Personal tax, trusts and executries in Scotland

Anderson Strathern

Under the leadership of Carole Tomlinson, Anderson Strathern is noted for its representation of many of Scotland’s wealthiest families, for whom it regularly provides a ‘first-class service’. Key areas of strength include generation planning for family businesses, income tax planning, and the setting-up of family investment companies and residential property companies. Martin Campbell is a key name for Scottish landed estates, specialising in asset protection for personal injury awards and adults with incapacity. In September 2020, Colin Henderson retired from the partnership to take up a position as a consultant. Another name to note is Alasdair Johnstone, who primarily advises on property taxes, capital taxes and income tax.

Practice head(s):

Carole Tomlinson

Other key lawyers:

Martin Campbell; Colin Henderson; David Campbell; Alasdair Johnstone; Sarah Lonie

Testimonials

‘David Campbell and his assistant dealt with all aspects efficiently, making the whole process more pleasant than it could have been.’

‘Anderson Strathern has provided first-class service for our family for over 15 years now.’

‘Colin Henderson has helped to build up an amazing team of real dedicated solicitors and support staff.’

‘Their attention to detail is superb and they can be relied on for a quick response to legal matters.’

‘The key to our successful relationship over the past years is the role of Colin Henderson. Colin and the team have the expertise we need to deal with a diverse range of issues from property to IHT to farm policy. ’

‘Colin Henderson stands out as a lawyer who understands the value of relationships. I never have the feeling are dealings are merely transactional.’

‘I find the Carole Tomlinson and Sarah Lonie very approachable and quick to respond. They are also very professional, extremely knowledgeable and friendly.’

‘Always the first place I go to when looking for specialist advice or to have the benefit of an informal chat for someone else’s thoughts on a particular situation. Always professional but also friendly and interested in the matter being raised with them.’

Brodies LLP

Fielding a team of dedicated lawyers across its Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen offices, Brodies LLP places a premium on high-value estate planning, succession planning, tax planning, trusts and executries. Retained by a roster of wealthy families and high-net-worth individuals, the team is led by Mark Stewart, whose practice is characterised by notable cross-border capabilities, owing to his dual qualification in Scotland and England and Wales. Tax planning specialist Alan Barr is sought after for his knowledge of domestic taxes diverging from the rest of the UK, notably income tax and Land and Buildings Transaction Tax. Norman Kennedy, for his part, specialises in winding up complex estates involving family businesses, while Susanne Batchelor shines in the area of family limited partnerships.

Practice head(s):

Mark Stewart

Other key lawyers:

Alan Barr; Norman Kennedy; Susanne Batchelor; Neil Ritchie; Angela McCulloch; Leigh Gould

Testimonials

‘I have worked with Brodies for more than ten years. There is strength and depth of resource and knowledge within the firm. I can always be confident that a matter is understood and thoroughly researched, with the outcome being explained and a reliable answer or solution found.’

‘Norman Kennedy is a strategic thinker and has a positive disposition that looks for solutions. He is personable and approachable.’

‘They bring a level of knowledge that I have not experienced with other firms.’

‘I have collaborated with the Brodies tax, trust and charities teams on some complicated personal tax issues. The various members of their teams have each brought a level of expertise that has been invaluable to me, but more importantly providing highly skilled advice and solutions to my HNW clients. For me, it is the people within the organisation where I have utmost confidence in their individual skills and capabilities.’

Shepherd and Wedderburn

Shepherd and Wedderburn shook up the market in early 2021 with the acquisition of Dentons’ 20-strong private client practice, extending its geographical reach and bolstering its depth of expertise. Eleanor Kerr and Alexis Graham, in particular, bring notable strengths in wills, powers of attorney, trust formation and administration, as well as succession law and tax and estate planning. Kerr has joined as head of the Glasgow private wealth and tax team; the overarching private client practice is led from Edinburgh by Malcolm Rust. The team mainly assists high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth individuals, wealthy families and private and family businesses. As well as handling high-end domestic matters, it offers advice to international clients with interests and assets in multiple jurisdictions, specialising in tax planning and compliance advice. Dual England and Scotland-qualified partner Christopher McGill places an emphasis on strategic family governance advice and assisting clients with philanthropic and environmental, social and governance objectives. Also possessing noteworthy track records in this area are Gillian Campbell, Greig Honeyman and Douglas Sinclair. The Aberdeen-based Campbell heads the private client team in the north of Scotland; she is praised for her 'clear and unambiguous' advice and 'highly personable' approach.

