Personal tax, trusts and probate in London
Charles Russell Speechlys LLP fields a 'top team in the private client area with strength in depth and a strong collegial approach'. It acts for the wealthiest families globally and routinely advises them on complex cross-border and multi-disciplinary projects. Clients range from prominent UK families to internationally mobile wealthy individuals. The London practice, in conjunction with the other offices in Cheltenham and Guildford, also represents some of the UK's leading landed estates (both rural and urban) and has considerable expertise in niche areas such as art, intellectual property, property and real estate. Names to note include Bart Peerless, William Begley and Robert Blower, who is skilled in advising on lifetime tax and estate planning matters, in addition to offshore assets and trusts and landed estates. Piers Master has particular expertise in advising Middle Eastern clients, acting for many ruling families and billionaires, many of whose families have US links. Sophie Dworetzsky joined the team from Withers LLP.
Other key lawyers:
‘Bart Peerless has an outstanding level of responsiveness and client empathy‘
‘A highly reputable firm with quality individuals who provide practical and considered advice, including Dominic Lawrance, Sangna Chauhan and James Bradford‘
‘All of the individuals I have worked with are technically expert and very able, but all show a focus on getting a task not merely done but absolutely right in every detail, and with acute sensitivity to the client’s needs and preferences. Conspicuous for their acumen, pragmatism and positive approach are partners Bart Peerless and Robert Blower‘
‘Dominic Lawrance is the leading technical adviser in London when it comes to non-domicile matters. Dominic is a standout expert in his field. He can comment with certainty almost straight away on any non-domicile query‘
‘Dominic Lawrance is a standout top talent with some of the best technical expertise in the market. Alice Wilne is a meticulous and methodical lawyer with a keen eye for spotting problems and solving them‘
‘The recruitment of Sophie Dworetzsky is a real coup for CRS – she is a fantastic technical lawyer‘
‘A quality private wealth team with real strength in depth which delivers excellent legal work. Piers Master, Robert Blower, Sangna Chauhan, Dominic Lawrance and Sophie Dworetzsky stand out‘
‘It serves complex cases, especially where there is cross-border angle – this is important to internationally living clients and their families. Andrew Cameron has a tailored and practical approach. Elena Vasilyeva is very helpful at managing clients’ requests in relation to complex issues such as tax, probate, family relations and immigration‘
Farrer & Co's team has 'real strength and considerable expertise', advising some of the wealthiest and most prominent families and individuals across the UK and internationally. It is adept at providing multi-jurisdictional advice to the global super rich and has a strong practice in relation to complex tax structuring both in the UK and internationally. The department routinely advises on capital gains and inheritance tax and is recommended for its considerable expertise in handling tax risk advice and reporting obligations, as well as family governance issues and trusts matters. Other strengths include its expertise in landed estates, as it acts for over 50 substantial landed estates and historic houses. Sarah von Schmidt heads the department, which was recently strengthened at senior level by the promotion of Alexandra Hollingshead to the partnership and the recruitment of Georgina James from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP.
Other key lawyers:
‘I have the highest regard for Sarah von Schmidt and the team at Farrer. The lawyers are a pleasure to deal with, technically strong and very sensitive to clients’ needs – they do not give cookie-cutter advice‘
‘Sarah von Schmidt is highly recommended, especially for her work on landed estates‘
‘The team has real strength and considerable expertise. It shows practical joined-up thinking and a high level of technical skill. It is very engaged in what it does‘
‘It is known for having large clients with complex needs for whom the team can offer excellent specialist services – it has real strength and depth‘
‘James Carleton is excellent for art and chattels‘
‘Bryony Cove is very empathetic and has a very good manner with clients‘
‘Oliver Piper has really good technical and client-handling skills‘
‘Russell Cohen continues to do amazing work; he is a great lawyer’
- Advised a client on the establishment of at least eight structures to hold multibillion-dollar international assets.
- Acting for an international ultra-high-net-worth family based in the UK and the US in relation to a significant trust restructuring following a multibillion-dollar liquidity event.
- Acting on a probate following the death of the owner of a large landed estate, which has complex assets comprising extensive real estate in the UK, as well as various business structures including partnerships, LLP interests and companies.
Catherine Hill and Xavier Nicholas now co-head the team at Forsters LLP, which advises on the full range of high-net-worth sectors, including international wealth, family offices and family business succession. It acts predominantly for serial entrepreneurs, landed estates and titled individuals, as well as public personalities, and routinely advises clients from Asia, the Middle East, US and South America. Carole Cook has particular expertise in advising on offshore and onshore trust creation, will drafting and charity matters such as charity creation. Nick Jacob is another name to note for his advice on family succession, the protection of family businesses and all aspects of international family governance, especially for families in Asia. At senior level, Emma White was promoted to the partnership recently, but the team also saw the departure of former practice head Patrick Harney to Mishcon de Reya LLP.
Other key lawyers:
‘Daniel Ugur has excellent knowledge of the Asian market, a good client base and a good way with clients and advisers. He simplifies matters’
‘Daniel Ugar provides very clear and pragmatic advice‘
Macfarlanes LLP is a 'Rolls-Royce organisation that can be relied upon to deliver at the highest level'. It frequently advises international entrepreneurs, family offices and owner-managed business on all private client matters. The team’s capabilities are also strengthened by its considerable expertise in philanthropic advice, litigation, immigration and high-value real estate matters. Practice head Piers Barclay has a wide-ranging tax and trusts practice with a significant number of Middle Eastern and Greek clients. He is adept at dealing with major cross-border US tax issues and has a particular strength in advising multi-generational families. Recent work highlights for the team include providing technical advice to private banks on their product offerings as well as acting in a major international estate administration.
Other key lawyers:
‘Piers Barclay is hugely experienced’
‘Macfarlanes is an exceptional organisation. Its professional knowledge, its global network, its ability to look three steps ahead, its breadth, depth and capacity, its commitment to the client, and the quality of its people and personal interaction at every level are unrivalled in my experience‘
‘Sebastian Prichard Jones is outstanding: he is exceptionally sharp and has that rare gift of making the complex simple. His instincts are spot on. His advice is precise and well contextualised. He is highly personable and good company. You could not wish for a better adviser. Mark Hunter is bright and considerate. He has an extraordinary capacity for work, and nothing is too much trouble‘
‘Excellent client service and relationship management. Charles Gothard is quite simply exceptional in all aspects thanks to his knowledge, team work and a great personality that makes working with him a joy. He is available at all times, night and day, and goes above and beyond client service. His wider team is also excellent‘
‘Nicholas Harries is very good technically and able to deal with a wide range of issues in the international private client arena, from commercial restructurings to complex family disputes’
‘Nicholas Harries has a deep knowledge of UK probate and tax matters, as well as cross-border matters. He is always willing to help and goes the extra mile for clients‘
‘Jennifer Smithson specialises in US/UK matters as well as matters with a French element. She is a creative problem solver, especially when it comes to structures that need to work in multiple jurisdictions‘
‘Isobel Morton is smart and understated – a winning combination‘
Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP is known for its specialist focus on complex cross-border estate planning and structuring for ultra-high-net-worth clients from all over the world. The team, which 'effortlessly blends client empathy with profound legal expertise and commerciality', acts for clients including entrepreneurs, business people, traditionally wealthy families, trustees and private banks. Recently, the practice has had a strong focus on cross-border succession planning and the use of trusts and other structures to preserve wealth. As a result, it has been particularly busy advising on family governance and family constitutions, as well as on trust structures involving private trust companies. It has also been increasingly active advising its clients on the use of family investment companies. Jennifer Chambers heads the team, which also includes Ed Powles and further bolstered its senior ranks with the addition of Paul Whitehead from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP. Arabella Murphy left the firm to set up an independent non-legal consultancy.
Other key lawyers:
‘The MTG team is one of the very few specialist private client teams that can truly serve the UHNW and family office space. The lawyers possess a depth and breadth of technical ability overlaid with a commercial lens that enables them to advise client and help resolve their most complex challenges‘
‘I have worked with Ceris Gardner over very many years; she has always provided wise counsel and has clearly been responsible for setting the culture and tone of the firm‘
‘Jennifer Chambers is intellectually very agile and inventive. She is precise, to the point and never wastes the clients’ time‘
‘Jennifer Chambers, Eesha Arora and Hannah Blakey are a real team and also feel very much part of our team. They are very responsive and accessible and have excellent technical skills. I have seen over the years how Jennifer has developed Eesha through to partner and how Hannah is rapidly developing as an associate‘
‘A very good private client practice generally, with strength and depth. Fiona Poole is a standout partner – she has very good technical and client skills and is a good speaker‘
‘The team at MTG combines all the strengths of a major player with those of a friendly, boutique practice. I am absolutely guaranteed to get solid technical knowledge and a warm welcome. Fiona Poole stands heads above many of her peers with her exceptional tax knowledge and approachable style‘
‘Fiona Poole is very bright and expert in her areas, as well as very personable. She is my go-to referral for private client work. It is an excellent team all round‘
‘Ed Powles is excellent technically and incredibly bright‘
Andrew Goldstone heads the team at Mishcon de Reya LLP, which advises high and ultra-high-net-worth UK and international families and trustees on tax, succession planning and trusts matters, as well as family wealth governance and protection. 'The overall strength of the team is second to none, with exceptional people throughout'. Goldstone regularly advises on residence and domicile issues, including matters such as business investment relief and the taxation of offshore trusts, in addition to the establishment of new wealth planning vehicles to protect family wealth. Patrick Harney joined the team from Forsters LLP and brings with him a wealth of experience in US/UK and UK/Irish cross-border tax, trust and estate planning matters in particular. Kassim Meghjee, Filippo Noseda and Charlie Sosna are also noted members of the team.
