Personal tax, trusts and probate in North

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

David Dale and Helen Tavroges lead the Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP team. The range of expertise and strength in depth includes private wealth and capital tax planning specialist George Lyall; court of protection and inheritance tax expert Deborah Jude; and managing associate Emily Pike, who has particular experience in advising on succession planning for business owners and shareholders. Also notable are the ‘client focused and dynamic’ associates Fiona McLaughlin and Katie Gosling.

Practice head(s):

David Dale; Helen Tavroges

Other key lawyers:

George Lyall; Deborah Jude; Susan Maxey; Neil Braithwaite; Emily Pike; Katie Gosling; Fiona McLaughlin


‘The level of expertise and availability of specialist individuals within the team is second to none.’

‘A go-to private client team with a great mixture of expertise, they are efficient and work collaboratively.’

‘George Lyall has proven to strike the perfect balance between professional advice and personal support.’

‘What makes this team stand-out is the calm competent way in which they manage family wealth and landed assets in complex situations, and instil trust in clients.’

‘The team is committed, invested in getting the right outcome, and comes across as mature in its approach.’

‘Emily Pike is highly efficient and fast becoming a trusted practitioner in this area.’

EMG Solicitors

The ‘highly skilled’ and ‘extremely responsiveEMG Solicitors is known for estate administration, court of protection and complex cases involving capacity. The ‘approachable, friendly and professional’ team is led by directors Jemma Morland and Samantha Edward, who can call on the expertise of managing director Emma Gaudern, a court of protection specialist. Also notable in this area is associate Andrea Ingledew.

Practice head(s):

Jemma Morland; Samantha Edward

Other key lawyers:

Emma Gaudern; Andrea Ingledew


‘The team provides sound advice and puts customers at the front of everything it does.’

‘The knowledge is second to none.’

‘EMG has a caring, family first attitude which is a win win scenario. The team are extremely professional and committed to fulfilling client needs and wishes.’

‘The solicitors are problem solvers, very nimble in their approach and their internal communications work very well.’

‘The speed and accuracy of their resolutions is far superior to other local Solicitors.’

‘Samantha Edwards makes clients feel at ease and explains complex planning in a way that clients understand and feel comfortable. She also has great communication skills, is highly qualified and has exceptional empathy.’

‘Jemma Morland and Emma Gaudern are both excellent and stand out for their responsiveness and eagerness to do their very best for clients.’

Hay & Kilner

Hay & Kilner focuses on agricultural clients and high-net-worth individuals, with particular expertise in entrepreneur tax advice and succession panning. Practice head Alison Hall specialises in agricultural property relief and business property relief, as well as advising on Inheritance Act cases. Her team includes Alice Clewes, an expert in succession planning for business clients and high-net-worth individuals; and STEP qualified associate Richard Marshall.

Practice head(s):

Alison Hall

Other key lawyers:

Alice Clewes; Richard Marshall


‘Ready to engage with fellow professionals to deliver team driven result for the client.’

‘Recognition of the expertise that other professionals can bring to table to compliment their own expertise.’

‘Alison Hall has a down to earth approach with clients, exceptional empathy, applying focused expertise and knowledge to deliver clients objectives.’

‘Richard Freeman Wallis has exceptional knowledge on development contracts carried out with great skill and timeliness.’

Ward Hadaway

Ward Hadaway provides a broad range of advice to clients including corporate trustees, national charities, entrepreneurs and landowners. Practice head Andrew Facer has expertise in acting for entrepreneurial and landed clients, notably in succession planning through trusts and wills. His team includes Gaynor Jackson, who advises charities in relation to trust and estate issues.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Facer

Other key lawyers:

Gaynor Jackson


The commercially focused practice of DWF is led by private capital and high-net-worth individuals specialist Jon Gould. His team has notable experience in tax and corporate advice, as well as complex, cross-border probates and asset protection. Associate Laura Murphy has particular expertise in wills and administration of estate work.

Practice head(s):

Jon Gould

Other key lawyers:

Laura Murphy

Work highlights

  • Complex administration of estate involving significant business, international and Lloyds syndicate assets.
  • Complex lifetime tax and succession planning for international business and real estate families.
  • Complex Private client legal and tax advice for business owners; families and real estate clients.
  • Bespoke legal and tax advice in transferring shares into a lifetime Trust.
  • Lifetime IHT planning for ultra-high net worth client with business and international assets.

Gibson & Co Solicitors Ltd

Gibson & Co Solicitors Ltd is known as a strong agricultural practice but also acts for a range of clients, providing wills and probate services as well as advising high net worth individuals and landed estates on complex trust and succession planning. Anthony Gibson leads the experienced team that includes Harry Chrisp, who specialises in dealing with large agricultural estates; Chris Sheppard, who was promoted to partner in 2019; and new addition Kath Monteith, who joined from Kidd & Spoor Harper in 2019.