Practice head(s):

Malcolm Rust

Other key lawyers:

Gillian Campbell; Christopher McGill; Greig Honeyman; Douglas Sinclair; Heather Bird; Flora Asplin; Eleanor Kerr; Alexis Graham; Keith McLaren; Alison Richmond

Testimonials

‘They make you feel very relaxed on the first meeting – they were extremely professional, but you also felt like you were dealing with human beings, rather than a completely corporate feel.’

‘Gillian Campbell was friendly, knowledgeable and helpful over a number of months when dealing with my will. I would not hesitate to recommend others to contact her as her advice was clear and unambiguous. ’

‘Consummate professionals with an excellent business ethos. Shepherd and Wedderburn are trustworthy and give superior guidance and service on all matters. They have an expanse of knowledge and associated professionals to assist where required. Their strongest points are trust, approachability and knowledge, as well as excellent service.

‘Gillian Campbell is the most consummate professional – her ethics and clear approach to the matter at hand is reassuring. Her knowledge base is vast and her ability to manage your expectations to ensure you have a clear understanding of what to expect – and when to expect it – is second to none. 

‘Gillian Campbell has been highly personable and hugely professional throughout. She took quite a complex set of circumstances (due to the nature of our assets) and broke the plan down to its component parts, explaining it in simple terms each step of the way. Hugely impressive.’

‘The individuals I have worked with are all very professional, approachable and have excellent technical skills and knowledge. They use their ears and offer sensible solutions and can liaise with clients at all levels and from all different backgrounds. One particular person who exemplifies this is Gillian Campbell.’

‘Chris McGill is a stand out individual – he is empathetic to the clients and situations, while firm with his role’

‘Chris McGill is outstanding. He is able to deal with private client matters in a commercial manner – which is highly unusual. He will give clear, straightforward, and technically proficient advice in a sympathetic manner.’

Burness Paull LLP

Instructed by a diverse roster of family businesses and high-net-worth individuals, Burness Paull LLP handles domestic tax, estate and succession planning issues and also attracts plaudits for its 'knowledge of residency and domicile issues'. Headed up by the 'superb' Colin McKenzie, the group now utilises ScotWill - a new client-facing app created to attract new clients and streamline communications. Under the stewardship of McKenzie, it also continues to expand: inheritance tax and capital gains tax expert Claire Macpherson, who heads up the group’s Central Belt coverage, and trusts and estates specialist Fiona Clarke were both promoted to the partnership in February 2021.

Practice head(s):

Colin McKenzie

Other key lawyers:

Claire Macpherson; Fiona Clarke

Testimonials

‘I deal regularly with Colin McKenzie, always available and approachable with an in-depth knowledge of our mutual clients.’

‘This practice has an ever-growing and strong private client team, their knowledge of residency and domicile issues is excellent, cross-border issues are becoming increasingly complex and they have the team in place to deal with this.’

‘A strong team that relates to individuals with specific issues that can be very complex, the knowledge of the team is important and on cross border issues there are few that I would turn to with Claire Macpherson being my first port of call.’

‘Colin MacKenzie is superb. He has a commercial approach and is able to give clear, practical and firm advice. He is able to draw on support from related disciplines and is clearly able to work effectively with people – from clients through to other professionals.’

‘Fiona Clarke has a fantastic manner with clients, providing guidance and advice at a level of complexity that matches their understanding.’

‘The top members of the team have real knowledge of and interest in tax and trust law. This matters – It means that their clients are likely to be made aware of planning opportunities as they arise. Their expertise in the use of corporate planning vehicles for IHT and succession purposes is regarded as second to none by the market.’

‘One of the stand out teams in the Private Client Legal community in Scotland. Good geographical coverage with bases and private client practitioners in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. We work together extensively on complex estate planning matters that involve Trusts and Family Investment Companies. Good experience of cross-border issues.’

‘Claire Macpherson is highly skilled and tenacious. She gets to the solution quickly. She is also highly personable and has the ability to make clients relax.’