Other key lawyers:
‘Mishcon has grown and become of the leading firms in private client work. In the private client industry, having winning, charismatic and gifted lawyers is key, as it is a personal business. If you wish to have such a team, with diversity and excellence, you have made an excellent decision to engage Mishcon’
‘There is a high level of communication within the team and a wide range of skills and expertise so that the right person is available to deal with each aspect of the case. All the people I have had contact with have been knowledgeable in their field and easy to work with‘
‘The team has grown consistently with the hiring of top players. Patrick Harney is always available, extremely responsive, very strong on the tax side and very pragmatic‘
‘A standout firm in the private client market, known for the highest quality advice. Andrew Goldstone, Charlie Sosna and Kassim Meghjee stand out‘
‘Kassim Merghjee is clearly bright, thoughtful and much respected by his client base‘
‘Filippo Noseda is the number one lawyer for privacy matters in connection with FATCA, the common reporting standard, beneficial owner registers and the like‘
‘This is an excellent private client team’
‘Nicola Simmons is clearly bright, energetic in style and highly personable‘
- Acting for Jenny, a US-born British citizen who is crowdfunding her appeal against HMRC sending her data to the US authorities under FATCA, in the first such action against the global mandatory disclosure rules, which many see as a direct infringement of personal privacy and human rights.
Taylor Wessing LLP has a 'very experienced and established team' in the international private client arena, which provides high-quality advice on a diverse range of tax, trusts, succession and estate planning matters. It also routinely advises on the creation and maintenance of complex multi-jurisdictional asset holding structures. The practice led by the 'very competent and highly respected' Nicholas Warr acts for over 70 families and individuals with a net wealth of more than $1bn, eight royal families, and several hundred families and individuals worth over $100m. In addition, it provides trusts, tax and succession planning advice to around hedge fund principals and principals in the private equity sector. Mark Buzzoni, Andrew Hine and the 'exceptionally knowledgeable' Sanjvee Shah are also noted. Antoaneta Proctor is now at Wedlake Bell LLP.
Other key lawyers:
‘Nick Warr is commercially astute and a first-class lawyer with many years of experience. He is dedicated and leads the team by example. He has a superb client base with a particular focus on the Middle East‘
‘Nick Warr is very able – he is technically excellent, has a big and loyal client following, and is very sensible and affable as well as being pragmatic‘
‘A high level of technical expertise and excellent client interaction. Nick Warr is a very competent and highly respected practitioner. Clients respect him enormously and he is very capable‘
‘Andrew Hine has very nice manner and is technically very good‘
‘Great strength in depth across multiple practice areas. Able to deal with all the requirements of large international high-net-worth families. Sanjvee Shah is extremely personable, technically gifted and dedicated to achieving the very best outcomes for her clients. A pleasure to work with‘
‘A very experienced and established team with immense talent at all levels. One of the very best private client teams in the UK. Sanjvee Shah is exceptionally knowledgeable, very approachable and utterly committed to doing her best for her clients. One of the leaders in her field. Clients love her‘
‘Kirstie McGuigan has provided outstanding service and support in a number of matters with varying degrees of complexity. Kirstie will either provide the specific advice herself or introduce a member of a specialist team within the firm to provide the detailed support and work as necessary. This helps manage time and cost in an efficient and professional manner‘
‘Alexander Erskine really knows his onions. Rachel Davison has the highly valued ability to distil the key information and advise on it clearly and concisely. Not many others manage that’
The large team at Withers LLP specialises in all areas of private client work, with recognised experts in areas as diverse as elder law, landed estates, probate, international trusts and philanthropy. It has one of the most substantial teams of US-qualified attorneys in London, which enables it to provide multi-jurisdictional advice to US citizens in the UK. It also acts for a large number of individuals and families who have featured in the Sunday Times Rich List. In addition, the firm's international probate team is well regarded, and it is well placed to deal with complex cross-border issues and the management of estates where property and family members are spread across the world. Christopher Groves and Dora Clarke co-head the department, which has 'strength in depth, particularly for international private client matters'. Sophie Dworetzsky left the firm to join Charles Russell Speechlys LLP.
Other key lawyers:
‘The premier global private client team. Every investment bank, trustee or accountant wants to work with this team‘
‘It remains high-quality firm with an added US dimension. Patricia Milner, Matthew Woods and Chris Groves are all supreme on the technical side but able to link to the practical‘
‘Philip Munro is the modern Withers partner, not just about landed estates but acting for international entrepreneurs with a range of assets, family dynamics and cross-jurisdictional matters. He has a tremendous work ethic and clients and advisers trust him‘
‘It has an established US tax team, and close collaboration with its offices in the US, Hong Kong and Singapore. The team has top-drawer clients. Philip Munro is a standout private client lawyer, who is brilliant at client service and organising teams of advisers and is extraordinarily bright. He is also qualified in the BVI, wrote the book on Hong Kong trust law and has prior experience in Withers’ Hong Kong and Singapore offices‘
‘Patricia Milner is hugely competent and incredibly professional‘
‘Charlie Tee is doing fabulous work – intermediaries and clients love him and he is a great lawyer. Charlie is extremely personable and superb at international estate planning. He is my go-to person for complex cross-jurisdictional conflict of laws issues. He has a very easy manner with clients and is effective at steering client situations with the potential to become contentious to the appropriate resolution‘
‘There is a breadth and depth of knowledge and experience within the team that allows for considered responses to queries within a quick timeframe. Lara Crompton is a highly experienced lawyer, who breaks down complex transactions in a way that they are easier to understand and implement‘
Baker McKenzie continues to see a significant flow of new instructions from clients in the Middle East, especially from those seeking UK family office advice. The focus of the group’s Middle Eastern practice is on ultra-high-net-worth individuals and families. Team head Ashley Crossley, who is 'deservedly a recognised expert in this field', specialises in advising high-net-worth individuals, families and international banks on cross-border tax and trust structuring, as well as asset protection, multi-jurisdictional investment structures and other trust matters. In addition, he advises both clients and governmental organisations on OECD compliance and on the exchange of information. Senior associate David Whittaker is also recommended.
‘A high-quality, informed team. Very, very strong on international matters. Excellent soft and technical skills‘
‘Ashley Crossley and Phyllis Townsend are both highly approachable and work tirelessly‘
‘A dedicated and efficient team‘
‘Handles many complex issues with efficiency and care‘
‘The practice is a standout in this field by virtue of being approachable and incredibly responsive, as well as goal orientated‘
‘Very good knowledge and always practical advice. Very approachable and sets matters out so they can be easily understood‘
‘All-encompassing and forward-thinking knowledge of the industry and its direction. The lawyers seem to have the ability to predict changes and advise in advance. Phyllis Townsend exudes professionalism whilst making it seem an effortless pleasure‘
‘David Whittaker is a rising star in the private client field, combining exceptional technical ability with a solutions-driven approach and a thorough knowledge of key cross-border issues‘
BDB Pitmans is recommended for providing high-quality tax advice to UK and international private clients, their trustees and family offices, and covering all aspects of estate planning, succession law, wills and the administration of estates, as well as the holding and transferring of heritage, cultural and trophy assets. The team is also adept at advising on regulatory laws, including compliance with reporting regimes, and is skilled in assisting clients with a diverse range of philanthropic projects. In addition, the tax and trust management practice continues to flourish. Alastair Collett heads the team, which was further strengthened by the recent addition of Lucinda Brown to its ranks from Hewitsons.
