The private client practice at Birketts LLP is ‘practical, knowledgeable, efficient, well informed, helpful and responsive’. The firm has a large team in Norwich that acts for many of the largest farming families, landed estates, businesses and entrepreneurs in East Anglia, and works closely with the agriculture practice to meet the specific needs of rural clients. Lorna Spear, who specialises in complex trust work, particularly for landed estates in East Anglia and beyond, and head of private client advisory Jack Royall are the key practitioners in Norwich. Senior associates Lisa Cornish and Hayley Pettitt, and associate Emily O’Donnell are key figures in the private client practice, handling tax and succession planning for high-net-worth clients and landed estate, wills, probate, and trust administration.
Personal tax, trusts and probate: Norwich in East Anglia
Lorna Spear; Jack Royall
Other key lawyers:
Helen Cordingley; Lisa Cornish; Emily O’Donnell; Leo McMahon; Hayley Pettitt
‘Birketts looked outside of the box at our business, giving diverse, plus expert tax and estate planning which will stand the business in good stead, not just now, but for the next generation.’
‘Emily O’Donnell is very knowledgeable.’
‘Practical, knowledgeable, efficient.’
‘Well informed, helpful, responsive.’
‘Lisa Cornish is always on the end of phone with valuable up-to-date advice. Always listens to what sometimes can be quite in depth personal information. The same goes for Helen Cordingley. Both Lisa and Helen worked hand in hand to sort out a number of things that where time critical and done in order which the target was reached at all times.’
‘Hayley Pettitt was very concerned to provide the best assistance.’
At Howes Percival LLP, ‘the team has strength in depth so you receive a seamless service‘ and clients praise its ‘great depth of knowledge‘. The firm has four partners in Norwich whose work covers lifetime estate planning, specialist advice in IHT and capital gains tax, gifting, trust planning, probate services for high-net-worth and complex estates, and a host of trusts matters. Catherine Scott is head of the private client services group and head of the estates team. She is a specialist agricultural lawyer who frequently acts for landed estates. The ‘professional, diligent and personable‘ Tom Lawrence has extensive experience acting for high-net-worth non-UK domiciled clients, while Stuart Maggs is head of the tax practice and a key adviser to ultra-high-net-worth families and trustees.
Other key lawyers:
Stuart Maggs; Jonathan Wortley; Tom Lawrence
‘The team has strength in depth so you receive a seamless service.’
‘Our main point of contact has been Tom Lawrence. Tom is professional, diligent and personable.’
‘Great depth of knowledge.’
‘Stuart Maggs is excellent- really bright.’
Mills & Reeve LLP ‘always provides first class advice‘ and clients are ‘confident that, whatever the issue, there will be someone who will be able to deal with any query‘. Norwich is a key hub for the firm-wide private client practice, which handles both domestic and cross-border matters. ‘We have the highest regard for her assessment of our situation, and the advice she has given has stood the test of time‘, says a client of practice head Lauren Parker. Senior partner Justin Ripman continues to provide strategic advice to landed estates across the UK. Gregory Laming frequently advises wealthy individuals in the UK and internationally with foreign domiciles and residence status. The ‘hardworking, knowledgeable and personable‘ Virginia Edgecombe and associate Emma Bowers are ‘detailed, efficient, realistic and very supportive at what has been a very trying time‘. Senior associate Alexandra Clark and principal associate Elizabeth Field also play key roles in the practice.
Other key lawyers:
Justin Ripman; Virginia Edgecombe; Emma Bowers
‘We have used Mills & Reeve for many years regarding our trust and will arrangements and they have always provided first class advice and made sound structural changes. Our main contact has now passed us over to one of his excellent colleagues for the future, and where appropriate have delegated work to others in their team. They have been sensitive regarding costs.’
‘Having been expertly looked after by Justin Ripman for many years, we now have Lauren Parker as our main contact and adviser. We have the highest regard for her assessment of our situation, and the advice she has given has stood the test of time, with appointments etc having the built-in flexibility to cope with our ever-changing circumstances.’
