Browne Jacobson LLP combines succession and estate planning advice with commercial and technical tax advice for its roster of private clients, many of whom have been with the firm for several generations. The firm has a focus on wealth planning for business owners and landed estates through the preparation of tax-efficient bespoke wills and making use of company and trust structures. 'Excellent' Lucy Worwood is 'thoughtful and practical' in her advice, which centres around the set-up and restructuring of trusts and advising non-UK residents on personal tax planning. Wenna Thompson, who offers 'excellent support', and William Colacicchi are key contacts.
Personal tax, trusts and probate in East Midlands
Other key lawyers:
Wenna Thompson; William Colacicchi
‘William Colacicchi has a good understanding of family dynamics and Lucy Worwood has a good understanding of the law: together they produce good and practical advice; which is valued by our mutual clients.’
‘Any professional firm is only as good as the people you are dealing with. So what makes the team is the quality and service received from the people. I spent most of my career as a private client tax partner with a major international firm of chartered accountants. At that time I dealt with several other firms of solicitors on private client issues. But whenever I had a choice I without hesitation chose Browne Jacobson.’
‘My primary contact in recent years has been Lucy Worwood. I find her excellent. Always available and willing. She is able to deal with urgent issues promptly. She is thoughtful and practical. And I say this being aware that I am perhaps her most “difficult” client. Due to my long professional background I am able to ask, and do ask, very many questions. Often difficult questions. I wouldn’t go anywhere else. I also rate Wenna Thompson very highly.’
‘In depth technical knowledge applied in a practical way.’
‘Wenna Thompson has provided longstanding and excellent support.’
‘Expertise, credibility and delivery’
‘Competence, approachable and accessible.’
‘Wenna Thompson and Lucy Worwood – really excellent to work with, provide practical advice and solutions in a timely manner and clients find them highly approachable.’
Geldards LLP's private client team works in conjunction with other departments of the firm, such as the family, corporate tax and residential property teams, in order to give individuals, business owners and families comprehensive advice on the cascading and preserving of wealth through the generations. Combining 'excellent client care' and 'attention to detail', the department offers advice on lifetime planning, wills, trusts, family investment companies and other asset protection structures to clients that span from high net-worth individuals to vulnerable beneficiaries. Jaclyn Barnes, who is 'excellent with clients', and the 'very knowledgeable' Erica Thomson jointly head the practice.
Erica Thomson; Jaclyn Barnes
‘Key strengths are: excellent client care, attention to details, empathy and professionalism ’
‘Jaclyn Barnes is my go to private client solicitor. She is excellent with clients, has a good grasp on technical details and communicates complex ideas well.’
‘Jaclyn Barnes is the only person I have dealt with. I know a good lawyer when I meet one.’
‘My main relationship has been with Erica Thomson. With any dealings I have had with the firm they have always responded to me quickly and efficiently as well as professionally.’
‘Erica Thomson has now helped many of my clients arrange their estates through will planning and power of attorneys. She works very well in partnership with myself to understand our clients situation and needs and advises accordingly. I have received good feedback from my clients on their interactions with her and in all her dealings with me and my she has been very professional. Erica clearly is very knowledgeable and is very willing to share this knowledge when I have raised questions on particular topics that I needed assistance with.’
‘First class. Professional. Putting the clients first. Dependable; at getting back to our clients and keep them regularly informed. I feel that our clients are in safe hands. Joint meetings are in a relaxed atmosphere whether in the office or at the clients home.’
‘Jaclyn Barnes goes the extra mile for our clients; nothing is too much trouble. She is very patient and listens to their concerns and needs before forming any assessments and making any recommendations. She explains everything in plain English and qualifies with the clients their understanding before offering any advice.’
Daniel Curtis heads the private wealth department at HCR Hewitsons from Cambridge. The team, which frequently acts for international and non-UK domiciled clients, advises on inheritance tax planning, exemptions and reliefs on charitable donations, administration of heritage properties and landed estates as well as the administration and reorganisations of trusts. Consultant Clare Colacicchi has a specialism in the use of trusts and heritage tax reliefs with the aim of alleviating capital taxation. ‘Exceptionally efficient‘ and ‘very approachable‘ Kerri Woodrow joined the practice at the beginning of 2020. Catherine Ball and Antonia Cooper are further key contacts.
