Personal tax, trusts and probate: Norwich in East Anglia

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP has a deep bench of private client lawyers across its four offices, with Lorna Spear serving as the lead partner in Norwich. The firm has a 'highly professional yet personable approach to client matters' and is a frequent adviser to some of the region's largest farming families, landed estates, business owners and entrepreneurs. Its work spans the full range of lifetime planning, including LPAs, inheritance tax planning, business succession, complex probate and Court of Protection matters. Legal director Helen Cordingley and senior associate Hayley Pettitt garner high praise from clients.

Practice head(s):

Lorna Spear

Other key lawyers:

Helen Cordingley; Hayley Pettitt

Testimonials

‘Highly professional yet personable approach to client matters.’

‘Helen Cordingley has been excellent working with trust and individual clients across a wide range of scenarios.’

‘They are approachable and make each and every client feel valued. I feel their fees are excellent value for the high level service provided. Their use of technology has made it easy to continue to conduct business with no barriers through these challenging times, especially whilst dealing with often very emotive subjects.’

‘Hayley Pettitt is refreshing to deal with. Hayley can explain complex will structures in a way that a client can easily understand and takes time to ensure they really do understand. Hayley is professional, knowledgeable and delivers exactly what she says she will, if not more.’

‘They are not only competent but practical and friendly and have a consistent high quality across the whole team. They also work well as a team and are very collaborative with fellow professionals.’

‘The Birketts team is a little old-fashioned in that they understand that they are there to provide a service at a fair cost and to stand by advice. So many firms nowadays avoid definitive advice, in my experience.’

‘Practical – always seeking an answer rather than pose more questions and problems.’

‘Approachable, knowledgeable and fun to work with.’

Howes Percival LLP

Howes Percival LLP 'does traditional private client work supremely well', according to one of its clients. It has a large practice in Norwich that handles every aspect of tax, wills, trusts and probate work for landowners, business owners and high-net-worth individuals. Lead partner Catherine Scott is a specialist agricultural lawyer who deals with heavyweight transactions, particularly those involving landed estates. Head of tax Stuart Maggs 'gets to the nub of the issue quickly' and frequently acts for ultra-high net worth families and trustees. Tom Lawrence provides 'a really high level of comprehensive advice' on wealth management and succession issues. Jonathan Wortley handles cross-border estates.

Practice head(s):

Catherine Scott

Other key lawyers:

Stuart Maggs; Tom Lawrence; Jonathan Wortley

Testimonials

‘I do not think this practice is unique, rather it does traditional private client work supremely well. The team actually does work extremely well as a team. They communicate very well amongst themselves, so there is always one of the team available to clients.’

‘Tom Lawrence provides a really high level of comprehensive advice. Quick to respond, this is a high quality and very competent team.’

‘Stuart Maggs is experienced and gets to the nub of the issue quickly.’

‘Dealing mostly with the private client commercial development and planning teams, I find Howes Percival great to work with. More collaborative than many other solicitors and prepared to put in the effort.’

‘Outstanding technical ability.’

‘Stuart Maggs – outstanding technically, calm and considered approach.’

‘They think beyond just the direct legal matter and strategically plan the approach they recommend you take and use their multiple specialisms with a one team approach.’

Mills & Reeve LLP

Mills & Reeve LLP is 'an outstanding private client firm for personal tax probate and trusts' and its team has 'vast experience of landed estates, trusts, complex will administration and associated tax'. Lead partner Virginia Edgecombe is 'a consummate safe pair of hands'. Senior partner Justin Ripman provides strategic advice to landed estates in East Anglia and across the UK, as does the 'bright, experienced, responsiveLauren ParkerGregory Laming assists high-net-worth individuals in the UK and overseas with foreign domiciles and residence status issues. Principal associate Elizabeth Field and senior associate Alexandra Clark also play central roles in the practice.

Practice head(s):

Virginia Edgecombe

Other key lawyers:

Justin Ripman; Gregory Laming; Lauren Parker; Elizabeth Field; Alexandra Clark

Testimonials

‘I consider Mills & Reeve generally (and the Norwich office/people in particular) to be an outstanding private client firm for personal tax probate and trusts. There is vast experience of landed estates, trusts and complex wills administration and associated tax. There are good established practitioners and an apparently endless stream of really good people being recruited. Recommended without hesitation or qualification.’

‘Virginia Edgecombe is a consummate safe pair of hands. You cannot go wrong with Ginnie. Cannot recommend too highly. Lauren Parker is bright, experienced, responsive. Alex Clarke, senior associate, no doubt will be a partner in the future. Already good and experienced. Grasps complex material accurately and quickly. Elizabeth Field, principal associate, will presumably be a partner in due course. Huge private client experience, broad tax and trust knowledge in particular. Greg Laming has vast tax and trust experience. Never short of something to say.’

