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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > North > Private client > Personal tax, trusts and probate > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Personal tax, trusts and probate
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP’s team acts for families and high-net-worth individuals on a wide range of succession and estate planning matters, including capital gains and inheritance tax issues, the establishment and reorganisation of private and charitable trusts, investment restructuring and trading structures as well as the administration of high-value probates, inheritance tax relief claims and trustee work. Helen Tavroges, who jointly heads the team with David Dale, is frequently called upon by high-net-worth individuals and has particular expertise in matters affecting the elderly. George Lyall and legal director Deborah Jude are other key members of the team, as is managing associate Emily Pike.

Nothing is too much trouble’ for the ‘client-focused and professional’ team at EMG Solicitors, which is ‘very easy to deal with’ and noted for its ‘prompt and clear communication style’. Managing director Emma Gaudern heads the team and is regularly called upon by high-net-worth individuals to assist with wills, trusts, probate and inheritance tax planning matters. Other key individuals include ‘knowledgeable, friendly and patient’ director Jemma Morland, who specialises in Court of Protection work, and the ‘very efficient and professional’ Samantha Edward. Edward is ‘easy to work with’ and ‘has an exceptional client manner; she is friendly and down-to-earth, yet very knowledgeable, practical and thorough’. She also attracts praise as being ‘very resourceful’ and ‘providing a range of options as to how the client’s objectives might best be achieved’.

Clients can trust the highly respected team’ at Hay & Kilner ‘to do a very good job’. The ‘very competent, skilled and friendly’ private client team is led by the ‘extremely knowledgeable and experienced’ Alison Hall, who, according to clients, ‘is an authority on many aspects of inheritance tax and particularly good at dealing with agricultural issues’, while also having an ‘excellent understanding of trusts’. In recent work, she assisted the executor of a large agricultural estate with an application for a succession to an agricultural holdings act tenancy. The ‘very personable’ Alice Clewes, who ‘provides tailored, easy-to-follow and practical advice’, assisted a client with life interest trust matters, and advised a testator on a will and estate planning issues including personal company shares, residential property with agricultural land and a life interest in an overseas settlement. Senior associate John Luke is another key member of the team.

With a focus on tax planning and asset protection, the ‘professional, efficient and friendly’ team at Sintons LLP advises high-net-worth clients, farmers and rural businesses on wills, trusts and the administration of estates, often involving other jurisdictions. Team head Paul Nickalls handles a number of estate administration matters involving companies, agricultural property and foreign assets. He is noted as ‘being excellent with clients’ and ‘responding immediately and taking action without delay’. Other key individuals include Alan Dawson, senior associate Julie Garbutt, who also acts for doctors and dentists, and ‘very caring and responsive’associate Paul Collingwood.

At Ward Hadaway, team head Andrew Facer is well versed in guiding high-net-worth individuals, most notably entrepreneurial and landed clients, through a wide range of succession planning issues including trusts and wills, and has particular expertise in advising on succession structures involving companies, partnerships, foreign property, pension funds and land ownership. He also handles employee benefit trusts matters and works closely with consultant Gaynor Jackson, whose expertise includes assisting national and international charities with contentious and non-contentious trust and estate issues.

Clients benefit from DWF’s close co-operation with its corporate and tax departments which enables the ‘very responsive and knowledgeable’ team to advise business owners, entrepreneurs and high-net-worth families on various tax and succession planning vehicles including those with international elements. Other areas of expertise include the preparation of wills, lasting powers of attorney and estate and trust administration mandates as well as probate matters involving business and agricultural assets. Team head Jon Gould ‘provides an excellent service’ and is particularly noted for his ‘first-class manner with clients’ and for ‘taking particular care to understand his clients’ needs in a very empathetic way’. He advised two high-net-worth families on tax-efficient wills, lifetime trusts and lasting power of attorney matters alongside the possible set-up of a family investment company, and handled the administration of an estate involving complex property ownership, pension and insurance matters.

Gibson & Co Solicitors Ltd has carved out a strong practice acting in the rural private client sphere, providing agricultural estate clients and high-net-worth individuals with wills and probate assistance alongside trust and succession planning advice. The ‘friendly and professional’ team includes the ‘very responsive and committed’ David Bawn, who is singled out for his ‘superb knowledge’ in capital tax planning matters and the administration of high-value estates; the ‘very efficient’ Harry Chrisp, who handles the administration of estates but also prepares wills; and senior partner Toby Gibson, who is noted for his focus on trusts and probate work. Together with Bawn, Gibson acted as trustee for the M R Finn Will Trust which included assistance with various tax and property issues.

