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Personal tax, trusts and probate in Northern Ireland

Carson McDowell

Attracting praise for being 'approachable', 'knowledgeable' and 'instilling trust and respect', the team at Carson McDowell has a strong track record of work on high value and cross-border estate administration and planning. Neil Bleakley leads the team and has recently advised on estates valued at as much as £250m, with extensive experience in disputes over the interpretation of wills and trusts, as well as mental capacity matters. Associate Fiona Kirkpatrick is another key name, and has strong experience of handling high value trust administrations.

Practice head(s):

Carson McDowell

Other key lawyers:

Fiona Kirkpatrick


‘Carson McDowell consistently provides first class legal advice for their clients – they are highly regarded.’

‘Neil Bleakley and Fiona Wallace of the private client department provide excellent advice to their clients. They are approachable, knowledgeable and instill trust and respect in their clients’ minds.’

Cleaver Fulton Rankin

Cleaver Fulton Rankin is a key name in Northern Ireland for the management of major trusts, working with well-known clients such as Cancer Research UK and the Alzheimer's Society, which are attracted by its personable approach. For example, practice head Michael Graham 'brings a cheerful and inclusive demeanour to client meetings' where he 'ensures clients understand the details as much as possible'. Likewise, Timothy Rankin, who focuses on trust administration 'passes his knowledge to clients clearly and concisely'. Another important member of the team is Jonathan Forrester, who handles trust and probate litigation for a number of the firm's charity clients.

Practice head(s):

Michael Graham


‘Highly professional and knowledgeable private client team who are able to deal with all estate planning, wills, tax and probate work in an efficient and professional manner.’

‘Michael Graham leads the team and brings a cheerful and inclusive demeanour to client meetings where he ensures clients understand the details as much as possible. The execution of his work is second to none.’

‘Timothy Rankin’s skills are notable as he is clear and professional and passes his knowledge to clients clearly and concisely.’

‘Paula Gibson is excellent is many areas and particularly in dealing with vulnerable clients as well as Court of Care and Protection.’

Key clients

Alzheimer’s Society

Bryson Charitable Group

Danske Bank

Cancer Research UK

The Esmé Mitchell Trust

The Blackburn Trust

Cancer Focus

Age NI

Work highlights

  • Advising on the general management of The Esmé Mitchell Trust.
  • Advising The Blackburn Trust on its general administration.

Elliott Duffy Garrett

Elliott Duffy Garrett has a track record of work on trusts and estate administration, with additional expertise in disputed estate matters. Neil Mulholland advises on wills, inheritance tax and estates, and has acted as a professional controller for the High Court of Justice in Northern Ireland. Stewart Nash, an expert in property matters, is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Neil Mulholland 

Other key lawyers:

Stewart Nash

Millar McCall Wylie LLP

Millar McCall Wylie LLP is led by name partner Conor Wylie, who stands out in the local market due his qualifications as a chartered tax adviser and being an associate member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation. He is praised for 'taking time to explain legal jargon' and his 'high level of empathy for his client'. His recent workload has involved the management of high value estates, many of which were domiciled or included residents from the Republic of Ireland.

Practice head(s):

Conor Wylie


‘Conor Wylie is a very knowledgeable and professional individual. He takes time to explain legal jargon to clients and has a high level of empathy for his clients. ‘

‘Conor Wylie was exceptional in his professional handling of my father’s estate. All of the partners are courteous, professional and approachable.’

‘Conor Wylie is one of the most capable and exceptional lawyers I have ever dealt with.’

Work highlights

  • Advised Adams & Co Solicitors on a Republic of Ireland domiciled deceased estate with investments in Northern Ireland.

Arthur Cox Belfast

Arthur Cox Belfast is well placed to handle the affairs of high-net-worth individuals and private offices across the island of Ireland due to its strong presence in both Northern Ireland the Republic of Ireland. The team advises a number of wealthy families on trusts, estates and succession planning matters. Alan Taylor, who is chair of Arthur Cox Northern Ireland, is the key name of note.

Practice head(s):

Alan Taylor

Mills Selig

The team at Mills Selig is led by senior associate Fiona McFall, who 'delivers a hands-on service' and 'excels at distilling complex legal issues into easily digestible portions'. She is active in advising on high-value and cross-border estate administration, with particular strengths in tax planning.

Practice head(s):

Fiona McFall


‘What we really liked was the team’s refreshingly no-nonsense approach: they came to see us, listened to what we said we wanted, set out the legal position in terms that we understood, confirmed we understood what they said they would do, when they would do it, and how much it would cost.’

‘Fiona McFall delivers a hands-on service where the client truly feels they are at the centre of the work, and they have a full understanding of the legal issues under consideration, the range of options open to them, and the implications of each.’

‘Fiona McFall excels at distilling complex legal issues into easily digestible portions. Always get solid advice in a professional and pleasant manner.’