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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

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Personal tax, trusts and probate clients in North using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


β€˜First-rate in the North’, Bond Dickinson LLP’s β€˜exceptionally strong’ practice has β€˜outstanding knowledge and pragmatism’ that is β€˜unmatched in the region’. David Dale and Helen Tavroges jointly head the team, which has notable expertise advising large landed estates and assisting with succession issues; Tavroges primarily acts for high-net-worth individuals and is experienced in issues affecting older people. The group’s team of β€˜true professionals’ includes George Lyall, who has substantial expertise advising entrepreneurs in capital tax planning; legal director Deborah Jude, who specialises in Court of Protection work; legal director Susan Maxey, who focuses on succession planning and capital taxation; β€˜no-nonsense, decisive and to-the-point’ managing associate Emily Pike and associate Luke Busbridge, who is recommended for succession planning, particularly involving landed estates and rural business assets.

EMG Solicitors is β€˜a dynamic firm’ that is β€˜among the finest Court of Protection firms in the country’ and whose β€˜knowledge is of the highest order’. Practice head Emma Gaudern is β€˜a first-class professional, wonderful with clients and always on the ball’; clients rate her as β€˜a truly brilliant and experienced deputy, who is always a pleasure to work with’. Gaudern is regularly appointed as litigation friend for clients, recently acting as litigation friend for a client following the removal of his mother from the role. In another highlight, Gaudern and Jemma Morland acted as joint deputies for a young man with learning and mental health difficulties. The firm further strengthened its wills, trusts and probate expertise with the recruitment of β€˜knowledgeable, professional and straight-talking’ associate solicitor Samantha Edward from Ward Hadaway in 2016.

Hay & Kilner’s team is β€˜highly experienced, with a wealth of knowledge and a strong reputation that other firms struggle to match’; β€˜it acts with great professionalism and integrity in all situations, no matter the complexity’. Alison Hall, who is β€˜highly regarded in the field’ leads the department following Kirstin Cook’s departure to Foot Anstey. Hall is recognised for her expertise in inheritance tax issues and her knowledge of estate planning for agricultural clients. The practice is also recommended for landed estate work and succession planning, the latter being a notable strength for Alice Clewes, who is a chartered tax adviser. Family law specialist Nicola Matthews handles Court of Protection work and is β€˜highly knowledgeable of the complexities involved’. Senior associate John Luke the name to note for advice to high-net-worth individuals. Sintons LLP’s β€˜excellent’ department acts for high-net-worth clients on a regional and national level and handles the full gamut of private client matters spanning complex will issues, trust mandates and estate administration. Tax planning and asset protection also remain key areas of focus for the team, which regularly acts for farmers, rural businesses, high-value estates and large family businesses. Practice head Paul Nickalls is rated for his ability to β€˜take a quick and clever approach, while also considering every angle’; he has particular emphasis on estate administration (especially those involving companies, agricultural property and foreign assets). Other noteworthy names in the practice include Alan Dawson, who advises high-net-worth individuals on estate planning matters, trust mandates and inheritance disputes; and associates Paul Collingwood, Julie Garbutt and Jessica Morton.

Andrew Facer leads the practice at Ward Hadaway and regularly handles succession planning matters, particularly for entrepreneurial and landed clients, as well as issues relating to employee benefit trusts. Gaynor Jackson acts for charities on inheritance issues including inheritance tax and capacity-related matters. The team also acts for corporate trustees, landowners and high-net-worth individuals. Other areas of strength for the group include tax planning, estate administration, lasting powers of attorney and capital tax work, while Court of Protection mandates are a notable area of growth for the team.

DWF β€˜takes the time to get to know its clients and to understand their needs’, and has β€˜a refreshing approach that highlights its knowledge and expertise in the best possible way’. Jon Gould is the group’s key name and advises on inheritance tax planning and succession issues, will preparation, powers of attorney, trust administration and Court of Protection applications; he is also STEP qualified. Solicitor Laura Murphy is highly regarded by clients and is β€˜approachable yet professional’ with β€˜an excellent ability to build a rapport that inspires confidence’. Clients include high-net-worth individuals, business owners, trustees and executors.

A β€˜professional and efficient firm’, Gibson & Co Solicitors Ltd’s β€˜excellent’ practice counts high-net-worth individuals and agricultural estates as clients. David Bawn is rated for his β€˜excellent understanding of the law, ability to ably guide clients through complex situations and honest and straightforward approach’. Bawn specialises in capital tax planning and the administration of high-value estates. Other noteworthy names include Tony Gibson, Derwent Gibson, whose expertise spans tax planning and asset protection work; Michael Macgregor, who focuses on inheritance tax issues; and estate expert Harry Chrisp. Sunderland Association Football Club is a client.