Iain Nicholson & Co’s ‘very helpful, well-informed and dedicated’ team is led by ‘good communicator’ Iain Nicholson, who ‘provides an excellent personal service which gives the client peace of mind’. He handles wills, probate, inheritance tax and capital gains tax matters as well as property-related instructions. Peter Dakin and Victoria Stevenson are other key members of the team.

The ‘highly approachable and knowledgeable’ practice at Latimer Hinks Solicitors provides ‘high-quality’ advice utilising its ‘excellent spread of knowledge’. The team fields a number of ‘technically excellent partners who understand their clients’ needs’, including ‘very bright and conscientious’ head of tax and trusts Elizabeth Armstrong, who has the ‘rare talent of balancing difficult technical work with good humour and an approachable manner’, while ‘always staying on top of things’; and ‘very knowledgeable and hugely experienced’ private client practice head Anne Elliot, who ‘goes the extra mile for clients’. The practice acts for agricultural and business families as well as individuals on inheritance tax and asset protection planning matters, the preparation of tax-efficient wills, trusts and property-related issues. Other key individuals include Andrew Way and Natalie Palmer. Solicitor Jennifer Quayle is also recommended.

BHP Law regularly acts for high-net-worth individuals to advise on estate administration, tax planning and trust matters, often involving various assets, business and land issues alongside tax structures. Helen Biglin jointly heads the team with Karen Pratt and is adept at handling the administration of estates involving farming assets and claims for agricultural relief, in addition to having experience in insolvent estates as well as elderly client issues such as matters pertaining to the protection of assets. Pratt is the main contact for Court of Protection mandates, while Peter Blackett frequently acts as executor and trustee and is regularly called upon by regional agricultural clients and company directors to handle wills and inheritance tax work.

Described by clients as a ‘breath of fresh air’, Burnetts has notable expertise advising clients with farming assets on the creation and management of trusts but the team also drafts wills, handles lasting powers of attorney mandates and administers estates. Senior associate and team head Rachael Stephenson is dedicated to trusts and estate planning work: recently, she acted in matters concerning the client’s estate which consisted of a landed estate in Cumbria, a property in London, various investments and an extensive collection of personal chattels. Other key individuals include Martyn Wrightson, who advises on wills, inheritance tax and trusts, and managing partner and Court of Protection expert Nick Gutteridge. ‘Very responsive’ solicitor Tracy Stainton is ‘very focused and professional’ and provides ‘considered, balanced and pragmatic advice’, while also receiving praise for her ‘willingness to always go the extra mile for her clients’.

Routinely working in conjunction with the firm’s agricultural property team, Cartmell Shepherd provides private clients and charitable trusts with tax and estate planning advice with a focus on agricultural and landed estates, including those involving foreign assets, while also handling Court of Protection mandates for elderly clients. Deborah Flynn heads the team, which includes consultant Diana Armstrong and managing director and contentious probate team head Peter Stafford.

Mincoffs Solicitors LLP’s ‘very professional’ team ‘listens carefully’ and provides ‘sound advice’ to high-net-worth business owners. Associate solicitor Louise Miller heads the practice and puts her emphasis on high-net-worth estate administration work; recently, she handled an estate involving shareholdings and overseas assets, and assisted several clients with discretionary trust, lifetime tax planning and land tax refund matters. When dealing with matters involving the restructuring of family businesses, the practice frequently calls upon its colleagues in the corporate department.

Swinburne Maddison’s ‘professional and thorough’ team attracts praise for its ‘good blend of experience and compassion’ and its ‘problem-solving and no-nonsense approach, delivering regular positive results’. The team’s expertise spans the administration of estates, lifetime planning matters and all aspects of trusts and lasting powers of attorney as well as Court of Protection applications. ‘Considered and diplomatic’ managing partner John Davison heads the team and ‘always provides a personal but professional service’. He has ‘expansive knowledge of trusts, wills and inheritance tax’ and is noted as ‘giving the client confidence with his calm and measured manner’. Solicitor Jennifer Purvis is ‘very efficient and sensitive to client circumstances’, while solicitor Anna Stephenson and associate Mark Collin are also recommended.

Tilly Bailey & Irvine handles a wide range of probate and trusts-related mandates and specialises in wills, the administration of estates, inheritance tax planning and Court of Protection work. Nicola Dalzell heads the wills, probate, trusts and tax department team and advises individuals and business owners on the full spectrum of private client work, while managing partner and head of private client services Carolyn Tilly is frequently involved in elderly client matters and the creation of trusts. Martin Brown, who handles various contentious and non-contentious matters, and Helen Dexter  are also key individuals; Dexter is particularly experienced in high-net-worth estate administration.

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