Other key lawyers:
Clare Colacicchi; Catherine Ball; Antonia Cooper; Hauke Harrack; Kerri Woodrow
‘Very efficient and professional team.’
‘Hauke Harrack is very professional, knowledgeable, and approachable. He has a good ability to listen and advise according to personal requirements and explain clearly and concisely.’
‘Hauke Harrack has a pleasant manner, is confident and thoroughly professional.’
‘Kerri Woodrow is exceptionally efficient but at the same time very approachable. If things are complicated she is always ready to explain things in detail. Dealing with solicitors and legal matters can be quite distressing but Kerri just puts me at my ease.’
‘This firm was recommended by a friend who has dealt with them for many years. His estate is very substantial and therefore not straightforward.’
‘I found Kerri Woodrow and Clare Colacicchi extremely helpful and very patient whilst we absorbed the advice to achieve what we required.’
‘For me the strength of this firm is its ability to call on subject matter experts. They adapted very quickly to the pandemic, enabling on-line meetings.’
‘Kerri Woodrow is our main contact and dealt with the revision of our wills and other matters incredibly professionally. She explains complex issues without using jargon and ensures that a full understanding is accomplished before moving on.’
Shakespeare Martineau LLP's private client practice acts for landed estates and farming clients and offers advice to trustees and entrepreneurs in relation to inherited, long-standing or newly acquired wealth. The 'very approachable and friendly' team has niche expertise in wealth management and protection for lottery winners and has an additional full-service Court of Protection offering, managing deputyships for individuals that suffered severe injuries due to negligence. Practice head Suzanne Leggott is 'good at communicating with clients' and is a professional trustee for numerous trusts administered by the team. Virginia Harvey is experienced in will and trust drafting. 'Very knowledgable' Sarah Brack was promoted to legal director.
Other key lawyers:
Virginia Harvey; Sarah Brack; Stephen Woolfe
‘They take the time to understand clients; they are very client-centric and are about building relationships.’
‘Suzanne Leggott is knowledgeable in the field, good at communicating with clients and removes jargon – easy to work with and under and the broader concerns.’
‘The team are very approachable and friendly, but also knowledgeable and professional. We have built up a very good relationship over the years, and this has been mutually beneficial with referrals passing both ways. Many of the clients I deal with are classed as vulnerable and therefore, as well as providing the required expertise, the team’s ability to empathise and communicate appropriately with these clients is key for me.’
‘I enjoy working with the team. Sarah Brack is my main point of contact there who is supported by a knowledgeable and personable team of lawyers. They look after clients as their number one priority and deliver a high level of service.’
‘Sarah Brack is knowledgeable and clear in her approach.’
‘The practice is able to offer a range of specific expertise from individuals but within a holistic service. The impression is that a team is working for the client but with a very personal contact from one specific person. During the pandemic the practice have adapted well and ensure a range of communication methods are offered to suit the needs and technological expertise of the client. ’
‘I have found the individuals I have worked with over the last six months to be both flexible and versatile. They do not operate on a “one size fits all” basis but take the time to listen to the client and encourage clients to sensibly work out what legal help is actually required.’
The private client department at Actons is headed by Heather Parker, who 'clearly knows her stuff', and acts for individuals, agricultural clients and business owners on the full array of wills, trust and probate work, including asset protection, estate planning and contentious probate issues as well as Court of Protection matters. Bindiya Patel has a focus on acting for local charities and is 'an expert in her field'. 'Extremely helpful' Cara Watson is experienced in working on high value and cross-border estates. Parker, Patel and Watson are all STEP qualified.
Other key lawyers:
Bindiya Patel; Cara Watson; Ruth Swain
‘I feel the team take extra care to make their clients feel comfortable, understood and at ease in what can be emotional times.’
‘I worked with Heather Parker and her professionalism was outstanding. Throughout all dealings she managed to maintain a level of customer care above and beyond expectations during what for me was a very difficult time following the death of my wife. At all times she made me feel comfortable with the situations we had to deal with.’
‘Ruth Swain has provided excellent service on behalf of Actons to me. Ruth guided me through a complex and difficult set of situations and made the entire process very straightforward for which I am incredibly grateful. The work produced was very clear, well presented, and easy for me to understand at each stage of the process. I would not hesitate to recommend Ruth.’