Practice head(s):

Anthony Gibson

Other key lawyers:

Harry Chrisp; Chris Sheppard; Derwent Gibson; Kath Monteith

Key clients

Shoreswood Farms

J Bradburn & Co

Sir Richard & Lady Renwick

Sir Christopher & Lady Bland

Hyslop family

Latimer Hinks Solicitors

Acting for farmers and agricultural clients, Latimer Hinks Solicitors is known for succession planning work as well as its in-house trust and tax department. Anne Elliott is head of the firm’s private client group; Elizabeth Armstrong leads the tax and trusts team; Natalie Palmer is the court of protection head; and Andrew Way’s specialisms include tax planning, wills, probate and capacity related work.

Practice head(s):

Anne Elliott; Andrew Way; Elizabeth Armstrong; Natalie Palmer

Other key lawyers:

Daniel Williams


‘A huge depth of experience and track record in delivering good customer outcomes.’

‘The Latimer Hinks team are peerless in their expertise in private client work.’

‘Immense strength in depth with a range of talented lawyers. The partners and junior lawyers are approachable, knowledgeable and go the extra mile in ensuring that clients come first.’

‘The go-to firm for farming and landowning clients, as well as other individuals who value high quality service.’

‘Elizabeth Armstrong is very approachable and down to earth. She puts her clients first and foremost.’

‘Anne Elliot is a force of nature. Her commitment to her clients and ensuring best outcomes is an inspiration.’

Sintons LLP

Sintons LLP’s practice is led by Paul Nickalls, who has particular expertise in trusts, tax and succession planning. The team specialises in high net worth clients, tax planning and asset protection, with notable experience in complex and cross-border probates. Senior associate Paul Collingwood is an expert in administering complex estates, as well as advising trustees.

Practice head(s):

Paul Nickalls

Other key lawyers:

Paul Collingwood


‘Sintons has built a team of highly experienced practitioners.’

‘Sintons are professional at all times. All the staff are polite and pleasant, they are quick to respond to queries.’

‘Paul Nickalls and Paul Collingwood are excellent practioners. They have significant experience, but are also very personable.’

‘Paul Nickalls can only be described as outstanding.’

‘The Sintons team are all approachable and with a great understanding.’

‘Great listeners and are happy to help with any query.’

‘They are very professional while still being approachable.’

Tilly Bailey & Irvine

Tilly Bailey & Irvine focuses on bespoke advice to businesses, high-net-worth individuals and trusts. Practice head Nicola Dalzell’s expertise includes wills, estates, inheritance tax planning and mental capacity work. She can call on the experience of managing partner Carolyn Tilly, who has a particular specialism in elderly client matters and the creation of trusts. Also notable is STEP qualified solicitor Jessica Morton, who joined the team from Sintons LLP in 2018.

Practice head(s):

Nicola Dalzell

Other key lawyers:

Carolyn Tilly; Helen Dexter; Martin Brown; Annaliese Barber; Jessica Morton


‘They provide a comprehensive service.’

The firm’s great strength is that it’s a multi location practice yet maintains it’s local and personal touch.’

‘The communication with the team and smiling faces from when you first enter the door makes them an absolute pleasure to deal with.’

‘Nicola Dalzell is a credit to the organisation. Her ability to explain complex issues with elegant simplicity is outstanding and she is always available on the end of the phone.’

‘Helen Dexter in particular is knowledgeable in the will planning and wealth planning field.’

‘The firm is able to offer a full range of legal services across its offices which is helpful to clients.’

Work highlights

  • Strategic succession planning for family with several million pounds moved outside of the estate over a 15-year period.
  • Administered farming estate comprising of agricultural property relief.
  • Instructed to assist in the administration of a multi-million pound estate.  Instructed to deal specifically with land and deeds.
  • Administered taxable estate of client incorporating house, land and portfolio.


Helen Biglin and Karen Pratt lead the team at BHP Law known for ‘friendliness, approachability, availability, efficiency and transparency’. The wills, trusts and probate group acts for individuals, companies and trustees on a range of matters, from the preparation of basic wills to the establishment and administration of trusts. The practice also provides experience in agricultural and commercial estate planning and complex capacity cases. In addition, the firm’s court of protection offering was boosted by the arrival of Stephen Williams, who joined from Switalskis Solicitors in 2018.

Practice head(s):

Helen Biglin; Karen Pratt

Other key lawyers:

James McMillan; Stephen Williams


‘The firm delivers efficient, prompt service and has a very good reputation in this area.’

