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

Ashtons Legal

Clients of the lifetime planning practice at Ashtons Legal note that ‘its strengths include continuity, willingness to listen, experience and wide knowledge, availability, and the ability to make detailed balanced recommendations on a timely basis in a way which is easy to understand‘. In Bury St Edmunds, practice head Alan Brown (who is ‘ easy to work with and his knowledge and advice invaluable‘) and French law expert Matthew Cameron are the key practitioners. In Ipswich, newly promoted partners Janette Wand and Louise Cardwell, and senior associate Chris Cumberbatch are among many specialists in estate planning, succession and trust management. ‘They deserve special mention for their levels of client care and going the extra yard‘, remarks one client. Senior associate Katie Emerson joined from Barker Gotelee.

Practice head(s):

Alan Brown

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Cameron; Janette Wand; Louise Cardwell; Chris Cumberbatch; Katie Emerson


‘Ashtons Legal have been our family solicitors for over 50 years and have given sound advice when required on the drafting of wills with regard to inheritance tax, the administration of probate, the drafting of trust deeds, tax implications of complex transactions etc. Their strengths include continuity, willingness to listen, experience and wide knowledge, availability, ability to make detailed balanced recommendations on a timely basis in a way which is easy to understand. They have always been there when we needed legal and tax advice.’

‘We have found Alan Brown easy to work with and his knowledge and advice invaluable. We highly recommend him to anyone wanting advice on drafting a Will, on setting up a trust, on inheritance tax planning and on the tax implications of making loans and gifts to family members. He always responds to emails and phone messages and his response is timely.’

‘A great team offering a fantastic service to clients.’

‘Chris Cumberbatch, Janette Wand and Louise Cardwell deserve special mention for their levels of client care and going the extra yard.’

Key clients


Wealthy bachelor with farming and investment assets

Married self-employed couple with children

Work highlights

  • Administering the £73m taxable estate of a long-standing client of both corporate and individual client teams. Estate includes a substantial property portfolio including over 440 residential properties, plus a farming estate and further company owning a landfill site.
  • Advising long-established client, whose assets include family trading company valued in excess of £20m, as to the options for succession planning, the use of the existing trusts and the creation of further trusts and other structures.
  • Advising a long-established married couple client on IHT and estate planning with assets in excess of £8m regarding the reduced rate of IHT of 36% where 10% of net estate to be left to charity on first and second death.

Barker Gotelee

Ipswich firm Barker Gotelee has ‘a true service culture where advice and support feels like is given from a position of care rather than profit‘, and one client reports that the firm is ‘a breath of fresh air‘. Much of the firm’s work focuses on family businesses, often in the agricultural sector, though it advises numerous individuals on wills, tax planning, trusts, estate administration and capacity Issues, including powers of attorney and Court of Protection matters. James Skellorn leads the private client practice along with STEP members Nick Palmer and associate Ann-Marie Matthews, who is ‘ approachable, efficient and empathetic‘. ‘Compassionate and professional‘ legal executive Angela Ireland also plays a key role in the practice.

Practice head(s):

James Skellorn; Nick Palmer; Ann-Marie Matthews

Other key lawyers:

Angela Ireland


‘A true service culture where advice and support feels like is given from a position of care rather than profit.’

‘Professional firm, all interactions were of a friendly manner, messages passed to appropriate individuals with timely responses. During the current pandemic the restrictions dud not appear to have any negative impact on the service provided, technology appeared to be in place to ensure continuity of service’

‘We recently instructed Angela Ireland in our late father’s estate. We found her to be both compassionate and professional. Instructions and guidance were explained in a clear manner. This was greatly appreciated at this very distressing and emotional time. Angela dealt with all aspects in a timely manner and kept us informed on a regular basis. Overall the service we received was of a high quality. We would have no issues at all in recommending Angela’s service.’

‘Deep knowledge of the social care system and continuing health care.’

‘Empathy, detailed knowledge and flexibility. The individual I deal with and value is Ann-Marie Matthews.’

‘In comparison to other legal firms that I have used in the past, Barker Gotelee have been a breath of fresh air. Response to my various enquiries has been prompt, efficient and friendly on every occasion.’

‘I have been looked after by one individual in their team, Anne-Marie Matthews. Anne-Marie has been fantastic to deal with – she responds almost immediately to my enquiries, she is approachable, efficient and empathetic. I feel that I am in safe hands and I am very satisfied with the service that I have received.’

Birketts LLP

The Ipswich office of Birketts LLP is a key hub in the firm’s cross-office private client advisory practice, which handles a diverse range of matters, among them business succession, trust administration, lifetime tax planning, wills, LPAs and Court of Protection matters. The firm has ‘an extremely knowledgeable and friendly team that compares very well to peers‘. Louise Long leads the practice across all five of the firm’s offices, and specialises in the administration of estates. Senior associates Rhiannon Russell and Jessica Godfrey-Witheystand out for their client care and easy to explain manner with clients‘. Senior associate Katie Hawksley specialises in international private client matters.

Practice head(s):

Louise Long

Other key lawyers:

Rhiannon Russell; Jessica Godfrey-Withey; Katie Hawksley


‘An extremely knowledgeable and friendly team. Compares very well to peers.’

