Personal tax, trusts and probate in North

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP's large team provides advice on the full spectrum of private wealth and wealth management matters, often to clients with US connections, leveraging the firm's transatlantic reach. The practice is jointly headed by private wealth specialist David DaleHelen Tavroges, who frequently advises high-net-worth individuals on tax-efficient wills and trusts, and other tax planning strategies; and Simon Kirkup, who focuses on assisting the owners of landed estates and other assets. For banks, insurance companies, and professional trustees, both onshore and offshore, managing associate Emily Pike provides assistance with all aspects of trust law, as well as advising business owners and shareholders on succession planning.


Very impressive depth of experience.

Simon Kirkup’s advice on tax, probate and trust law has always been sound and first class.

Helen Tavroges is very dedicated, and makes one feel that you are her only client. Her advice is always accurate and thorough, with every detail well thought through.

We have always received the best possible advice for four generations.

Technically able, personable and very responsive.

I never fail to be impressed with Alexander Dickinson. He has common sense in spades, to go with outstanding breadth of knowledge and understanding.

George Lyall and Emily Pike have been very helpful.

EMG Solicitors

Owner-managed businesses, wealthy families, and high-net-worth individuals alike instruct the team at EMG Solicitors. As well as the Court of Protection work for which it is best known, the firm undertakes a wide range of matters, including assisting with probate and inheritance tax planning issues. The practice is jointly headed by directors Jemma Morland and Samantha Edward, the latter of whom regularly advises business owners to ensure their corporate structure aligns with their inheritance tax planning. 'Forceful and formidable' managing director Emma Gaudern is another key member of the team.

Practice head(s):

Jemma Morland; Samantha Edward

Other key lawyers:

Emma Gaudern


What makes EMG unique is their genuine care for their clients.

The firm is very well run, and I find the managing partner, Emma Gaudern, very impressive, very switched on and entrepreneurial.

Emma Gaudern is a forceful, formidable and hugely able solicitor in whose hands any case is safe.

Samantha Edward is supportive, flexible and kind. She looks to add value where she can and is transparent and open in her approach.

Jemma Morland is very practical, and excellent at problem solving with tricky clients.

Samantha Edward is an exceptional lawyer.

Hay & Kilner

Private individuals, business owners, farmers and trustees regularly instruct the team at Hay & Kilner. The practice is especially well-regarded for providing advice on succession planning and inheritance tax issues to clients involved in agricultural land and farming, as well as other related rural activities. Practice head Alison Hall and associate Richard Marshall are recommended.

Practice head(s):

Alison Hall

Other key lawyers:

Richard Marshall; Alice Clewes


‘True teamworking, internal and external, excellent knowledge – good problem solving.’

‘Alison Hall has the ability to empathise with clients – her down-to-earth attitude makes her popular.’

‘It has been a delight to work with Alice Clewes. Alice has been effective in driving matters forward and is very responsive to all queries and requests.’

Latimer Hinks Solicitors

The team at Latimer Hinks Solicitors is known for providing succession and estate planning advice to agricultural and business families, focusing particularly on wealth protection and strategic planning, probate, and issues affecting elderly clients. The firm also assists with contentious and non-contentious Court of Protection issues including statutory wills, removal of trustees and gifting. The practice is jointly headed by tax expert Elizabeth Armstrong; Court of Protection specialist Natalie Palmer, the 'hugely respectedAnne Elliott; and Andrew Way, who focuses on elderly client issues.

Other key lawyers:

Daniel Williams


Elizabeth Armstrong and Natalie Palmer are exceptional individuals who consistently deliver the highest quality service to my clients.

There is a clear emphasis on providing excellent client care.

Elizabeth Armstrong is a standout individual. She has a sharp eye for detail, yet is extremely personable and engaging.

We have used several partners withing the group – all have been excellent, each has significant knowledge of their specialist area.

Elizabeth Armstrong’s empathy and ability to talk about difficult issues in a sensitive and caring manner is outstanding. She is a real asset to the firm.

Everyone we deal with at Latimer Hinks is very knowledgeable, professional and it is absolutely clear their goal is to take care of their clients.

The depth of knowledge and the ability to explain this in terms clients can understand is a very valuable strength.

‘Anne Elliott is hugely respected in Durham and North Yorkshire as being a leading private client lawyer. She is extremely approachable and goes the extra mile for her clients.’