Ashtons Legal

Ashtons Legal has a large private client practice across its offices, which is led by Lynn Wicks in Cambridge. The key contact in Norwich is associate Louisa Bradberry, who is ‘ very approachable and efficient‘. She advises clients on complex estate administration issues, trusts, estate planning and the preparation of wills. Clients include numerous high-net-worth individuals and business owners. The firm also has niche expertise in French law.

Practice head(s):

Lynn Wicks

Other key lawyers:

Louisa Bradberry; Loren Clapham; Vanessa Fitt; Karen Bacon

Testimonials

‘It was obvious that Louisa Bradberry had put in a lot of work to put together the probate application and her communications throughout the process were much appreciated. She was very well supported by Loren Clapham, who was my first port of call by phone and email. Lines of communication were well-maintained throughout. I found both Louisa and Loren very easy to deal with.’

‘Loren is extremely personable and I found her incredibly reliable throughout. She has good, clear communication skills, which I personally found vital during the times where we were having to discuss quite complex aspects of my father’s estate.’

‘I have found Ashtons to be well-organised, easy to contact and flexible. They offer options as to how to receive documents i.e. securely over the internet/post. I would have no hesitation in recommending Ashtons.’

‘Over the last few years we have dealt with Vanessa Fitt and the way the business has been handled is friendly, professional and your concerns are always taken into consideration and discussed before any decision is made.’

‘The team are very efficient and can be relied upon to give a thoroughly professional, friendly and competent service to a wide range of our clients. They are very approachable and client feedback has always been very favourable in every respect.’

‘My main contact has been Louisa Bradberry who has been very approachable and efficient in the service she has provided to my clients. They have all appreciated her expertise, and the way in which the service has been delivered. The regular contact and feedback provided on referrals has been appreciated.’

‘Karen Bacon is highly efficient, knowledgeable and responsive. A pleasure to work with. Would certainly recommend.’

‘Karen Bacon is always very professional, approachable and helpful in all areas.’

Work highlights

  • Handling a range of complex multimillion pound probates where appropriate tax planning had not taken place in advance and mitigation is now required.

Clapham & Collinge Solicitors

The private client practice at Clapham & Collinge Solicitors is '‘totally professional, able to anticipate problems and address them before they turn into issues'. The firm has a broad practice but is particularly skilled in dealing with elderly clients and all members of its team are trained Dementia Friends. Practice head Lin Whitehead specialises in Court of Protection matters; she has 'in-depth knowledge of this area of law, showing immense empathy, not only to her clients but to their extended family'. Associate Lauren Abbs is 'particularly impressive with a very kind and gentle approach'.

Practice head(s):

Lin Whitehead

Other key lawyers:

Lauren Abbs; Susan Rowe

Testimonials

‘Totally professional approach – get on with the job without prompting – manage issues as they arise without drama.’

‘Totally professional, able to anticipate problems and address them before they turn into issues. Met all deadlines without any last minute panics. Took the time to explain what was needed and why.’

‘As a local practice, their knowledge has proved invaluable.’

‘Susan Rowe has provided professional information and advice whilst dealing with the affairs of my late mother. Her approach to these matters and thoughtful communications has been much appreciated.’

‘The Court of Protection practice within Clapham & Collinge is recognised far and wide due to the reputation held by its partner/leader Lin Whitehead, who frequently has matters transferred to her team due to its wider recognition within this field, where great empathy is shown.’

‘Lin Whitehead, who leads the Court of Protection team, has an in-depth knowledge of this area of law, coupled with a wider understanding, having initially trained within brain injury and mental incapacity arena within clinical negligence.’

‘An excellent team who really take client service seriously and who genuinely care for their often elderly and vulnerable clients. Very friendly and knowledgeable and go the extra mile.’

‘Lauren Abbs is particularly impressive with a very kind and gentle approach, backed up by an excellent legal knowledge and experience.’

Work highlights

  • Acted for a client on a probate application and estate administration in connection with an estate worth £1m. The estate includes residential property and various investment and shares.
  • Advising a married couple in respect of their wills and estate planning, where the client’s current estate amounts to approximately £3.5m.
  • Assisting a client with the administration of a high-net-worth, taxable estate, where the deceased also had a number of lifetime trusts that needed to be brought to a conclusion following consultation with the Trustees of the trusts.

Fosters

Fosters has a strong private client practice that advises clients across Norfolk. Practice head Lisa Glynne, who is based in Wymondham, supports the work of 'very professional, informative, compassionate and understanding' senior associate Rachel Chiarotti in Norwich. Chiarotti has extensive experience of will writing, the preparation and registration of Lasting Powers of Attorney, the administration of estates, Court of Protection applications and inheritance tax planning.

Practice head(s):

Lisa Glynne

Other key lawyers:

Rachel Chiarotti

Testimonials

‘Rachel was very professional and informative in offering options and strategies for our wills. She was very compassionate and understanding, which was much appreciated by my elderly mother-in-law. I would most definitely highly recommended Rachel.’