‘I very much like the direct contact with a partner, even though other members of their team play a part as well. The partner engagement gives confidence that the various specialists are joined up. They established online meetings rapidly during Covid and this continues as an effective way of working.’
‘We have worked with Virginia Edgecombe for many years and find her to be outstanding. She is very hardworking, knowledgeable and personable.’
‘The team at Mills and Reeve Norwich work very closely together and well, so that the communication between them is excellent. This is not only between team members but also between different departments.’
‘I have worked most closely with Virginia Edgecombe and with her associate Emma Bowers. Virginia is a truly excellent and thoughtful partner. She came highly recommended to me as someone who would truly get to grips with the complications of our family finances, and has shown herself to be highly sensitive about family circumstances, but also detailed and shrewd in her approach, always thinking through the possible consequences of legal statements on both a legal and personal level.’
‘Virginia Edgecombe and Emma Bowers have been exceptional. They are detailed, efficient, realistic and very supportive at what has been a very trying time. I have always felt that they were empathetic as well as being extremely efficient and capable. They work closely together, and Emma has always followed up on meetings with alacrity and explained things to me clearly when the complex issues were confusing for me.’
‘Strong personal tax and probate team with other complimentary departments who deal with related issues. Confident that, whatever the issue, there will be someone who will be able to deal with any query.’
The private client practice at Ashtons Legal is ‘professional, knows its stuff and makes it as painless as it can be under circumstances‘. ‘The team is highly responsive and very efficient, and the level of communication which is excellent‘, remarks one client. The firm handles the full range of work, and has a specialist vulnerable client group of ten lawyers focusing on continuing care, lasting powers of attorney and deputyship matters. Legal executive Karen Bacon leads the team in Norwich, bringing vast experience in wills, inheritance tax, estate planning and probate to her role. Senior associate Louisa Bradberry leads the lifetime planning group and predominantly handles complex estate administration issues.
Other key lawyers:
Karen Bacon; Louisa Bradberry; Loren Clapham; Vanessa Fitt
‘Loren Clapham was brilliant at keeping in touch; quick with her replies, always polite, and if she needed any specifics or paperwork from me, she explained why.’
‘Everyone at Ashtons Legal were professional, knew their stuff and made it as painless as it can be under the circumstances.’
‘This team is highly responsive and very efficient. What marks them out is the level of communication which is excellent. They show a great grasp of the complexities of the work required and are able to be flexible in their response.’
‘Vanessa Fitt is exceptional with the ability to provide a clear direction and to communicate effectively providing a comprehensive strategy. She is highly recommended. She is capable of dealing with the most complex cases and of project managing very effectively.’
- Advised clients on an estate in region of £700k with regards to a complex inheritance tax return where significant lifetime gifts in excess of the available nil rate band.
- Advised on administering a large agriculture estate containing rental properties, smallholdings and woodland.
- Acted for an agricultural estate highlighting Business Property Relief and Agricultural Property relief as part of the probate application process to an estate in circa £9. consisting of rental properties, and a business.
Clapham & Collinge Solicitors
Clapham & Collinge Solicitors has 'an excellent, very capable and friendly team with strong knowledge’. All of the firm's private client lawyers are Dementia Friends and many are STEP members. Head of private client Lin Whitehead 'has a huge amount of experience in Court of Protection and this gives her a certain level of gravitas, whilst still remaining approachable and friendly'. Partner Ben Lowe specialises in administration of private family trusts, personal injury trusts, and charitable trusts, and the administration of estates with values up to £50m. Newly promoted partner Lauren Abbs handles a broad range of matters, among them tax planning and protection wills, LPAs, equity release and estate planning.
Other key lawyers:
Ben Lowe; Lauren Abbs; Jessica Bailey
‘Excellent, very capable and friendly team.’
