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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 > Scotland > Private client > Personal tax, trusts and executries > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Personal tax, trusts and executries
  2. Leading individuals

Who Represents Who

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Brodies LLP’s ‘well-resourced and experienced’ team is ‘at the top of its game’, and adept at handling tax and estate planning matters for wealthy individuals and families and smaller value clients alike. It also has extensive expertise in the establishment of Family Investment Companies (FICs) and Family Limited Partnerships (FLPs); work that ‘extremely knowledgeable’ Susanne Batchelor is noted for, alongside her extensive cross-border asset practice. Mark Stewart leads the personal and family department while Alan Barr heads the personal tax planning group, which includes a number of chartered accountants. Other key practitioners include Norman Kennedy, who specialises in succession planning, asset protection, inheritance tax mitigation, trusts and incapacity planning; Alan Eccles, a ‘trusted adviser’ who is known for advising individuals, families, charities and family business on trust matters; and associate Leigh Gould.

Turcan Connell's wide-ranging trust and tax expertise encompasses succession planning and other issues concerning high-net-worth individuals and families. The group, which comprises a number of chartered tax advisers, is particularly noted for inheritance tax planning matters. Recent highlights include offshore structure reorganisations and the establishment of various FICs and FLPs; work that included advice on tax, asset protection and assistance with asset structuring. The tax and succession group is led by the ‘efficient and likable’ Alexander Garden, whose knowledge of tax and trusts is ‘first-rate’. ‘Shrewd operator’ Paul Macaulay stands out for his ‘ability to communicate complex issues clearly’ and assists private clients, family businesses and landowners with capital taxation and estate planning, with a particular focus on inheritance and capital gains tax planning. Alix Storrie is also recommended for her expertise in wills, and the complex issues that arise out of landed estates, including claims for reliefs.

Anderson Strathern’s team handles the spectrum of private client tax work for a number of Scotland’s wealthiest individuals and families. The group advises clients on tax, trusts and heritage property, including major conditional exemption claims for submission to HMRC. The group also has particular expertise in asset protection for personal injury awards and adults with incapacity. Dual Scots and English law qualified Carole Tomlinson leads the team and specialises in capital tax planning and heritage relief advice. Colin Henderson acts as lead partner in various matters concerning high net-worth Scottish families, whom he assists with asset protection and wealth management. Martin Campbell and consultant John Biggar are recommended for trust work. David Campbell joined the team from Balfour+Manson LLP in May 2017, and has a niche in the establishment and administration of personal injury trusts.

Gillespie Macandrew LLP focuses on providing complex succession planning and tax advice to families with businesses, land and estates, as well as handling niche issues around the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) and the Additional Dwelling Supplement (ADS). Elspeth Paget leads on executry matters and specialises in working with elderly clients, while John McArthur is the head of the tax advisory and returns team, and regularly advises clients on negotiated settlements with HMRC, particularly in matters involving Agricultural and Business Property Relief. In addition to a strong contentious background, Agnes Mallon has extensive experience in complex family tax and trust mandates, often with a cross-border element. Legal director James MacKinnon is recommended for his expertise in the formation, administration and termination of trusts, and the tax implication of the use of trusts in succession planning and asset protection.

Lindsays is noted for providing ‘an exceptionally personal service, with great attention to detail’, which is ‘delivered by approachable advisers’. The team handles wills (including drafting, succession and taxation matters), powers of attorney, tax planning, trust creation and administration, executries, charitable endowments and the management of elderly clients’ financial and business affairs. The firm also has experience in estates with international components. Callum Kennedy leads the practice, advising a number of major agricultural and estate clients on tax planning and mitigation issues. Dorothy Kellas (‘professional and easy to talk to’) predominantly assists individuals and families with issues including asset protection and property matters. In addition to possessing wide-ranging experience in executries, Sandy Lamb is ‘a family business lawyer of the highest order’.