‘The qualities that we experienced with Rachel Chiarotti were her professionalism, thoroughness and compassion.’

‘Our primary point of contact has been with Rachel Chiarotti, a senior associate. She has been clear in her questioning and in explanations, thorough in gathering information, and patient in dealing with perhaps more queries than the average raised by clients – in my case I am especially keen to understand the semantics of technical legal terms. All these qualities come with not a little helping of charm.’

‘As a probate client, I find this practice helpful and very professional. The billing system they use enables me to pay and get receipts online. Correspondence is clear and concise. The legal knowledge is second-to-none.’

Spire Solicitors LLP

Spire Solicitors LLP has one of the largest private client practices in Norfolk and its team is well-versed in wills, probate, LPAs, NHS continuing care and Court of Protection matters, as well as trust administration and tax planning. Practice head Ejike Ndaji is based in Wymondham, but the Norwich office has a deep bench that includes the vastly experienced Alisdair Liddle, whose expertise includes undertaking work for the elderly and for clients in the agricultural sector. 'Empathetic and practical' senior associate Teresa Callender provides 'very clear and sound advice on a timely basis'.

Practice head(s):

Ejike Ndaji

Other key lawyers:

Alisdair Liddle; Teresa Callender

Testimonials

‘I primarily dealt with Teresa Callender on my late mother’s estate. I found the team very responsive and well co-ordinated with everything dealt with very efficiently.’

‘The level of engagement throughout the process was just right and I found Spire Solicitors to be both quietly competent and pleasant to deal with.’

‘The solicitor we instructed was very professional and down to earth and explained things clearly to understand.’

‘Teresa Callender acted for us. She was very professional, easy to contact and explained things to us in an easy way we could understand. We could not ask for a better solicitor.’

Work highlights

  • Dealing with an estate where there was a large property portfolio of over £10m in value.
  • Dealing with an estate where there are both Lithuanian and Estonian beneficiaries, the value of which is in excess of £2m.

Hatch Brenner LLP

Hatch Brenner LLP is a long-established firm in Norwich that handles wills and probate matters for a large local client base. It also has particular expertise in arranging LPAs and tax planning. Practice head Caroline Billings is 'dedicated and very knowledgeable' about wills, probate, estate administration and matters of intestacy. Dawn Parkes has notable experience in deputyships, Court of Protection matters and estate administration; she 'breaks down complex issues and gives clear and dispassionate advice'.

Practice head(s):

Caroline Billings

Other key lawyers:

Dawn Parkes

Testimonials

‘I used Dawn Parkes for my will last year. Hatch Brenner are a small city firm, possibly a dying breed, but a very necessary part of the legal ecosystem. Being used to giving advice myself it was good to have someone who could break down some relatively complex issues and give me clear and dispassionate advice.’

‘HB is in my view a high quality local firm of solicitors, very well run and big enough to handle most areas of legal work to a high level.’

‘Very good customer service and a very thorough service.’

‘The Hatch Brenner team stands out as offering expert and highly personalised advice with efficient delivery.’

‘Dawn is straightforward and down-to-earth; a quality appreciated by clients and professionals.’

‘The team is efficient, capable and communicates well.’

‘Caroline Billings is highly knowledgeable, communicates well, is very approachable and gets things done promptly. It was a pleasure working with her and being guided by her.’

JG Poole & Co. LLP

JG Poole & Co. LLP launched its private client practice in early 2020 and has since built up a roster of high-net-worth clients for succession planning advice. The practice is based around the extensive experience of lead partner Margaret Smith, who has 'a wealth of technical knowledge and her ability to rapidly understand, build empathy and deliver solutions and results for clients is a rare commodity'. She frequently acts for business owners and entrepreneurs across the region.

Practice head(s):

Margaret Smith

Testimonials

‘J G Poole is a practice that is one of the first that I have dealt with that deals most efficiently with all aspects of business. Everything is clearly explained from the start so you know exactly the way forward. I have dealt with two solicitors on different matters and they have dealt with the tasks quickly and kept me updated the whole duration.’

‘Margaret Smith was very professional, knowledgeable, informative and gave sound advice and direction. She also understood my future needs and was able to successfully bring my power of attorney, will and all parties connected with that successfully together for a positive outcome.’

‘Margaret Smith is always available to respond to any questions I may have for her, and if she can’t help, she always puts me in touch with someone who can help.’

‘The private client department has a flexible approach, and in my experience, delivers a tailored and value for money service. What also marks them out from the crowd in my opinion is that they really care about the individual and seek to provide the optimal outcome.’

‘The individuals really care about their clients and go the extra mile to understand their objectives and circumstances and then to deliver the best possible outcomes, in a straightforward, pragmatic way.’

‘A sincere, caring approach, which is well reasoned. I feel there is a very high level of integrity, which is crucial in professionals.’