Key clients

CHAP (Holdings)

Esson Properties

Halliburton

Malcolm Allan Housebuilders

National Oilwell Varco

Petrofac Group

Scotia Homes

Stena Drilling

Transocean Group

Wood Plc

Work highlights

  • Acting for a high-net-worth entrepreneur – the owner of a UK-wide housebuilding company – in relation to his succession planning, ensuring that his family are provided for in the manner he wishes, whilst ensuring the most tax efficient solutions are utilised.
  • Acting for the executors of a deceased high-net-worth individual whose assets were located in five different jurisdictions and in multiple different forms.
  • Advised the estate of a Monegasque domiciliary on the interpretation of a handwritten will, where the deceased elected ‘British’ law to apply to the distribution of his estate.

Gillespie Macandrew LLP

Gillespie Macandrew LLP brings to bear ‘strength in depth across tax, succession and agricultural law’, noted for its coordination with the wider firm. The tax advisory team, which is overseen by John McArthur, advises on the structuring of businesses, tax mitigation and generational business planning work, particularly inheritance tax issues. Agnes Mallon is proficient at handling high-value tax planning projects for clients with both rural and corporate assets, while Lianne Lodge has particular expertise in assisting elderly and vulnerable clients with guardianship matters. Eilidh Adams, who was made partner in March 2020, also handles matters relating to the winding up of trusts. Former practice head Elspeth Paget retired from practice in February 2020.

Practice head(s):

Agnes Mallon; John McArthur

Other key lawyers:

Lianne Lodge; Eilidh Adams; Sarah-Jane Macdonald

Testimonials

‘ I chose GM because they had a large and well-regarded private client department which was well coordinated with other relevant departments such as rural property and tax planning. GM were particularly good about asking questions and gathering information before making recommendations.’

‘Agnes Mallon provides first-class practical advice in a fully informed and empathetic way. I always thought that I was in safe and expert hands. I particularly valued Agnes’s previous experience as an in-house lawyer which I believe informed the practicality of her advice.’

‘The team has proved versatile in dealing with all aspects of the Estate from the administration to dealing with the inheritance tax and personal tax of the deceased.’

‘The private client team at Gillespie Macandrew has strength in depth across tax, succession and agricultural law, making it singularly well-equipped to deal with contentious executories. A particular strength is its proactive approach to mediation.’

‘Sarah-Jane MacDonald has pioneered the use of mediation in contentious executories in Scotland. She is a pleasure to work with because I can be confident that parties and other solicitors will be well-briefed.’

Lindsays

Empathetic, professional and totally committed to responding to client needs’, Lindsays’ team has a track record in drafting wills and advising on estate and succession planning matters, as well as the full gamut of tax planning issues, with an emphasis on inheritance tax and capital gains tax mitigation. The team, which is led by Grant Johnson, continues to grow year on year: joining the team in September 2020 from Miller Hendry, Caroline Fraser is best known for her strength in trust law including the formation and termination of private and charitable trusts. Sandy Lamb has extensive experience in the administration of executry estates.

Practice head(s):

Grant Johnson

Other key lawyers:

Sandy Lamb; Lynsey Kerr; Caroline Fraser

Testimonials

‘It is reassuring to work alongside Lindsays on a range of private client and corporate matters, where the level of service is exceptional.’

‘I have always found Lindsays to be a professional and approachable firm who are willing to listen and discuss legal matters accordingly in a straightforward and well-presented manner.’

‘Sandy Lamb is technically good, listens well, has a nice “bedside manner”.’

‘The practice has a team that deals with everything in a timely manner and doesn’t leave matters unattended to for any length. They have a local connection with the area as well as having the strength of resources from across the country.’

‘The individuals stand out in that they make time to talk to you when it is convenient for me and are good at responding to requests for information.’

‘I’ve found the team to be empathetic, professional and totally committed to responding to my needs. I’ve also been impressed by the way in which they seamlessly moved from office-based to homeworking and in maintaining client service throughout.’

‘Everyone I have met from the team is very personable and seems to be able to translate what can be daunting legal matters to the client/layperson. Not always a skill with every professional.’

Murray Beith Murray

Praised for placing ‘clients’ interest at the centre of everything that it does’, private client boutique outfit Murray Beith Murray acts for high-net-worth individuals, families, trusts and charities domiciled in Scotland, as well as across the UK and internationally. Particularly active in asset protection and executries work, the team is led by Peter Shand. Other notable names working in tandem with Shand are the vastly experienced Ruthven Gemmell, Hugh Younger and Andrew Paterson; all are well-versed in tax and estate planning work, succession planning and asset protection issues, taxes, wills, trusts and powers of attorney.

