Firms To Watch: Personal tax, trusts and probate

At JMW Solicitors LLP the head of department is Jamie Mathieson who ‘provides an excellent service. He is clear, transparent in his work, and achieves closure’.
Jo Summers co-leads the practice with Nicola Dudley at Jurit LLP. Summers ‘is outstanding, with years of experience, top private client and tax knowledge, highly responsive, and she works tirelessly for her clients’.
Alice Killingbeck leads the team at KPMG Law in the United Kingdom  - 'she is top class. Impressive in every way; technically strong, extremely commercial - she is a great lawyer'.
Jan Atkinson  heads the practice at Osbornes that is ‘very approachable and knowledgeable’. Jenny Walsh  is another key member of the group.

Personal tax, trusts and probate in London

Boodle Hatfield LLP

The ’excellent, very reliable and highly respected’ practice at Boodle Hatfield LLP receives many plaudits under the direction of Andrea Zavos . In the last year it has continued to enjoy some very significant client wins and continues to excel in complex international wealth structuring mandates where there are substantial business and personal assets. It is renowned for advising some of the largest family-owned businesses and family offices in the UK and internationally on governance, risk- management and wealth preservation. Salpy Kouyoumjian  is the joint head of the firm’s Middle East practice group. Kyra Motley is well-known for advising clients in the Middle East too and acts for six branches of ten different Royal families and 23 billionaires. Clare Stirzaker joined the team from PwC Legal  which has been described as a ‘feather in its cap to get her’. Clients remark that 'what I have found very unique is its bespoke, partner led service'.

Practice head(s):

Andrea Zavos

Other key lawyers:

Sue Laing; Simon Rylatt; Hayden Bailey; Sara Maccallum; Laurence Morgan; Kyra Motley; Clare Stirzaker; Clare Pooley; Salpy Kouyoumjian

Testimonials

‘The team at BH certainly has outperformed many other law firms specifically on complex issues and on an international level. We, BH and myself, share a few UHNW Families and the feedback I have received from my clients, and my own experience from dealing with them, has been nothing short of excellent, engaging and responsive with amazing technical skills’.

‘Kyra Motley is a standout advisor specifically for the Middle East, her deep knowledge of Sharia and non Sharia compliant issues, being a woman in this industry goes very well in the Middle East. She is impressive and is quick, focused on explaining issues in a simple language away from complex legal jargon is well respected in the Middle East. She has established an excellent reputation in the Middle East making her a very well known as a “go to advisor”’.

‘I have watched over the last decade as BH private client has morphed from a very much land and estates private client department into an international private client capacity with UHNW international clients having a footprint in a number of jurisdictions as well as offshore structures, with which we assist them regularly. They are still, perhaps, slightly under the radar for this work and deserve to be recognised more widely for it’.

‘Simon Rylatt and Laurence Morgan – both highly specialised and professional. Clients who are referred to them are taken great care of.’

‘Hayden Bailey good. Thorough and thoughtful. Laurence Morgan really excellent technically and inventive and proactive’.

‘Salpy Kouyoumijian is an exceptional lawyer – knows her stuff and is very personable’.

‘Salpy Kouyoumjian is the go-to lawyer for bespoke International Asset Restructuring and Family Business advising. She has a solid expertise advising clients from the MEA which grants her a distinctive added-value amid the UK Legal market practice’.

‘Laurence Morgan is an outstanding tax lawyer. Very reactive and has a pragmatic approach to complex matters’.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP excels due to the ‘quality of the partners with a great high level of support’ from its associates. The large team provides a fully integrated service to HNW/UHNW individuals and their families, family offices, landed estates, private banks, trustees and wealth managers. A significant proportion of its work is cross-border and it is adept at helping to coordinate advisors across multiple jurisdictions. Piers Master  continues to grow his international client base and receives a steady flow of work from Middle Eastern families with global enterprises on a range of cross-border projects. Bart Peerless  counts some of the world’s wealthiest families as clients and is adept at implementing offshore holding structures and at advising on inter-generational succession matters. Robert Blower  represents many major businesses and ruling families in the Middle East and has a particular focus on the Kuwaiti market. Dominic Lawrance ; William Begley  and Simon Weil are all highly recommended.

Practice head(s):

Robert Blower; Piers Master; William Begley

Other key lawyers:

Bart Peerless; Simon Weil; Dominic Lawrance; Nicola Thorpe; Alice Wilne; Sangna Chauhan

Testimonials

‘Technical excellence combined with a highly personalised service. Dominic Lawrence – technically superb in the area of non-domiciled individuals and offshore matters. Solves complex problems with ease, providing the ultimate reassurance to his clients’.

‘Sangna Chauhan – incredibly practical and pragmatic, delivering her advice in a personable manner. Would have no hesitation in putting Sangna in front of any client’.

‘The team at CRS excels at the complex and innovative transactions and solutions. They are incredibly responsive and are always available out of hours. A first class law firm’.

‘Their responsiveness and technically ability is second to none. They are excellent at guiding and supporting their clients through complex matters’.

Piers Master –  has an exceptional understanding of his clients and is highly skilled at navigating clients through complex issues. The team is technically superb. They are very cohesive too, very friendly and always available. They can involve other colleagues in other teams as need be, to provide a comprehensive and well coordinated service. The quality of the private clients advice is outstanding and second to none’.

‘Bart Peerless, Piers Master and Robert Blower are extraordinary. They are super technical, very commercial and very friendly. Always available. Very charismatic. A client could not get any better’.

‘Nicola Thorpe is a younger partner but she is phenomenal. Again, great technical and very clear in the advice, commercial, always available and very nice to work with. I truly believe this is the best team in the UK.’

‘Bart Peerless is indeed peerless! He is very calm and extremely capable. I have seen him in semi contentious situations and he is excellent under fire. Big fan of Robert Blower and Piers Masters also’.

Farrer & Co

Farrer & Co has a stellar reputation for its work with a broad range of clients from families and individuals to regularly advising trustee companies, banks/wealth managers and family offices. Sarah von Schmidt  works with a substantial number of international families and their family offices advising a mixture of trustees and beneficiaries on significant trust restructuring, planning as well as family governance and succession issues. Bryony Cove  helps many UK and US clients with their own businesses or those with self-generated wealth  as well as family businesses, landed estates and artistic talent. Russell Cohen  advises some of the wealthiest families in the world on a variety of highly complex and challenging issues. Catherine McAleavey  is a known name for her work on trusts and succession planning matters and regularly acts for mostly UK-based wealthy individuals and families.  Nick Dunnell  is another key member of the team who specialises in onshore and offshore trusts and personal tax matters for UK resident and non-resident individuals.

Practice head(s):

Bryony Cove; Sarah von Schmidt

Other key lawyers:

Russell Cohen; Catherine McAleavey; Nick Dunnell; Alexandra Hollingshead; Oliver Piper; Richard McDermott; Holly Jones

Testimonials

‘Farrer’s personal tax, trusts and probate team is an exceptional bunch. Highly technical, personable, and extremely skilled at navigating clients and advisers through complex and challenging situations. No advisory team is complete without them’.

‘Bryony Cove is a standout partner. Technically brilliant, extremely approachable, available and pragmatic, Bryony’s advice on any private client issue is highly valued’.

‘Richard McDermott is a friendly and calming presence and is wonderful to work with‘.

‘Very reliable and established private client firm’.

‘Russell Cohen – established, clients like him, very easy going manner. Holly Jones – very reliable’.

‘Good understanding of international tax topics’.

‘Very committed; friendly and efficient’.

Forsters LLP

It is the level of expertise’ at Forsters LLP  ‘combined with its ‘can-do’ attitude that attracts clients’ with Xavier Nicholas  at the helm. It has a large private wealth practice with a pre-eminent reputation for its advice to domestic and international HNW and UNHW clients on a range of complex cross-border and high-value taxation, estate planning and trust structuring matters. It continues to enjoy a regular stream of instructions on multi-billion pound matters for its international client base. Clients include major entrepreneurs, multi-generational families, trustees of significant cross-border estates and well-known artists. Carole Cook  is well-regarded for her work on complex tax and trust issues. Kelly Noel-Smith  acts for some of the world's richest families, including Middle Eastern royalty, Greek shipping families and entrepreneurs. Anthony Thompson  is among the leading advisers to Middle Eastern UNHW clients. James Brockhurst has recently been promoted to the partnership. ‘For such very clever people, they are also incredibly nice and easy to deal with’.

Practice head(s):

Xavier Nicholas

Other key lawyers:

Anthony Thompson; Nicholas Jacob; Daniel Ugur; Patricia Boon; Alfred Liu; Guy Abrahams; Andrew Lane; Fiona Smith; Alex Tamosius; Jeremy Robertson; Emma Gillies; James Brockhurst; Carole Cook; Kelly Noel-Smith

Testimonials

Forsters is a firm that really nurtures and brings on its next generation, enabling them client contact and the ability to build their network and express themselves. This is quite unique. They pride themselves on providing a tailored and bespoke personal service where the client feels valued and they are very good at problem solving. They are also very well versed in the crypto/digital assets space though the work that James Brockhurst is doing. This is ahead of their competitors’.

‘As a pure London practice it has exceptional expertise and experience in key global markets. Drawing on internal specialisms of law (personal, family, contentious, divorce, corporate, real estate and digital) to facilitate a range of requirements for families today. Stand-out names are: Daniel Ugur, James Brockhurst, Patricia Boon, Anthony Thompson, Nick Jacob’.

I cannot praise Guy Abrahams highly enough; Guy was an immense help and after a concentrated exchange of correspondence and some very astute advice we settled entirely to the client’s advantage without the expense of court being required. Everyone at Forsters works with each other for the clients as a team. This makes for an incredibly strong firm that delivers its best for any client I have directed its way’.

‘Andrew Lane – by far the most knowledgeable and practical lawyer in London. Andrew has a unique ability to absorb masses of information, extract the key facts and present them in a manner that clients can follow’.

‘Fiona Smith – outstanding in her technical ability and a way of making difficult law understandable to lay people. Guy Abrahams- again, technically very good and flexible and adaptable when it came to billing’.

‘Its commitment to its clients is exceptional. Its style is communicative and collaborative. Nick Jacob – first class technical lawyer with exceptional client care. Patricia Boon – incredibly responsive and proactive. Anthony Thompson – incredibly knowledgeable, extensive Middle East experience. Alex Tamosius – technically excellent’.

Jeremy Robertson and Emma Gillie (White) – both show high levels of knowledge, good client relationship skills and reasonable costs. They know their field and are responsive and engaged with clients’.

‘The firm always delivers a comprehensive and holistic solution tailored to the complex dynamics of the families they advise.  They enjoy long term and close relationships with their client’.

Macfarlanes LLP

With the ‘simply excellent’ team at Macfarlanes LLP  ‘there can be few teams of lawyers anywhere in the world that has greater capacity to deal with personal tax, trusts and probate matters than this team‘. It is led by Piers Barclay and is very well equipped to handle all types of complex situations for its ultra-high-net-worth clients with assets, business interests and families across multiple jurisdictions.  Barclay has a significant number of US, Middle Eastern and Greek clients. Key areas of focus include advising executives in the fund management industry on structuring their remuneration as well as designing new trusts to suit the needs of settlors and beneficiaries.  There have been changes to the team at a senior level. Isobel Morton has left the firm while Jonathan Conder has recently moved to Stephenson Harwood. Charlie Maydon Grace has been promoted to partnership.

Practice head(s):

Piers Barclay

Other key lawyers:

Charles Gothard; Nicholas Harries; Richard Giangrande; Sebastian Prichard Jones; Mark Hunter; Jennifer Smithson; Charles Gothard; Charlie Maydon Grace; Edward Reed

Testimonials

‘Macfarlanes actively enjoys diving into complex, conceptual questions that require a rare mixture of technicality and creativity. While other firms are looking to fit a client into a mould (trotting out the same solution for each client, with a minor tweak here and there), Macfarlanes excels as thought partners, designing a bespoke solution from the ground up’.

‘Richard Giangrande is an exceptional private client lawyer, combining a very strong technical and conceptual mastery of UK law with a pragmatic approach (both in terms of determining the sensible ‘risk-adjusted’ legal position to take, as well as coordinating the various parties within and without his firm to get a project over the line and fully executed)’.