‘Rhiannon Russell and Jessica Godfrey-Withey stand out for their client care and easy to explain manner with clients.’

Gotelee Solicitors

Gotelee Solicitors has an extensive office network throughout Suffolk, through which it advises on all manner of private client matters, from trust and estate management to wills and probate. In Ipswich, department head and STEP member Peter Crix and partner Karina Jowitt are the key practitioners. Matthew Boast in Felixstowe has a strong local client base for wills, tax planning, probate and estate administration, powers of attorney and residential property. Associate Richard Guy, who joined from Birketts LLP, leads the practice in the Woodbridge office.

Practice head(s):

Peter Crix; Matthew Boast; Karina Jowitt; Richard Guy

Greene & Greene

Clients praise Greene & Greene in Bury St Edmunds for ‘exemplary collaboration enabling the client to feel empowered and the situation fully under control‘. Chartered tax adviser Wayne Perrin and property and estate specialist Jonathan Mathers lead the practice, which has in-depth expertise in all areas of private client work, often for high-net-worth individuals. The ‘professional, discreet, and responsiveZoe Hodge is a full STEP member and a key adviser on wills, probate and LPAs. Tax directors Nigel Scase and Martine Swaep frequently advise on Administration of estates including accounts and inheritance tax returns, trust administration, will drafting and Court of Protection matters.

Practice head(s):

Wayne Perrin; Jonathan Mathers

Other key lawyers:

Zoe Hodge; Nigel Scase; Martine Swaep


‘Our experience of Greene & Greene has been very good and we will move to work across all legal matters with other departments and team members.’

‘Zoe Hodge and the team are professional, discreet, and responsive. Zoe’s experience and knowledge mean that she has been able to support our family throughout very challenging times, and has handled our probate with kindness and sensitivity. She is always responsive and yet has the patience to wait for us to sort things out at our end, if we need to. We have followed Zoe from her previous practice, who had handled our affairs for many years, because she is exceptional.’

‘Exemplary collaboration enabling the client to feel empowered and the situation fully under control.’

‘Exceptional people/customer & communication skills displayed in a heightened situation around an estate that was intestate with multiple viewpoints being put forward by strong individuals which lead to conflict. The solicitor stepped in removed all heat points and fully established the situation to multiple individuals.’

‘Excellent team to client service. Though I was overseas the communication was prompt and queries quickly answered. The legal process we were going through was clearly explained and steps outlined.’

‘Nigel Scase was the main person we dealt with and he was excellent.’

Buckles Solicitors LLP

Very few firms offer such a specialist and bespoke service‘, remarks a client of Buckles Solicitors LLP in Peterborough. The firm’s private client practice has niche expertise in Spanish law, though it handles a strong flow of domestic work for domestic clients on wealth protection, tax planning and wills, succession planning, setting up and administering both lifetime and charitable trusts, care home fees and LPAs. It increasingly acts for ultra-high-net-worth estates. Head of private client Rebekkah Cooper and Alejandro Verdu De Haro, who leads on international work, are the key practitioners in Peterborough. Partner Stephen Duffy and CEO Duncan Jackson also play key roles in wealth preservation and lifetime planning matters.

Practice head(s):

Rebekkah Cooper; Alejandro Verdu de Haro

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Duffy; Duncan Jackson


‘From our point of view it is the combination of expert legal advice with a friendly yet professional atmosphere that clients like.’

‘Their deep knowledge and expertise, specially regarding international matters.’

‘The staff at Buckles, from the front desk, to the CEO, make themselves available and you feel that nothing is too much trouble. We have the most dealings with Stephen Duffy, whose work ethic, diligence and expertise is absolutely second to none.’

‘The firm provides a very specialist service in terms of transactions and legal services in Spain. The staff were very effective and experienced in their field. In the main, the matter progressed efficiently and the delay was attributable to their Spanish counterparts.’

‘Very few firms offer such a specialist and bespoke service. It was helpful they had offices in my area and I was able to meet with the solicitor assigned to the case.’

‘They are a single point of contact in the UK for any work needed in Spain, the fact that they can deal with any related issue is a real strength. They are very good at tracking the time and the bill, and on-line payment is easy.’

‘It is the knowledge of the sector and how this relates to your case that is a significant strength.’

‘I have never before received such excellent service and care and I have recommended them to countless friends and acquaintances. All of them seem extremely happy with the service they have since received.’


The private client practice at Fosters is based largely in Norwich, but also has a significant presence across Norfolk. Lisa Glynne in Wymondham and associate Paige Gouldthorpe in Norwich are the lead practitioners. The firm’s expertise spans Court of Protection matters, probate and estate administration, and trusts.  It provides ‘a complete service from beginning to end‘, and clients remark that Glynne ‘goes out of her way to help and make what is a terrifying and emotional experience as calm as it could be‘.

Practice head(s):

Lisa Glynne; Paige Gouldthorpe

Other key lawyers:

Charlotte Ranson


‘A complete service from beginning to end. From receptionist right through to the solicitors, a professional yet welcoming and friendly service.’