Other key lawyers:
‘BDP Pitmans has always had strength and depth in its private client personal tax team and that is a diminishing resource in the sector. It has a number of very experienced partners who provide reliable and sensible advice. The fact that it is part of a large firm with a thriving contentious trust and probate department is an advantage as it can offer clients a rounded service’
‘Technically competent, highly knowledgeable and personable. I have dealt with Alastair Collett, who explains complex matters very well and is on top of his brief. His advice is pretty much bullet proof‘
‘Helen Ratcliffe is a true family adviser, always considering issues in the context of overall family dynamics and long-term relationships in addition to providing excellent technical advice on both tax and trust law matters. She teams up very well with other advisers, whether they are lawyers advising on aspects she does not herself cover, trust administrators or investment managers‘
‘Strong technical knowledge, good interpersonal skills and always available to respond quickly. Excellent knowledge and really buy in to working together with other professionals for the clients’ best interests‘
‘It has a good blend of approachability and a detailed knowledge of the underlying black-letter law. Hugo Smith has a strong technical grip of UK trust law‘
‘Hugo Smith is a very experienced private client lawyer who knows his stuff. He takes a practical approach to his clients’ problems and is good at exploring different avenues to solve them‘
‘The team is technically excellent and very responsive. We have worked with a number of partners but would highlight Judith Millar, Liz Neale and Helen Ratcliffe for their user friendliness and cost effectiveness’
‘Judith Millar is extremely knowledgeable about private client law and practice and has a wealth of experience to draw on. She has an air of calm assurance that is very reassuring‘
‘Jonathan Colclough has great in-depth specialist knowledge. He really knows his stuff but is also a lovely person who is willing to go above and beyond for his clients and has humility and warmth – a great combination‘
Boodle Hatfield LLP specialises in advising on complex international wealth structuring for business and private assets and is renowned for its experience in acting for some of the largest family-owned businesses and family offices in the UK and internationally. The team regularly advises entrepreneurs and it also has a long history of acting for some of the largest landed estates. In addition, the team is well equipped to advise on philanthropy. Significant recent mandates for the cross-practice group including advising on structuring a notable private car collection and implementing charter arrangements for yachts and aircraft. Team head Andrea Zavos is well regarded. Matthew Bennett recently joined the team from Fladgate LLP.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team consistently over-performs, mainly by continually thinking of both the primary aims of the work that it is undertaking and also the most efficient manner to achieve these goals‘
‘Simon Rylatt is a joy to work with. He is unusually responsive for such a busy practitioner. He is very technically adept and at the same time emphasises common sense and practicality in his advice‘
‘Simon Rylatt excels at taking complex technical advice and distilling it into client communications that can be understood by non-technical team members and clients‘
‘Salpy Kouyoumjian and Hayden Bailey are excellent practitioners‘
‘Salpy fights her clients’ corner and finds creative solutions‘
‘Hayden Bailey is a first-class lawyer who has broad expertise and a sharp eye for detail. He has a breadth of knowledge outside his standard specialism that helps him counsel his clients on the different paths that they will need to navigate’
‘Salpy Kouyoumjian is very professional, yet friendly. She has a huge wealth of knowledge and an excellent sense of humour as well. I love working with her‘
‘Matthew Bennett is a great addition‘
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP has offices in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Israel, Hong Kong, Moscow and across the UK, which puts it in a strong position to attract international work. Damian Bloom is the global co-head of private wealth and frequently advises wealthy individuals and families, with a particular focus on acting for banks and entrepreneurial clients. Simon Phelps heads the Asia private client group and advises a significant number of individual and family office clients based in the Middle and Far East. He is also particularly skilled in acting for business owners and is adept at advising on UK property investment matters. The team has experienced some recent departures at senior level: Martin Paisner is now at Payne Hicks Beach and Paul Whitehead is at Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP.
‘The private client team are able to draw on the extensive property, commercial and financial services practices for the benefit of their clients. Damian Bloom is energetic, warm and razor sharp‘
‘Damian Bloom is great with clients and provides super responsive and clear advice on complex matters. He is superb on drafting and implementation too. Nicola Allison is an excellent associate who is very good with clients’
‘Simon Phelps has an in-depth understanding of our client structure and particular needs. He is our most trusted adviser with respect to UK needs and advice and is able to accompany us at every stage, from long-term planning and considerations to actual implementation and transactions. When needed, he draws on BCLP’s specific resources to ensure we always get the best advice and deliveries. Outstanding communication‘
‘Exceptional service. Superb on UK and US matters. The lawyers provide practical advice and a clear explanation of the options and implementation of planning is also a great strength. Tracey Neuman is the most impressive lawyer I have instructed in 25 years as a trustee. She is great with clients and provides clear advice. She is our go-to on complex tax matters‘
‘Simon Phelps and Caroline Belam’s strengths are in multi-jurisdictional structuring from the UK perspective. I particularly value their collaborative approach and appreciation and understanding of the expectations and objectives of high-net-worth families from different cultures‘
‘In our view, BCLP is one of the top practices with respect to UK taxes law, trust arrangements, probate and succession planning in the UK and for international clients like us who have a mix of UK and international needs with respect to UHNW clients‘
‘Its expertise and knowledge spans multiple aspects and the lawyers have the resources, knowledge, experience, team and network to provide the necessary advice. Simon Phelps stands out‘
Hunters Law LLP has acted for many families over multiple generations and succession planning is at the cornerstone of the practice. The firm has a strong landed estate practice and acts for over 60 estates across England, Wales and Scotland, many of which are held through complex structures involving partnerships, companies and trusts. Clients range from highly successful property moguls and business entrepreneurs with domestic and international interests to traditional farming businesses and houses that are open to the public. It is experienced in advising wealthy clients with assets in multiple jurisdictions. The department has a 'personal feel' and is led by the well regarded Alexandra Sarkis and Lucinda Tite.
‘I have found that there is a very wide range of top-quality expertise available in its partners so that the firm can deal with the more esoteric areas of law (art restitution for example) that I would not expect to find elsewhere’
‘I find the philosophy that runs through the staff of being conscious of keeping client costs to a minimum very reassuring‘
‘Overall, I feel that Hunters is on my side and we are a team, working well together‘
‘Alexandra Sarkis is an outstanding lawyer. We say this having regard to her profound knowledge of her specialty, her presentation and clarity of mind, and the clarity of her explanations of legal issues‘
‘Alex Sarkis inspires absolute confidence and displays great efficiency, patience, understanding, attention to detail and a wealth of knowledge, coupled with a sound and carefully considered judgement – all qualities one would hope and expect to see in an ideal lawyer and adviser. In summary, we hugely appreciate Alex, her advice and her guidance‘
‘The team at Hunters is excellent. It is very client friendly and always provides practical advice which is easy to follow. The lawyers punch above their weight as compared with other private client firms‘
‘Wilfrid Vernor-Miles knows his clients very well and provides very comprehensive and easy-to-understand advice in respect of very complex issues‘
The 'excellent' team at Irwin Mitchell has been continuing to attract new work, including new clients in the cryptocurrency world as well as a wealthy Arab family. Other notable clients include individuals, families, trusts, trustees, family offices and other entities in the UK and internationally. The team has strong links in the key international financial centres of the Channel Islands, Switzerland and the Caribbean, and has particular expertise in advising clients from continental Europe, the Middle East, China, Africa and Russia. The 'outstanding' Alex Ruffel and George Merrylees in particular are skilled in providing complex tax and wealth structuring advice. Ashley Hill joined the team as a partner from BDO.
‘An excellent team. Highly professional and very responsive‘
‘Exceptional skill-set, clearly joined up and operationally effective, and very presentable. A great, easy to work with team‘
‘Alex Ruffel, in particular, is an outstanding lawyer. She is totally dedicated to her clients and contacts, and the advice she gives is always relevant and easy to understand. She is also very responsive. The best I have come across, quite frankly‘
‘Alex Ruffel is extremely bright, pragmatic and good with clients‘
‘Alex Ruffel is very capable, approachable and easy to work with. She is very good technically, responsive and practical. She is ably assisted by a small team providing nimble and timely support‘
‘Helen Clarke is an excellent technician, very personable and always tries to go above and beyond‘
‘Kate Caldwell is very competent and ably supports Alex‘
McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP's 'very experienced and dedicated' team covers the full range of non-contentious issues, including very high-value trusts and estates and wills and probate, as well as complex commercial matters. The team also advises on fund structuring, the restructuring of private wealth programmes, regulatory issues and evolving tax regimes. In addition, it is skilled in advising on all aspects of UK tax matters. The group acts for ultra-high-net-worth individuals and families, some of whom are on the Sunday Times Rich List and the Forbes Billionaires list. Noted for its 'global reach and vast resources', the team has particular expertise in US tax and wealth law, both in the UK and US offices, and almost all of its wealthy clients have connections with the US either through their families or assets. Simon Goldring and Ziva Robertson head the department.