‘Sebastian Prichard Jones and Mark Hunter are exceptional at explaining complex matters and providing effective solutions to the issues at hand. Their availability is top notch, and both are a pleasure to deal with’.

‘Jenny Smithson – brilliant, clients love her. Richard Giangrande – technically excellent and very hardworking. Nicholas Harries – well known and liked partner, very easy to work with’.

Sebastian Prichard Jones, Richard Giangrande and Charles Gothard – what makes the members of the team special is the range of knowledge which it has and that ability to apply it in sensible but novel ways’.

‘Charles Gothard: extremely client and solution oriented, out of the box thinker who knows the limits of what is possible. True expert. Charlie Maydon-Grace: up and coming partner, very proactive, excellent attention to detail and solution oriented’.

‘Edward Reed, Charlie Maydon, Sebastian Prichard Jones have been collaborating with us on very sensitive family matters including tax and Trusts. they have developed a very performant team, not only on technical aspects but also on the psychological understanding of difficult family matters. Incredibly knowledgeable about the law. Friendly, personable, helpful’.

‘Fantastic team with breadth of partners. Top notch for HNW individuals and families. Joined up advice and very commercial advice. Brilliant client service. My top choice of private client advisers – exactly what clients need – sophisticated advice delivered effectively’.

Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP

Jennifer Chambers leads a ‘fab team’ at Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP that has a specialist focus on complex international and cross-border estate planning and succession structuring for UNHW clients. Clients include foreign royalty, English aristocracy, entrepreneurs and traditionally wealthy families as well as private banks. Emma-Jane Weider ’s key specialism is in advising non-domiciled clients on UK tax and estate planning matters and she regularly advises on the implications of becoming tax resident in the UK. Paul Whitehead  is adept at advising on diverse matters such as onshore and offshore trusts as well as residence and domicile matters. Clare Maurice  receives a regular flow of instructions from trustees, beneficiaries, family offices and others on a variety of complex trust, estate planning and personal taxation matters. Ceris Gardner has a broad practice and has particular strength in complex, high-profile and high-value probates that have a cross-border dimension.

Practice head(s):

Jennifer Chambers

Other key lawyers:

Ceris Gardner; Clare Maurice; Fiona Poole; Claire Weeks; Hannah Blakey; Eesha Arora; Paul Whitehead; Emma-Jane Weider

Testimonials

‘I have worked with MTG for a number of years on an extremely high profile and complex ultra high net worth client, with demanding personal and trust issues. I find them to be extremely responsive, professional and a pleasure to work with. MTG works collaboratively, in the best interests of our client, at all times. In my years working with them I have seen the clear progression of individuals in their team, and they demonstrate incredible stability when it comes to client engagement teams’.

‘I have worked closely with Jennifer Chambers, Claire Weekes, Eesha Arora, and Hannah Blakey. Eesha, who is now lead partner on our mutual client, has earned the trust of all key stakeholders at the client and perfectly navigates their differing priorities and concerns. Most of all the team is all very collaborative and great fun to work with – which helps massively when working through such difficult issues! I would not hesitate to recommend any of them to my clients and contacts’.

‘Its expertise and technical knowledge in relation to cross-border trusts and estates is unparalleled. Claire Weeks is extremely dedicated to ensuring that every legal and tax point is addressed for her clients. She has great foresight and anticipates issues before they arise, so that the solution is already in train by the time they do. She is technically excellent’.

‘It is very well organised team and every partner and associate I dealt with have been impressive and together they offer high quality advice. Paul Whitehead is exceptional but down-to-earth and never forgets there are people behind in every structuring of tax- and succession planning. He can explain complex tax ramifications without using jargon to private clients’.

‘Good private client team. Very good women led teams. Fiona Poole very good – knowledgeable calm and efficient’.

‘A one stop (largely) non-contentious private client shop. Great expertise in all areas. Eesha Arora – massively knowledgeable and very commercial. She really thinks about all the angles and issues’.

‘MTG has outstanding professionals. Advice is always to the point and of high quality. I also appreciate the responsiveness and availability of the partners and staff

‘My experience is mainly with Emma-Jane Weider and Claire Weeks. Emma-Jane Weider has extensive experience. I appreciate very much that advice from Emma-Jane is always to the point and never too extensive or full of irrelevant considerations. Claire Weeks has been working with Emma-Jane Weider and was promoted partner recently. She has similar qualities to Emma-Jane Weider and is extremely responsive’.

Mishcon de Reya LLP

Mishcon de Reya LLP has a large team ‘where each individual is strong in their field’. Andrew Goldstone  heads the department that is further praised for its ability to ‘provide strong cross-border advice plus specialist advice in new areas such as crypto currency, digital assets etc;' making it among the ‘leaders in this area'. The focus is on advising UHNW and HNW UK and international families and trustees on all aspects of their tax, succession planning and trusts as well as advising on family wealth governance and protection. Filippo Noseda  is another known name for his work with wealthy clients on international tax, succession and estate planning matters. Another seasoned practitioner is Kassim Meghjee  who advises UK and international clients on all aspects of their personal and business taxation. Charlie Sosna has a broad practice and regularly works with family offices to establish and maintain the efficiency of various wealth planning structures. David Whittaker joined the team from Baker McKenzie.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Goldstone

Other key lawyers:

Filippo Noseda; Martin Davies; Patrick Harney; Kassim Meghjee; Charlie Sosna; Stuart Adams; Nicola Simmons; David Whittaker

Testimonials

‘Specialist expertise advising US connected clients, which is unparalleled in the UK private client market. Very good client handler, gives clear and pragmatic advice tailored to the client. Always finds an answer and is responsive. Charlie Sosna – very helpful on the tax planning side, particularly for UKRND’.

‘A pre-eminent law firm in London for private client matters, with a standout reputation and brand. Andrew Goldstone – a personable and very likeable professional, and has the technical and practical experience to deliver fantastic solutions for his clients. Charlie Sosna – one of the most technically capable lawyers I have worked with. Provides fantastic service to his clients in a seamless way’.

‘Stuart Adams provides advice that covers highly technical law and tax in one swoop in accessible language to both the clients and colleagues’.

‘The strength of the team is the breadth and depth of experience and the fact that it continues to attract top names from other firms. The firm itself is innovative in looking at its future structure and has expanded beyond its historical London office. There are a number of excellent partners we work with including: Charlie Sosna, Andrew Goldstone, Patrick Harney, Filippo Noseda’.

‘I have great confidence in the team at MRD. They have seen it all before and bring pragmatism, confidence and clear advice to the table. Andrew Goldstone and Charlie Sosna are best in class’.

‘Mishcon is well placed to assist with all issues that arise for our clients. It is Kassim and Nicola’s second nature to work on international matters. As a result, their familiarity with international issues and ease in working with overseas advisers makes for a well-organised, collaborative work environment’.

‘Mishcon is clearly highly experienced in dealing with complex matters – both in considering complicated, multi-layered and multi-jurisdictional structures, and in understanding unique client concerns and objectives. They provide practical, well-considered advice that pre-empts the wider issues in order to achieve the objectives. Their familiarity with such complexities makes working with them easy and productive’.

‘Kassim Meghjee and Nicola Simmons’ commercial awareness is what sets them apart from other advisers. They are unique in their unrivalled ability to advise on both personal and corporate tax issues, and manage multiple issues contemporaneously. Their understanding in both areas, as well as their experience with international matters, have been incredibly helpful in spotting issues, and (importantly) resolving them pragmatically and effectively on all occasions’.

Work highlights

  • The firm has been providing in-depth and expert advice on the inter-governmental processing of financial data, through its involvement in several claims and complaints against the Common Reporting Standard (‘CRS’) in a number of countries (UK, Austria, Germany, Luxembourg). The CRS is based on FATCA and entails the automatic exchange of information between 100+ countries, with 84 million accounts affected in 2019.

Taylor Wessing LLP

Taylor Wessing LLP  acts for many entrepreneurs as well as a number high-net-worth families and individuals. A significant proportion of its clients have interests in two or more jurisdictions. It acts for some of the wealthiest families in the Middle East through Murray North and Sanjvee Shah in particular. Simon Phelps has a strong reputation in Asia. In addition it continues to  grow its practice by advising a significant number of ex-US clients on a range of private wealth matters. Nick Warr heads the department that includes Damian Bloom who has a particular focus on long-term planning for UK and non-UK domiciled individuals. Kirstie McGuigan specialises in both contentious and non-contentious private client matters. Sanjvee Shah  has considerable experience in advising professional trustees and family offices on a wide range of trust administration and succession planning matters.

Practice head(s):

Nicholas Warr

Other key lawyers:

Simon Phelps; Damian Bloom; Sanjvee Shah; Ben Lister; Murray North; Gabriela Hristova; Josh Boughton; Alexander Erskine; Kirstie McGuigan

Testimonials

‘Very highly regarded private client team at the top of the market’.

‘Nicholas Warr – very experienced partner with brilliant rapport with clients. Ben Lister – an up and coming star of the team, very hardworking and laps up the work’.

‘One of the strongest teams in London – real breadth and depth, combined with the ability to co-ordinate other areas of the firm’s skills where required’.

‘The individuals we work with are superb. At partner level: Damian Bloom – whip-smart and pragmatic. Nick Warr – incredible network and ability to get things done, Murray North – technically superb. Ditto the associates, with special mentions to: Gabriela Hristova; Josh Boughton’.

‘Sanjvee Shah is technically in a different class, proactive, and strategic. It was a pleasure to work with Sanjvee on such a complicated and long running transaction’.

‘The team offers strength in depth and has extensive knowledge and understanding on non mainstream tax & legal topics. They have attracted sophisticated clients over the years with demanding needs and so their offering is all the better for that experience’.

‘Nick Warr – his approach with clients, really caring about the client outcomes and tenacity in achieving –  that is the blueprint for all of his team’.

‘Alexander (Sasha) Erskine – rising up in profile amongst the Partners – is an excellent example of someone following in Nick Warr’s footsteps. He brings patience, deep knowledge and enthusiasm to his work with clients’.

Withers LLP

Withers LLP is a very large full-service UK law firm that is dedicated to the needs of private clients. This high-end practice is focused on the ultrawealthy/billionaires as well as prominent UK individuals and families. It has acted for 70% of the individuals and families in the Sunday Times Top 100 UK Rich list and has a dedicated US-qualified private client team in London. Christopher Groves  has a particular focus on advising both UK-domiciled and non-UK domiciled high-net-worth individuals on their personal, business and philanthropic affairs. Dora Clarke  specialises in all aspects of probate, succession and tax planning for both domestic and international high-net-worth families and family offices. Patricia Milner  has significant experience in advising family businesses and landed estates on succession and capital tax issues, governance issues, and education matters. Hannah Wailoo joined the practice from Trowers & Hamlins LLP.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Groves; Dora Clarke

Other key lawyers:

Philip Munro; Ceri Vokes; Claire Harris; Lauren Rapeport; Hannah Wailoo; Charlie Tee; Patricia Milner

Testimonials

‘Best in class private client legal advice. A collaborative approach and willingness to operate as part of an advisory team’.

‘Phil Munro is extremely bright and commercial, with plenty of international experience in Hong Kong and Singapore’.

‘Charlie Tee is my ‘go to’ adviser on complex international testamentary arrangements’.

‘The team has huge strength in depth and combines experienced partners with able associates .They deliver rounded and practical advice . They are committed to engaging in the wider private client community and have a very strong knowledge of cross-border issues. They also produce the ‘industry standard’ suite of will and trust precedents which is a big value add’.

‘Philip Munro – very strong on cross-border issues, exceptionally hardworking and a consummate team player. Lauren Rapeport-junior associate who punches well above her weight and shows great maturity. Chris Groves- a very able head of department who has strong technical expertise and a good commercial awareness ; he builds deep relationships with clients’.

