Personal tax, trusts and probate in Northern Ireland

Carson McDowell

Carson McDowell operates under the leadership of Neil Bleakley, who is noted for his expertise in private client and charity law. Bleakley also has extensive experience in estate planning and administration work, and his recent workload has involved advising on a number of high-value estates involving complex issues including multiple jurisdictions, and assisting vulnerable people. Fiona Kirkpatrick joined Tughans.

Practice head(s):

Neil Bleakley


‘The discrete professionalism, competence and client chemistry is what in my experience typifies what makes the the firm’s private client team so special.’

‘I have continued to work with Neil Bleakley, Partner in charge of the Trusts and Probate matters. In these areas I would have no reason to approach any other firm.’

Cleaver Fulton Rankin

Cleaver Fulton Rankin has 'one of the few dedicated private client departments in Northern Ireland'. Private client specialist Michael Graham leads the practice and is a fellow of the Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners and a member of the Solicitors for the Elderly in Northern Ireland. Managing partner Jonathan Forrester is a key name for contentious work, particularly in relation to land and property matters. Clients also single out Timothy Rankin who is 'very knowledgeable and helpful on tax queries and setting up enduring powers of attorney'.

Practice head(s):

Michael Graham

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Forrester; Timothy Rankin


‘Family firm with which my family has worked for three generations. In all respects reliable and wise.’

‘Michael Graham is an excellent and well informed advisor in family matters.’

‘Timothy Rankin has been very knowledgeable and helpful on tax queries and setting up enduring Powers of Attorney and the service has been excellent.’

‘Knowledgeable and approachable team who work well together.’

‘Michael Graham – top of his field – very professional and well informed. Excellent presenter to large groups. Tim Rankin – wide knowledge and very easy to deal with.’

‘The team at CFR are extremely professional, and knowledgeable, they are well informed on any legal changes that are happening in NI.’

‘Cleaver Fulton Rankin have one of the few dedicated private client departments in Northern Ireland and have other dedicated departments to cover every legal need. All solicitors are approachable and personable. They have shown initiative being able to work and deal with clients remotely and set safety measures in place when face to face visits have been necessary.’

Work highlights

  • Advised the beneficiaries of a Chinese Estate that included Northern Irish property.
  • Advised the trustees of family trusts for the owners of a property development company that included a corporate restructuring.
  • Advised a client considering a complex capacity challenge and a propriety estoppel claim.

Elliott Duffy Garrett

Elliott Duffy Garrett is well versed in trusts and estate administration work, noted by clients for its 'professional yet friendly and empathetic approach'.  Overseeing the practice is Neil Mulholland, who is 'a great probate lawyer with very strong technical knowledge'. He is supported by property specialist Stewart Nash.

Practice head(s):

Neil Mulholland

Other key lawyers:

Stewart Nash


‘The team all have a professional yet friendly and empathetic approach which is very important in dealing with this type of work.’

‘Neil Mulholland provides an excellent service, he is very thorough and detailed in his legal advice but also has a commercial and pragmatic view which clients find very helpful.’

‘EDG are a long well established firm of solicitors with a very strong reputation for expertise and more than that trust. Their customer services is excellent, legal expertise great and their ability to know you as a client makes it all a very personable experience. They really make you feel that they care about your issues, transaction etc. I know at least 6-7 of the staff including Partners and more junior members and their honesty and integrity is cultural.’

Millar McCall Wylie LLP

Millar McCall Wylie LLP's group is led by Conor Wylie, who is singled out for his qualification as a chartered tax adviser; he is one of the few dual-qualified solicitors and tax advisers in the market. He has also carved out a particular niche in advising on agricultural land and farming mandates. His recent workload also included advising on estates covering Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, as well as issues concerning vulnerable people.

Practice head(s):

Conor Wylie


‘Very flexible and accommodating, great attention to detail. Always very responsive and prepared to develop innovative communication solutions to supporting international clients.’

‘Friendly responsive and accommodating. These values help to build a personal bond based on trust and mutual respect.’

‘Very professional and experienced in the fields that I required their services. Act promptly to requests and kept updated with progress reports. Also very satisfied with work carried out and fees that were charged.’