‘Lisa Glynne and her team were outstanding with a time-sensitive matter. A will was required at very short notice and the help we recieved could not have been better. Lisa travelled out of her way to help and made what was a terrifying and emotional experience as calm as it could be.’

‘Whilst using Fosters Solicitors I was impressed by their friendliness, helpfulness, their willingness to ‘fit in with my needs’ their ‘can do attitude’ and how they simplify what seems a complicated issue to a layman like me. From the receptionist through to the head of department they make you feel as though you are their most important client.’

‘Lisa Glynne was my main reference. Friendly, willingness to listen to what I wanted, well presented explanations, showing both sympathy and empathy. Very professional. During the probate period Lisa would only contact me if she had relevant information. There was a lot of content to deal with and she showed great tenacity in dealing with some awkward businesses.’

‘We received a very friendly reception and in dealing with our situation they were very understanding and helpful in advising what we needed to complete with regards to our recent bereavement.’

‘The service we received, particularly from Charlotte Ranson, was exceptional. Her team too were excellent. Charlotte was very kind and sensitive to us both at a very difficult time in our lives. She worked very hard to get everything done in time. She kept us up to date with everything. We couldn’t have asked for better service and the probate came through in quick time and we were able to go ahead and complete the sale of our late mother’s property.’

‘Fosters were very easy to contact by phone and by email. They always replied promptly and rang back when they said they would. I have always found them to be friendly and very professional. We were also able to get an in person appointment at very short notice when we had a very short timescale to get all the paperwork done for probate.’

Hunt & Coombs LLP

Hunt & Coombs LLP ‘provides a higher level of personal care to clients than other firms‘. The private client practice excels in the areas of tax planning and will preparation for high-net-worth individuals and families, as well as winding up estates both simple and complex. Henry Anstey in Peterborough leads the probate practice, while Paddy Appleton in Oundle is head of the private client department. ‘They recognise each individual’s needs and requirements, and they pose questions to make you think differently about an issue but are not forceful‘, remarks one client. Up-and-coming partner Sallyann Short in Huntingdon ‘has a manner which puts her clients at ease and as such they feel that they can ask questions and receive clear and understandable answers‘.

Practice head(s):

Henry Anstey

Other key lawyers:

Paddy Appleton; Sallyann Short; Sally Power


‘This firm’s personnel have a wide skill base and I am happy with their work.’

‘They recognise each individual’s needs and requirements. Pose questions to make you think differently about an issue but are not forceful.’

‘In my experience, Hunt & Coombs solicitors provide a higher level of personal care to clients than other firms who I have contact with. The solicitors I have worked alongside appear to really understand their clients and genuinely want to give high standards of personalised advice and service.’

‘Henry Anstey is clearly extremely well thought of by his clients, who also show that they trust him 100%’

‘Sallyann Short’s ability to communicate with her clients is clear, understandable and her use of language/how she explains matters makes her stand out from her peers. She has a manner which puts her clients at ease and as such they feel that they can ask questions and receive clear and understandable answers. Sallyann has had experience of working within financial services in the past and therefore her understanding of financial products is high, which is refreshing.’

‘Working with Sallyann Short and Henry Anstey has been a real pleasure over recent years. Other solicitors I know within the firm are Sally Power and Paddy Appleton, both of whom are very friendly, capable and genuine.’

Greenwoods Legal

The wealth preservation practice at Greenwoods Legal in Peterborough is ‘great as it tries to incorporate accountants and also financial advisers to help so that the client always gets the best advice form whoever is necessary‘. The team in Peterborough is small, with associate Rebecca Towey the key practitioner, but it works with a larger team across the firm’s network. Towey ‘definitely goes above and beyond, she is kind and understanding with clients and extremely patient‘. She handles her own case load and supports London colleagues with complex estate administration matters and the preparation of wills.

Practice head(s):

Clare Harris

Other key lawyers:

Rebecca Towey


‘The practice is great as it tries to incorporate accountants and also financial advisers to help with their clients so that the client always gets the best advice form whoever necessary. In addition, the staff members I find are extremely patient and managed to put things across in layman’s terms and have a way of putting complicated matters into simple terms.’

‘Rebecca Towey at the Peterborough office definitely goes above and beyond. She is kind and understanding with clients and is extremely patient. She really does go above and beyond for clients and I have had nothing but praise from clients I have introduced to her. She is extremely hardworking but you can also tell she enjoys what she does and that she really does want to help her clients in the best way possible.’

Spire Solicitors LLP

Spire Solicitors LLP has many satellite offices in Norfolk around its key hub of Norwich, where the bulk of its private client practice is based. Practice head Ejike Ndaji In Wymondham leads the practice. He recently assisted with the administration of an estate valued at £5.6m. In Diss, partner Emma Trick is a STEP member and has extensive experience in wills, trusts and probate. Partner Rebecca Johnstone in Attleborough is also fully accredited by STEP and focuses predominantly on estate and succession planning, as does senior associate Kiri Nichols in Aylsham.

Practice head(s):

Ejike Ndaji

Other key lawyers:

Emma Trick; Rebecca Johnstone; Kiri Nichols

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.