‘I work with Bindiya Patel – she is consistent, knowledgeable and efficient but also has a warm approach to make her clients feel valued and respected. She approaches each client as an individual and ensures that their need is met whilst keeping professional but approachable. She is clearly an expert in her field and her knowledge and understanding is faultless and is always willing to help or advise if necessary.’
‘Heather Parker is extremely approachable, really listens and always offers constructive points to help guide you to a suitable outcome. Heather clearly knows her stuff and she removes any barriers to ensure that clients feel comfortable throughout any stage of the process.’
‘Actons has always had a good reputation for working well as a tight team and in a collaborative manner. The people seem to have bought into a culture that from the outside has the traits of a family-run and owned business.’
‘I found Cara Watson to be extremely helpful when setting up the trust fund for my two grandchildren. Despite the process having to be done during the pandemic it went smoothly and Cara was always available to talk to if I had a problem. ’
‘Bindiya Patel was everything that I could have hoped for with regard to guiding my wife and I through the process – knowledgeable, talking through sensitive areas in a very personable and caring manner; flexibility, with nothing being too much trouble; very efficient, making the whole customer experience very good.’
- Advised on estate planning options for a high net-worth couple with multiple assets.
- Ongoing advice on a complex multi-jurisdiction estate with investment properties that were believed to be sold, but turned out not to have been.
- Administration of a £1.2m trust which the firm has dealt with for over 50 years.
Flint Bishop LLP
Claire Rudkin heads the wills, probate, tax and trusts department at Flint Bishop LLP, which offers a full service of advice relating to wills, probate, trusts, tax planning and Court of Protection work. The team frequently acts for UK-domiciled clients with foreign assets and foreign domiciled individuals with assets in the UK. Management, creation and administration of trusts as well as Court of Protection deputyships are also part of the firm’s offering. William Harper advises on the administration of large and complex estates.
Other key lawyers:
‘The practice has recently dealt with my late mother-in-law’s estate, probate, deed of variation and associated house sale. Despite covid, this went very smoothly with no issues and was carried out speedily.’
‘Although we had no face-to-face contact we built up a good relationship with Will Harper who we dealt with exclusively. He answered the phone personally and promptly and replied to emails usually the same day. On the house sale we were looked after equally well by the conveyancing team.’
- Instructed in two related estates where the relationship between the original executors has broken down to the degree that the court has appointed partners in the firm as executors to administer the estate, by way of a nomination by the president of the local Law Society.
The private client team at Freeths LLP advises on all aspects of tax and estate planning, trust administration, probate and wills. 'Technically strong' Scott McKittrick heads the team which combines the expertise of further departments of the firm, such as estate administration, contentious probate, agricultural property, rural trust advice, corporate and private client tax advice, in order to service clients comprehensively and with a focus on asset protection using bespoke tax and estate planning schemes. The department has a niche specialism in the creation and administration of disabled person trusts.
Other key lawyers:
Marie Cooper; Rahul Kotecha
‘Scott McKittrick is technically strong and delivers his law with a reassuring commercial approach.’
‘The strength of the business appears to rest in its people and the relationships they foster with their clients. It closely reflects the level of trust and rapport we aim for with our own client relationships.’
‘Marie Cooper was fantastic at helping understand what can be a complex and worrying issue.’
The core work of Roythornes Solicitors' private client offering focuses on high-value and complex tax and estate planning for a broad range of clients which include high net-worth families, farmers, trustees and entrepreneurs. The 'technically very strong' team also has a niche specialism in advising lottery winners with respect to the protection and management of the newly acquired wealth. Elizabeth Young and 'knowledgeable, responsive, courteous, thorough, honest and reliable' Paul Thompson jointly head the team. Clients feel that the 'detail and customer service are first class'.
Elizabeth Young; Paul Thompson
‘Paul Thompson has done all my trust work. He has stood out in terms of availability, trustworthiness and ability in his field.’
‘Paul Thompson knows his stuff and is easy to work with.’
‘My experiences with Roythornes are overall very positive, there attention to detail and customer service are first class.’
‘The majority of my dealings are with Paul Thompson, who embodies what one expects from a family solicitor. He is knowledgeable, responsive, courteous, thorough, honest and reliable.’
‘The team are approachable and understand the importance of working together. We have developed strong relationships and this pays dividends with our mutual clients.’
‘Our most regular contacts at Roythornes speak in plain English and put clients at ease. We know from our own work, that when dealing with private client matters you need to be able to build a report very quickly and gain the clients trust. I never have any concerns when referring clients to Roythornes because I know they are personable and professional.’