‘A strong knowledge and very approachable.’
‘Great team of people – always ready to help and involved in all good things going on in the city, be it charity work or out in the community.’
‘Modern thinking, professional “can do” attitude. Have always been very helpful for any clients I have put their way. I have high trust in their ability to help their clients old and new.’
‘The team at Clapham & Collinge are very approachable and friendly, but also knowledgeable and professional. Lin Whitehead in particular has a huge amount of experience in Court of Protection and this gives her a certain level of gravitas, whilst still remaining approachable and friendly.’
‘Jessica Bailey is incredibly efficient and helpful.’
- Advised a client with regards to their Will and Estate planning with an estate worth in excess of £1,500,000 at the date of preparing the Will and in anticipation of receiving a gift from their father in the sum of £2,000,000.
- Acting in the administration of a taxable estate worth £1.2m. The administration has been ongoing since the date of death in 2017.
- Advising trustees of a multi-million pound family settlement on the appointment of funds to beneficiaries, the ending of the trust, the management of significant potential taxable gains following the appointment, an application to the Chancery Court for a ‘blessing’ of the trustees’ appointment, and the management of beneficiary disputes.
The private client practice at Fosters has ‘a focus on high quality, accessible advice delivered to clients in a friendly and personal manner‘. The firm provides an extensive range of services to clients in Norwich and across Norfolk. ‘Engaging, knowledgeable and supportive‘ associate Paige Gouldthorpe is the main contact in Norwich and she provides ‘amazing customer service and advice‘. Senior associate Rachel Chiarotti handles a broad spectrum of services in wills, LPAs, estate planning and administration, and probate, as well as Court of Protection and trust matters. She is ‘extremely professional, helpful, sensitive and very efficient‘.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team at Fosters value their clients; providing a dedicated and personal service throughout the legal process. Due to our great experience we have returned to the practice for family legal advice repeatedly over the last 10 years. They have been extremely adaptable during the pandemic, making consultations easy and flexible through the use of video conferencing.’
‘I would like to particularly mention Rachel Chiarotti, who dealt with my will. She has exceptional listening and empathetic skills. I think those skills are crucial when dealing with difficult situations but Rachel masters this. She takes her time and listens to your concerns as well as providing sound advice. She guides you through the process and makes you feel at ease and in trustworthy hands. She has a very calm and reassuring manner which makes her exceptional at her job. I wish there were more solicitors like Rachel and have since recommended her to several colleagues and friends.’
‘We worked with Paige Gouldthorpe to create our wills and we cannot recommend her highly enough. Amazing customer service and advice.’
‘Having been recommended we used Fosters, Paige Gouldthorpe, to write up our Wills. Paige was very engaging, knowledgeable and supportive. Nothing has been too much trouble for her annd we have been kept updated at every stage of the process. Fosters are very well established Solicitors in Norwich, who have an outstanding reputation.’
‘I was assisted by Rachel Chiarotti to have a new Will prepared. I found her to be extremely professional, helpful, sensitive to the fact that it was a difficult time personally, and very efficient.’
‘Paige Gouldthorpe had a great team behind her who were always on hand as a witness or in her absence to answer any queries. It felt like we had someone leading our Will and Power of Attorney matter but also a team available so it wasn’t all down to one person. They were professional and diligent and I would not hesitate in using Fosters Solicitors for other legal matters after receiving such good service and recommending them to my friends and family.’
‘Paige Gouldthorpe was professional and knowledgable as you’d expect, but what really stood out was how personable she was and made sure we thought about each stage and question and understood what we were signing. Paige made us really think outside the box and I would not hesitate to recommend her to my friends and family and I have already referred her for a very close friend of mine.’
‘Paige Gouldthorpe was ever attentive, very patient with my wife who is very unwell and took her time with home visits to ensure that all matters were properly concluded.’