Key clients

Wealthy blockchain founder, scientist, and non-profit founder

Multiple ultra-high-net-worth Italians

Work highlights

  • Advised a wealthy blockchain founder, scientist, and non-profit founder on his US and international tax and estate planning, and with regard to the implications of US tax on non-US individuals.
  • Advising ultra-high-net-worth Italian individuals providing joined-up UK-Italian advice on exiting the UK tax net, domicile review, matrimonial asset planning (including advice on potential pre/post-nuptial agreement) and estate planning, as well as the ordinary tax and residence advice, ensuring a coordinated approach.

Baker McKenzie

As a leading global, multi-jurisdictional firm’ Baker McKenzie ‘continues to demonstrate the capability to cooperate seamlessly between its various offices when client situations demand’. The ‘very knowledgeable and responsive’ team that provides advice of the ‘highest calibre’ is led by Ashley Crossley. It has enjoyed a significant inflow of work from the Middle East and in the UK family office space. Crossley specialises in advising high-net-worth individuals, families and international banks on cross-border tax and trust structuring, asset-protection, multi-jurisdictional investment structures and contentious and non-contentious trust work. David Whittaker has moved to Mishcon de Reya LLP while Phyllis Townsend has recently been promoted to the partnership.

Practice head(s):

Ashley Crossley

Other key lawyers:

Phyllis Townsend; Christopher Cook

Testimonials

‘I have, in particular, worked with Phyllis Townsend. She is able to bring her expertise to the case at the highest level. Her ability to explain the legal points to the clients is exceptional. The structure of her correspondence in the case is likewise of the very highest standards. Her legal knowledge makes it a pleasure –  enjoyable to work alongside her’.

‘I have worked most closely with Phyllis Townsend in London. She is an outstanding practitioner: personable, thoughtful, knowledgeable, diligent, and client oriented. Her ability to advise families with an international element is hugely helpful. I have no hesitation recommending her’.

‘I am always in awe of how evident it is that each person that works at Baker McKenzie on our project communicates with each other and makes sure everyone is up to speed on the latest developments. I never find myself repeating myself and it’s so refreshing to work with humble, collaborative and down to earth people who make it enjoyable to join a call about legal advice – I never thought I’d say that but the BM team really does make it enjoyable and the advice they give is always carefully considered, researched and then clearly laid out’.

‘Christopher Cook at Baker McKenzie is invaluable. He is so humble, helpful and fun to work with and a huge part of why we enjoy working with Baker McKenzie is down to him. He’s reliable, quick to respond, realistic with setting time expectations and isn’t closed off and robotic like other law firms. I trust his advice implicitly and feel very lucky to work with him’.

‘It’s very pleasant to work with them, they are always willing to help and always available to us and always help us when we need them (team Ashley Crossley, Christopher Cook)’.

‘Breadth and depth of expertise across the team is immense with many of our clients being international and crossing borders, the team is able to provide expert guidance. Furthermore they provide significant valuing in partnering with us as trustee to provide a joined up service to the client’.

‘Phyllis Townsend friendly and knowledgeable approach makes her an excellent match for any of our clients. Her expertise provides comfort in difficult areas and she has the ability to explain the most complex of matters in lay person’s terms. I thoroughly enjoy working with her’.

‘A dynamic, high -quality team dealing with big issues for large and complex family enterprises. Phyllis Townsend stands out for her unflappable approach to challenges facing clients and is not averse to seeking insights from other related sectors’.

BDB Pitmans

Alastair Collett heads the department at BDB Pitmans that has a primary focus on the structuring and transmission of wealth both in an UK and in an international context. It excels in a diverse range of areas such as advising on estate planning and succession law as well as onshore and offshore pension schemes. Helen Ratcliffe, who is now a consultant, has an international client base and continues to be active in acting for clients from offshore trust jurisdictions, Europe, the Middle East, Far East and the US Marilyn McKeever  has a broad international tax and succession practice with a particular focus on the US. Owen Byrne was promoted to the partnership.

Practice head(s):

Alastair Collett

Other key lawyers:

Helen Ratcliffe; Jonathan Colclough; Owen Byrne; Victoria Pursall; Hugo Smith; Marilyn McKeever

Testimonials

‘Good presence, and forward thinking. Strong on the private client and tax side’.

‘Jonathan Colclough – good on UK tax for a complicated crypto instruction’.

‘Advice is always relevant and timely considers all matters but cuts to the route of what advice is needed, advice set out in an appropriate manner so it is easy to understand and what needs to be actioned is identified’.

‘Helen Ratcliffe is a safe pair of hands alongside Victoria Pursall have provided excellent service cuts to the crux of any issue’.

‘Competent, Accessible. Hugo Smith – straightforward, helpful, forward thinking, competent’.

Edwin Coe LLP

Clients of Edwin Coe LLP remark that ‘it is rare to have such a large full service private client department that is so approachable and down to earth. They know their stuff and seem to be able to communicate complicated concepts in a way that clients can easily understand.’ The practice is thriving and has strong relationships with a number of leading wealth management organisations in the UK and internationally. The department is also experienced in probate and estate administration and often acts for business owners, entrepreneurs and senior executives on various issues relating to tax, succession planning and preserving personal and family business wealth. Alison Broadberry  heads the private client offering. David Goepel  heads the charities and philanthropy team while Sean Bannister  heads the tax group.

Practice head(s):

Alison Broadberry; David Goepel ; Sean Bannister

Other key lawyers:

Ben Harle; Matthew Barnett

Testimonials

‘The team undertakes difficult and sensitive work for the full range of private clients with quiet competence and dedication. They are especially good at the client-care side of the job. More than once I have seen clients with real difficulties – both technical legal difficulties and emotional/family ones – rely heavily on the firm’s compassionate approach. They couple this with a pragmatic understanding of tax risks and a good working relationship with counsel of all levels of call to whom they are not afraid to turn for complex or finely-balanced matters’.

‘David Goepel – charming, erudite trusts and tax lawyer who has been around long enough not to be phased by anything. He is a pleasure to work with and rightly adored by his clients’.

‘An excellent understanding of the business issues confronting private clients. Alison Broadberry has exceptional expertise at advising on the impact of taxation on private client affairs, particularly where insurance-based products are part of the mix, combined with a sympathetic and approachable manner’.

‘Approachable, reputable, personal & personable, professional & knowledgeable. Matthew Barnett is approachable, likeable, personable, professional & knowledgeable. I enjoy working with Matthew & trust him to take good professional care of my clients’.

‘I respect David Goepel for his calm and measured approach which he is able to maintain in hectic situations. It is also easy to communicate with him. I have also worked with Ben Harle. It is a pleasure to work with Ben. He is also easy to communicate with. He has a particular eye for detail (as a lawyer should!) and a lot of stamina and focus on getting a job done’.

‘David Goepel is one of the unsung stars in the private client firmament. The quality of his work is stratospheric, but his feet are still firmly on the ground. Ben Harle to continue with the astronomical metaphor, is a rising star’.

‘Alison Broadberry – fizzing with enthusiasm and utterly dedicated to delivering for her clients. Ben Harle – a star in the making – confidence inspiring and with gravitas well beyond his years. A very savvy head on young shoulders’.

‘I know Matthew Barnett and Alison Broadberry well. Alison is a whirl of energy and can-do approach. Matthew is an expert at the top of his game in respect to onshore and traditional estate planning law. I send my family clients to Alison and Matt and their client care skill is superb‘.

Key clients

St. James’s Place

Hoopers

Howard Kennedy LLP

Liz Palmer  leads a ‘very experienced’ team at Howard Kennedy LLP that advises wealthy families, entrepreneurs, property owners and artists/performers about how to manage family wealth across the generations. Simon Malkiel  heads the trusts, tax and estate planning team.  John Annetts  is another key member of the group who heads the administration of estates team. It has been adding to the ranks at a senior level too with the addition of Melissa Doorman who provides family governance advice to families and their businesses. Reshmi Manekporia is particularly recognised for her experience in Sharia-based wealth planning.

Practice head(s):

Liz Palmer

Other key lawyers:

Simon Malkiel; John Annetts; Michael Lewis; Reshmi Manekporia; Melissa Doorman

Testimonials

‘The team has a good network of contacts across the globe which makes multi-jurisdictional tax planning more efficient. We have been working with Liz Palmer for many years. She is very knowledgeable about UK, offshore trust structures and is up to date with all the regulatory and legal changes affecting tax planning. The client always comes first with Liz, she always delivers good advice in a timely way’.

‘A very experienced team with an amazing list of clients. Nothing they can’t do. Simon Malkiel – Very technically able and a creative thinker. John Annetts – A wealth of experience and always unflappable’.

‘Howard Kennedy is approachable and has practical lawyers. Their communication skills are excellent and their response times impressive. Liz Palmer is a great private client lawyer: practical, approachable, responsive and attuned to a client’s needs’.

‘We have worked with this team for many years. We appreciate the stability of the team (i.e. working with the same people for more than a decade, rather than being a team where members come and go every few years), its depth of knowledge and experience on combined US/UK matters and their “house style” of providing thorough work without “overdoing” the work’.

‘Michael Lewis has so many years of experience, which he combines with sage wisdom and good humour to make an excellent team leader on a number of our mutual clients. I am surprised he is not honoured for his long service as a really top notch international private client lawyer publicly, perhaps because like me he spends his time doing client work rather than on public appearances/publications’.

‘Liz Palmer is the next generation of excellent, technical, common sense advice and on top is a truly lovely person. Simon Malkiel is also extremely good on complex technical matters‘.

‘Excellent, deep and thorough knowledge of their practice area. Simon Malkiel is my go-to lawyer on anything trusts and IHT-related. Responsive, client-friendly, on top of the legislation and practice’.

Hunters Law LLP

Hunters Law LLP undertakes a broad range of work such as advising on tax, trusts and succession planning matters for many wealthy families. Under the joint leadership of Lucinda Tite  and Wilfrid Vernor-Miles  it has particular experience in the administration of complex estates, the re-sealing of foreign grants of probate and post-death tax planning as well as court of protection work. The firm has an extensive landed estate practice – some of these landed estates are high-value and are held through complex structures involving partnerships, companies and trusts. Much of its work too has an international dimension as many of its clients are based offshore and require specialist cross-border estate planning advice.

Practice head(s):

Lucinda Tite; Wilfrid Vernor-Miles

Other key lawyers:

Alexandra Sarkis; Mary Elliott; Julia Richards; Charles Richardson; Lara Barton; Charlotte Simm;  Matthew Yates

Testimonials

‘Hunters has given our family attentive support over many years. Competent, proactive and very conscious of costs. Turnaround time is good and particularly difficult issues are dealt with in a sensitive, professional and timely manner’.

‘Mary Elliott is always available and always attentive. She has an excellent grasp of Trust and taxation matters. A very good hardworking team’.

‘Small, select and professional. Hardworking, knowledgeable and decent’.

‘Alexandra Sarkis and Mary Elliott are consistently excellent – completely fluent in the application of the relevant tax and trust laws involved in sensible trust and estate tax planning, highly practical and efficient, and wearing their brilliance lightly’.

‘Julia Richards is also first-class as is Charles Richardson. Also particularly impressive is Lara Barton – not only exceptionally able technically but also determined to achieve the best outcome and adept at resolving complex tax issues in conjunction with HMRC.’

‘I used the services of Hunters as a client (although I am a barrister). A really efficient and superb service. Provided clear and helpful advice in an efficient and timely manner. Priced fairly too. I have recommended the firm to others, all who have also been delighted. Charlotte Simm was outstanding. She looked after us extremely well, gave excellent advice and was a model solicitor’.

‘Very knowledgeable and completely client-focussed’.

‘I have used Matthew Yates since before he became partner. He has all the skills that you would want in a lawyer in this field of practice: on top of the law, attentive to detail and, perhaps most importantly, extremely wise and thoughtful’.

Irwin Mitchell

Alex Ruffel who is praised for her ability to provide ‘concise advice’ leads a ‘proactive team’ at Irwin Mitchell. It frequently advises on complex cross-border tax and trust matters. In addition the agile team also acts for non-British UHNW families and family offices and another core area of expertise is providing succession planning advice for UK-based entrepreneurs. The group also has an established family office practice and has continued to develop a new area of focus on cryptocurrency and digital assets including non-fungible tokens. Helen Clarke is another key member of the team while George Merrylees has left the practice and is now at Wedlake Bell.