Iain Nicholson & Co provides β€˜an excellent and personal service’ that instils β€˜a real peace of mind in clients, particularly in difficult situations’. Practice head Iain Nicholson is rated for his β€˜invaluable skill and expertise’ and for his β€˜reliability and honesty’. He advises high-net-worth clients on wills, probates, taxation and property-related mandates. The β€˜exceptional’ Victoria Stevenson and Peter Dakin (who is β€˜always a pleasure to work with’) are also recommended; Dakin has notable experience assisting with wills, probate and inheritance tax issues. The practice is also skilled in matters with an international angle.

The β€˜incredibly knowledgeable’ practice at Latimer Hinks Solicitors is led by the β€˜highly regarded’ Anne Elliott, who is β€˜extremely approachable and can adapt her style to any and every situation’. Elliott handles wills, trusts, tax planning and succession planning for high-net-worth individuals and is a well-regarded dementia friend. Also recommended are Andrew Way, who is praised as β€˜a first-rate lawyer’; Elizabeth Armstrong, who leads the trusts practice and specialises in tax, estate and succession planning; and β€˜all-round professional’ Natalie Palmer, who heads the Court of Protection team. Clients of the department include agricultural and business families, entrepreneurs and vulnerable individuals.

Mincoffs Solicitors LLP’s areas of strength span tax and estate planning (including wills, trusts, probate, powers of attorney and Court of Protection mandates) for a wide range of clients including high-value estates, high-net-worth business owners and complex trusts. Associate solicitor Louise Miller leads the practice and has substantial expertise in wills, trusts and tax planning. Solicitor Patricia Mellish is noted for her asset protection knowledge and has significant experience in property-related issues. Solicitor Helen Robinson is singled out for her work with elderly and vulnerable clients and has particular expertise in Court of Protection matters.

BHP Law is highly regarded in the region for its expertise in complex tax planning and trust work, where it primarily assists high-net-worth individuals and large estates. Helen Biglin and Karen Pratt jointly lead the group; Biglin specialises in advising elderly clients on asset protection issues, lasting powers of attorney and inheritance tax planning, while Pratt handles Court of Protection matters. They are assisted by Peter Blackett, who counts retailers, farming families and country landowners as clients. Other areas of specialism include estate administration, cross-border tax mandates, estate insolvencies, advice on statutory wills, and advising parents who have children with learning disabilities.

Burnetts β€˜has a strong presence in the North of England’ and fields β€˜excellent lawyers who have high-quality expertise’ and are β€˜brilliant in all aspects’. The department is recognised for its trust expertise (particularly lifetime property protection trusts) and also has a track record of handling matters involving wills, lasting powers of attorney and estate administrations. Martyn Wrightson leads the practice and regularly handles estate planning work for farming families. The β€˜enormously helpful’ Nick Gutteridge is recommended for Court of Protection mandates. β€˜Incredibly patient and supportive’ associate Emma Baker advises on lasting powers of attorney and inheritance tax matters. Tracy Stainton, whose track record includes acting for clients on matters involving estates and willd issues, is also recommended.

Deborah Flynn heads the practice at Cartmell Shepherd following Joanna Jeeves’ retirement in 2016. The group, which is spread across five offices, has substantial experience acting for individuals and charitable trusts on matters relating to wills, probate, tax and estate planning alongside handling Court of Protection mandates for elderly clients. Other key figures include Diana Armstrong, who is STEP qualified, and Peter Stafford, who is noted for his probate litigation expertise. Associate Zoe Calway attracts praise for her work with the elderly and handles will drafting, powers of attorney and inheritance tax mandates.

Keith Hately leads the department at Muckle LLP and acts for business owners and high-net-worth individuals on a wide range of issues including wills, family trusts, inheritance tax, business succession, asset protection and probate matters. He is also STEP qualified. Also recommended are corporate partner Hugh Welch and STEP-qualified solicitor Olivia Colbeck, who is experienced in will, probate and trust mandates.

The β€˜professional, knowledgeable and approachable’ team at Tilly Bailey & Irvine is β€˜able to dispense with technical jargon and communicate clearly and concisely; it always puts clients at ease due to its exceptional rapport-building abilities’. Carolyn Tilly, who β€˜really knows her stuff’, leads the four-partner practice and regularly acts for elderly individuals. Clients single out Helen Dexter, who handles agricultural and high-value estate administration; the β€˜highly adept’ Martin Brown; and the β€˜insightful’ Nicola Dalzell, who is recognised for her probate expertise and who also advises on wills, estates, trusts, asset protection, estate planning and mental capacity matters.

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