and high-net-worth estate administrations including those involving farming partnerships, most recently in excess of £1.2m.
  • Acted in the administration of a complex estate, valued at £5.6m.

Butcher Andrews

Butcher Andrews in Fakenham focuses on personal tax matters for high-net-worth individuals, frequently advising clients with substantial commercial or agricultural property holdings. The firm also has a growing workload of probate matters. 'I am confident he will always give good advice,' says a client of lead partner Simon Underwood. Both he and associate Cindy Grand are STEP affiliate members.

Practice head(s):

Simon Underwood

Other key lawyers:

Cindy Grand

Testimonials

Following the death of my husband I had one occasion were I was unsure how to proceed and from the receptionist to the solicitor I saw I was treated with respect and the matter was dealt with.

The solicitor I use is Simon Underwood, who has advised me after my husband’s death and I am confident he will always give good advice.

Ellisons Solicitors

Ellisons Solicitors joins the ranking this year having extended its private client offering from its home base in Essex to its Ipswich office, which is steadily building out a comprehensive range of services. Senior associate Ayesha Brown joined in July 2020.

Other key lawyers:

Ayesha Brown

Testimonials

‘I have been very impressed with the friendly and comprehensive service provided by Ayesha Brown.‘

‘Ayesha Brown has worked with me to make the complex and stressful executorship which I am administering as simple and straightforward as possible and at all times making sure that my personal position is protected. She has shown considerable sympathy in relating to the particular issues and my personal concerns and I have always felt that she is “on my side”. She has been at pains to ensure that costs relating to my case are kept to a minimum. I count myself very fortunate to have found Ayesha to help me with my difficult executorship.‘

‘Ayesha Brown epitomises all I would expect from a solicitor – she was pleasant, courteous and thoroughly knowledgeable in advising me how to draft my will. I feel confident that my affairs are in safe hands and I know I can approach her by telephone or email should I have any further queries. Above all, Ayesha was wonderful.‘

‘Ayesha Brown is very professional, conscientious, flexible and responsive. She is an excellent solicitor.‘

Work highlights

  • Acting on behalf of a deceased client and his deceased Executors in the administration of an estate in the UK, South Africa and Australia.
  • Acting as Executors in the administration of the firm’s former senior partner’s estate.
  • Administering estate with a value in excess of £3.5m. Complex IHT issues with exempt and non-exempt residuary beneficiaries.

Fraser Dawbarns

Fraser Dawbarns has a large client base across East Cambridgeshire and West Norfolk. Led by Harleen Hanson in King's Lynn, it handles wills, administration of estates, Court of Protection work, tax and wealth planning, and the creation and administering of trusts. In Wisbech, legal executive Sarah Lamb and senior associate Amy Pettitt are recommended.

Practice head(s):

Harleen Hanson

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Lamb;  Amy Pettitt

Nicholsons Solicitors LLP

Nicholsons Solicitors LLP in Lowestoft advises businesses and high-net-worth individuals. The firm assists property developers, farmers and other professionals with the full range of tax and trust issues. Lead partners Robert Nicholson and Ella Nicholson were joined in early 2020 by associate Ruth Pyatt, who handles both contentious and non-contentious private client matters.

Practice head(s):

Robert Nicholson; Ella Nicholson

Other key lawyers:

Ruth Pyatt

Work highlights

  • Acting for a large number of families in relation to unwinding home loan schemes/double trust schemes.
  • Acting for a range of clients in relation to Deputyship orders and Court of Protection matters.
  • Acting for a number of business owners with discretionary trust wills and complex letters of wishes.