Practice head(s):

Peter Shand

Other key lawyers:

Ruthven Gemmell; Hugh Younger; Andrew Paterson; Sophie Napier; Caroline Pringle

Testimonials

‘The team is very approachable, and the communication over the pandemic with home working has been very robust and effective. Clearly strong technical understanding in all areas of legal advice.’

‘For all partners I have worked with, they were engaging and socially skilled. The technical skill was clear in all cases.’

‘Andrew Paterson’s advice re: our Wills/Estates has been well informed, and very acceptable to us.’

‘Extremely professional and efficient service across the team.’

‘As a family we deal exclusively with The Private Wealth Law team at MBM and consider them to be pretty much faultless, all e-mails, phone calls and requests are responded to immediately. All reviews and routine work is carried out and delivered on time and they are incredibly proactive at providing an improved service.’

‘Ruthven Gemmell has been an exceptional support to me. I have depended on his advice and guidance in a number of different capacities – writing my Will, Lasting Power of Attorney, Tax matters, Investments, etc.’

‘I work closely with Peter Shand, partner, who is a wonderful combination of sharp intellect, reassurance, sound legal advice wrapped up with a wonderful sense of humour. He is a source of innovative thinking across a range of matters.’

‘Murray Beith Murray clearly have the client’s interest at the centre of everything that they do. This is evidenced from their view that a collaborative approach with the clients other professional advisers will provide a better outcome for the client rather than one professional trying to do all of the work themselves.’

‘Peter Shand is the partner with whom I have worked with most. Peter always strives to achieve the very best outcome for his clients. Peter has excellent communications skills and is very skilled in changing his approach depending on his audience.’

Work highlights

  • Advising an ultra-high-net-worth client with connections to France on his Will and succession planning.
  • Representing the Trustees of a major estate trust on the appointment of land, property and chattels out of the Trust.
  • Advising on the lifetime transfer of a high-value Estate to the next generation as a succession planning exercise.

Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie LLP

Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie LLP concentrates on assisting families and family businesses, praised for 'assisting multi-generational families with succession planning issues' in particular. Ian Macdonald is responsible for leading the group, which also undertakes asset protection and tax planning issues, including the establishment and management of family office structures and family partnerships. Other names to note are chartered financial planner Graham Murray, chartered tax adviser Susan Hoyle and JP Campbell, who has helped expand the firm’s foothold in the North of Scotland. In recent news, Roddy Harrison joined from Dentons in January 2021, while Magnus Mackay recently joined as a partner from Stronachs LLP.

Practice head(s):

Ian Macdonald

Other key lawyers:

Susan Hoyle; Graham Murray; Rod MacLean; Roddy Harrison; JP Campbell; Magnus Mackay

Testimonials

‘Graham Murray is secure, steady, careful, and reassuring. He had one major piece of advice that simplified enormously our financial planning and management.’

‘WJM have had a very strong private client team for a number of years, the way the team works together has always been a strong point with a diverse team specialising in families and family businesses in particular. They are adept at assisting multi-generational families with succession planning.’

‘Ian Macdonald has spent years trying to demystify legal jargon for his clients, helping them to fully understand what they are stepping into, whether it is trusts, wills or succession planning. Graham Murray has developed an excellence in the financial sector which he uses to provide an all round service to his clients.’

‘Ian Macdonald is my main contact. Knowledgeable, practical and gets on well with clients.’

‘WJM has built upon its traditional and well-established practice and name, to be a standout firm in private client circles. It packs a punch well above the comparative size of the firm.’

‘WJM has a weighty presence in the North of Scotland. Members are heavily involved in STEP (UK and Scotland).’

‘Magnus Mackay is very good technically and especially good with really tricky areas which others might struggle with.’

Aberdein Considine

The practice at Aberdein Considine handles a diverse range of matters concerning wills, trusts, executries, estates and succession planning issues. Aileen Entwistle in Glasgow has a track record in executry administrations; Edinburgh-based James MacKinnon focuses on tax-efficient solutions for succession planning work; while Ryan Fox, who splits his time between the firm’s Stonehaven and Aberdeen offices, ‘has a wealth of knowledge in dealing with estate administrations’. Another key practitioner is Anthony Quin, who is stationed in the firm's Stirling office.