Ward Hadaway

Ward Hadaway's team assists clients with a wide range of matters, ranging from succession and inheritance tax planning, to advising on complex and living wills, to international estate administration. Practice head Andrew Facer is frequently instructed by entrepreneurial and landed clients to advise on succession structures involving companies, partnerships, foreign property, pension funds, and ownership of land, often within complex family circumstances. Also notable at the firm is inheritance specialist Gaynor Jackson, who carries out a range of work including advising on probate issues, and matters regarding capacity where an inheritance is called into question.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Facer

Other key lawyers:

Gaynor Jackson


Excellent mix of experienced and younger lawyers and great strength in manifold areas of private client and trust work. The size of the practice makes it a formidable force in the North East.

The team has great knowledge and the ability to handle all kinds of client scenarios.

Andrew Facer stands out by getting off the fence and giving clear views based on his considerable experience and deep insight into client circumstances.


DWF has a focus on supporting regional businesses and the family interests behind them. The firm's core client base consists of business owners, entrepreneurs and high-net-worth trusts with both UK and international assets. The firm deals with a wide range of matters, including capital tax and pre-sale planning, the preparation of wills, trusts and lasting powers of attorney, and complex tax planning vehicles. 'Exceptional' practice head Jon Gould is supported by associate Laura Murphy.

Practice head(s):

Jon Gould

Other key lawyers:

Laura Murphy


The team are commercially minded and provided trusted advice.

Jon Gould is a pleasure to deal with.

DWF provide pragmatic but dynamic advice.

Jon Gould is exceptional. He has an outstanding command of the local market, working with some big-hitting clients, but with the time and empathy to deal with private clients of all sizes.

They excel in complex international matters, but are equally at home dealing with UK domestic probate matters.

Jon Gould is a trusted adviser on inheritance tax planning and succession issues generally.’

Gibson & Co Solicitors Ltd

With Derwent Gibson now at the helm of the team, Gibson & Co Solicitors Ltd offers strong agricultural expertise, focusing particularly on landed families and estates. Key areas for the firm include assisting with estate tax planning and dealing with large settlements. Other notable figures include Christopher Sheppard, who specialises in elderly client matters; intestate estate specialist Kath Monteith ; and Michael Macgregor.

Practice head(s):

Derwent Gibson

Sintons LLP

The team at Sintons LLP is instructed by a wide range of clients, including high-net-worth individuals and ecclesiastical organisations to large landowners. The firm increasingly advises clients with global assets on the administration of their estates, as well as the interplay between the tax systems in multiple jurisdictions. Practice head Paul Nickalls has expertise in preparing complex wills, often as part of a wider succession planning scheme or tax saving exercise. Also recommended is recently promoted senior associate Paul Collingwood.

Practice head(s):

Paul Nickalls

Other key lawyers:

Alan Dawson; Paul Collingwood


Paul Collingwood is very caring and professional. An absolutely brilliant person.

An extremely knowledgeable and personal service is provided by the team.

The team members I have dealt with have been very efficient and helpful. They respond to enquires very promptly, and provide a very personal service.

Paul Collingwood’s technical knowledge and willingness to advise is exceptional.

Alan Dawson provides thoughtful, practical advice.

The team is unique primarily due to the fact they operate very closely with their commercial law and property law colleagues.

Tilly Bailey & Irvine

The team at Tilly Bailey & Irvine offers clients a range of specialists located throughout the North East. Firmwide managing partner Carolyn Tilly has a particular interest in elderly client matters and the creation of trusts, while the 'helpful and knowledgeable' Nicola Dalzell heads up the practice. Jessica Morton advises on estate administration from the Wynyard office; Helen Dexter assists landed clients with agricultural succession matters from the Barnard Castle office, which specialises in rural work; and Annaliese Barber is frequently instructed by clients to assist with Court of Protection issues.

Practice head(s):

Nicola Dalzell


‘A practice with many different specialities which can cater for all client requirements.’

‘A very efficient private client team – quick to respond to queries and new assignments. A superior service to many other firms.

‘Extremely professional. Fees are very good value for money and very competitive.’

‘Friendly and very client orientated, – the team put clients at their ease with a non-pretentious approach and have the ability to explain legal concepts in layman’s terms so the client feels confident in both the advice and the outcome.’

‘Nicola Dalzell is very helpful and knowledgeable. She will always do her best for clients.’ 


The team at BHP Law, which advises high-net-worth individuals, directors and agricultural landowners, is jointly led by Helen Biglin, who has extensive experience assisting with multi-jurisdictional matters, and regularly deals with foreign legal systems. She works in tandem with Court of Protection specialist Stephen Williams and Karen Pratt, who has a track record of work managing the affairs of those who lack financial capacity.