Practice head(s):

Alex Ruffel

Other key lawyers:

Helen Clarke; Ashley Hill

Testimonials

‘IM has a great depth of experience in all matters connected to private clients. They have a friendly intelligent approach to their dealings with clients and intermediaries. Alex Ruffel is very knowledgeable and personable. Alex provides clear and concise advice and is accessible when needed’.

‘Excellent client service and depth of knowledge, ability to respond to all of client’s needs. Helen Clarke is an extremely accomplished and experienced practitioner in tax trusts and estates. She gets to the heart of the issue and provides sound advice to her international client base of UHNW. Really refreshing to see Helen developing the practice and getting the recognition she truly deserves’.

‘Excellent multi disciplinary law firm. I work with the private client team and the court of protection team. Helen Clarke’.

‘The team has a huge depth and breadth of expertise and experience in cross-border tax and international wealth structuring and they have quietly built up an extremely impressive international client base including single family offices and UHNW individuals, particularly in the Middle East and Europe who clearly trust them implicitly. We have worked with them on more than one of these clients’.

They are strongly collaborative and pleasure to work with due to their professionalism and professional and openness – they always put the client at the centre of the work. They are particularly experienced and strong project managing complex matters involving multiple issues or jurisdictions‘.

‘Very straightforward manner, friendly and reassuring to clients across the team’.

‘Alex Ruffel leads the team and is excellent’.

‘Alex knows her subjects inside out and is able to get to the heart of a matter quickly and pragmatically. She is technically excellent, particularly on cross-border tax and complex trust structuring, while remaining accessible. Alex has a great manner with clients – her honesty and clarity mean clients trust and respect her and she is great to work with as a fellow professional. Ashley Hill is akin to a Wikipedia of cross-border tax – down to earth, responsive and trusted by clients’.

McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP

McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP acts for UHNW individuals and families including some who are in the Top 20 of the Sunday Times rich list.  In addition it also has some wealthy clients who are on the Forbes 100 billionaires list. The group has considerable cross-border strength and international tax capabilities. Andrew Vergunst  ( who is particularly recognised for his South African expertise) and Ziva Robertson  co-lead the department. Simon Goldring  attracts a diverse client roster including ultra and high-net- worth individuals, family offices, entrepreneurs and multi-national corporations both in the UK and internationally. Astrid Owen  has substantial cross-border experience and is adept at handling complex multi-jurisdictional matters. Simon Gibb is also highly recommended.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Vergunst; Ziva Robertson

Other key lawyers:

Simon Goldring; Astrid Owen; Simon Gibb

Testimonials

‘Focus on US connected private clients – a unique service offering backed up by experienced and technical professionals.Simon Goldring – one of the most determined professionals I have worked with and provides first class service to all of his clients’.

‘Simon Goldring- exceptional and proactive service’.

‘One of the best Anglo US private client teams in London. Their breadth of experience is rarely beaten in London. Simon Goldring and Astrid Owen are powerful forces, delivering clear advice to clients’.

Simon Gibb – great knowledge matched with a brilliant client manner‘.

‘Simon Goldring is excellent – very persistent with HMRC and getting the right result.’

‘International approach – strong US technical know-how. Very responsive. Astrid Owen: responsive, pragmatic, solution-based, strong technical knowledge. Simon Gibb: responsive, strong technical knowledge, considered and precise’.

‘In the context of my liaisons with this practice, their knowledge about UK, US and South African tax laws and private client matters is unmatched – for individuals with interests in those three jurisdictions, they provide a comprehensive service (with good contacts in jurisdictions where they are not)’.

‘Andrew Vergunst has a very good general knowledge about the tax and private client matters relating to US, UK and South Africa – he is a fantastic “project manager” of more technical advisors on matters spanning those jurisdictions. Simon Gibb is a very good and detailed advisor and draftsman in relation to UK private client matters’.

Payne Hicks Beach LLP

Payne Hicks Beach LLP fields a team with 'hardworking and personable individuals who respond in a timely manner and with great detail, considering all aspects of the issue that is being worked on’. Rosamond McDowell  heads the practice that advises many HNW clients from the UK and internationally (some of whom feature in the Sunday Times Rich List, Forbes 400 and the Arabian Business Rich List) in addition to receiving a regular flow of instructions from Scandinavia. Other core areas of expertise include handling some of the UK’s oldest and largest landed estates, families and trusts as well as advising on the tax aspects of pre-and post-nuptial agreements. Robert Brodrick , Basil Dixon , Martin Paisner and Frederick Bjørn  are recommended.

Practice head(s):

Rosamond McDowell

Other key lawyers:

Frederick Bjørn; Robert Brodrick; Basil Dixon; Martin Paisner; Clare Hetherington; Verity Sherwin

Testimonials

‘I have been a client of the firm for nearly 40 years. They have a real understanding of trust management and the attendant legal and financial challenges. I have found them good strategic thinkers, tactically innovative, good at execution and very personable’.

‘Freddie Bjorn –  has introduced some useful new perspectives regarding the current operation and future development of my grandfather’s will trust which has been assisted by PHB for over 50 years. He responds promptly and concisely to all queries and provides useful advice regarding opportunities and harms’.

‘The team adopts a holistic and pragmatic approach to a client’s financial affairs recognising the dynamics that apply to families. They are able to engage well across the various generations thanks to the personable way in which they provide their advice. Basil Dixon, Clare Hetherington, Verity Sherwin’.

‘Standing somewhat in the shadow of the firm’s more famous Family practice, the Personal tax, trusts and probate team of Payne Hicks Beach has quickly established itself as one of the leading practices in the UHNW and Family Office market, every bit the equal of some of the more established names. The quality of the firm’s client base is testament to this. The Payne Hicks Beach team is a pleasure to work with, and collaborate well with other service-providers (trustees/accountants etc.) all in pursuit of the client’s best interests’.

‘Basil Dixon combines his natural charm and personable approach, a huge breadth and depth of expertise with clarity of communication that cuts through the noise to the heart of the issue. His client service is second to none. Clare Hetherington is a future leader in the making, with professional poise beyond her ranking. Verity Sherwin is definitely one to watch’.

‘I find the team at PHB extremely knowledgeable, but able to get out of the ivory tower to give practical advice’.

‘Martin Paisner is a recognised champion in the Charities arena. Robert Brodrick is very personable, and wise beyond his years. Rosamond McDowell is well grounded, certainly far more than a safe pair of hands’.

‘Technical strength wedded with interpersonal skills – a necessity in the private client world! I thoroughly enjoy working with Robert Brodrick – he is responsive and collaborative, technically strong and amiable’.

Key clients

Middle Eastern Sheikh

UK property developer

Meritus Trust Bermuda – as Trustee of a Family Trust

Work highlights

  • Advising a very well known member of a middle eastern ruling family in relation to becoming resident in the UK after a period of non-UK residence.
  • Advising a UK property developer on how to ensure that the substantial gifts he makes (£2m + each year) are covered by the normal expenditure out of surplus income exemption and on restructuring the ownership of his companies to ensure that business property relief is available.
  • Advising the Trustees of a Bermuda Trust on their investment in a UK company that is involved in developing a new wave of health, wellbeing and recreational brands in the regulated global cannabinoid sector.

Russell-Cooke LLP

Russell-Cooke LLP has particular expertise in advising on family offices and this is going from strength to strength. Its clients range in wealth from £35m to £670m. Christopher Salomons leads the cross-border team with Andrew Godfrey  and the team continues to offer advice on French tax and succession matters in addition to private international law. Rebecca Fisher  heads the private client group and the family office practice and advises on the full spectrum of matters for families with a focus on intergenerational wealth planning and protection. Fisher is also skilled at advising on tax and trust issues in the context of family breakdown.

Practice head(s):

Rebecca Fisher

Other key lawyers:

Richard Frimston; Suzanne Mynors; Andrew Godfrey; Christopher Salomons

Testimonials

‘I had first rate advice from senior associate, Suzanne Mynors. She provided clear and concise advice, draft documents accurately reflecting instructions and all at a very reasonable price well within the original estimate. She is articulate, responsive and very clear in her advice as well as draft documents which were provided promptly. I was originally referred to Rebecca Fisher who suggested that Suzanne was well equipped to advise in circumstances which were not entirely straightforward, and so she proved to be’.

‘This firm dealt competently with a large and complex estate. They were self-propelled and did not need to be driven every inch of the way. They had a grasp of the issues that only comes with experience. I dealt with Andrew Godfrey. He seemed to have a command of his subject and delivered the service described above’.

‘I have always been given sound advice. Communication is very good. Suzanne Mynors has been excellent with my trust and complex probate work which has been very complex’.

Sinclair Gibson LLP

Sinclair Gibson LLP has a ‘highly rated’ and broad private client practice that combines extensive expertise in advising UK-based families and landed estates on wealth structuring and devolution planning with a specialist practice in advising international clients on multi-jurisdictional matters, including cross-border estates. The group is led by Keith Bruce-Smith and Lucy Gibson  who both act as fiduciaries of substantial UK and offshore trusts and are also non-executive directors of UK companies owned by the families they advise. The majority of its clients are HNW and UHNW individuals and families but it also looks after clients from more modest wealth backgrounds.

Practice head(s):

Keith Bruce-Smith; Lucy Gibson

Other key lawyers:

Eleanor Walsh

Testimonials

‘The whole team at Sinclair Gibson is wonderful, you feel valued as a client and feel assured that each individual member of the team is focussed and caring to all your needs.’

‘Lucy Gibson is exceptional. her knowledge and professionalism gives me enormous confidence in the support of our family and business matters.’

‘Creative , avant garde thinking and a willingness to constructively question principles that have been followed for a long time with open eyes. Keith Bruce-Smith is a fantastic trust and tax advisor with very creative vision to find solutions’.

‘Sinclair Gibson LLP is absolutely first rate in the private client practice, with deep experience and expertise in complex, multi-jurisdictional planning and litigation. All of their partners are impressive, as are their associates‘.

‘Of particular note is Lucy Gibson with whom I have worked closely for years. Lucy is a top advisor in our field, with keen intelligence, excellent judgement built on deep experience, and a practical approach to difficult problems’.

‘Lucy Gibson is particularly impressive in leading a team of lawyers from various jurisdictions in complex cross-border contentious matters and coordinating advice with leading KCs. She is experienced, knowledgeable and can juggle the complexities of various legal systems masterfully. We work with her regularly. She is brilliant and a loyal ally, a fierce opponent, and uses her wit to great advantage’.

‘Super boutique practice, personified by Lucy Gibson whose name the practice now bears, and Keith Bruce-Smith who together with Lucy make for a formidable team. Extremely wide contentious and non-contentious experience, with an expertise in all aspects of these practice areas. Absolutely at the heart of the sector, very well known indeed. Top drawer clients, very ably served. Punches well above its weight – will be found alongside much bigger players in the market in high profile matters. Very well connected offshore, especially in Bermuda. A very personable and easy to work with firm’.

‘Lucy Gibson and Keith Bruce-Smith are stand out. They extremely well supported by the team of partners and associates around them’.

Key clients

Executors of the estate of the late Alexander Thynn, 7th Marquess of Bath

Executors of the estate of the late Guy Innes-Ker, 10th Duke of Roxburghe

Work highlights

  • The firm advises the  Executors of the estate of the late Alexander Thynn, 7th Marquess of Bath in relation to the administration of the significant and complex estate, which has cross-border elements, aggregable settled property and settled land with heritage exemption considerations. It involves intricate probate and tax law challenges for the firm’s specialist probate law team.
  • The firm advises the Executors of the estate of the late Guy Innes-Ker, 10th Duke of Roxburghe (a very large landed estate in Scotland comprising a broad array of relievable, non-relievable and conditionally exempt assets, including land, chattels, investments and business interests) in relation to its devolution for the benefit of the subsequent generation whilst optimising the inheritance tax position arising as a result of the late Duke’s death.