‘My involvement with this team has always been positive. They have drawn up several trust deeds and associated documents over the past 12 months which have always been excellent, usually as part of a peer-to-peer referral. They are transparent about fees and their service to our mutual clients is first class. ’
‘Excellent team who are professional, deal with matters promptly and are technically very strong.’
Howes Percival LLP has a small team across Leicester and Northampton, which supports the firm's top-tier East Anglia offering, while also leading on significant trusts matters for East Midlands clients. Experienced director Alexandra Hornsby the key figure - she has a particular focus on charities, and is a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners. She is praised for her 'extremely friendly, approachable and knowledgeable' approach.
Catherine Scott (Norwich)
Other key lawyers:
‘Alexandra Hornsby is extremely friendly, approachable and knowledgeable. She gave clear and concise advice, was easy to contact and very quick to respond to queries setting everything up in the timescale we agreed together.’
‘Good technical knowledge and flexibility to meet client demands. They dealt with my clients in a very professional manner while retaining the human element.’
‘Alexandra Hornsby was absolutely excellent. So knowledgeable and helpful, took care to understand my needs (and knowledge level), educated me on gaps in my knowledge, was full of ideas and options, then swift to implement. A dream legal adviser!’
‘Down-to-earth solicitors and very commercially focused and efficient advice.’
‘The team are very accessible and welcoming. They are quick to answer questions and queries which is not always the case with legal firms. They appear more commercial and entrepreneurial than some competitors.’
‘Wonderfully friendly and helpful approach. Staff all seemed top quality, knew their stuff, were full of ideas and always delivered on their promises. A complete pleasure to work with, unlike some other law firms, to whom you often seem to be their 10th most important client. Howes Percival made me feel I was their ONLY client.’
Nelsons Solicitors Limited offers a bespoke and 'personal level of service' to its clients that ranges from advice on wills and estates to complex tax planning advice involving trust structures for, among others, agricultural clients, high net-worth individuals and business owners, and frequently acts on matters with cross-border assets. The team, headed by Jane Sutherland, offers a full management service in relation to trusts and offers specialist services in Court of Protection matters. Helen Salisbury, Richard Grosberg, Craig Staten-Spencer and Davina Charlton are key contacts.
Other key lawyers:
Helen Salisbury; Richard Grosberg; Craig Staten-Spencer; Davina Charlton
‘I have been a client of Nelsons for many years and have consistently been happy and confident with the efficiency of service given. It is appreciated that the firm is up to date with recent legislation so the advice given is accurate and reliable. I have always been impressed by the way in which Nelsons keep clients up to date with the progress being made with the work being undertaken.’
‘The individuals with who I mainly deal with are Richard Grosberg and Craig Staten-Spencer. They both execute their roles with integrity, technical proficiency and a wealth of knowledge. They are able to draw on their extensive experience and convey this in an easy to understand way. They both have a genuine passion and interest in the clients they represent. They both have excellent inter-personal skills and are not afraid to make the right, if sometimes tough, decisions which are in the best interest of the clients.’
‘Helen Salisbury is happy to run scenarios at any time of the day and goes above and beyond what is expected of a law firm. Fills me with confidence that she has exceptional knowledge.’
‘The solicitors actually speak with one another, even across departments, so that when dealing with another matter the client never seems to be a ‘stranger’.’
‘Very helpful and informative, will answer any questions that we asked. We felt very supported.’
‘Davina Charlton was brilliant from the first phone call. She guided me through the whole procedure, was happy to answer any of my worries and concerns and calmly steered me through. She showed compassion for my situation at all times. She dealt well with every uncertainty and completed the work by the end of the year. I was impressed with her competency, especially as my husband’s finances and savings ( and mine) were not particularly well organised! I was not sure which accounts and savings were current but Ms Charlton worked through it all so well.’
‘Personal level of service and made to feel welcome despite being a small case. Pre and post meeting correspondence, advice and documentation. Being able to adapt to the challenges of the pandemic.’
Rotheras offers a full scope of probate services that includes advice on wills, asset protection, estate administration, tax planning as well as trusts, with members of the team acting as deputy in Court of Protection matters and advising on lasting powers of attorney. The firm features a trust compliance department which assists clients in making their trusts compliant with current regulations. Practice head Jayne Smith is lauded for having 'extensive experience including outside her specialist areas'. Nelissa Hicks and Melissa Merry are also noted.