‘Simon Goldring works very hard and is good technically. He thinks very carefully about things’
‘A high-quality firm that always puts the client first. Simon Goldring is obsessive about client service and he will always go the extra mile to deliver. Simon will always challenge and explore every option to find the perfect solution for the client’
‘Astrid Owen is a go-to adviser for the most complex and difficult structuring issues. She should be on speed dial for internationally based families and family offices‘
‘The team stands out for its dual UK/US international planning expertise. Astrid Owen is clearly an expert on US and international tax matters‘
‘Simon Gibb is a walking encyclopaedia on tax, trusts and estate law combined with real commercial flair’
‘Simon Gibb is impressive in relation to his trust law knowledge and planning abilities‘
‘The team is extremely comprehensive in its approach, very knowledgeable and familiar with cross-border private client matters. Andrew Vergunst is especially knowledgeable about matters concerning the UK, US and South Africa. He is excellent in project managing cross-border advisory matters‘
‘Very experienced and dedicated to client service. Responsive to issues and good at dealing with HMRC. Abigail Nott is up and coming‘
Payne Hicks Beach advises UK and international ultra-high-net-worth clients, many of whom feature in the Sunday Times Rich List, the Forbes 400 and the Arabian Business Rich List. It handles a mix of international and domestic work, with continued instructions from Scandinavia and the Middle East. The 'talented' team is also adept at handling complex issues ranging from assisting UK resident non-domiciled clients with pre-arrival planning and structuring advice to advising some of the UK’s oldest and largest landed estates. The team is noted for 'the personal attention from the partners', including practice head Rosamond McDowell, Robert Brodrick, Frederick Bjørn and Basil Dixon. The arrival of Martin Paisner from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP further strengthened the department.
‘The team is discreet – the lawyers waste no breath blowing their own trumpet, focusing instead on providing a gold-standard service to their worldwide client base. From the intricacies of tax to the interweaving of international structures, the lawyers sail effortlessly over the choppiest waters‘
‘Rosamond McDowell is very responsive, shows good initiative and is good at organising specialists in the firm when needed‘
‘Robert Brodrick is very experienced in advising landed estates clients’
‘PHB is at the top of my list of go-to London firms. The lawyers are very capable, have a great bedside manner and resolve both complex and straightforward matters efficiently‘
‘Robert Brodrick is a very knowledgeable and respected lawyer. He has a wealth of experience which enables him to quickly handle matters. He has a great team of talented lawyers to assist him. Frederick Bjørn is extremely personable and capable. The team’s expertise continues with Rosamond McDowell and more‘
‘A highly personalised approach combined with in-depth knowledge and expertise. Robert Brodrick has a wealth of knowledge and he is able to clearly and concisely explain what is necessary. He is also able to navigate complex family issues to ensure a successful outcome‘
‘They are traditional lawyers in a positive way – you feel that you know who you are dealing with, it is a personalised service and the lawyers are genuine experts in their area. My main contact is Basil Dixon who is very personable and professional and always responsive’
‘Basil Dixon has the ability, poise and strength of character, without any of the arrogance that so often goes with it, to handle the most weighty matter or client. James Bacon is a technical supremo, while also as charming as they come. Every estate, however complex, however grand, is dealt with effectively and apparently simply‘
RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP advises high-net-worth individuals on the full spectrum of private client matters, with particular expertise in private wealth, tax and estate planning. The 'strong and dynamic' team is adept at advising on international wills and estate planning, as well as trust and international trust matters. Other strengths lie in the taxation of UK residential property and landed estate and heritage asset matters, and the team is experienced in advising clients with substantial collections of art, antiques and chattels. It has a significant client base in South Africa, China, Turkey and Israel, as well as a growing client base in the Middle East. The practice is led by the highly regarded Jonathan Shankland and Victoria Fairley. While Tulin Hamit left for Collyer Bristow LLP, the team's senior ranks were bolstered by the promotion of Patrick Malone to the partnership.
‘A highly innovative firm but with traditional values when it comes to client service. A strong private client team that has broad experience. Jon Shankland is technically excellent and obsessive about client service. His clients always receive exceptional service and they rely on him for all their legal needs‘
‘The firm is clearly one of the best, highly professional and with a name that implies trust and integrity. I would highlight the breadth of its global network; the impact of its brand; and the fact that I know that I have the broad resources of a top-class law firm at my disposal should I need it‘
‘Victoria Fairley is measured, intelligent and a very safe pair of hands‘
‘Jonathan Shankland is a quality operator at the top of his game. He is commercial, responsive and a lawyer you want on your team. He is an outstanding professional, knowledgeable and client friendly‘
‘It is a collegial team and its strengths lie with Jon Shankland and Victoria Fairley, who are dedicated to developing their team’s experience and expertise. It is genuinely a hardworking, collaborative and down-to-earth team. Very bright, sharp and creative in finding solutions‘
‘Jon Shankland is a savvy negotiator who is a very strong communicator. He has no weaknesses – he is exactly who you need when the rubber hits the road. Tom Frankel was very helpful and kind’
‘Patrick Malone’s strengths are his resourcefulness, determination and willingness to roll his sleeves up on any task. Patrick has a pleasant disposition. It feels a bit like I’m his only client, when I know that can’t be true‘
‘Good international tax knowledge and the ability to communicate this knowledge to clients. Jonathan Shankland is very focused and has an eye for detail with a real can-do attitude’
JTC Trust Company (Jersey and Guernsey)
Swiss Independent Trust Company SA
47 Brand LLC
BBC Presenters v HMRC
Heritage Trust Company Limited
Russell-Cooke LLP's 'exceptionally approachable' team is skilled in advising on complex tax planning and succession planning mandates, with key specialisms in the EU Succession Regulation, matrimonial property regimes and family investment companies, to name but a few. It is also uniquely placed to advise on French succession and property matters, as Dawn Alderson has a wealth of experience in Anglo-French issues. Rebecca Fisher heads the family office team, which advises wealthy clients on all aspects of their wealth and succession planning. Key clients include family businesses, entrepreneurs and members of the legal profession, as well as accountants, celebrities and politicians. They range from the substantially wealthy to longstanding clients and their families. Consultant Richard Frimston is also recommended.
‘Rebecca Fisher was assured in her knowledge of matters relevant to our needs and commanded good colleague interaction when necessary across Russell-Cooke’s other disciplines‘
‘Exceptionally approachable. Advice is easy to understand and yet very sophisticated. Excellent responsiveness to clients’ questions. We feel very much supported‘
‘Rebecca Fisher is an exceptionally professional lawyer who remains very approachable. I feel that I can pick up the phone to her any time and she will walk me through the issues at hand in a calm and to-the-point manner so that I fully understand them. Nothing is too much trouble for her. The quality of her advice is excellent from a technical point of view but also very digestible‘
‘Outstanding expertise in cross-border estate planning and knowledge of material law of foreign jurisdictions. Christopher Salomons is hands-on and efficient‘
‘We are always confident in referring our clients to the team at Russell-Cooke as we know they are experts in their field and will provide solutions that are practical. The lawyers are always very approachable and available and it is clear that they have a passion for their area of expertise‘
‘Rebecca Fisher’s attention to detail and depth of knowledge is really exceptional, and she is well regarded by all clients who I have referred to her‘
‘The team has great strength in this area. Given that the firm has a dedicated French law department, the team is able to deal with clients who have assets not only in the UK but also in France, thereby providing a comprehensive service. Additionally, the private client litigation department at Russell-Cooke is excellent, so that if matters do become contentious there is support there’
‘Rebecca Fisher in particular has excellent tax and trusts knowledge. She is also very easy to deal with and good with clients. She is reassuring, knowledgeable and also practical‘
The 'simply first-class' team at Sinclair Gibson LLP provides a 'Rolls-Royce service' to clients. It has deep expertise in advising UK-based families and landed estates on wealth structures and devolution planning, and frequently assists international clients with multi-jurisdictional matters. The practice has a broad range of expertise, spanning the establishment of trusts, post-death planning, and estate and trust administration. Its client base is predominantly made up of high and ultra-high-net-worth individuals, as well as successive generations of UK-domiciled families. The private client group is led by Keith Bruce-Smith and Lucy Gibson, who are highlighted for their 'excellent professional skills'. Both act as fiduciaries of substantial UK and offshore trusts and are non-executive directors of UK companies owned by the families they advise.