Stephenson Harwood

‘In my experience, Stephenson Harwood fosters a culture of absolute expertise coupled with being extremely approachable’. It is led byJames Quarmby  who is  'extremely professional and provides exceptionally clear and decisive advice’. Its clients range from multi-millionaires to ultra-high net-worth (often high profile) individuals and families, with billions of pounds in assets. They are typically entrepreneurial and international. Emily Osborne  leads the team’s family office advisory service and has a focus on clients in the Middle East in particular. Michael Rutili  joined the team from Withers LLP – he specialises in advising on a wide range of UK and international matters involving tax, estate planning and succession issues. It was pleased to recently add to its ranks further as Jonathan Conder joined the team from Macfarlanes LLP.

Practice head(s):

James Quarmby

 

Other key lawyers:

Emily Osborne; Michael Rutili; Jonathan Conder

Testimonials

‘James Quarmby – excellent client handler, deep knowledge of the tax system and an inventive problem solver.’

‘I primarily deal with James Quarmby and Emily Osborne. In all the years that I have worked with them they have never faltered in their professionalism, knowledge, efficiency and collaborative way of working’.

‘Emily Osborne is pragmatic, articulates the legal position clearly, is not afraid to actually give advice (ie take a stand), is easy to deal with, knowledgeable, and as a bonus is able to advise on tax matters to the extent adjacent to her field of specialisation’.

‘Michael Rutilli is the Partner with whom I have been working together for international clients. Besides his technical knowledge, he speaks languages fluently, obviously very necessary to clarify concepts in certain meetings’.

‘Michael Rutili who recently joined (and who is my primary contact there so far) is very pragmatic and efficient on cross-border situations between the UK and continental Europe’

‘SH has been our preferred firm for private tax matters for several years. They are extremely responsive and provide clear, concise advice. They are highly effective in this area. Their support functions are also very efficient, and they bill regularly with transparent and detailed time recording’.

‘Emily Osborne is by far the most sought after, experienced counsel we have worked with in this area. She has a vast amount of experience in giving concise and highly effective advice in complex cases. She is also exceptionally accessible, often responding to our requests 24/7 in order to meet our deadlines’.

‘SH’s personal tax team is entrepreneurial, highly skilled and demonstrates a keen awareness of entrepreneurial clients’ businesses – a pre-requisite if a firm is to inspire confidence in this kind of client. I have also seen their work on more traditional private client affairs and have found them to be both sympathetic and dynamic in bring ideas to bear on complex and difficult issues’.

Wedlake Bell LLP

Wedlake Bell LLP is a ‘team that is on the up’ with Camilla Wallace  and Matthew Braithwaite  (who are both ‘very collaborative’) and Jenny Cutts  at the helm. The team continues to attract and retain various HNW and UHNW clients. It has specialists who advise on tax planning matters where there are heritage assets, art and collectibles for UK and international private collectors, charities, landed estates, artists and galleries. It added to the team too at partner level with the addition of Charles Wang from Rosenblatt (part of RBG Legal Services) . George Merrylees who joined from Irwin Mitchell advises on a range of cross-border tax planning, asset structuring and succession matters and is able to advise on complex matters in French.

Practice head(s):

Camilla Wallace; Jenny Cutts; Matthew Braithwaite

Other key lawyers:

Andrew O’Keeffe; Kate Johnson; Rebecca Barry; George Merrylees; Charles Wang

Testimonials

‘The team is known for its straightforward answers and expertise in helping international clients navigating through complex UK tax issues. I work with Matt Braithwaite. Approachable, no nonsense and always helpful!’.

‘Wedlake Bell is professional and very competent. It is forward thinking and gives confidence in the projects that they work on. They are very efficient, respond quickly and are totally trustworthy’.

‘Camilla Wallace – very discrete and gives me real confidence’.

‘In my experience with the personal tax and trusts team, their advice has been practical and technically astute. A great deal of thought goes into their bespoke documents. It is a pleasure to work with them’.

‘Camilla Wallace is compassionate, yet whip smart, instantly recognising priorities when circumstances are complex. She is supported by a superb team’.

‘Kate Johnson has an equally keen mind, designing succession and managing global projects. She is a pitch-perfect point person among clients and multiple advisors‘.

‘Rebecca Barry is a relatively recent addition, responsive, diligent, a quick study and also great with clients’.

 

Weightmans LLP

The ‘incredibly well-organised’ team at Weightmans LLP  is headed by the ‘top notch private client lawyerJonathan Shankland. The team is lauded for being ‘fast, effective communicators and real problem solvers’. It has an impressive client list of entrepreneurs, heritage estates, royal families, dignitaries, lottery winners and sporting stars. Shankland is particularly known for his offshore tax and estate planning practice having built up an extensive network across Europe, South East Asia and the Middle East. Patrick Malone is a leading figure in the firm’s estate administration department. Arshoo Singh has extensive experience on a broad range of cross-border and UK succession and taxation issues.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Shankland

Other key lawyers:

Arshoo Singh; Patrick Malone; Caroline Doyle

Testimonials

‘Jon Shankland and Patrick Malone have built an incredible practice around deep expertise, client service and a focus on the best possible outcomes for their clients. Process efficiency, thoroughness and follow up are hallmarks of the team. But above all it is the client centricity in everything they do is the huge differentiator’.

‘Jon Shankland – depth of experience, creative solution builder, team builder, client satisfaction. Patrick Malone – tenacity, thoroughness, dogged to the end in delivering the best outcome, resourceful, all round great person to work with’.

‘Broad reaching, capable team. Arshoo Singh is a confident individual with strong client relationships’.

‘Solid reputation in private client and trust matters – excellent client base built around the longevity of relationships. Jonathan Shankland – a superb lawyer, driven and precise in everything he does. Fantastic client relationships and always strives for the best result for his clients’.

‘Such an approachable team with a can-do attitude. Jonathan Shankland – an outstanding lawyer with a hugely impressive capacity to take a very strategic overview whilst maintaining incredible attention to detail and a very personal approach to private clients’.

‘I have to call out Jonathan Shankland. He is totally on top of his game. He is knowledgeable, competent and literally sets the benchmark for responsiveness. He seems to be available 24/7 and will always reply within an hour at least. He is a very personable lawyer and has great understanding of client needs. Certainly one in a million’.

‘Arshoo Singh is extremely knowledgeable, personable and easy to work with. Very professional company. I feel safe in their hands. Always there when I need them’.

‘Jonathan Shankland & Caroline Doyle are incredibly knowledgeable, efficient and provide clear and coherent advice at all times. It’s a pleasure to instruct both of these individuals in solving complex legal issues for our clients.’

Key clients

HFMC Wealth Management

Codan Trust Company (Conyers Fiduciary)

Collas Crill International Law Firm

JTC Group PLC (Trust & Fiduciary Company)

The Van Dedem Family & Estate

The Executors of the Estate of Arto Matossian Deceased

The EM Family and Businesses

LB Group Accountants

Swiss Independent Trustees SA

Lady Annabel Bainton (the Lady Sutherland) and the Estate of the Lady Elizabeth Sutherland 24th Countess of Sutherland

Work highlights

  • Destructuring Offshore Trust & Company structure with assets globally and international tax consideration across jurisdictions
  • Acting as a family office for the well-known family ( The Van Dedem Estate & Trusts) in administering their international estate and advising on planning and tax matters.
  • Acting for a multi-national company over multiple jurisdictions alongside EY in international tax and estate planning for the company UBO’s and advising on tax residency and permanent establishment issues for the corporate entity.

Burges Salmon LLP

Burges Salmon LLP ‘offers an attractive combination of in-depth expertise with excellent lawyers and at the same time more reasonable fees than those private client firms based solely in London’. Beatrice Puoti and John Barnett lead this large team that has lawyers who are based in Bristol and London. It has enhanced its traditional client base and now acts for a large and growing number of the international super-rich. The group has increasingly been advising on domicile-related work, anti-avoidance issues and compliance as well as major trust restructurings and the movement of assets into and out of the UK.

Practice head(s):

Beatrice Puoti; John Barnett

Other key lawyers:

Edward Hayes; Emma Heelis-Adams; Tom Hewitt

Testimonials

‘Burges Salmon continues to demonstrate quality from entry-level lawyers through to partner level’.

Clear and concise advice less expensive than London firms. Always available to discuss scope of advice and how best to deal with a particular matter’.

‘Combine market-leading understanding of private client tax issues with a very clear and simple communication style and one or two standout individuals.  All at very reasonable prices.  For me the best in the market’.

John Barnett remains a towering figure – huge intellect with deep technical knowledge and incredible ability to provide detailed input on very short time scales. Increasingly impressed also with Emma Heelis-Adams, who shares many of John’s strengths’.

‘Competent, professional and courteous manner. Always quick to respond and usually available to talk. I would mention particularly Tom Hewitt and Emma Healis-Adams’.

Equal to any of the top London tax and trust teams in ability to deal efficiently and with skill in complex UHNW structures and to give high quality advice with good understanding of non-UK tax considerations’.

John Barnett is a stand-out. Technically very precise and able to explain complex rules in clear and simple language and has a quiet authority which makes him a very safe and reliable partner in dealing with UHNW trusts with issues spread across several jurisdictions’.

‘Edward Hayes has been excellent on a recent contentious matter, covering both the tax analysis required but also managing challenging beneficiary/trustee relationships.  He has been instrumental in reaching a good outcome’.

Druces LLP

Robert Macro heads the department at Druces LLP that remains a firm choice for HNW individuals for wealth planning advice. Matthew Duncan ’s expertise includes complex tax planning, trust and estate issues for UK and international HNW individuals and trustees with a particular emphasis on entrepreneurial and family businesses. Helen Freely  does a broad range of private client work including tax, trust and probate work as well as advising charities. Paul Levy was recently promoted to the partnership.

Practice head(s):

Robert Macro

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Duncan; Helen Freely; Paul Levy; Roy Campbell

Testimonials

‘I did not realise that preparing a will diligently was so detailed. Thankfully I was taken through everything patiently so I understood. It has left me with a lot of work but hopefully I will not leave problems for my family. Paul Levy has been most helpful to myself and my family’.

‘We have worked with Rob Macro for a number of years and consider him as one of the most commercially minded advisers in the space. The majority of the work has centred on internationally mobile clients, with a focus on non-domiciled high net worth individuals who own international businesses. Rob is one of the few advisers who can deal with corporate and private client matters as a matter of course’. 

‘Robert Macro, head of Private Client – technically extremely competent, out of the box thinker, can explain very difficult and complex issues in a clear and succinct way, sophisticated thinker and problem solver, very personable and approachable lawyer’.

‘In our core business we work with many law firms and Druces is by far the best experience we have ever hard. Different level, and extremely high standards’.

‘Matthew Duncan is simply by far the best lawyer we have engaged; He builds trust based on actions , and his legal knowledge is superior to anyone we have engaged before. A lawyer for life’.

‘They have a great reputation in London in the area of private client. Roy Campbell is the partner in charge. Roy is a great lawyer‘.

‘Rob Macro’s private client knowledge is unrivalled‘.

Key clients

Directors UK

Vistra

Klienwort Hambros

Work highlights

  • Eade v Hogg [2021] EWCH 1057 (Ch) Reported Case in which Druces acted for the widow of the deceased.

Harbottle & Lewis LLP

Harbottle & Lewis LLP is a ‘really excellent department with superb tax expertise. It provides a highly personalised service’ under the leadership of the new practice head Jonathan Burt. It has an interesting client base of entrepreneurial, creative and tech focused clients and with Marianne Kafena  (a native Arabic speaker) the team has considerable strength in the Middle East. Chris Moorcroft  has an established reputation for his work with both UK resident and non-UK resident clients and some key intermediaries. Glen Atchison is no longer at the firm.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Burt

Other key lawyers:

Zoe Camp; Gary Ashford; Chris Moorcroft; Morag Ofili; Judith Robertson; Siena Gold; Marianne Kafena

Testimonials

‘ It is relatively young overall and aims to target new young money. It has a unified approach. Areas where the firm stands out compared to others: -US-UK work because of historic base in entertainment industry, work in creative industries and passion projects, including ESG work. -Difficult trust work in terms of dispute management and long term planning. investigations and contentious. It is a happy team which has excellent associate retention providing continuity for clients and excellent development for associates. -Middle East client base and language skills’.

