Personal tax, trusts and executries in Scotland

Brodies LLP

Brodies LLP has a large bench of specialist partners spread across Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen; the team advises many of Scotland's wealthiest families, and has notable expertise in the use of family investment companies and family limited partnerships for estate planning. Mark Stewart leads the practice from Aberdeen; he focuses on estate planning, succession planning, tax planning, trusts and executries and is dual-qualified in Scotland and in England and Wales, enabling him to effectively deal with cross-border matters. He works in tandem with personal tax planning head Alan Barr, who is based in Edinburgh. In the Glasgow office, Norman Kennedy is able to draw on his skills as a fully-qualified chartered accountant - he is praised for his 'exceptionally high level of commercial acumen'.

Practice head(s):

Mark Stewart


‘Strength and depth and geographical spread throughout Scotland.’ 

‘Approachable, friendly and helpful team; there’s always someone there to help. Their level of technical expertise is second to none.’

‘Although Brodies are a large firm, they still have a very personal touch while dealing with me and my clients.’

‘In an Aberdeen context, the team is large, well resourced and experienced. This is in stark contrast to almost all of the local competition. There is access to understanding that means all client circumstances can be dealt with quickly and efficiently. A highly professional experience.’

‘I think this practice is unique insofar that it has some of the best legal expertise in the country. They clearly have great strengths in almost every field and we find that if there is a particular issue which we need to go over then there is always a partner who is really one of the top experts in Scotland.’

‘Norman Kennedy is a lawyer and an accountant and therefore fully understands the financial and legal aspects of client situations. He has an exceptionally high level of commercial acumen.’

‘Leigh Gould is very efficient and demonstrates understanding and pragmatic compassion with my client referrals. She is patient and has been able to add genuine value to clients with proactive advice.’

‘Norman Kennedy stands out insofar that he is a very rare individual who is a partner in a legal firm who is also a qualified chartered accountant. This gives him a unique blend of skills which we find to be excellent in terms of dealing with private client work but also in terms of understanding businesses, in particular entrepreneurial businesses. He has a very good understanding of the business environment and has very good personal skills which enables him to understand individuals, and their families, in terms of how they create wealth through the business which he then helps to protect and enhance.’

Turcan Connell

Turcan Connell has a long-established reputation as a premier Scottish private client firm and is regarded as 'pre-eminent in the area of trusts and settlements'. The practice advises ultra-high-net-worth individuals and families, handling complex issues relating to trusts and estates, tax planning and business succession, and has recently seen an increase in work relating to investment in Scotland by foreign nationals. The firm's large team of top-tier partners is primarily based in Edinburgh, where Kenny MacDonald is tax services principal and Alix Storrie is head of tax and succession. Other well-regarded figures include 'top quality partner' Tom Duguid and Paul Macaulay, who is 'excellent with clients', as well as firm chairman Alexander Garden.

Practice head(s):

Kenny MacDonald; Alix Storrie


‘The leading private client firm in Scotland, in my view. Independent practice, one of the few remaining in the Scottish market. Provides full range of services for private individuals, including legal and tax advice, tax planning, trusts and international issues.’

‘Quiet confidence and real expertise. The practice focused from the start on private practice and real caring attention to their clients is their benchmark.’

‘Depth of knowledge and experience. Ability to advise in relation to both English and Scots law. Pre-eminent firm in Scotland in the area of trusts and settlements.’

‘Very high level of technical advice. Excellent level of service.’

‘Alexander Garden has a well established reputation in relation to trusts and taxation.’

‘Paul Macaulay is excellent with clients.’

‘Tom Duguid is very strong technically, very experienced, excellent at building client relationships and seeks to find the best practical solution to the circumstances presented to him.’

‘Paul Macaulay provides solid advice in an efficient manner. The quality of their technical knowledge makes them stand out from their competitors.’

‘Tom Duguid is a top-quality partner.’

Anderson Strathern

Carole Tomlinson, who is dual-qualified to practise in Scotland and England & Wales, leads Anderson Strathern's excellent private client team. Its wide-ranging expertise includes succession and estate planning, and tax planning, as well as the formation, administration and variation/termination of trusts. The group works with members of the corporate practice to advise many of Scotland's wealthiest families on tax and generation planning, the setting-up of family investment companies and residential property companies. A specialist team led by Martin Campbell advises on asset protection in relation to personal injury awards. In a significant development, the firm expanded its private client practice in Glasgow when it acquired local three-partner firm Hardy Macphail in 2019. Succession planning specialist Alasdair Johnstone was recently promoted to partner.

Practice head(s):

Carole Tomlinson


Carole Tomlinson is very sound, discreet, never over-complicates things, has lots of common sense and is sympathetic and approachable

They are friendly and at the same time professional and knowledgeable. They pitch their advice at just the correct level and understand that as a smaller firm I don’t have the depth of knowledge and resources in more specialised matters which they have. Unlike some other firms, I have dealt with they are happy to take the level back to basics if that is what is needed. I have no hesitation in approaching them on any matter.