‘The team is small but highly expert in its field. The lawyers act for some of the biggest domestic family names and many international ones too. Keith Bruce-Smith is an extremely experienced, expert private client lawyer. He combines his technical experience with practical know-how and a forceful personality. Lucy Gibson has an excellent reputation. They are assisted by a highly competent team including Lizzie Fordham in particular’
‘Sinclair Gibson LLP is absolutely first rate with deep experience and expertise in complex, multi-jurisdictional planning and litigation. All of its partners are impressive, as are its associates‘
‘The service is personal – all your concerns are taken away because the team is competent and works together so well. Lucy Gibson is outstanding. I trust her implicitly for all aspects of the work she carries out for me‘
‘Both Keith Bruce-Smith and Lucy Gibson not only have excellent professional skills in tax planning and trust work, but are also sympathetic, courteous and a pleasure to work with‘
‘Lucy Gibson is particularly impressive in leading a team of lawyers from various jurisdictions in complex cross-border contentious matters. She is experienced, knowledgeable and can juggle the complexities of various legal systems masterfully. She is a brilliant and loyal ally, and a fierce opponent‘
‘Keith Bruce-Smith and Judith Robinson combine forces to offer an outstanding team for the development of strategy for the most complex of situations, including international aspects, and the timely execution of instructions thereafter‘
‘Keith Bruce-Smith’s very strong understanding of complex taxation issues was notable. He was always prepared to think outside the box and then back it up with technical explanations. Eleanor Walsh is technically very strong‘
‘Keith Bruce-Smith is just first rate. He has an unparalleled knowledge of inheritance tax and other capital taxes and is always looking at ways to get the best for his clients. He also has an excellent knowledge of trusts and how they work. On top of this, Keith is sensible and practical. His client management skills are excellent. Lucy Gibson is also first class. She is a brilliant trust and tax lawyer who has a fabulous client manner’
Druces LLP is 'experienced in delivering traditional private client services'. In addition, it is increasingly active in advising non-UK domiciled clients, both resident and non-resident in the UK, as well as their fiduciaries, structures and businesses, on sophisticated international matters. The team is well equipped to provide structuring advice on worldwide tax optimisation, asset protection and privacy across all taxes. The firm acts for a number of national charities and has a significant number of fiduciary clients. Robert Macro recently succeeded Richard Monkcom as head of the private client practice; other names to note include Nicole Gallop, David Anderson and associate Paul Levy.
‘I have always found everyone at the firm very friendly, approachable and capable. Having worked with senior associates and partners in the team, I have always felt there is a willingness to do the best job possible and collaborating on these cases has always been very easy‘
‘Druces is experienced in delivering traditional private client services across UK capital taxes, estate planning and probate’
‘The team was very knowledgeable both in terms of the general administration of a will and in relation to trust law, and had a strong understanding of tax consequences. It has a fantastic blend of legal and commercial acumen‘
‘The firm does a lot of work in property ownership structures and trusts, and as a result has a good overview of the market in that area. We regularly work with Richard Monkcom, who has a particularly high level of attention to detail, but is also focused on finding practical solutions Richard is a seasoned and experienced partner. I always felt confident that the interests of the various generations would be equitably handled by the team.’
‘I find Paul Levy to be very knowledgeable in all areas of private client law. Furthermore, Paul has always had a willingness to get things done with the minimum of fuss and without coming across as pushy at what is usually a difficult time for the client. I particularly like the way that Paul is happy to work closely with me on all client cases. He has also always shown a willingness to be transparent on fees‘
‘Paul Levy is an exceptional young solicitor who is extremely knowledgeable and provides a first-class service. He is articulate, understanding and very thorough. He looks after me and my entire family always with a smile, and demonstrates a wide understanding of all matters, including an ability to think outside the box‘
Directors UK (RXM)
Vistra UK (RXM)
Kleinwort Hambros (RXM)
Edwin Coe LLP is 'brimming with energetic, young talent, from the top of the department to the bottom'. The team is increasingly advising on high-value and complex cross-jurisdictional estates. Alison Broadberry receives a significant number of client referrals from the wealth management sector and works closely with private bankers, wealth advisers, IFAs and financial planners. David Goepel is the lead international partner, with particular experience in the Middle East, South East Asia and in US/UK estate planning. Consultant Nick Giles is adept at probate and estate administration. Sean Bannister is another key figure and heads the tax team. Matthew Barnett joined the team from Harbottle & Lewis LLP.
‘Excellent knowledge and understanding of the tax and wider issues confronting private clients and trustees. Well able to compete on equal terms with all the majors in this field‘
‘My overall impression of Edwin Coe is that it is a strong, well-organised firm with top lawyers‘
‘Nick Giles always keeps in touch with what his team is doing and makes sure that the work is done well and at the right price. Alison Broadberry gets straight to the heart of the matter and has an unrivalled grasp not just of private client and trustee issues, but also of the impact on them of finance and pensions’
‘Nick Giles’ performance is excellent and down to earth, and also he does not hesitate to pass matters to more specialist colleagues when appropriate‘
‘The firm that really does go the extra yard. Nothing is too much trouble, and its clients hugely appreciate the devotion to service at the highest levels. One of the few firms I recommend to my friends‘
‘David Goepel is one of the absolute stars of the private client world. No trumpet-blowing, but just sheer class. He knows the technical side, inside out, but provides solutions rather than obstacles, and solutions which work. Ben Harle inspires confidence and gratitude in his clients, in equal measure. Wendy Hall’s knowledge, poise and delivery were equal to lawyers many years her senior. A class act’
‘Matthew Barnett has long been my go-to man to send clients to for wills and trusts and he always gains their trust’
‘Matt is always a pleasure to work with and is particularly strong on non-contentious tax and wealth planning‘
St. James’s Place
Fieldfisher's 'super' team acts for a number of blue-chip international clients. Peter Golden is known for his strong expertise and client base in the Middle East, while Alistair Robertson is recommended for his experience in advising clients based in the Far East. In addition to advising their international clients on all aspects of UK tax (including issues surrounding relocation to, and new investments in, the UK), Golden and Robertson have particular skill in assisting with business succession structuring and family governance matters. Penny Wotton is another key member of the team.
‘Alistair Robertson and Peter Golden are a super team. They provide fantastic client service delivery underpinned by solid legal work‘
‘Peter Golden is extremely knowledgeable and helpful‘
‘The team’s strength and depth is evident from the moment it is engaged and I have the utmost confidence in it’
‘Peter Golden has excellent technical knowledge and is also very pragmatic and commercial when giving his advice‘
‘Peter Golden has built a strong team around him who provide all the required support‘
‘Peter has a strong rapport with his clients and is presentable to any client, no matter what their background’
‘It is an excellent firm. Well priced and very responsive‘
‘Alistair Robertson is diligent, personable and commercial’
Harbottle & Lewis LLP acts for a significant number of entrepreneurs in new (often tech) disrupter industries. Other clients stem from the creative industries, including high-profile celebrities. The 'dynamic' Glen Atchison primarily concentrates on advising UK resident and non-resident ultra-high-net-worth individuals on various issues, ranging from tax-efficient international succession planning and structuring through to the use of trusts or other bespoke arrangements to either trace or protect assets. Jonathan Burt is well regarded for his advice on cross-border succession planning in particular. Marianne Kafena joined the team from Farrer & Co and has particular expertise in the Middle East.
‘Delivers top-notch area expertise in a relaxed, professional and personable manner. High energy and forward thinking. State-of-the-art knowledge. Entrepreneurial‘
‘The team has so much experience and understands how to manage and look after UHNW clients’
‘Glen Atchison is dynamic, has boundless energy, is excellent with clients and can get straight to the heart of a matter‘
‘Glen Atchison is an excellent tactician and leader. His team has a very entrepreneurial attitude and has the breadth and ability to deal with anything a client wants’
‘Jonathan Burt is exceptionally bright, technically excellent and experienced in international private client work‘
‘Siena Gold is delightful, mature beyond her years, has excellent judgement and is hugely competent technically‘
‘Jonathan Burt is a great lawyer with a strong practice and interesting clients. He is amazing, very, very clever and provides sound advice‘
‘Zoë Camp’s clients feel absolutely supported by her; they have trust and confidence that they are getting the right advice. She is responsive and delivers a first-class service‘
Howard Kennedy LLP assists high and ultra-high-net-worth individuals, their families and advisers with tax and estate planning. Clients include entrepreneurs, business owners, artists, authors, musicians, members of foreign royalty and charities, as well as sport professionals both in the UK and overseas. The team is experienced in matters with complex multi-jurisdictional elements. Practice head Liz Palmer specialises in all forms of inheritance tax and capital gains tax planning, and routinely advises on estate planning matters for business-owning families and clients with interests in the US. John Annetts and Simon Malkiel are the other names to note.
The 'excellent' Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP has strong international capabilities and routinely advises UK resident and non-resident, non-domiciled individuals, international families, trustees, private banks, family offices and business owners around the world. Team head Clare Archer has a focus on advising landed and business families, and assists clients with generational planning and governance matters. Ryan Myint is adept at advising on multi-jurisdictional planning issues such as cross-border tax reporting, disclosure and transparency matters. Senior associate Tristan Smale joined from TLT in June 2020.