‘Zoe Camp – outstanding on UK trust work. Should be top of trustees’ lists.  Jonathan Burt – private client tax technical guru. Gary Ashford – very active and thriving in investigations and disputes, transfer pricing and BEPS work. Chris Moorcroft – very measured modern private client advisor’.

‘Morag Ofili – robust tax litigator with great technical skills to back her litigation up. Judith Robertson – a charming and great attention to details, understated technical person. Siena Gold – Remarkable maturity of judgement, excellent client handling skills and client service, commercially minded, sensitive to family matters, unflinching attention to detail and technical star’.

‘Harbottle & Lewis leads the way in the private wealth space in London; they have the depth and strength to provide commercially relevant and detailed advice.

‘Chris Moorcroft. Superstar. Excellent bedside manner with clients. Business orientated. He’s been my go-to UK private client lawyer (non-contentious) for a while now. A problem solver. He excels at explaining extremely difficult UK tax issues such that they are extremely digestible for client’.

Jonathan Burt. An absolute brain. And an extremely safe pair of hands. I am working with Jonathan on a multi-jurisdictional global client and have found him to be extremely collaborative. He is a creative thinker‘.

Kingsley Napley LLP

James Ward  leads the team at Kingsley Napley LLP that ‘really knows its stuff’. It has been working closely with its corporate department to assist various clients who are owner managed businesses and has also been working with its well-regarded immigration department to provide UK advice for international clients moving to the UK . Laura Harper  continues to develop this side of the practice and covers tax advice and succession planning for overseas clients who are buying UK real estate. It also has a specialist crypto assets team. Jim Sawer  is a registered wills draftsman in the Dubai International Financial Centre’s Wills and Probate Registry.

Practice head(s):

James Ward

Other key lawyers:

Jim Sawer; Laura Harper

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP has strong international capabilities and frequently assists UK resident and non-resident, non-domiciled individuals, international families and family offices as well as business owners from numerous countries across the globe on a whole host of issues. Clare Archer works with landed and business families and advises them on generational planning and governance matters often to avoid disputes. Ryan Myint  is adept at handling multi-jurisdictional tax planning, disclosure and reporting issues and is particularly sought after for UK-Singpore cross-border matters.

Practice head(s):

Clare Archer

Other key lawyers:

James d’Aquino; Elizabeth Nicholas; Ryan Myint; James Sedgley

Testimonials

‘A very strong team who work well together, exude confidence, charm clients and are a pleasure to work with. I never hesitate to recommend them.’

‘Elizabeth Nicholas – an absolutely first-rate lawyer who has deservedly been promoted to partnership this year and will doubtless continue to apply her excellent technical skills and charm for the benefit of clients with the most complex and interesting circumstances’.

‘James d’Aquino – a charming and technically excellent private client partner who is rightly recognised as a market leader’.

‘Responsive and savvy team, very competent and creative which is important for cross-border tax structuring work. Would highly recommend’.

‘Ryan Myint is an excellent tax and trusts advisor, very sound in law and able to work out solutions that are commercially sensible across complicated structures.’

‘Clare Archer. Meticulous. Has a high profile. James d’Aquino. Very good at offshore tax. Works immensely hard for the client, and ready to take robust positions .James Sedgley. Good at detail. A good point man accessing other disciplines’.

‘I have worked with Ryan Myint who has provided excellent service. He is very experienced with both Asian clients and with UK planning matters, which is unusual. Ryan is friendly and helpful. He is always willing to share initial thoughts and brainstorm potential solutions’.

 

Cripps

Jeremy Curtis heads the department at Cripps that advises UK and international UHNW and HNW clients on various complex and wide-ranging personal matters. A large proportion of its clients are London based or have sizeable interests in London whether as substantial London landed estates or as international clients and investors. Clients include members of the British aristocracy and judiciary as well as leading business people and celebrities. Victoria Fairley is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Jeremy Curtis

Other key lawyers:

Victoria Fairley; Dominic Ribet

Testimonials

‘Very client-friendly and willing to support beyond just legal advice. Very clever and incisive. Stand-out senior associate is Dominic Ribet’.

‘ The advice I am given and the updates on the family trust are always very clear and even though I am not legally trained at all, I am always ‘kept in the picture’. When there have been difficulties/disputes with family members these have been dealt with in a sensitive but firm manner. My queries – usually by email – are dealt with promptly’.

‘ Jeremy Curtis -I have valued his measured but firm approach to problems that have arisen. He has always responded to my emails and given me confidence in how I approach my duties as a Trustee. He takes an impartial approach when problems erupt within the family he deals with and his in-depth knowledge of the legal aspects of the matters that arise help to resolve the insolvable!’.

‘The team offers a range of specialist advice.  Jeremy Curtis – his work for us has been very thorough and thoughtful with excellent communication and clear conclusions. Some of the work required liaison with our attorney in another country: this was carried out very efficiently and ensured that the legal requirements of both countries were met and dove-tailed. (They worked well together and the feedback from our other Attorney was very positive)’.

‘The team were impressive in achieving all that was desired. Jeremy Curtis led on this’.

 

Work highlights

  • Advising on the administration of a complex estate worth in the region of £200m.
  • Review of UK and Brazilian legal systems to advise on inheritance tax saving.
  • Acting for the trustees of a substantial London settled estate and providing both property, trusts and private wealth advice to the trustees and the principal beneficiaries regarding the administration of the underlying property portfolio and the wider trusts.

Fladgate LLP

With Jonathan Riley  at the helm at Fladgate LLP its private wealth team specialises in advising on all aspects of wealth structuring and wealth transfer. It supports high-net-worth individuals and families, both in the UK and internationally. Clients also include corporate entities such as major financial institutions, offshore banks and investment funds. It advises onshore and offshore professional administrators and is skilled at advising active entrepreneurs. The group represents over 80 family offices.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Riley

Other key lawyers:

Helen Cox; Mark Spash; Katya Vagner; Helena Luckhurst

Testimonials

‘Fladgate offers a wide variety of legal services and is quite unique in being able to bridge the gap between legal and tax advice. This makes my life as a tax adviser much easier, as the team can come together on complex issues. Given the breadth of service offering, this makes Fladgate a very attractive option for clients.’

‘I work often with Helen Cox and her wider team, as well as Mark Spash. They are very knowledgeable and pragmatic – something which goes a long way working with entrepreneurial clients. The feedback I get from clients where we work together is always excellent and I would have no hesitation in recommending them’.

‘The members of staff with whom I have had dealings have at all times been helpful, professional and aware of my needs at all times! They have been very sympathetic to my needs at a sad time.’

‘Knowledgeable, friendly and professional team who can easily add other areas of expertise as and when required. Quick to react to changing circumstances and requests. I have used Mark Spash for well over 20 years and he knows me and my family very well and this family knowledge enables him to advise me and other family members on a whole range of issues. Katya Vagner is a very helpful associate’.

‘Client service – extremely approachable, highly organised and responsive, and strength in depth as well as consistency,  exceptional level of service, which is provided by partners and associates alike’.

‘Helen Cox stands out – as well as being an excellent private wealth professional, she also acts as a focal point for the various practice areas that we work with, and is able to pull people in to matters as and when new topics come up’.

‘Helena Luckhurst is knowledgeable, prompt, helpful, and accurate. I have a high opinion of her private client abilities, and that of her team‘.

 

GSC Solicitors LLP

GSC Solicitors LLP  is a ‘well established and diverse small firm with various specialists under the one roof. The key strength of GSC is its commercial approach to problems'. Saleem Sheikh spearheads the department that acts for internationally UHNW and often high profile clients ( including some oligarchs), significant families and owners of blue-chip companies. Sheikh is also qualified as an arbitrator and mediator. James Cohen  is skilled at drafting wills, lasting powers of attorney and other matters involving offshore structuring and probate matters. Amanda Chapman is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Saleem Sheikh

Other key lawyers:

James Cohen; Amanda Chapman

Testimonials

‘The GSC team was highly responsive. They helped to move along a difficult negotiation that required almost constant attention. We didn’t need to prompt or remind. Things just got done. This wasn’t just with one lawyer, but across the board. Saleem Sheikh is a great strategic adviser. We were impressed by  James Cohen’s client focus and assistance’.

‘Excellent personal and knowledgeable service, commercial, and professional approach. We have had a strong and long relationship with GSC and would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone requiring legal services. We have worked with Saleem Sheikhand James Cohen  -they are both outstanding’.

‘Excellent service by James Cohen for the Probate on my mother’s estate. Highly recommended. James Cohen –  very easy to talk to and quick response to all my questions’.

‘Have dealt with James Cohen and Saleem Sheikh. Pleased to say that their approach has always been personal, professional topped with commercial acumen’.

‘My Partner was James Cohen. James was very calm and professional throughout the duration of the engagement. This was particularly helpful as I would rely on James to liaise directly with the partner of the deceased on my behalf from time to time’.

‘The team covers all aspects and is young enough to relate to all types of client. James Cohen and his colleagues are extremely thorough and diligent’.

‘An efficient legal team with James Cohen our Partner who has dealt with many facets of structures and IHT planning for our business. The firm is meticulous and has given sound advice to us’.

‘James Cohen and he is one of the most professional ethical and authentic lawyers we have come across. He listens, understands the needs of all stakeholders when providing his advice. He is authentic and young dynamic individual who comes with alternate recommendations and solutions and delivers this advice without any pressure. A knowledgeable individual who has worked on many family law and estate matters and would highly recommend him to future clients as a testimony. He listens and then acts with gravitas!’.

 

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP advises institutional clients (including banks and trust companies), trustees, their insurers, beneficiaries, family offices and ultra-high net worth individuals. Its experience covers pure advisory work through to complex actions pursuing or defending trustees in relation to claims for breach of trust and third-party claims by or against trustees. It has also acted in the arbitration of trust disputes. Richard Norridge heads the department.

Practice head(s):

Richard Norridge

Testimonials

‘Strong technical skills and market knowledge, especially of Asian/HK environment’.

‘I rely on Richard Norridge for his technically sound advice, which coupled with his contentious trust and probate experience, makes him an invaluable as an advisor’.

‘Strength in depth and the litigation resources to handle large scale international disputes’.

‘Richard Norridge has excellent judgment and great client handling skills’.

 

Ince

Ince is best known for its work with wealthy individuals and families, family businesses as well as business owners and entrepreneurs who have a variety of complex financial affairs and some of whom have landed estates or other assets such as agricultural businesses. The team has particular strength in advising UK resident, non-domiciled and non-UK resident, non-domiciled clients with their cross-border affairs. Nick Rucker and Matthew Biles  co-head the department that was pleased to add Naomi Woods to its ranks from Everys.

Practice head(s):

Nicholas Rucker; Matthew Biles

Other key lawyers:

Roger Peters; Anna Coakes; Naomi Woods; Eleanor Bing

Testimonials

‘I see Matthew Biles who is always helpful, knowledgeable and efficient’.

‘ Over those decades I have never found a team with such a sound, and authoritative understanding of charity law, or such a forensic, but common sense approach to very complex; and potentially damaging, or expensive problems. This is allied to a remarkable record of responding very quickly to queries; and the submission of detailed reports, and advice on time, and strictly to quoted estimated fees. Overall, as a client, one has a deeply reassuring feeling of being in the safest possible professional and ethical hands’.

‘The Senior Partner – Roger Peters – has an exceptional record of advising major national charities and private clients in the UK and overseas. He could not inspire more confidence in a client; or devote more analytical skill to identifying all the relevant details of complex cases; and setting out the options which may be available’.

‘Matthew Biles is one of the most able charity lawyers that I have ever encountered- with endless patience and good humour, when the client is faced by complex and daunting issues. In addition, the other Ince specialists in key related fields provide a first class support role’.

‘Very reactive, very helpful, timely response. Matt Biles’

‘Ince has a rare combination of being able to provide highly professional, excellent advice, in a down to earth and easy to understand manner. Clients have often commented on enjoying their interactions with the team at Ince’.

‘Anna Coakes remains one of my go to lawyers, her dedication to help her clients and make life easier for them is invaluable. My experience is of a well-rounded team, offering sensible cost-effective solutions. They are not old-style academic lawyers but pragmatic and well-informed on current issues.’