‘A very personal service with a high level of care and attention paid to clients needs, as well as a specialty in the area, combined with competence and experience.’

‘BHP delivers good advise in a common sense approach.’

‘This Practice is exceptional in providing an outstanding professional, caring service.’

‘The team’s strengths and key responsibilities are due to the example and excellent clear direction of Helen Biglin, in addition, the solicitors who work with her are also courteous and efficient at all times.’

‘Helen Biglin is both experienced and knowledgeable, reassuring at difficult times and with a calm and sensitive manner essential to wills and probate issues.’

‘Karen Pratt is held in high regard by all clients for professionalism combined with a very caring and compassionate approach.’

‘James McMillan is very efficient, knowledgeable and professional, inspiring  confidence. He is a good ambassador for the firm and has a brilliant approach.’

Work highlights

  • Quick succession deaths of both clients leaving a taxable estate consisting of unusual assets including a small yacht and antique motorcycles.
  • Advice pertaining to Estate Duty claims, business property relief, family deed of trust and subsequent amendments relating to land in Cumbria.
  • Advice provided in respect of formation of a Family Investment Company and associated estate planning needs such as Commercial Lasting Powers of Attorney and will planning.
  • Inheritance tax and succession advice provided relating to assets held in England and rental property portfolio held in Poland.
  • Client transferred from another firm following initial appointment.  Related to IHT advice, trust planning and a gifting application to the Court of Protection on behalf of client for her incapacitated husband.


Burnetts has extensive experience of advising clients with farming assets, as well as in complex and multi-jurisdictional estate planning. Led by Rachael Stephenson, the team also specialises in the creation and management of trusts. Associate Timothy Boardman joined in 2018 from Cartmell Shepherd and brings experience in wills, powers of attorney, estates and trusts.

Practice head(s):

Rachael Stephenson

Other key lawyers:

Martyn Wrightson; Timothy Boardman; Tracy Stainton


‘The Burnetts team offer an excellent professional service with areas of specialism not offered by other local firms.’

‘Burnetts has a private client team that has exceptional knowledge and experience, which has provides a high quality service.’ 

‘The solicitors all very approachable, dynamic and forward thinking.’

‘A hugely friendly practice, offering advice and assistance in easy to understand, straightforward language.’ 

‘With expertise in every area and always available at short notice or emergencies they are the first People to talk to.’

‘Staff are friendly and efficient with excellent local knowledge and adapt extremely well to the different dynamics and requirements of clients.’ 

Martyn Wrightson has exceptional knowledge and experience of trusts and probate matters and is a very solid and reliable individual who is a pleasure to work with.’

‘Rachel Stephenson and Nick Gutteridge are fantastic.’

‘Tracy Stainton has an excellent manner with clients, she goes above and beyond her remit on occasions and truly cares about the individuals she engages with.’

Cartmell Shepherd

Cartmell Shepherd acts for private clients and charitable trusts, focusing on tax and estate planning advice for agricultural and landed estates. Deborah Flynn leads the team that also has expertise in court of protection work. Consultant Diana Armstrong and managing director and contentious probate team head Peter Stafford are notable in this area.

Practice head(s):

Deborah Flynn

Other key lawyers:

Diana Armstrong; Peter Stafford

Iain Nicholson & Co

Iain Nicholson & Co specialises in private client work and agriculture, particularly in matters relating to property and wealth planning. Director Iain Nicholson has extensive experience advising high-net-worth individuals on wills, probates, taxation and property; fellow director Peter Dakin is a member of STEP and has notable expertise in inheritance tax as well as property.

Practice head(s):

Iain Nicholson

Other key lawyers:

Peter Dakin; Victoria Stevenson; Lauren Wilson

Work highlights

  • Probate and administration of substantial estates of husband and wife who died in quick succession
  • Probate and administration of substantial dutiable estate.
  • Acting in connection with complex and high value estate. Complicated issues involving question of Deceased’s domicile.
  • General advice in relation to Will with Inheritance Tax implications and charitable bequests.

Mincoffs Solicitors LLP

Wills, trusts and probate specialist Louise Miller is practice head at Mincoffs Solicitors LLP. She leads a team that was strengthened by the arrival of STEP qualified Solicitor Lydia McCaslin, who joined in 2018 from Alderson Law. The firm has particular experience with high-net-worth individuals and complex estates, as well as seeing an increase in court of protection and trust work.

Practice head(s):

Louise Miller

Other key lawyers:

Lydia McCaslin; Pat Mellish; Victoria Richer


‘Extremely professional and very personable, Mincoffs has excelled in its service.’

‘The solicitors are friendly and knowledgeable.’