‘James d’Aquino is an excellent lawyer with a sharp commercial edge. He is a mine of information and practical experience in international tax planning‘
‘This is an excellent firm, with top legal advice provided at a fraction of the price of its competitors’
‘Lucy Edwards is an outstanding solicitor who has worked closely with a number of my UHNW and HNW clients and has received stellar feedback on a consistent basis‘
‘A longstanding presence in the field with significant prowess in advising on dynastic assets in a modern and international setting‘
‘Laura Dadswell is the shining star in the private client team. She is responsive and communicates in a clear and decisive way’
The private client team at Stephenson Harwood 'has an uncanny ability of getting straight to the issue and providing its advice in a way that is easy to put into practice'. It advises ultra-high-net-worth individuals and family offices internationally and acts predominantly for entrepreneurial wealth generators. Under the leadership of James Quarmby and Hugo Jenney, the department has a particular focus on complex structuring with an international angle, particularly where a business or corporate structure is involved. In addition, it is well placed to advise on a broad range of other issues, particularly the UK tax treatment of international pensions.
‘The team provides a first-class service, mixing commercial nous with vast knowledge. We also like the people at Stephenson Harwood – although they are always incredibly busy (the sign of a good firm), they are easily approached and are very generous with their time‘
‘James Quarmby is first class – he provides clear and practical advice which condenses very complicated subjects into language which is easily understood by the client. He is highly recommended‘
‘Jamey Quarmby is highly professional and knowledgeable in all aspects of UK tax law. He is not processing clients but interested in their personal circumstances and issues. He is seeking to provide tailored solutions that are suited for the clients and yet can be understood by the client‘
‘Emily Osborne has an encyclopaedic knowledge of tax codes and a particular specialism in pensions legislation. I have never once asked her a question that she did not know the answer to’
‘James Quarmby is a broadly skilled adviser in the tax and private client area, with an astute understanding of the policy context for his cross-border tax practice’
‘James Quarmby and Emily Osborne are consistently professional and personable, have extensive technical ability and speak in a language that is clear and concise. James is the finest private client lawyer operating in London today. He is sharp, savvy and oh so practical. A dream for trustees to work with‘
‘Emily Osborne is a good international tax adviser and a specialist in international pension schemes. This team continues to make a splash in the market‘
‘Alice Vink has advised several of my clients before and I have always found the quality of her reports to be first rate‘
Wedlake Bell LLP's 'star is on the rise'; it has been active advising a significant number of UK domiciled and international high and ultra-high-net-worth clients on complex and multi-jurisdictional wealth matters. Its expertise ranges from wealth transfer and wealth preservation strategies to wills and succession planning. Other strengths include advising on UK and international tax, the creation and administration of ultra-high-value estates and trusts, and heritage assets, art and collectibles. It has also been advising increasingly frequently on the use of family investment companies. Andrew O’Keeffe is a key contact in the sizeable team, which was recently joined by Antoaneta Proctor from Taylor Wessing LLP.
Other key lawyers:
‘Its star is on the rise‘
‘Antoaneta Proctor is a very good addition. She is very active in the Eastern European market and has excellent people skills‘
Burges Salmon LLP continues to enhance its traditional client base with a growing number of ultra-high-net-worth international families. It also acts for business owners and entrepreneurs, family businesses, rural businesses, landed estates, private banks, wealth managers and advisers, as well as trust companies in the UK and overseas. The firm is also increasingly involved in some of the largest and most complex international trust restructuring work. Beatrice Puoti and John Barnett head the department. Catherine De Maid and Emma Heelis-Adam were promoted to the partnership.
‘The team is highly responsive and offers sound commercial advice to individuals and trustees alike’
‘The team is consistently knowledgeable and accessible. We love working with a number of individuals but would highlight Beatrice Puoti, who is exceptional, John Barnett, who is technically brilliant, and Suzanna Harvey, who is lovely to work with’
‘Jim Aveline and John Barnett are very good at working out client needs and both identifying points of technical weakness in tax and providing a solution‘
‘Experts in their field and always willing to assist intermediaries and clients’
‘John Barnett and Beatrice Puoti are motivated, knowledgeable and keen to achieve the best outcomes for their clients. They have a stable of high-net-worth clients, which is a testament to their ability to attract and retain sought-after clients’
‘The practice has subject matter experts who excel in their area of expertise, and who provide advice and guidance in a very practical and efficient manner. John Barnett stands out‘
‘Catherine de Maid is excellent‘
Collyer Bristow LLP advises a broad array of private clients from landed estates through to entrepreneurs. It frequently advises on wills, trusts and probate matters, as well as on other complex issues relating to personal tax and structuring. The team has particular strength in specific jurisdictions such as Switzerland, the US, the Nordics, Russia and the Middle East. Peter Daniel is a name to note. Tulin Hamit recently joined the team from RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP.
GSC Solicitors LLP has a growing emphasis on acting for international ultra-high-net-worth clients such as oligarchs, significant families and owners of blue-chip companies, with assets spread across different countries. Department head Saleem Sheikh commonly deals with issues such as succession planning for children coming into a business or protecting the assets of married couples through pre-nuptial agreements, trusts or partnership agreements. Other strengths include advising on lasting powers of attorney and tax-efficient gifting to children.
Other key lawyers:
‘Saleem Sheikh and James Cohen stand out for their personalised service and attention to detail’
‘I have received prompt and excellent service with great attention to detail and what I consider to be practical and sensible advice’
‘In my experience the coordination of the whole team at GSC is brilliant. In the absence of our main contact, we were still attended to in a very timely and efficient manner. It appears the team is extremely organised and has good communication system’
‘James Cohen is a very calm and patient personality. He was well aware of the subject matter and guided us diligently and in a timely manner. He also took efforts to write us details of our conversations and discussions clarifying again any doubts and queries we had raised’
‘GSC provides bespoke and personalised legal advice. James Cohen is approachable and provides considered and tailored advice‘
‘The private client team at GSC always handles client matters in a timely and efficient way. The lawyers are able to simplify complex matters in a way that clients understand‘
‘James Cohen is available even out of office hours, on demand, to ensure that our clients are offered a Rolls-Royce service‘
‘James’ technical expertise is second to none and our clients are all very complimentary of him. He is personable, knowledgeable and efficient‘
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
Under the leadership of Richard Norridge, the private wealth team at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP comprises senior disputes, advisory and transactional lawyers who advise on contentious, structuring, tax and other matters. The team regularly advises institutional clients such as banks and trust companies, as well as trustees, their insurers, beneficiaries, family offices and ultra-high-net-worth individuals. It has acted for for some of the wealthiest families in Asia, the Middle East and Europe, including the UK. Gareth Keillor left to set up his own firm.
Kingsley Napley LLP acts for a raft of politicians, sports and media celebrities, and business people. Team head James Ward is a full member of STEP and is particularly skilled in cross-border and digital asset matters. Jim Sawer is a leading practitioner in the domestic and international tax and trusts arena. He heads the UAE service and is a registered wills draftsman in the Dubai International Financial Centre’s Wills and Probate Registry, and therefore is authorised to draft and advise on DIFC-compliant wills.
‘The professionalism of the private client team at Kingsley Napley, with years of experience and a range of talent, was evident throughout. The team’s attention to detail and excellent judgement is exemplified by its clear understanding and highly approachable manner toward clients‘
‘This team has experience in cross-border matters and it understands the complexity of such cases and the importance of working with lawyers from other jurisdictions. It is always possible to discuss any issues of international law which arise to find the right answer, and talk about any practical difficulty so that a pragmatic solution is found‘
‘James Ward brings a certain dynamism, mixing quality advice with a commercial sense’
‘James Ward has the rare ability to deal with sensitive individual issues in a professional and empathetic way. His outstanding and clear communication skills make easy work of complex issues’
‘James Ward is a highly committed, knowledgeable and experienced private client solicitor. Always providing considered guidance on trust, personal tax and probate matters, James ensures his clients are front and centre and receive the best possible service at the highest levels‘
‘I have no hesitation in referring HNW clients to Kingsley Napley, because it is clear that the firm takes pride in the quality of its client experience and I am comfortable that the client will be well looked after. Stephanie Mooney, Joseph Austin and James Ward all have a consistent approach – they are responsive and proactive, and you know what you are going to get with them‘
‘Jim Sawer provides a very professional, knowledgeable and personal individual service’
‘KN is at the cutting edge of legal advice – the lawyers are quick to respond to communication and have sharp minds. I work with Joseph Austin, who is excellent. He works efficiently and quickly, and his knowledge in the private client sector is fantastic. He is also sympathetic and calm when dealing with complicated matters‘
Michelmores LLP covers all aspects of estate planning, with a particular focus on cross-border US/UK tax issues. The team is increasingly active advising high-value and large landed estates, ultra-high-net-worth entrepreneurs and business-owning clients from across to the UK, and continues to receive a steady flow of instructions from international families who have been active in creating structures in the Channel Islands and the Cayman Islands. The London part of the team is headed by Jennifer Ridgway following Jonathan Riley's move to Fladgate LLP.
