Personal tax, trusts and probate: Norwich in East Anglia

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP runs an integrated wills and advisory practice across its four regional offices and the Norwich team, led by Lorna Spear, plays a central role. It advises on all aspects of private client law including lifetime tax planning, wills and succession planning, powers of attorney and Court of Protection matters. The firm's diverse client base includes farming families, landed estates, business owners, entrepreneurs and high-net-worth individuals. Veteran senior associate and ACTAPS member Margaret Smith is highly recommended.

Practice head(s):

Lorna Spear

Other key lawyers:

Margaret Smith


“We were pretty well wholly dependent on the advice and guidance we received from Birketts as the solicitors involved. Margaret Smith, the senior associate who dealt with the case, was both a tower of strength and a sure guide from the start.”

“Margaret Smith saw clearly what needed to be done, guided us through it, and inspired confidence. I always found our meetings reassuring, practical and helpful. Moreover, she was kind and sensitive.”

“I have absolutely no regrets about how we, as friends, dealt with this situation, with Margaret Smith’s guidance, support and help.”

Work highlights

  • Dealt with the complete restructuring of the trusts and partnerships of a landed estate.
  • Dealing with the administration of a £7m family estate and advising on a variation of the will to mitigate tax.
  • Advised on the restructuring of a £20m farming estate.

Howes Percival LLP

Howes Percival LLP provides bespoke planning and strategic advice in complex situations to high-net-worth individuals, families and trusts. Catherine Scott is head of the private client services group across all of the firm's offices and is head of the estates practice. Stuart Maggs is a leading practitioner for strategic planning, management and tax minimisation for trusts, partnerships and companies. Tom Lawrence advises business owners and their families on complex succession and estate planning issues including wills and tax matters.

Practice head(s):

Catherine Scott

Other key lawyers:

Stuart Maggs; Tom Lawrence


“The work of Stuart Maggs has been exceptionally impressive. He understands complex issues and can simplify matters for the lay client.”

“Stuart Maggs’ thorough knowledge of family estate matters was far above his competitors and the speed and efficiency with which he produced solutions were of the highest standard. I look forward to receiving his further guidance in the future.”

Work highlights

  • Acted on the sale of the Sutton Hall Estate, in excess of 2,000 acres in Suffolk, for a sum in excess of £30m.
  • Comprehensive review of a family’s affairs, including consolidation of numerous existing family trusts, wills, estate planning and lasting powers of attorney.
  • Transfer of significant funds to family investment companies, securing protection for the family and achieving tax-efficient arrangements.
  • Working with client on restructuring their estates to create a family investment company, family constitution, redrafting their wills and creating powers of attorney.
  • Advising a farming family on bringing their affairs up to date, drafting new partnership agreements, transferring land to children, redrafting family wills and preparing powers of attorney.

Mills & Reeve LLP

Mills & Reeve LLP has the deepest bench of private client partners in Norwich. The firm has several leading lights including practice head Virginia Edgecombe, who handles complex and high-value probate and tax matters; Lauren Parker, who acts for landed estates and other high-net-worth individuals; Gregory Laming, who frequently advises UK-based and international clients with foreign domiciles and residence status, and trust companies resident in the Crown Dependencies; and senior partner Justin Ripman, who handles strategic and tax matters for landed estates across the UK.

Practice head(s):

Virginia Edgecombe

Other key lawyers:

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


‘A group of collaborative experts’.

‘Gregory Laming – technical knowledge is superb’.

Clapham & Collinge Solicitors

Clapham & Collinge Solicitors 'makes sure all clients are well looked after and informed, and goes that extra mile, to ensure the client is satisfied'. Leading light Lin Whitehead and family, personal injury and charitable trusts expert Ben Lowe lead the practice, which attracts a growing amount of work for high-net-worth individuals in Norfolk. All of the lawyers in the practice are members of Dementia Friends and STEP. Rising star Lauren Abbs is recommended for wills and trusts.

Practice head(s):

Lin Whitehead; Ben Lowe

Other key lawyers:

Lauren Abbs; Jennifer Morgan


“Clapham & Collinge’s work ethic and customer service matches my own, leaving me completely confident in using them for my own personal needs and my clients. I know I can always pick up the phone to ask questions and get any information i may require.”

“All of the partners and staff that i have dealt with all have one thing in mind and that is the client.”

“Lin Whitehead is superb, as is Lauren Abbs. They exceed expectations in everything they do. I have always highly recommended them and will continue to do so.”

“The staff are personable and do what they say they will do.”

“They are knowledgeable but explain things clearly and concisely.”

“The team were particularly flexible in providing a solution to a problem.”

Work highlights

  • Lin Whitehead was appointed as Panel Deputy for a client after she was admitted to hospital having lost capacity following numerous admissions for psychotic episodes.
  • Lin Whitehead is acting in an unusual case where the paternal grandparents have been refused contact with their adult grandchild, who suffers from severe educational needs and complex autism.
  • Lin Whitehead is appointed as a Deputy in a case of a young man who suffered an acquired brain injury after a near fatal collision in which he was a passenger.
  • Lin Whitehead was appointed as Panel Deputy in a case where the client’s children were all making accusations against one another of misappropriating the client’s funds.
  • Lin Whitehead was appointed as lasting power of attorney for property and financial affairs in October 2018 to Mr W, who subsequently suffered a seizure weeks later leaving him incapacitated in hospital and lacking capacity to manage his finances.