‘I have worked mainly with Matthew Biles and his team. He is likeable, keen, intelligent and has a good manner with clients. This practice works well together and has strength and breadth across different areas of private client law throughout the team and would be my go to team for personal tax, trust and probate matter. Individuals at Ince are always available to provide guidance and often available at short notice on complicated matters’.

 

Michelmores LLP

The team at Michelmores LLP is led by Jennifer Ridgway who divides her time between London and Exeter. The skilled team has been busy advising on a variety of complex matters such as offshore trust work, very significant family succession exercises for business owners as well as a number of complicated business property relief claims. James Frampton  advises both UK domiciled and non-domiciled individuals and families on many tax and estate planning issues.

Practice head(s):

Jennifer Ridgway

Other key lawyers:

James Frampton

Testimonials

‘This is a very highly skilled team indeed. Led by Jennifer Ridgway, I would have no hesitation in recommending the team to any client that requires absolutely first class tax, trusts or probate assistance’.

‘Jennifer Ridgway is an outstanding individual whose range of knowledge and experience in this area is second to none and is also a delightful person to work with’.

‘The private client team at Michelmores has done a great job of developing a position as one of the thought leaders in cross-border US-UK estate planning’.

‘James Frampton, one of the firm’s partners, has for years been one of my consistent go-to attorneys for my clients who need help with complex cross-border estate planning. I’ve sat in on a number of meetings with him and clients, and I am always extremely impressed by the clarity of his client communication, his thoroughness, and his ability to implement strategies quickly and efficiently’.

‘James Frampton is excellent, I particularly value his expertise on matters with a US connection’.

 

Osborne Clarke LLP

Osborne Clarke LLP has a thriving private client practice that acts for HNW/UHNW clients on many matters such as international tax and estate planning for UK and offshore trusts. Other core areas of expertise, under the leadership of Stuart Janaway, include estate administration and advising on inheritance tax issues. The practice’s clients include global business owners and entrepreneurs as well as international families.

Practice head(s):

Stuart Janaway

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Goodman

Testimonials

‘Andrew Goodman is what makes this practice unique. A very good private client lawyers – a very capable lawyer, a problem solver’.

 

Work highlights

  • Advised a tech billionaire on various personal tax and estate planning matters. Its client founded a well-known UK telecommunication business, which he has largely exited and he now invests in various new businesses through his family office. The team advises on tax planning on business exits and on estate planning for his global assets, which include several yachts.
  • Advised the founder of a global print marketing business on selling a minority stake in his business to a PE House for £200m, leaving him with a stake with a value of approx. £800m. Since this liquidity event the team has advised him on his new property assets in Dubai, including implementing a Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) Will, setting up a family office and establishing a private charity. This client is now considering the purchase of a yacht and private jet.
  • Advising the high profile patriarch of a large middle eastern family in relation to a Jersey trust holding 20% of his oil services business, having previously advised on a distribution of the balance. The proposal includes an application to the Jersey Court for its blessing of the plans, to be made in Q2 2022. Osborne Clarke devised the strategy and advised in relation to the risks and international tax implications.

Seddons

Seddons is praised for its ‘very personable and sensitive approach to clients’. Under the leadership of Stuart Crippin  it provides a ‘truly caring and professional service’. The nimble team frequently helps international HNW clients with assets in many jurisdictions. It works with UK residents, non-UK domiciled and international clients on all aspects of UK law and regularly co-ordinates with its clients’ accountants, bankers, financial advisors and trustees. Crippin specialises in high-value domestic and international estates as well as UK tax and estate planning matters for domestic and international clients with UK connections. 

Practice head(s):

Stuart Crippin

Other key lawyers:

Natasha Southam; Zoe Pearse

Testimonials

‘The team at Seddons is approachable, technically capable and responsive in addition to being genuinely nice people. We use a number of London firms, but find the ease of working with Seddons sets them apart from many others. Stuart Crippin is a real pleasure to work with, charming, smart and straightforward’.

‘Natasha Southam provided advice on a tricky matter that was clear and comprehensive. Natasha brought a commercial, efficient but professionally competent manner to all matters I have asked her to deal with’.

‘Good at Wills and estate planning for UK dom clients.Stuart Crippin is a very safe pair of hands’.

‘Stuart and his team are personable, approachable and have a deep understanding of the IHT work issues’.

‘I praise Natasha Southam very highly. She is incredibly personable, quick to respond, sensitive and always very professional. This is especially important when dealing with probate matters or family issues. Such an approach can help avoid matters that are very emotional to the clients becoming contentious’.

‘Approachable, knowledgeable and user friendly. Stuart Crippin comes from a stellar background. Stuart often works with Natasha Southam, associate who again provides an excellent service and they are a good team‘.

‘Stuart’s team focus on the family and client, which is very similar to our own approach. He has a wide knowledge and has built and continues to build a strong team. Seddons and Stuart appreciate the expertise in different jurisdictions and try to effectively work with offshore lawyers to create the best and most appropriate solution for the client’.

‘Stuart Crippin is extremely knowledgeable in his field, engaging, and very easy to deal with. Matters are understood and accepted quickly, the fees are reasonable and transparent, and generally he is a pleasure to deal with, and I have no hesitation in recommending him to my clients where we need onshore advice and assistance’.

 

Stevens & Bolton LLP

Daryl Fox now heads the department at Stevens & Bolton LLP that frequently advises high or ultra-high-net-worth clients with intricate holding structures as well as valuable and varied assets – there is often a cross-border element to the work. There have been changes to the team at a senior level – Stuart Skeffington is no longer at the firm, having moved to RMW Law in May 2021, while Gareth Walliss recently joined the practice from Shoosmiths LLP.

Practice head(s):

Daryl Fox

Other key lawyers:

Rosie Todd; Katie Davies; James Hardaker; Matthew Peto; Abigail Palmer-Page; Gareth Walliss

Testimonials

‘Daryl Fox has been our lead contact over many years and knows us as individuals and as a family with both US and UK issues to address. Good back up when people are away and always gives thoughtful and relevant advice‘.

‘I work on a regular basis with Katie Davies. She is very reachable and cares genuinely about the clients. She is cautious and goes into details but manages to summarise all the key elements in a very comprehensive way’.

‘James Hardaker is very good. I worked with him on a few occasions and he always gave me a very good impression’.

‘The partners and associates are of high calibre, and this gives them the edge over their competitors. Although their fees are higher, this is more than compensated by the efficiency of the team. Rosie Todd, Katie Davies and Matthew Peto’.

‘Stevens & Bolton is an exceptional private client firm, ideally suited to clients who prefer a locally based west of London team, who share the same depth of expertise as the large, often impersonal central London lawyers’.

‘Matt Peto – on all occasions I have been extremely impressed by Matt who works hard to consider my own requirements and provide an excellent level of service, on time and within budget. When Matt requires additional expertise, he calls on a wide depth of in-house skills provided by partners and other specialists’.

‘They are a very client-friendly firm. Abigail Palmer-Page is bright, responsive and exceptionally good at distilling complex factual backgrounds as well as legal issues. She provides a smooth and effective bridge between the lay client and Counsel. She strikes the perfect balance between support, adding value to a case and being commercial and competitive in the legal market. Daryl Fox is the overseeing partner and brings cohesion to the team’.

‘The team is very knowledgeable, highly technical and manages to keep a practical sense of the matters of private clients. They are used to work in a cross-border environment. They deliver within a reasonable timeframe. It is also a very good point for them that they keep their fees within the provided estimate. In a nutshell, they are very reliable‘.

VWV

VWV enjoys a steady flow of international mandates. It regularly acts as the co-ordinator of the administration of cross-border estates and has considerable strength in advising on the European Succession Regulation.  Michael Knowles  and Angharad Lynn speak fluent French and are experienced in dealing directly with parties and advisers in France. Judith Cuxson  acts as a trustee for a large number of family and charitable trusts and as an attorney for clients who are unable to manage their own affairs.

Practice head(s):

Michael Knowles

Other key lawyers:

Angharad Lynn; Judith Cuxson

Testimonials

‘I have found the team extremely professional and strike the correct balance between being approachable and being very efficient and well informed on the legal matters their clients need’.

‘Angharad Lynn has always been an excellent professional and been a perfect link between me and her clients. Her knowledge, professionalism and personality makes her a real pleasure to work with’.

 ‘I have found that VWV has taken care to explain each step of Will making and suggested ways of dealing with fairly tricky options with care and great thoughtfulness. I have always felt dealt with as an individual, never a run of the mill customer’.

‘The team is very diligent and has a special emphasis on international probate cases. Angharad Lynn is great to work with and always on the ball’.

‘Personal, professional service. Angharad Lynn’.

‘What makes VWV unique is the quality of the advice and the depth of knowledge and experience the firm has particular on Trust matters and Family Law. The team has pivoted effortlessly in light of new working practices bought about by the pandemic and their attention to detail remains excellent‘.

‘I work closely with Judith Cuxson who has a vast wealth of experience in trust matters and whose advice and judgement is always better than sound. In short she adds significant value and raises awareness of current issues that have not been foreseen by others. She is always ahead of the curve which is what you need’.

‘Angharad Lynn is approachable, considered and professional. I have valued her advice during what was a very emotional period of my life’.

Winckworth Sherwood LLP

Hugh MacDougald  leads an excellent team at Winckworth Sherwood LLP  that has been busy advising both national and international wealthy individuals and families on high-end tax, trusts and probate matters.  It also receives a steady flow of work from intermediaries such as accountants, independent financial advisors and investment managers.  Tim Snaith  is a trusted advisor to many significant HNW families and individuals. Dhana Sabanathan is recommended for her advice to UK and non-UK clients on international tax and estate planning matters.

Practice head(s):

Hugh MacDougald

Other key lawyers:

Tim Snaith; Dhana Sabanathan

Testimonials

‘Great firm. Good experienced people. Good high value clients. Excellent strength in depth with extensive sound wills, trust and probate knowledge. Thoroughly recommended. As a team they will get to the right answer’.

‘Tim Snaith is my main contact. Also to a lesser extent Hugh MacDougald. Both very good and immensely experienced. Tim is discreet, charming and excellent with clients. Combined with sound common and practical sense and excellent legal knowledge – he is outstanding’.

‘This firm often handles large and sensitive matters discreetly and with the minimum of fuss. They are a pleasure to work with and very knowledgeable. Tim Snaith, charming, confident and usually right!’.

‘I have only had dealings with Tim Snaith (Partner) – see below – and would wholeheartedly recommend using him. Tim was exceptional throughout. The matter was particularly complex and he was able to cut through the issues. I was particularly impressed by his speed of response and his desire to work constructively and collaboratively for the benefit of both our clients. His overall skillset was the best I’ve seen from a Private Client partner at another firm’.

‘Strong private client team. Tim Snaith is a good quality Private Client solicitor who has his client’s best interests at the heart of everything he does’.

‘The team has many strengths and the whole firm can provide a very comprehensive private client service. Dhana Sabanathan is exceptional and provides extremely clear and timely advice. She is excellent at delivering verbally or in writing and I would introduce her to all of my clients if I could!’.

‘Very personal service provided by Tim Snaith and his team. Brilliant bedside manner, great attention to detail, very commercial, thorough and all-encompassing ‘bigger picture’ advice always given – trying to think beyond the immediate needs of the clients’.

Blake Morgan LLP

The agile team at Blake Morgan LLP provides the full range of traditional succession and tax services from straightforward matters to the more complex lifetime and estate planning for clients with multi-jurisdictional assets. Additionally it is well placed to advise on other complex family situations where there are second marriages, mental capacity issues or missing beneficiaries. Helen Bunker  heads the practice and also acts as a professional executor, trustee, attorney and deputy for a number of families.

Practice head(s):

Helen Bunker

Other key lawyers:

Karmen Ko

Testimonials

‘Helen Bunker Partner is the approachable face of the team’.

‘A solid and collegiate team which provides all round private client advice. Particular strengths in the regional offices. Always willing to help and invest both in their clients and their people with equal respect and diversity’.