Practice head(s):

Anthony Quin; Ryan Fox; James MacKinnon; Aileen Entwistle

Testimonials

‘Very friendly and helpful. Do what they say and on time.’

‘The practice has an excellent reputation and the critical mass and reach to expedite assignments in an efficient and timely manner. The customer focus and communication are excellent.’

‘The private client team at Aberdein Considine offers a varied and quality service. In addition, they also offer a competitive rate in respect of the work carried out for such a large and established law firm.’

‘Aberdein Considine have been pro-active in the way that they have dealt with my estate planning. This has been invaluable for me and my family. They communicate throughout the different teams that I work with and this allows them a sense of who I am and what my expectations are.’

‘The teams worked closely together to gather and collate information. There was only one staff member to deal with which made communication friendly, informative, helpful and professional.’

‘I found the partner Aileen Entwistle to be very attentive to my tricky request for POA and advice about my will.’

‘Ryan Fox has a wealth of knowledge in dealing with estate administration. He is often able to assist in complex estate issues.’

‘Ryan Fox is a very capable and intelligent individual and very learned in Trust and Executry matters together with various taxes in this area. What strikes me is that all matters are dealt with in a very timeous manner with very little delays.’

Balfour+Manson LLP

Balfour+Manson LLP provides clients with an 'end-to-end delivery that few others can replicate’. Praised for its ‘wonderful combination of technical competency and approachability’, the team is spearheaded by Shona Brown, who mainly handles matters pertaining to the drafting of wills, succession planning issues, asset protection work, tax mitigation, and the creation and management of trusts, especially personal injury trusts. Karen Phillips routinely undertakes incapacity and executry administration work, while senior associate Margaret Ross focuses on tax-related issues. Graeme Thomson made partner in January 2021.

Practice head(s):

Shona Brown

Other key lawyers:

Karen Phillips; Graeme Thomson; Margaret Ross

Testimonials

‘I’ve never come across a team with so much up-to-date knowledge. They are on top of their game in expertise in their specialist areas.’

‘Shona Brown is efficient, thorough, and pays meticulous attention to detail. We have endured some very troubling times recently and she has handled this with nothing but the utmost professionalism. I value her knowledge more than anything as it is second to none.’

‘Balfour + Manson always go above and beyond for their clients.’

‘Karen Philips shows understanding and compassion and always explains everything in the simplest way possible.’

‘Delivers an outstanding service to their PI clients from litigation through to managing the ongoing trustee duties, an end-to-end delivery that few others can replicate.’

‘Wonderful combination of technical competency and approachability. Places clients at ease.’

‘ Balfour + Manson are a forward-thinking business with experts leading the management team, meaning a real understanding of the business pressures and opportunities within law.’

‘Karen Phillips is motivated, progressive and extremely good in meetings with Clients. She offers legal information to clients in understandable terms and has established good relationships.’

‘Shona Brown is outstanding in her field as a private client lawyer, offering clear support and attentive to the complex needs of her clients.’

Blackadders LLP

Blackadders LLP undertakes the full spectrum of tax issues, trusts and executries for a range of local authorities, individuals, families, trustees, executors, charities and businesses. ‘Great team leaderJohnston Clark excels in business succession planning issues, particularly for farming families, while Laura McDowall handles incapacity and mental disability law issues, and Gillian Brown -  who is ‘calm, efficient, confident and extremely knowledgeable ’ - routinely assists clients with the establishment and administration of personal injury trusts. In January 2021, the department welcomed former BTO Solicitors LLP practice head Lynn Melville.

Practice head(s):

Johnston Clark

Other key lawyers:

Douglas Sneddon; Gillian Brown; Lynn Melville; Laura McDowall

Testimonials

‘An excellent all-round wealth management team with good financial results during a difficult period.’ 

‘Johnston Clark is a great team leader who has advanced the firm in terms of diversity and presence throughout Scotland. Douglas Sneddon oozes confidentiality and understanding, ideal for his speciality in probate.’

‘Gillian Brown is calm, efficient, confident, extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of her work and achieves an amazing balance between professionalism and friendliness.’

‘Blackadders has obviously made great strides in recent years and has mastered integrating new teams with different skills.’

‘Efficient and effective team. Great communicators, even more noticeable because work this year has been affected by the Pandemic and people having to work from home.’