Other key lawyers:

Holly Naylor


In my experience the staff are exemplary – they are well informed, very articulate and sensitive to the client’s needs.

Karen Pratt has a broad understanding of numerous areas.

Great understanding of private client matters and very approachable way when working with clients to help clients feel at ease and that their needs are understood.

Helen Biglin is approachable and helpful and her knowledge and advice is practical and easily understood.

I have always found the firm to be approachable and helpful, very much client-oriented.

Stephen Williams is very experienced, personable, enthusiastic, and very considerate in what can be highly emotional circumstances.


At Burnetts, the team regularly prepares and administers wills and lifetime trusts on behalf of farming families, working in close collaboration with the wider firm's agribusiness and commercial departments. The practice, led by Rachael Stephenson, also assists with complex family arrangements, including vulnerable beneficiaries, second marriages, and international estates.

Practice head(s):

Rachael Stephenson

Other key lawyers:

Timothy Boardman; Tracy Stainton


All very approachable, professional and eager to help wherever possible.

This practice has a full range of experience in all fields.’

Rachael Stephenson is highly competent, grasps the issues quickly, clearly explains the relevant law and gives sound advice suited to our particular situation.

I found Winter Addis to be patient and understanding, as well as delivering a high standard of work.

Rachael Stephenson is very professional and caring.

A person-centred approach and good teamwork, treading the fine balance between professionalism and personal kindness.

The team is lead by Rachael Stephenson, who is excellent.

Iain Nicholson & Co

At Iain Nicholson & Co, the practice focuses on private client matters relating to agricultural property, advising both local and national high-net-worth clients. Key members of the team include practice head Iain Nicholson, solicitors Peter Dakin and Victoria Stevenson, and associate Lauren Wilson, all of whom have wide-ranging experience of wills, probate and inheritance tax issues.

Practice head(s):

Iain Nicholson


A small, personal team with vast experience.

Both Iain Nicholson and Peter Dakin have great experience.

Work highlights

  • Advised on the probate and administration of a substantial dutiable estate.
  • Assisting with the estates of an elderly couple, one of whom lacked capacity.
  • Assisting with the probate and administration of a significant estate, including advising on inheritance tax.

Muckle LLP

Muckle LLP's team handles the full range of matters, including advising on the administration of lifetime settlements for tax planning and asset protection purposes, preparing deeds of advancement and appointment, and preparing living wills and advance decision documents. Practice head Keith Hately is also experienced in all aspects of personal estate planning.

Practice head(s):

Keith Hately

Other key lawyers:

David Towns; Julie Garbutt


Client-centric with a truly commercial approach to advice.

They take time to understand a client’s needs and then seek to deliver.

Keith Hately has years of experience which ensures that his advice is practical and commercial.

Work highlights

  • Advising the owner of a property investment company on the establishment of discretionary trusts, and the preparation of wills, including overseas elements.
  • Retained by the owners of a successful family company with business, agricultural, and overseas assets, and onshore investments, to provide estate planning and succession advice.
  • Assisting with the administration of a high value estate including rural farms and landed estates with sporting rights, and the establishment of the will trusts.

Swinburne Maddison

Led by managing associate Anna Stephenson, working in tandem with managing partner John DavisonSwinburne Maddison's team deals with all estate administration issues, and regularly advises clients on lifetime planning, and all aspects of trusts and powers of attorney. The firm is frequently instructed in connection with applications to the Court of Protection for statutory wills.

Practice head(s):

Anna Stephenson


The team feels professional yet approachable, provides good value, and is client focused.

Anna Stephenson heads up an able associate team where Nadine Walton is outstanding.

Nadine Walton is emotionally intelligent, very available, very professional and yet relatable.

Anna Stephenson has been exceptional and I cannot commend her more highly. She has worked tirelessly on my behalf and she has provided excellent advice.

Very professional team with good communication between areas of expertise.

Anna Stephenson is charming, very helpful, interested in distinctive aspects of the client and estate, and very good at giving clear legal explanations.

Swinburne Maddison are very warm and approachable. They value their clients and genuinely put their best interests at the heart of all they do.

A very comfortable and welcoming environment is provided.

Work highlights

  • Advising on setting up a life interest trust to hold a class of shares within a family business for tax planning purposes.
  • Providing trust, estate, and tax planning advice to a married couple with a combined net worth of £25m.
  • Assisting with the administration of an estate where the sole beneficiary lacks capacity, resulting the appointment of a deputy and an application for a statutory will.