Shepherd and Wedderburn is ‘good on all accounts’ and its team is able to offer ‘a high level of personal service’. The team advises clients on high-end domestic matters such as complex wills, trusts and estate planning, and more complex matters, including multi-jurisdictional tax planning and compliance. Consultant Charles Scott joined the Aberdeen office in January 2017 alongside rural law expert Hamish Lean , greatly boosting the firm’s coverage in northeast Scotland. The ‘calm and authoritative’ Malcolm Rust leads the team, and is noted for his ‘in-depth’ understanding of private client work. Dual Scots and English law qualified Christopher McGill stands out for his work in executry matters, and regularly handles cross-border and international issues, pertaining to various Crown Dependencies, Dubai, France and Spain. ‘Sound, reliable and a pleasure to deal with’, senior associate Douglas Sinclair has particular expertise in complex UK and offshore tax matters, in addition to trust and partnership issues.

Gregor Mitchell leads Addleshaw Goddard’s team, which advises a range of clients, with a particular focus on SME entrepreneurs. Leveraging the firm’s UK-wide presence, the team handles cross-border and multi-jurisdictional mandates and matters at the crossroads between corporate and private client work. Other key figures include Douglas Hunter, who has extensive experience advising elderly clients on their estates, and legal director Euan Fleming, who specialises in trusts and estates matters. The group is advising former international rugby player, Doddie Weir, on matters relating to his trust and foundation following his diagnosis with motor neurone disease, which included the establishment of tax efficient structures, an SCIO, a discretionary trust for a vulnerable person and assistance to the trustees with charity taxation regimes.

Dentons ' team, which transferred from legacy firm, Maclay, Murray & Spens LLP, is led by Eleanor Kerr who took over from Andrew Biggart (now a consultant at the firm). The group’s primary focuses are wills, trusts, tax planning, contentious and non-contentious probate, matters concerning adults with incapacity, personal injury and charitable trusts. Alexis Graham, whose clients include a number of entrepreneurs and other high-net-worth individuals, is advising the estate of a deceased client who had a considerable shareholding, in a matter involving business property relief, a large number of lifetime gifts and complex family dynamics.

Harper Macleod LLP handles matters pertaining to domestic and foreign taxation, estate planning, trusts (including personal injury trusts), complex executries and capacity issues. Practice head Pamela Niven stands out as ‘an expert in her field’ and has a particular interest in estate and tax planning, often advising clients on issues such as potentially exempt and chargeable transfers, in addition to FICs. ‘Trust expert’ Jacqueline Leslie has vast experience in cross-border matters, and clients with complex domiciliation. ‘Highly organised’ associates Allyson Gilchrist and Susie Cowan are recommended for their ‘ability to explain legal concepts’ and ‘approachable manner’.

MacRoberts LLP’s group possesses ‘excellent strength in depth’ and advises clients on succession issues, including inheritance tax planning, executry administrations (and associated negotiations with HMRC) and preparing tax-efficient wills. The team is also experienced in the creation and administration of large trusts, including those arising from personal injury claims. Practice head Carole MacAlpine-Scott and James Inglis are noted as ‘strong technically and very personable’. MacAlpine-Scott specialises in asset protection and assisting elderly clients with tax planning. Inglis has a focus on inheritance tax planning and capital gains tax mitigation, with an emphasis on tax-efficient wills and estate planning schemes.

Murray Beith Murray’s ‘steady, prompt and sensible’ team advises clients on trusts and estates, succession planning, personal and trust taxation and property matters. The group also has expertise in executries and charitable trusts. The team is led by Peter Shand, whose clients predominantly include business owners, business families, in addition to private individuals. ‘Knowledgeable and prepared to argue his case’, Ruthven Gemmell is dual Scottish and English law qualified. Carole Hope specialises in wills and estate planning, and in looking after the affairs of elderly and vulnerable individuals. Associate Caroline Pringle is experienced in succession and tax planning matters, in addition to the creation, administration and termination of trusts. Recent highlights include a number of matters concerning internationally domiciled individuals with significant assets based in multiple jurisdictions.