‘Jennifer Ridgway is outstanding – she has a technical knowledge at her fingertips, and is a great communicator and very personable‘
‘Michelmores provides high-quality advice for a reasonable charge. I have found that the advice it has provided to high-net-worth individuals has been excellent‘
‘I have worked extensively with Jennifer Ridgway and would recommend her highly. She has great client skills and is also very competent from a technical perspective, and very responsive‘
‘A very personable and responsive group of partners who offer high-quality advice and very reasonable rates‘
‘James Radcliffe and James Frampton are extremely good. They are super responsive and clients’ feedback is always that the advice was clear‘
Sarah Cormack is at the helm of the team at Mills & Reeve LLP. She is well regarded for her advice to ultra-high-net-worth individuals and for her particular skill in international asset holding structures. Other strengths lie in advising on international family offices, as well as the use of private trust companies, protector and appointee entities. The group is also skilled in advising on family councils and family constitutions. Cambridge-based Chris Belcher is well regarded for his estate work.
‘Sarah Cormack is always a pleasure to work with. Gillian Kennedy-Smith is a good all-round private client lawyer‘
‘The firm has an in-depth knowledge of a broad range of private client legal issues. It offers the same service as other well-regarded and experienced firms, but at a competitive price‘
‘Gillian Kennedy-Smith is a pleasure to deal with. She has great legal knowledge and experience whilst still providing advice which is easy to understand. She also has an excellent client manner’
‘Very personable and easy to work with. It feels like a team effort‘
Osborne Clarke LLP advises high and ultra-high-net-worth clients on the full spectrum of private wealth issues, including international tax and estate planning, UK and offshore trusts, estate administration and inheritance tax issues on high-value estates, and estates involving complex IP rights issues. Clients include entrepreneurs, international wealthy families and figures in the entertainment industry. Under the leadership of Stuart Janaway, the team has also established a reputation for US-related private client work. Andrew Goodman covers matters including personal tax, succession and philanthropy.
Other key lawyers:
‘Efficient and easy to deal with. Andrew Goodman provides clear, user-friendly tax advice’
‘The lawyers are relevant and valuable to the private clients advised by the wider firm, often acting on complex, multinational and dynamic business-related matters. This shows that OC truly understands and values relationships with clients as individuals as much as businesses or legal cases‘
‘It is always a pleasure to engage Stuart Janaway. He is assured and experienced in all private client matters, but particularly valuable to UK and US clients with complex trust work to remediate and take forward as a new trustee. He continues to operate at the heart of the demanding and dynamic world of the firm’s excellent markets and deal-making practice‘
At Stevens & Bolton LLP, team head Stuart Skeffington has extensive experience of all aspects of tax, trusts and charities. Particular areas of expertise include advising on complex onshore and offshore trust structures, as well as tax-efficient strategies for non-UK domiciliaries. The team is also recommended for its tax-planning advice to business owners (including advising on exit events and corporate reconstructions) and its assistance to family offices. An increasing proportion of its work is being generated from its contacts overseas.
‘The Stevens & Bolton private client team provides high-quality, practical advice which is very reassuring, particularly when dealing with more complex tax and legal issues’
‘The team has a very good range of experience which enables it to deal with most situations very effectively. The level of service and response times are also very good. You feel like you are getting value for money‘
‘The whole team is very approachable and I have no hesitation in continuing to recommend the team to my clients‘
‘Nick Acomb has a great ability to explain legal matters to clients in a way that they understand’
‘You know that you are in good hands. I have worked with Daryl Fox and Harriet Irving, and I receive outstanding service. The quality of service and depth of knowledge are exceptional‘
‘Daryl Fox, supported by Abigail Palmer-Page, has always been very accessible, prompt in replying to any queries, and indeed very proactive in spotting possible opportunities or looming problems‘
‘Rosie Todd and Harriet Irving bring the highest level of intellectual rigour and legal analysis to their work, which gives the client real confidence in the solutions that they come up with – and they are both a pleasure to work with‘
‘Rosie Todd has one of the finest intellects in private client work. This gives her a creative edge over competitors and enables her to find solutions where others might not‘
VWV’s clients range from celebrities (particularly in the performing arts) to politicians, entrepreneurs, private banks and charities. Its client base has further expanded to include wealthy entrepreneurs and business owners, foreign nationals and City professionals. The team advises on complex tax structures for entrepreneurial philanthropists and has extensive experience in handling tax claims for heritage property (including any exemptions from inheritance tax). Other areas of focus include charity tax reliefs from inheritance tax. Michael Knowles heads the practice, which also includes Judith Cuxson.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is thoroughly professional in what it does and benefits from having a friendly and human side‘
‘The lawyers are simply down-to-earth people who work with their clients in a supportive and positive way’
‘A very strong team in the private client field, complementing and complemented by the contentious private client team‘
‘Michael Knowles is knowledgeable, concise and to the point, and able to explain complex tax issues in a brilliant and user-friendly way‘
The team at Winckworth Sherwood LLP has been busy advising on trusts, high-net-worth estate planning and probate matters, as well as high-value matrimonial and residential issues. Its international private client practitioners also continue to assist wealthy non-UK resident, non-domiciled individuals and family offices on various international and tax estate planning matters. Other clients include a number of landed estates, charities, and a range of agents acting on behalf of incapacitated individuals such as attorneys and deputies. Hugh MacDougald heads the practice.
‘This is an understated firm that is doing very high value and complex trusts, tax and estates work with considerable expertise Tim Snaith is excellent to work with and technically very strong‘
‘Dhana Sabanathan is amazing at what she does. She employs a holistic approach to client situations and is super helpful in all matters pertaining to clients‘
‘Responses are very swift. The lawyers come up with solutions to problems. I would have no hesitation in recommending the firm, and Tim Snaith in particular‘
‘Tim Snaith is outstanding. His client manner, responsiveness, practical mind and ability to simplify and guide clients through some complex ideas is brilliant. Anybody I have referred to him has, without exception, thanked me for the introduction and reported glowingly on the experience‘
‘An exceptionally strong practice in this area dealing readily with high-value complex and contentious trust, tax and probate matters. Tim Snaith is very knowledgeable and experienced, exceptional in managing difficult clients and unflappable under pressure. He is discreet and courteous – the very model of a private client partner‘
‘A good solid practice with quality clients. Tim Snaith is well versed in the law and has a calm and sensible head. He has his clients’ best interests at heart’
‘Philip Collins brings a practical approach and significant experience‘
‘There was direct and easy access to the partners handling my various matters‘
Blake Morgan LLP advises on a broad range of taxation issues, including inheritance tax, capital gains tax, property taxes and stamp duty land tax. It also has a particular focus on providing structuring advice on the holding and acquisition of UK residential property and to owner-managed businesses. In addition, the team is well equipped to handle the administration of cross-border estates. Helen Bunker heads the team following Mark Spash's move to Fladgate LLP.
Other key lawyers:
‘Helen Bunker is standout partner‘.
‘Arshoo Singh is fantastic – intelligent and thorough with excellent client manner‘
‘Arshoo’s manner towards the client was very good. She remained calm and provided clear, straightforward explanations of the law’
‘I have worked with Arshoo Singh and found her to be the consummate professional: clearly knowledgeable yet personable and user-friendly with clients‘
‘Arshoo Singh is a non-contentious practitioner who also has experience of contentious probate work, which gives her a real edge in advising on complex probate issues. She has a real grasp of detail and excellent judgement and legal skills‘
The national private wealth team at Cripps Pemberton Greenish advises UK and international clients domiciled in multiple jurisdictions. Clients include members of the English aristocracy and judiciary, politicians, leading business people, ultra-high-net-worth individuals, musicians and TV, film and sports personalities. The focus of the practice is on advising individuals, often with assets of over £10m. It also advises on executorship and trusteeship matters, frequently with an international dimension. Jeremy Curtis heads the team.
‘The team is commercial and diligent, responding to clients in a clear and un-fussy way’
‘The lawyers have a real practical approach to private clients which resonates both with other professionals and the client‘
‘The team’s strength is its experience and expertise in private client matters, both contentious and non-contentious’
‘Jeremy Curtis is very practical and good with clients’
‘Jeremy Curtis is an exceptional private client lawyer – he has an ability to ask the pertinent questions at all times, and he has a gentle approach matched with a razor-sharp intellect. An impressive private client and trust lawyer‘
‘Paul Fairbairn is invariably professional, as well as being a likeable and approachable person‘
‘John Goodchild combines a high level of technical expertise with an intelligent and creative approach to problem-solving‘
‘John Goodchild works with rather than for the clients. He gives sound advice at a reasonable price‘
Fladgate LLP focuses on providing advice on complex tax and wealth structuring issues for domestic and international clients, including families, entrepreneurs and fiduciary businesses, drawing on the firm's extensive experience in advising high-net-worth individuals. The cross-departmental team frequently advises non-domiciled clients and their asset structures in and outside the UK. Neal Todd heads the team; it added Mark Spash to its ranks from Blake Morgan LLP, while Matthew Bennett moved to Boodle Hatfield LLP.