Spire Solicitors LLP
One client of Spire Solicitors LLP remarks that ‘the people I have dealt with have a good attention to detail but are able to explain things to me in simple terms‘. Norwich is a key hub for the firm’s network of seven offices in Norfolk. Partner Alisdair Liddle is the key contact in Norwich and he deals with all aspects of private client work, particularly wills and trusts for elderly clients. Partner Sophie Harvey is also a specialist in wills, estate administration, LPAs, Court of Protection work and estate planning. ‘They seem very approachable and come across in a professional manner without being to full of their own importance‘, reports one client.
Other key lawyers:
Alisdair Liddle; Sophie Harvey
‘I have found the people I have dealt with have a good attention to detail but are able to explain things to me in simple terms.’
‘They seem very approachable and come across in a professional manner without being to full of their own importance which I have experienced at other legal firms.’
- 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
Clients of Hatch Brenner LLP have 'total confidence that any communication and instruction is handled efficiently and effectively'. The firm has two highly experienced partners covering the full range of private client work. Practice head Caroline Billings 'strikes just the right balance between providing professional efficiency and establishing a personal connection'. 'Approachable, dependable and confident' managing partner Dawn Parkes has particular experience in deputyships, Court of Protection matters and estate administration.
Other key lawyers:
‘Caroline Billings strikes just the right balance between providing professional efficiency and establishing a personal connection whenever I’ve had dealings with her. I have previously introduced others to her high-quality service and I will continue to recommend her whenever the situation presents itself.’
‘Hatch Brenner is a traditional solicitors practice with a long family association. Total confidence that any communication and instruction is handled efficiently and effectively.’
‘I value Dawn Parkes’ long association with my family. Approachable, dependable and confident. I am happy in the knowledge I’m in safe hands.’
‘They are efficient, get things done quickly and provide regular feedback.’
‘Dawn Parkes knew her subject very well, was efficient and communicative and very much eased the burden in what was a difficult time. Nothing really was too much trouble.’
‘Hatch Brenner feels totally personal when you interact with them. Everything you would like from a “local” solicitor when you want to feel they are familiar with both their subject and the local area where they practice.’
‘The Probate team at Hatch Brenner are empathetic and knowledgeable. They put you at your ease and give clear, calm, straightforward and sensible advice at what is a difficult and stressful time. Above all you are treated as an individual. The team gives their clients the personal touch which is often lost in larger firms.’
‘Caroline Billings has been outstanding. She is always friendly, knowledgeable and explains matters in easy to understand ways. She was very helpful dealing with my late wife’s Will and estate. She visited my wife when she was in hospital in order to update her Will and have codicils signed and witnessed. She has also dealt directly with my children and explained the laws relating to trusts.’
- Advised a client whose parents passed in quick succession of one another. Gained probate for the client and administered the estate.
- Advised client who sought a Health and Welfare LPA following a decline in health. Obtained the grant, and the client’s wishes for the future are now in place.
JG Poole & Co. LLP
JG Poole & Co. LLP‘s Norwich office has a highly skilled partner in Margaret Smith, who has ‘a focused approach and extensive experience‘. ‘She is one of the most empathetic and helpful, as well as one of the most efficient solicitors I have ever dealt with‘, remarks one client. ‘‘I feel that I am being listened to and that practical insights are given and actions made based on extensive experience‘, says another. Smith is adept in succession planning, estate management, wills, trusts, probate and LPAs.
‘Margaret Smith went out of her way to set up a Deed of Variation and Discretionary Trust within a tight deadline.’
‘Right from the start of initial introductions I had confidence that Margaret Smith was the right person to help me through the ramifications of my rather complex financial affairs.’
‘I feel that I am being listened to. Practical insights given and actions made based on extensive experience.’
‘Margaret Smith is easy to contact and has a focused approach – her extensive experience is appreciated.’
‘They have been very professional, understanding and have helped me every way they can.’
‘Margaret Smith is incredibly efficient and helpful.’