‘Friendly, knowledgeable, thorough.’

‘My dealings with this department of Blackadders relate solely to their work setting up Personal Injury Trusts. This is a niche area and they are among the leading specialists in this area in Scotland.’

‘Gillian Brown is extremely knowledgeable and has been very professional in her dealings with my clients.’

Key clients

Edradour Housing Association

Perth & Kinross Council

Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland)

The Nine Incorporated Trades of Dundee

Guildry Incorporation of Dundee

Pirie Rankin Charitable Trust

Dundee Disabled Childrens Association

Glasgow City Council

Dundee City Council

Walter Craig Charitable Trust

Dundee City Council

Angus Council

Aberdeenshire Council

The City of Dundee Burgess Charity

The V&A of Dundee

Work highlights

  • Handled the administration of trust estate including substantial land interests, with a value of £5m, following the death of a liferenter.
  • Advised on the administration of executry with estate of £5.7m including a large ongoing farming business, 600 acres of land, farmhouses, agricultural buildings, farming equipment, residential cottages and a share portfolio.
  • Advised a client – returning to Scotland with assets in Scotland, Japan and settlor interest trust in Jersey – on inheritance tax, capital gains tax, income tax and domicile issues.

Harper Macleod LLP

At Harper Macleod LLP, the team is distinguished by ‘good geographical coverage with bases and private client practitioners in Glasgow, Edinburgh and the Highlands’. Headed up by Pamela Niven, the group principally focuses on domestic and foreign taxation issues, complex estate planning work, and trusts. Jacqueline Leslie excels in work concerning the range of liferent, discretionary, charitable and personal injury trusts. Developing the firm’s Highlands and Islands offering, Julie Doncaster, who has a crofting background, frequently advises rural clients on succession and inheritance tax planning mandates.

Practice head(s):

Pamela Niven

Other key lawyers:

Jacqueline Leslie; Julie Doncaster

Testimonials

‘My initial impression was of a friendly, professional firm.’

‘I would describe Jacqueline Leslie as ever diligent, totally professional, with a quiet reassuring manner, friendly and very approachable.’

‘Particularly impressive are (1) the team’s ability quickly to assess the client and their requirements in terms of substance of the legal issue and in terms of the type of approach, and pace, appropriate and (2) the fact that several members of the team are clued up on the piece of business and so if one person is absent another can move it forward rather than just doing a holding role.’

‘It was almost never necessary for the client to have to refer anything to a partner: dealing with the firm’s employees was all that was necessary given their excellent modus operandi.’

‘Maintaining total professionalism whilst adopting a friendly human face to interact with. By adopting an approachable stance assures clients of personal effective attention at all times.’

‘HM is a large, independent Scottish legal firm – the size of the organisation means that they have real depth of experience; they have been able to get results and deliver a significantly higher level of service than competitor firms at a very fair cost.’

‘Often, within large firms, the personal touch can be lost within big corporate machines. This is something that is often lost within large firms of their size, but not within HM. Whilst HM is a large firm, importantly, all the Private Client Team I have dealt with, provide a very personal service. I have found that at all levels within HM, their level of knowledge and service is second-to-none.’

‘Good geographical coverage with bases and private client practitioners in Glasgow, Edinburgh and the Highlands.’

MacRoberts LLP

MacRoberts LLP fields a team of dedicated private client lawyers, which also includes tax managers, enabling the group to offer comprehensive tax planning and compliance advice to both individuals and trusts. Group head Carole McAlpine-Scott focuses on elderly client care work, in which she frequently acts as attorney or guardian in relation to asset protection issues and the administration of both financial and welfare matters. Another practitioner to note is James Inglis, who focuses on the creation of personal injury trusts.

Practice head(s):

Carole McAlpine-Scott

Other key lawyers:

James Inglis; Brian Jackson

Testimonials

‘The team is very responsive, helpful and efficient. Any time I have had to contact them for any reason, I have always had a swift response. They’re also pro-active and I can rely on them to flag up any issues or steps which need to be taken well in advance.’

‘James Inglis is courteous, efficient, thorough and always very helpful. His approach and client communication skills are of particular importance. He inspires confidence with a steady and considered demeanour and excellent depth of knowledge and experience in conjunction with a very personable manner.’