Other key lawyers:
‘Mark Spash is very supportive. Phone calls are always returned and everyone, from reception to associates, makes what could be distressing easy to cope with’
‘Mark Splash is ever efficient and gives excellent advice‘
International trust companies
Individuals and families with significant personal assets, domiciled and non-domiciled
Trustees of family and charitable trusts
Entrepreneurs and family businesses
Personal representatives of substantial estates
Greenwoods GRM has a new head of department with the recruitment of Gareth Hughes from Laytons LLP. Hughes has a wealth of experience advising high-net-worth UK domiciled and non-domiciled clients on a wide range of estate planning and tax matters. Ian Bowyer has extensive experience of onshore trusts and probate work, and Muna Rogoff is particularly recommended for her advice to clients on mental capacity-related issues such as lasting powers of attorney and deputyships.
‘Exceptionally professional with the clients at its heart‘
‘The focus is on the best solution for the client and not on providing standard advice, even if the case is similar to many others, as some specific circumstances may differ‘
‘The team work appears very good, with delegation from the partner to more junior staff where appropriate‘
‘As a relatively small practice there’s good communication between the departments, so I always feel the firm knows my personal circumstances and can advise accordingly’
‘Ian Bowyer is very efficient and responsive. It is this no-nonsense, responsive approach that differentiates the team from competitors‘
‘Ian Bowyer was extremely resourceful and helpful, I cannot thank him enough‘
‘Ian Bowyer listens proactively in order to fully understand the clients’ needs and ensure the most appropriate solution is found. He studies the rules from all perspectives to identify the solution that best fits the case‘
‘Muna Rogoff put me at my ease and was excellent and charming’
Ince is well regarded for advising UK resident non-domiciled and non-UK resident non-domiciled clients on complex cross-border issues. The team has a number of areas of particular expertise, including domicile matters and the administration of estates where domicile is an issue. It is also adept at dealing with multi-jurisdictional tax and inheritance matters, and advising on succession structures. John Burrell heads the team, while Anna Coakes and Roger Peters are also recommended.
‘Amelia Beringer has exactly the right balance of the friendly and the professional. She puts me at my ease’
‘A very approachable and efficient team who always answered any queries in a timely and comprehensive manner‘
‘Matthew Biles is an outstanding solicitor. He dealt with a complex probate/ inheritance tax situation in a thoroughly efficient and professional manner. I would highly recommend him‘
Moon Beever acts for a variety of UK and non-UK clients, including high-net-worth individuals, SMEs, business owners and managers, and elderly clients on all aspects of wills, trusts and the administration of estates, in addition to personal taxation matters. Richard Boulding heads the team, which has particular expertise in the administration of testate and intestate estates, especially involving older unadministered estates and estates with missing or unknown beneficiaries. Charlotte Pollard is another key member of the team.
Other key lawyers:
‘The majority of the work which we refer involves intestate estates. The team at Moon Beever has an in-depth knowledge of intestacy and the necessary resources and personnel to process such work both quickly and efficiently‘
‘The private client team is experienced, approachable and practical‘
‘Richard Boulding is pleasant, well respected and good with clients. He is an experienced solicitor, exceptionally bright and diligent, with good attention to detail and excellent organisational skills’
‘Charlotte Pollard is empathetic, efficient and incredibly easy to work with’
‘Charlotte deals very efficiently with matters referred to her and provides clients with a pragmatic and efficient approach. Charlotte has a refreshingly enthusiastic approach to complex and sometimes challenging estates’
‘The depth of knowledge within the team is a huge positive and the lawyers are all very personable. Charlotte Pollard is exceptional in her knowledge, output and the manner that she deals with people. She immediately puts clients at ease‘
‘Charlotte is thorough in her work and always stays in touch. She manages to be professional and personable at once, a skill not many have‘
‘Charlotte doesn’t just know the law, she understands people and takes the time to get to know them‘
New Quadrant Partners LTD
New Quadrant Partners LTD advises its globally connected UK clients on tax, trusts and succession matters, as well as domicile and residency issues, UK investments and cross-border planning. The team advises on wealth structuring techniques, including family investment companies and private open-ended investment companies. Paul Davidoff specialises in family partnerships and strategic planning for landed estates.
Other key lawyers:
‘Highly intelligent lawyers who are very client focused and solution driven‘
‘Creative thinkers who will give robust advice that you can be confident is accurate and well considered‘
‘The team as a whole is exceptional – the lawyers have a strong and deep specialist knowledge in their field and they are well used to dealing with complex problem-solving for wealthy people with particular needs. They are also very user friendly’
‘Pragmatic approach, technical ability and availability‘
‘We have worked with the firm on a number of matters requiring urgent turnaround and the team has responded very quickly, focusing on the key matters and ensuring deadlines are met’
‘Paul Davidoff is an accomplished all-rounder. He has a great deal of experience with private client trust and tax issues. He’s always a pleasure to deal with’
Royds Withy King
Royds Withy King routinely advises on complex and valuable estates and the associated tax-planning opportunities. The team is particularly experienced in advising entrepreneurs, investors and business owners on UK tax and estate planning matters, and regularly acts for international clients looking to move to, leave or invest in the UK. Department head Deanna Hurst specialises in tax efficiency, trusts and the management of family affairs. Rod Smith recently joined the team from Stone King LLP.
Other key lawyers:
‘There is a great breadth of knowledge within the team’
‘The lawyers are very client focused and are happy to talk through a client’s requirements and guide them rather than pushing them down a particular route’
‘The individuals I work with are willing to help with queries and give their time in helping us as advisers even if this does not lead to business on their side‘
‘Knowledgeable on the subject matter and accommodating‘
‘The advice is very well articulated. I worked with Deanna Hurst on wills and trusts and had a great experience as a professional and person’
‘Deanna Hurst has excellent expertise, is patient and thoughtful, and always provides a timely response to third parties and clients which is truly appreciated’
‘The team is knowledgeable on estate planning and is able to communicate this to clients, coupled with a personal approach’
‘I have had excellent feedback from the clients who have consulted this firm‘
The private wealth team at Seddons often acts for international high-net-worth individuals who have assets in multiple jurisdictions. It regularly advises UK residents, non-domiciliaries and international clients on all aspects of UK tax and trusts law. Team head Stuart Crippin specialises in advising on high-value domestic and international estates, as well as in UK tax and estate planning for both domestic clients and international clients with UK connections.
‘It is a small, focused team and you can be confident of quality advice whoever picks up the phone. Friendly, approachable and direct‘
‘An open and approachable manner, backed up by a top level of knowledge and experience‘
‘Really practical proactive advice to clients with a reasonable fee attached. Extremely responsive and I have always had a very quick response time on queries‘
‘Stuart Crippin is approachable and extremely knowledgeable. He has a calm and reassuring approach, helping to break down often complicated matters to the lay client‘
‘Stuart Crippin’s wide-ranging knowledge and experience allows him to make sensible decisions, especially in complicated IHT and probate matters. He is well supported by Zoe Pearse, who is approachable and efficient‘
‘Stuart Crippin is a lawyer who understands complex cross-border legal situations and knows how to achieve excellent results quickly by including and collaborating with excellent law firms abroad’
‘Sarah Clacker is super-smart and able to break down and explain supremely complicated cross-jurisdictional tax issues in a brilliantly straightforward way. She constantly surprises with her encyclopaedic knowledge of the area and will answer the most obscure questions immediately. She is very responsive and can turn advice around very quickly‘
‘Sarah Clacker in particular is able to take extremely complex legal issues and translate them to clients in a way in which they understand. I have come across very few lawyers with the ability to do this well‘
Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP's team is co-led by Alexander Dickinson, who is adept at advising on succession, asset protection and estate planning matters for landowners, entrepreneurs and wealthy individuals. Fellow co-head Neil Long is known for his advice to high-net-worth clients and trustees on estate planning and capital taxes matters. Edward Stone is also recommended for assisting high-net-worth individuals and family offices with cross-jurisdictional asset structuring and international tax, wealth and succession planning issues.
Other key lawyers:
‘The firm has a strong client base in the North East, including plenty of landed estate clients in that region‘
‘A standout partner for me is Alexander Dickinson, who has a great client base with art and art issues. He is dynamic and handles matters well‘
‘WBD’s private client department offers a modern approach to a traditional field of work. The department manages to advise effectively on all private wealth issues, from the traditional landed gentry and family office scenarios to entrepreneurs and career professionals’
‘Neil Long is exceptionally effective, approachable and unassumingly clever. Alexander Dickinson exudes an air of confidence and reassurance‘