Other key lawyers:
Karen Haywood; Nelissa Hicks; Melissa Merry
‘Good advice, down to earth and knowledgeable from vey experienced people at a very reasonable cost.’
‘Jayne Smith has extensive experience including outside her specialist areas – a rare person in the legal profession these days!’
‘Karen Haywood is a fast worker, without making it complicated for the client – she provides solutions at a very acceptable cost.’
Sills & Betteridge LLP acts for a variety of clients, such as farming families, business owners and wealthy individuals, offering advice on all aspects of probate, tax and succession planning, wills, trusts as well as Court of Protection work. The wills, trust and probate department works in close conjunction with, for example, the corporate and commercial team to provide succession and tax advice to business owners. Richard Bussell, whose 'trust and IHT knowledge is extremely good', jointly heads the team with Andrew Durkan.
Richard Bussell; Andrew Durkan
Other key lawyers:
Suzanne McAuley; James Proctor
‘Brilliant partner contact. Even when I require help in a different department of the firm this partner will direct me to the relevant person.’
‘A very friendly practice. Communication was good. If my solicitor was unavailable, my message was passed on and returned my call in a timely fashion.’
‘I have never had to consult a solicitor before, so I was unsure what to expect. My husband passed away and it was a very emotional and distressing time for me. James Proctor dealt with probate on my behalf and also my will. James explained my options very clearly which made it all the much easier for me to handle. Communication was exceptional and always put me at ease at that sensitive period.’
‘Richard Bussell is professional and a pleasure to work with: his trust and IHT knowledge is extremely good, he provides a good service and keeps other professional updated thus providing an all round service.’
‘The is a unique practice – we live in a very small rural market town yet have this wonderful firm which can deal very professionally with any legal services. The service is so personal, you see the staff you are dealing with in person, home visits can be easily arranged, yet they have all the technology required to make their service so effective. All the staff are extremely capable, friendly and approachable, they also all liaise together to offer a complete service . I would strongly recommend this firm.’
‘I have worked closely with Richard Bussell, who has a vast knowledge of trusts and estates, providing timely, specific guidance and technical knowledge to both clients and other professional firms. He has a very strong attention to detail ensuring that he builds strong relationships with clients so that the technical advice delivered is specific to their needs.’
‘Sills have been excellent regarding service levels and turnaround times for wills and their support to us as executors – very professional.’
‘Suzanne McAuley has demonstrated her understanding of client service throughout our dealings with her in respect of our mutual clients.’
- Advised the Trustees of various Trusts which together hold the majority of the shares in the company of George Bateman and Sons Limited.
- Advised non family trustee in respect of giving security against trust assets worth £4.5m to secure commercial borrowing to family company and subsequently coordinating interaction between all trustees, the company’s solicitors and the lender’s solicitors.
- Appointed by the Court as replacement personal representatives and trustees to conclude the winding up of an estate involving four pilot trusts and various pieces of agricultural and development land.
Wilson Browne Solicitors
Wilson Browne Solicitors‘s private client team spans across six offices in the East Midlands and offers services relating to the administration of estates, trusts and tax planning, wills, charity formation and administration as well as advice on lasting powers of attorneys and Court of Protection applications, an area in which ‘they are clearly experts‘. Practice head Vicki Pearce ‘is thorough and provides excellent advice and guidance to clients‘ and additionally specialises in mental capacity and care funding matters.
Other key lawyers:
‘As a private, non-commercial client, I was pleasantly surprised with the welcome and attention I received. I appeared to be just as important as a commercial client intent on putting large amounts of business in their direction. I was put at ease and make comfortable straight away.’
‘They are clearly experts in Court of Protection work and not ‘dabblers’. ’
‘Vicki Pearce is thorough and provides excellent advice and guidance. ’
‘We have nothing but praise for the team.’
‘The strengths and key capabilities of Wilson Browne Solicitors are their excellent communication skills which help them to easily assist people from all backgrounds and walks of life.’
‘Always available. Excellent professional guidance. Broad knowledge of subjects.’
‘Neelam Maher is always prepared to go the extra mile in her work and provide reassurances. She can work with all manner of different people and provides excellent value for money.’
‘Jenny Laskey provides a caring service to clients who are vulnerable.’