Work highlights

  • Offering proactive legal advice to a number of long-standing elderly care clients, acting as either their Attorney or Guardian.
  • Regularly receive instructions from a national UK law firm to create personal injury trusts on behalf of its clients.
  • Instructed on an estate administration in which negotiations with HMRC took place over whether certain payments by the deceased to her daughter should be treated as gifts.

Stronachs LLP

Providing ‘strong leadership’, Jaclyn Russell heads up the practice at Stronachs LLP, demonstrating ‘great client handling skills, listening to the client's requirements and offering proactive and pragmatic advice’ in a variety of areas spanning estate and succession planning work and complex executries, as well as other related issues affecting high-net-worth clients with business and farming interests. Russell stands out for her ability to ‘deal with complex legal and tax issues and explaining those calmly to a layman’.

Practice head(s):

Jaclyn Russell

Other key lawyers:

Kirsten Anderson

Testimonials

‘Jaclyn Russell is very knowledgeable, conscientious and quick to respond. She gave me good advice and was easy to talk to when I was going through a difficult time.’

‘Jaclyn stands out for me as being able to deal with complex legal and tax issues and explaining those calmly to a laymen.’ 

‘Jaclyn Russell has excellent demeanour with clients, extremely personable and very good technically. Very responsive to client matters and requests for help from other professionals.’ 

‘Kirsten Anderson is very responsive and personable.’

‘The key strength of Stronachs is their commitment to providing excellent client service. Delivering proactive advice and working as a team to provide a seamless service helps more than exceed client expectations.’

‘The individuals are accessible, pro-active and re-assuring. They are also driven to deliver high service levels which clients both appreciate and require.’

‘Jaclyn Russell is a very capable individual. She is assured and composed but very down to earth and approachable.’ 

‘Jaclyn Russell provides a strong leadership for the team and is able to handle the most complex of client circumstances.’

Work highlights

  • Advising multiple generations of a prominent Scottish family-owned and run company on multi-generational business and estate succession planning issues, including trust creation and management.
  • Advising the beneficiary of a trust on a multimillion pound entitlement, including Inheritance Tax planning and mitigation measures such as the establishment of a Family Investment Company and associated trusts.
  • Acting in the complex estate administration of a high-net-worth individual, whose spouse is domiciled outside of the UK, including assisting with a domicile election, saving roughly £1m of inheritance tax.

BTO Solicitors LLP

Blending ‘professional expertise with a personal and welcoming approach’, BTO Solicitors LLP advises on an assortment of tax planning issues, wills and estates, powers of attorney, asset and family protection work and executry administration matters. The group has also recently seen a number of personnel changes: former department co-head Lynn Melville departed for Blackadders LLP in Dec 2020, while Gregor Mitchell joined in March 2021 from Morton Fraser. Ross Brown leads the firm's personal team across its offices.

Practice head(s):

Ross Brown

Other key lawyers:

Morag Gibb; Gregor Mitchell

Testimonials

‘The team are very efficient and knowledgeable in their field, particularly in understanding the wider tax and financial planning issues and opportunities.’

‘BTO have provided excellent service to my family for decades. The lawyers and staff are all very approachable, friendly and know how to put clients at ease when dealing with sensitive personal matters.’

‘Ross Brown provided an excellent service, helping my husband and I update our Wills during lockdown as well as providing advice on inheritance tax.’

‘The practice is unique for us because it combines professional expertise with a personal and welcoming approach.’

‘I found that everyone I dealt with at BTO were efficient and courteous.’

‘I immediately felt comfortable and confident with Ross Brown’s level of experience. I was struck and impressed at his efficiency, thoroughness, tenacity in chasing up uncooperative companies, and his courteous manner. I was most impressed.’

‘Morag is an exceptionally empathetic individual who absolutely understood the very difficult situation my sister was in and made her feel comfortable about what she needed to do.’

‘BTO were extremely helpful, following through on family legal work, from establishment of PoA to dealing with an estate, sale of property and transfer of investments. The team worked very cohesively, with the partner, solicitor and property department involved as and when required.’

Work highlights

  • Advised a client on an estate with a value of £4.3m, including complex tax issues and cross border elements.
  • Acted on behalf of the executors of a complex estate valued at £4.9m and involving high-value lifetime gifts and assets.
  • Acted on behalf of the beneficiaries of a £2m bare trust, which held a majority shareholding in a high-value company.