‘Helen Bunker as the head of the Private Client team in London is extremely hardworking and consistently goes the extra mile to provide excellent client care in a timely and technically sound fashion. Her calm but steely manner can defuse any tricky situation with ease and I would not hesitate in referring the more demanding clients’.

‘I have worked with a number of people at Blake Morgan and have always been impressed with the client care they offer.’

‘Recently we had the pleasure of working with Karmen Ko on a particulary difficult valuation for IHT purposes. In order to value the property we required a large amount of historic information to back up the complex case. There seemed to be no boundaries to what Karmen was able to find out which made our job possible’.

Work highlights

  • Extensively advised a family as part of their Family Office support, to provide a full review of their personal wealth and off-shore trust structure in conjunction with their Swiss Trustee.
  • Advised on a matter where the estate is highly complex, consisting of a range of substantial assets in multi-jurisdictions and a range of assets where there is a conflict of laws about the ownership and succession to the assets.
  • Advised a successful businessman, worth in excess of £15m, coping with a diagnosis of dementia which has been highly emotional personally and also professionally challenging. This case brought into sharp focus the very practical, rather than specifically legal, aspects of capacity issues impacting business owners.

Collyer Bristow LLP

Peter Daniel  heads the department at Collyer Bristow LLP that advises on the full range of private client matters with a particular emphasis on services to UK and international entrepreneurs and business owners as well as the owners of UK landed estates. It is adept at handling all areas such as wills, trusts, complex international probate issues in addition to issues relating to personal taxation and wealth structuring.  The majority of its work has an international dimension and members of its team speak Italian and Turkish.

Practice head(s):

Peter Daniel

Other key lawyers:

Tulin Hamit; Charlie Fowler; Aidan Grant; James Cook; Daniel Simon; William Hancock; James Austen

Testimonials

‘Breadth of knowledge on matters relevant to HNW/UHNW clients is impressive – not only on tax matters but also more niche areas such as reputation management – A lot of our work has international aspects, which CB seems very comfortable dealing with – Proactive in providing value-adds such as organising know-how sessions for us as clients – Pragmatic approach to charging for their time is appreciated’.

We work with Peter Daniel and Daniel Simon. Peter is absolutely fantastic, pragmatic and very approachable. He is unflappable in his approach and a pleasure to work with. Daniel is supremely knowledgeable and highly able to connect with his clients which makes for an excellent combination for a lawyer dealing with delicate family affairs. We have also done work with Aidan Grant and Charlie Fowler – both of these individuals are definitely partners in the making’.

‘Peter Daniel – Approachable, responsive and knowledgeable. Charlie Fowler – Client-friendly, practical and responsive. Aidan Grant – Impressive knowledge on US/UK tax estate tax planning in particular’.

‘James Cook is always willing to jump on the phone and speak with my clients about certain matters. He is never pushy and has a friendly helpful approach that makes my clients feel calm’.

‘I have worked with Peter Daniel – he is extremely responsive and pragmatic and a pleasure to work with’.

‘Daniel Simon – an easy going manner combined with enormous experience. At the top of his game. Charlie Fowler – a team player who really cares about his clients. Diligent with a ‘can do’ approach’.

‘James Austen: all round excellent, attention to detail, care for his clients, pragmatic solution finder – technically second to none. Tulin Kiranoglu-Hamit: fearless champion for her clients’ causes; really good on international tax aspects’.

‘Daniel Simon – really good business manner/ethic – super pragmatic advice, technically very able. William Hancock – utterly charming, really empathetic, very clever. Aidan Grant – really charming, excellent on charity law, understands all the issues’.

Work highlights

  • Advising UHNW family and trustees of their family trust on all their UK legal and tax matters.
  • Advising long-standing client UHNW family and trustees of family trust on the dismantling of a company/trust structure across multiple jurisdictions.
  • Advising a UHNW non-resident on the creation of an offshore trust and company structure as part of an effective pre-immigration plan.

Greenwoods Legal

Clare Harris now heads the department at Greenwoods Legal. Ian Bowyer  has considerable experience in onshore trusts and probate work and deals with a variety of complex high-value estates including some with heritage property in addition to advising on tax and will drafting.

Practice head(s):

Clare Harris

Other key lawyers:

Ian Bowyer

Testimonials

‘Ian Bowyer made the whole process of me writing a will a very easy process. I felt he had a wealth of knowledge and was great in guiding me in the right direction. My situation was not straightforward but Ian managed to make it so it was for me and I’m very grateful. He was extremely efficient and answered all of my questions’.

 

Keystone Law

Keystone Law covers both onshore and offshore work. The domestic team works with some large landed estates in the UK. The offshore practice covers all aspects of UK tax planning for individuals who have a foreign connection. Alex Boothman ; Barry Adamson  and Luke Micallef Trigona are among the names to note. The team is adept at handling a variety of issues from wills, tax planning, probate and trusts to complex cross-border estates for high-net-worth individuals. 

Other key lawyers:

Alex Boothman; Barry Adamson; Luke Micallef Trigona

Testimonials

‘The Keystone private client team is responsive, flexible and always contactable. I primarily work with Luke Micallef Trigona whom I have found to be empathetic to client requirements and deals with matters in a timely fashion. Luke Micallef Trigona & Alex Boothman are two individuals who come highly recommended’.

‘Barry Adamson is very thorough and responsive. He always goes the extra mile for his clients‘.

‘Very flexible and good at collaboration. They have a wide range of expertise – UK tax and probate and international tax that enables them to provide a holistic service. Alex Boothman -technical expertise in tax – highly intelligent. Barry Adamson – meticulous in the field of probate’.

‘I am impressed by the calibre of the lawyers I know who practise under the Keystone Law framework. It is an interesting set-up, very different from an “ordinary” law firm in that the lawyers at Keystone effectively operate as sole practitioners. I mainly work with Barry Adamson, a private client specialist, whom I have known for many years. Not only is he very technical and knows his subject backwards, he is also one of the nicest people you could hope to meet and clients love him’.

‘Alex Boothman and Barry Adamson – reliable, great expertise and able to provide accurate thorough advice promptly. They also provide efficient advice that is to the point as opposed to vague. Ably supported by Luke Trigona an excellent and dynamic team member. All attributes described above apply individually’.

‘Barry Adamson is renowned in particular in this cross-border probate area. Mr Adamson has spent most of his working life at this subject because he loves it! Mr Adamson is extremely diligent and has professional experience which is both wide and deep internationally, which is essential for this kind of work’.

‘I worked with Barry Adamson who brings many years of experience and excellent legal technical expertise to bear on difficult problems and goes the extra mile to resolve problems for his clients’.

‘The team possesses strong interpersonal skill sets and has strong chemistry with clients. Hence the reason they maintain many long-standing relationships. This is one of the key attributes that stands them out from the competition. They are also reasonably priced and are able to access considerable depth of other legal services due to the extensive breadth of legal services available in the Keystone legal infrastructure’.

Mills & Reeve LLP

Sarah Cormack leads the London practice at Mills & Reeve LLP that focuses on international private client work for HNW and UHNW clients as well as meeting the needs of the local London market. It provides the full range of services including trust administration to international and domestic clients. Senior associate Katharine Watson advises on a wide range of succession planning matters for wealthy individuals and families.

Practice head(s):

Sarah Cormack

Other key lawyers:

Katharine Watson

Testimonials

‘Sarah Cormack is a very bright and practical legal advisor. She’s very dedicated to her clients’.

North Star Law Ltd.

North Star Law Ltd. ‘has a strong focus on serving clients from the Nordic community.  As it is a relatively small team it has a personal touch’.  With Benedikte Malling Bech at the helm it typically advises millionaires and billionaires ranging from £15m to £60m and has a number of key clients worth £100m to a few billion. Sarah Noake is sought after for her experience in complex US/UK estate planning and tax matters.

Practice head(s):

Benedikte Malling Bech

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Noake

Testimonials

‘Very efficient and expert. Benedikte Malling is worth her weight in gold’.

‘The team offers a good quality service. Team members are prepared to go the extra mile for a client and are always accessible for their clients. The offering is about quality not quantity. Benedikte Malling Bech has a great reputation. She is extremely professional and knowledgeable. Because of her background she also has a great understanding for the needs of Nordic individuals living in the UK’.

North Star Law is an affordable solution for clients with complex situations. They employ a team of attorneys that understand other jurisdictions, and whilst not always experts, find a solution for the client and work with other firms. Sarah Noake is a fantastic UK based Solicitor who has working knowledge of the US system to subsequently draft documents that are appropriate from both a US and UK perspective’.

‘Sarah Noake is excellent to deal with, calm, collected and friendly.  Benedikte Malling Bech has a strong profile within the Nordic community’.

I’d say going above and beyond to exceed client expectations. Our clients work frequently with Sarah Noake who really goes the extra mile’.

Personal service. Benedikte Mailling , very dedicated and professional’.

Small team so you really work one-on-one with them and get to know them well. Always quick to respond and helpful. I have worked with Benedikte Malling Bech – has been very helpful and quick to respond and proactive’.

North Star Law provides city quality advice, and highly personalised service, at boutique law prices. Founder Benedikte Malling Bech is exceptional in her dedication to clients, practical approach and service levels’.

Work highlights

  • Advised a non-domicile HNWI on the tax implications of staying in the UK and how to structure various new investments he wanted to enter and plan such investments both from an income perspective and from an estate planning perspective.
  • Advised a famous Danish businessman on his wife’s move to England, reviewed their assets and advised n structure, drafted English Wills, and advised on estate planning.
  • Acted for a US citizen with setting up a Discretionary Trust and a Bare Trust for her minor child which will hold a valuable US shareholding.

Ronald Fletcher Baker LLP

Devorah Ormonde heads the practice at Ronald Fletcher Baker LLPChris O’Callaghan was promoted to the partnership. It has been receiving an increasing number of instructions to advise on the tax implications of lifetime transfers. Many of its clients originate from outside the UK and it has significant expertise in advising clients who are non-domiciled or who are UK domiciled but retain assets in other jurisdictions, and in dealing with estates where grants are needed to be extracted or resealed abroad to deal with international estates.

Practice head(s):

Devorah Ormonde

Other key lawyers:

Chris O’Callaghan

Testimonials

‘Chris O’Callaghan has been hands on since day one, supporting me and I would not hesitate in recommending Chris and the firm to anyone’.

‘The best thing about RFB legal is unlike other solicitors they are always contactable. They always offer to come out to the client especially when someone is elderly. Where other solicitors I have dealt with always seem slow to reply delaying any signing of contracts etc , RFB always offer a quick response and a swift outcome . Billing is never an issue or rushed . All in all the best solicitors I have dealt with by far is RFB’.

‘Devorah Ormande struck me as being extremely competent and efficient.’

‘Devorah Ormonde is an exceptional lawyer. Her remarkable dedication and passion are second to none and is most evident in her diligence, her meticulousness, and her patience and understanding when dealing with clients. Ms Ormonde makes every effort answer all questions her clients have, even the repetitive ones!’.

‘ Ms Ormonde was approachable, professional and empathetic and we felt she seemed to have an understanding of our situation. She advised us of what she felt could be done and gave us a plan of action and to date this has been followed. Ms Ormonde has always replied promptly to my emails. We have every confidence in her whatever the outcome’.

‘Devorah Ormonde, good service, knowledgeable advice, gave information needed without bombarding with legal jargon and explained everything well’.

‘Devorah and Chris are two exceptional partners and are always accessible to interface and assist with matters as they arise’.

‘Very professional from the very first moment I was in contact with them and advised before me going ahead with the Probate service’.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Alexander Dickinson  leads the team at Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP. The private wealth practice advises high-net-worth clients on the full range of private client matters both domestic and international – with a particular focus on US/UK matters. Neil Long is another key member of the department who advises large entrepreneurs who have complex business and financial interests.

Practice head(s):

Alexander Dickinson

Other key lawyers:

Neil Long; Will Ford

Testimonials

‘A genuine understanding of Family Wealth planning and the personal approach to dealing with all concerned’.

‘Alexander Dickinson – outstanding senior advisor with real empathy with the rural Estate Client. Excellent advice delivered in a straightforward and easily understood manner’.

‘Will Ford gets to the nub of the issue quickly, concisely and offering practical solutions’.