At Fosters  'all the staff are very friendly, efficient and do their best to help'. The practice is now led by senior associate Julie Sheldrake, from a consultancy role at Notary Express Limited, who handles wills, probate, powers of attorney and Court of Protection, and is a member of Solicitors for the Elderly. Senior associate Rachel Chiarotti  is also recommended. The firm acts for numerous large agricultural estates in trust and estate matters. Experienced solicitor Susannah Parr joined from Spire Solicitors LLP.

Practice head(s):

Julie Sheldrake

Other key lawyers:

Rachel Chiarotti; Susannah Parr


“Susannah Parr has been helping me with probate for my late brother’s estate. She has been very kind, sympathetic and extremely professional – it was a quite complicated issue but was dealt with speedily and thoroughly. I felt that nothing was too much trouble. I am very impressed!”

Work highlights

  • Susannah Parr advised client, a widower, in winding up his late wife’s will trust some time after her death.
  • A client wished to benefit many small local charities under his will but was advised that there was a risk that some of them may have ceased to exist at the time of his death, so  Susannah Parr recommended that he create a discretionary trust which would allow for changes to the distribution of his estate to these charities.
  • Acting for a man who was named as executor for a friend who had died in 2017.
  • Acting for the brother of the deceased who was not on speaking terms with his other surviving sibling who was represented by another firm of solicitors.

Spire Solicitors LLP

Spire Solicitors LLP has a large network of private client lawyers across Norfolk and climbs the ranking this year following investment in its Norwich team. Practice head and STEP member Alisdair Liddle, who handles wills, probate, tax planning, trusts and lasting powers of attorney, recruited associate Teresa Callender from Ashtons Legal; she has more than 20 years' experience in complex probate administration and tax matters. Further recruitment at junior level in 2018 gave the firm a deep bench of specialist lawyers.

Practice head(s):

Alisdair Liddle

Other key lawyers:

Teresa Callender; Lisa Myhill

Steeles Law

Steeles Law has six specialist fee-earners in its well-established wills, probate and tax group, which has a strong reputation in the administration of estates and matters concerning powers of attorney and mental capacity. Associate and practice head Karen Bacon has 30 years' experience and is a leading light in the market. She works from both Norwich and Diss to advise clients in Norfolk, Suffolk and further afield. Associate Amy Taylor is recommended as a rising star.

Practice head(s):

Karen Bacon

Other key lawyers:

Amy Taylor


“We were dealt with efficiently and in a timely and friendly manner, both in face-to-face contact or for receipt of promised documents. We felt confident in the advice delivered.”

“Our needs were dealt with by solicitor Amy Taylor. We appreciated the apparent breadth of her knowledge and the options she presented, while leaving us to make decisions on an informed basis.”

“We felt totally at ease with Amy Taylor and at no time did we get any feeling of superiority which appears to be a trademark of the legal profession. Having completed our business, we felt quite satisfied that everything was done in our interest.”

“The firm showed care, compassion and attention to detail, as well as patience and attention to detail.”

“Everyone within this practice has been very efficient, pleasant and responsive to my questions or needs, giving me confidence and reassurance, and I have no hesitation in recommending this firm.”

“The trusts and probate team is professional and knowledgable and the lawyers work well together.”

“The practice provides a very professional and personal service which obviously meets the exacting standards of the legal profession yet through the depth of the professional team they are able to meet the individual needs of their clients.”

“Individual practitioners take the time to understand the individual and unique characteristics of each presenting client. As a client it is important to feel that you are being listened to and the most effective legal approach is developed to satisfy those individual needs.”

“Karen Bacon and Amy Taylor are both very professional, clear and concise in their work and understanding of my specific concerns and needs. Where I have raised questions, they have been patient and understanding and have gone that little bit further to ensure that I do understand what is being prepared.”

Ashtons Legal

Ashtons Legal joins the ranking this year as it has a highly regarded solicitor in Norwich who works alongside the experienced partners in the firm's other regional offices, which includes a French legal services team and a Court of Protection practice. Louisa Bradberry is the local practitioner and one client remarks that she is 'extremely knowledgeable and has a real ability to explain complex matters in a way that clients understand'.

Cozens-Hardy LLP

The private client team at Cozens-Hardy LLP attracts complex and high-value trusts, estate planning and probate matters from clients based in Norfolk, London and Europe. STEP-accredited principal Michelle Collins leads a team of eight fee-earners.

Practice head(s):

Michelle Collins

Rogers and Norton

Rogers and Norton has a loyal client base around Norwich for complex wills, the formation and administration of trusts and high-net-worth estates, and specialist advice on Court of Protection matters. It has particular strength in work for elderly clients including issues of capacity, estate planning, lifetime gifts, care fees and dementia. Solicitor Louisa Shailes and legal executive Wenke Lie-Critchley are the key practitioners, and both are Dementia Friends who frequently act for elderly clients.

Practice head(s):

Louisa Shailes

Other key lawyers:

Wenke Lie-Critchley; Laura Rumsey; Charlotte Ranson