‘By far the friendliest, most helpful and down to earth firm, it is extremely professional and reliable.’

‘Professional yet very personable, nothing is ever too much trouble.’

‘Lydia McCaslin is outstanding in probate.’

‘Pat Mellish and Victoria Richer are excellent in their approach to dealing with legal requirements. Both are professional, diligent and knowledgeable.’

‘Victoria Richer is absolutely excellent in every way possible. She is a very understanding, caring person and professional too, as well as articulate, responsible and reliable.’ 

‘Louise Miller is very willing to seek straightforward solutions and deal with client affairs efficiently and effectively. She is friendly and approachable.’

Work highlights

  • Represented client in the administration of the estate.
  • Acting on behalf of the Administrator of the estate of the deceased who died intestate.
  • Multi-million-pound estate involving complex business structures, lifetime giving, foreign property, minor beneficiaries and Variation of the Will by Court Order.
  • The clients instructed the firm to prepare Wills and Powers of Attorney, whilst they were in the process of liquidating their company in Sweden and, awaiting monies due to them from the liquidated company in the sum of several million pounds.

Muckle LLP

Keith Hately leads the Muckle LLP practice known for representing business owners, company directors and senior executives, as well as wealthy individuals and their families. Expert in personal estate planning for business clients Julie Garbutt joined as a senior associate from Sintons LLP in 2018. The team was further strengthened by the arrivals of agriculture, estates and property specialists David Towns and senior associate Elizabeth Earle from Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP in 2018.

Practice head(s):

Keith Hately


‘The firm has a continual dedication to providing their clients with top quality advice and a proven commitment to client focused service of the highest level.’

‘Where issues require other forms of legal expertise the firm’s comprehensive coverage of all aspects of law is incredibly useful.’

‘The Muckle team is well-established and focuses on its core business strengths within the local marketplace.’

‘The individuals are always professional, knowledgeable and willing to work collaboratively on client matters to ensure an appropriate outcome.’

‘Keith Hately and Julie Garbutt use their vast combined experience to understand the needs and viewpoints of business owners and always respond well and intelligently to individual client requirements.’

‘Keith Hately has proven himself time and again to be the go-to trusts and probate lawyer in Newcastle. He has wide ranging technical knowledge, coupled with a genuine and heart felt determination to look after his clients and ensure that they receive appropriate advice.’

‘Keith Hately is considered a very safe pair of hands for clients and is able to flex his style to work successfully with a range of personalities.’

‘Julie Garbutt is a class act with clients and her straightforward, no nonsense approach always goes down well and ensures good results.’

Swinburne Maddison

The ‘friendly, efficient and always very helpfulSwinburne Maddison is led by John Davison, who has particular expertise in wills, trusts and inheritance tax planning. He leads a team of ‘STEP qualified and highly client focused’ practitioners, including Anna Stephenson, who was promoted to managing associate in 2018. Known for its work in the farming and professional agriculture communities, the firm represents a range of clients from elderly and high-net-worth individuals to national UK charities.

Practice head(s):

John Davison

Other key lawyers:

Anna Stephenson; Jennifer Purvis; Nadine Walton; Kelly Richardson


‘Personal, friendly face to face service.’

‘Staff are proactive, not reactive. They are efficient, knowledgeable and give information with understanding and composure, making it easy to understand.’

‘Swinburne Maddison has clearly considered every aspect of how its practice is run, as a result, every member of the practice team is welcoming, helpful and understanding.’

‘The team provides a depth of knowledge in trusts and probate. Everyone is responsive.’

‘ A very strong team, with individuals all highly qualified and highly client centric.’

‘All Consultations are undertaken with impeccable attention to detail.’

‘Very personable staff make you feel immediately at ease.’

‘Anna Stephenson can explain very clearly and fully the situation, as well as demonstrating outstanding perseverance, talent, skill and dedication.’

‘John Davison is outstanding in his approach. His knowledge is second to none and he demonstrates the ability to listen, contemplate and advise with empathy and genuine care.’

Work highlights

  • Advising on the succession and tax planning issues pertinent to the gift of a shareholdingworth several million in a prominent local, family company.
  • Analysing, critiquing and ‘rectifying’ the succession and testamentary planning undertaken on behalf of the clients by third party, unregulated advisors to date.
  • Assistance relevant to administration of the estate of the deceased, who left a poorly-drawn Will and difficult family circumstances.
  • Advising on the lifetime and testamentary planning options for a wealthy, unmarried individual with substantial property interests and a net estate worth several million.
  • Administration of a complex, testate estate in which the valuable residuary estate was divided between numerous beneficiaries, 20% of which were charitable (and therefore ‘exempt’ from inheritance tax) and 80% were non-exempt individuals.