Balfour+Manson LLP’s ‘exceptional’ practice often works closely with the firm’s welfare department to offer a ‘one-stop-shop for elderly clients’. The executry team handles high-value, complex cases, including those with an international dimension. The team also advises clients on the formation, management and taxation of all types of trust. ‘Absolutely trustworthy’ practice head, Shona Brown is ‘very knowledgeable’ and ‘pays tremendous attention to detail’. She specialises in will drafting, the creation and management of trusts (including personal injury trusts), succession planning, asset protection and tax mitigation. Karen Phillips, who joined the firm from Brodies LLP in June 2017, is ‘an excellent communicator and handles difficult circumstances well’. Phillips has particular expertise in advising high-net-worth clients on succession planning, inheritance and capital gains tax planning. Senior associate Margaret Ross is noted for her expertise in trusts and taxation.

Blackadders LLP provides ‘excellent value for money’ and its team possesses ‘exceptional clarity of thought and knowledge of the law and procedure surrounding professional practice and conduct issues’. Managing partner Johnston Clark is noted for his ‘approachability’, ‘legal knowledge’ and ‘genuine interest in helping others’. He has extensive experience in business succession planning, particularly in farming families. Douglas Sneddon leads the firm’s executry team and acts for a number of charitable trusts. The ‘personable and efficient’ Robert Forman is a general private client practitioner, who advises on wills, estates and the preservation of assets for elderly clients. Laura McDowall specialises in adults with incapacity, including powers of attorney, guardianship orders and financial management, acting for individuals, charities and local authorities throughout Scotland. Scott Williamson is recommended for his expertise in trust law.

BTO Solicitors LLP is rated for its ‘excellent’ client service and for providing advice that is ‘always appropriate and easily understood’. The group handles a variety of matters, including inheritance, capital gains and income tax planning, business succession planning, the establishment and administration of trusts, financial assessments for care home fees, wills, and high-value estate administration. Roddy Harrison is noted for his expertise in relation to small business tax and succession planning, and also specialises in executry administration, particularly focusing on high-value inheritance tax paying estates and complex estate distributions. The ‘friendly and empathetic’ Ross Brown handles a number of cross-border estate administration matters, in addition to mandates involving adults with incapacity.

Mackinnons handles wills, trusts, tax planning, in addition to matters relating to powers of attorney, guardianships and elderly client services. ‘Approachable and pragmatic’ practice head Patricia Gray is ‘technically proficient and has superb in-depth knowledge of property-related matters’. Ashleigh McConnell is noted for her ‘sensitivity in dealing with vulnerable people’ when advising on complex capacity issues.

Morton Fraser handles the spectrum of private client work, including the establishment, administration and termination of trusts, estate and tax planning. Sue Hunter leads the team, which includes Graham Scott and Robin Morton, who also leads the firm’s later life practice.

Stronachs LLP is noted as ‘very good’ in the area of personal tax, trusts and executries and comprises a number of STEP-qualified practitioners. The group specialises in estate planning for high-net-worth and entrepreneurial clients, succession planning for landed estate owners, and advising non-UK domiciled individuals on their tax affairs. The group also has extensive experience advising on incapacity issues, including the preparation of powers of attorney. The team is led by Jaclyn E.P. Russell, who was promoted to partner in June 2017. Consultant George Stevenson stands out for being ‘attentive and effective’. Associate Magnus Mackay focuses on all aspects of estate and succession planning.

Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie LLP merged with Glasgow- and Dunblane-based firm, BMK Wilson, in May 2017, which resulted in the addition of Beth Hamilton, Rosina Dolan and Kathleen MacArthur to the private client team. The group has particular expertise in advising family businesses on asset structure, the transfer of heritable property from partnership into limited companies, wills and powers of attorney, associated tax and wealth structuring advice. It also has experience in drafting wills for high-net-worth clients, and families with complex tax requirements. Private client head Ian Macdonald is noted for giving ‘sage advice’, especially regarding trusts and inheritance tax. Graham Murray, who is a chartered tax adviser, is ‘excellent in his technical advice’ and rated for his ‘very personable approach with clients’.

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