‘Conor Wylie – attention to detail to get matters resolved and makes sure that there will be no come back further down the road.’

‘Strong dedication to client service.’

‘Conor Wylie has exceptional knowledge of all aspects of trusts and can explain the issues in terms that clients understand.’

‘Millar McCall Wylie has been our family solicitor for over thirty years. They have wide expertise in all legal matters. I have no hesitation in recommending the practice.’

Mills Selig

With ‘a great depth of knowledge and client service throughout the entire team', Mills Selig’s practice has been enhanced with the promotion of practice head Fiona McFall to the partnership. McFall is a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners and advises on wills, trusts, and estate planning and administration issues. She is also highly skilled in advising on residential and commercial property mandates.

Practice head(s):

Fiona McFall


‘Great depth of knowledge and client service throughout the entire team. A diverse practice able to offer complete succession planning for both individuals and family businesses.’

‘Going over and beyond normal working hours to assist clients. Travel to location outside of the office is much appreciated ensuring planning time scales have been met.’

‘Mills Selig offers a diverse and professional team, but there is also a personal approach taken which makes the practice very easy to deal with.’

‘Professional and competent, but with it very personable.’

A&L Goodbody

With particular strength in contentious issues, A&L Goodbody particularly excels in property work as well as probate disputes. General litigator Barbara Creed leads the team and regularly acts in private wealth disputes. She is supported by associates Stuart Nevin and Aine Hughes, who both specialise in contentious issues.

Practice head(s):

Barbara Creed

Other key lawyers:

Stuart Nevin; Aine Hughes


‘Very professional and well managed.’

‘I have had most dealings with Stuart Nevin who has been professional and supportive. He is easy to talk to and gives clear concise advice. He is conscientious and knowledgeable.’

‘Stuart Nevin and Aine Hughes stand out for their hard work and sound practical advice. Such is my confidence, that based on the service and individuals I have met and dealt with, I recommend ALG to my business associates, confident in the levels of service they will receive.’

‘A&L Goodbody have consistently proven themselves as one of the most respected and reliable firms in the jurisdiction. They are widely regarded as one of the most professional and innovative firms in the city, illustrated by the way their briefs are prepared and the extent of the research that has gone into supporting their client.’

Work highlights

  • Instructed by the beneficiary representative for the trustees of a pension scheme on a multi-party, multi-jurisdictional dispute regarding former directors of the pension scheme.
  • Advising a significant property developer in relation to the redevelopment of a landmark building in Belfast City Centre including four high-value dilapidation claims against former tenants.
  • Advised a high-net-worth individual who is involved in a wealthy family probate dispute worth £500,000.

Arthur Cox Belfast

Arthur Cox Belfast is distinguished through its additional office in the Republic of Ireland, making it well placed to handle trusts and estates that span across the island of Ireland. Firm chairman Alan Taylor leads the practice and advises private citizens and family offices, with a strong track record in handling high-value probate applications.

Practice head(s):

Alan Taylor


Tughans' presence in private client work has been significantly boosted following the arrival of director Fiona Kirkpatrick from Carson McDowell. Kirkpatrick is a qualified trust and estate practitioner and acts for a number of high-net-worth individuals and families, with expertise in advisory and contentious issues.

Practice head(s):

Fiona Kirkpatrick


‘Experience, client service and competence.’

‘Fiona Kirkpatrick – excellent legal expertise in the private client arena. Approachable and empathetic.’

‘I have worked with Fiona Kirkpatrick in a professional manner for a few years now. I have recently asked her to complete my own will and POA as I have great belief that she does a fantastic job for her clients. She is conscientious and very knowledgeable and a real pleasure to deal with.’

‘I believe Tughans Private Wealth Law team offers a very high standard of expertise in private client matters. In my opinion, their strongest points would be their knowledge in specialist private client areas eg trust work and high level of client service.’

‘I have worked with Fiona Kirkpatrick who is personable, compassionate, knowledgeable and diligent. She also reports back in a timely and efficient manner. Overall, a truly excellent solicitor!’

‘Fiona Kirkpatrick is highly responsive, excellent with clients and communicates in a clear and concise way. Fiona makes complex matters simple.’