Alasdair Johnstone is my “go-to” lawyer. His advice is well-considered and always provided in a very straightforward and practical way (even when the query didn’t sound straightforward). He is always helpful and friendly and takes time to make sure that I am happy with the information and advice provided. Phoning Alasdair is like phoning a (knowledgeable and professional) friend for advice

I am impressed by how Anderson Strathern manage to combine the professionalism of a large firm with the empathy you would expect from a sole practitioner

Colin Henderson is very practical and responsive. Our mutual clients respect his opinions and with good reason. He is very balanced in the advice he gives and always considers the practical implications of the issues at hand.’

‘Laura Murray is very efficient and knowledgeable. The UK tax advice she provides is invaluable and timely

Key clients

Buccleuch family

Roxburghe family

Gillespie Macandrew LLP

Gillespie Macandrew LLP excels in providing specialist advice to family businesses and estates on complex tax planning and succession issues. The tax advisory team, which is led by John McArthur, advises on the structuring of businesses, tax mitigation and generational business planning. Private client head Elspeth Paget has extensive expertise in the law relating to elderly people and vulnerable adults, and is a strong choice for advice on guardianships. Agnes Mellon is another notable individual. Also recommended is Eilidh Adams in Perth, who works with the land and rural team to handle tax and succession issues for farmers and landowners. The firm saw its private client practice gain momentum in 2019, with legal director Karen Wooton joining the Glasgow office from Blackadders LLP. In addition, Lianne Lodge made partner.


Gillespie Macandrew have a large personal tax, trusts and executries team, which enables them to deal with a high volume of trusts and estates of all levels of complexity. The breadth of knowledge and expertise in the team makes them a go-to firm for those seeking advice in this area. Gillespie Macandrew have a number of Chartered Tax Advisers to assist with advising private clients, which sets them apart from many other law firms. They also have many years of experience and are seen as experts in the provision of trust advice

Sarah-Jane Macdonald impresses with her personable nature, thorough understanding of the issues at hand and proactive approach.’

‘John McArthur impressed with his expert knowledge of tax and his ability to provide solutions to complex problems for his clients.

Morton Fraser

Morton Fraser's practice has continued to go from strength to strength since the firm took on Addleshaw Goddard's Scottish private client team in October 2018. Led by Carryl Beveridge, the team provides a comprehensive range of services to clients such as high-net-worth individuals, business owners and landowners. Its many areas of strength include trust administration, guardianships, tax planning (capital gains and income taxes) and succession planning. Although the majority of its work is Scotland-based, the firm is increasingly becoming prominent in cross-border mandates. Beveridge works with Sue Hunter (who is a Chartered Financial Adviser), Gregor Mitchell and Catriona MacPhailDonna Brennan leads the private client team in Glasgow. Tax director Collette Kerr joined from 1825 Financial Planning in 2019.


The team are highly knowledgeable, efficient and they are also really delightful people to work with, which makes for a very pleasant experience. Donna Brennan, Adrian Bell and Innes Clarke all immediately spring to mind

What makes Morton Fraser unique, in my opinion, has been the extraordinary sense of personal involvement that the partners have shown. They have combined an extremely high standard of professionalism with a strong sense of grounded personal engagement. This gives a belief in a bond having developed between firm and client which has built belief and trust

Accessibility and almost immediate understanding of the problem. Also they were willing to tackle an issue that a previous firm had avoided and resolve a longstanding issue.’

Carryl Beveridge dealt with my business at Morton Fraser, and I cannot fault her. She took care of my needs swiftly, and saw various details of which I wasn’t aware that required attention in order to achieve effective and valid results. With Carryl working for me, I felt totally confident that everything was being taken care of in the best possible way for my benefit.

Murray Beith Murray

Private client boutique Murray Beith Murray has a strong track record acting for high-net-worth individuals domiciled in Scotland, across the UK and further afield internationally. It also generates work from families, family trusts, charities and private companies. The firm is particularly prominent in asset protection and executries work, fielding specialist groups focusing on both areas. Other areas of expertise include wills, trusts, succession and estate planning, dispute resolution and personal and trust taxation. Peter Shand leads the team, which includes Ruthven Gemmell, senior partner Hugh Younger and Andrew Paterson.

Practice head(s):

Peter Shand


The firm has a longstanding private client practice with an excellent reputation in the Scottish legal market. Its partner group comprises a good balance between old hands Hugh Younger and Ruthven Gemmell – with their stellar contacts and client lists – and younger partners such as Peter Shand. Unlike some of its competitors, the firm is not stuffy and I would describe it as professional, experienced, discreet, friendly and straightforward.’

‘Peter Shand has empathy and a natural ability to engage with clients in often very difficult and complex life situations. Often, this has made a tangible difference to the process and outcome, particularly client satisfaction. In my experience, Peter compares very favourably to some of his competitors who are technically sound but are unable to connect positively with the client on a personal level.

Very personal service, a senior partner was always my point of contact. Also proactive in making contact. The partner dealing with my affairs spent time with us fully explained our options and we felt he knew us well. Andrew Paterson was the partner dealing with our work. His knowledge was first class and explained so we understood.

Instant access to partners, and very quick, meaningful advice which is both given and actioned in a timely manner.

There is an overriding sense that they have done it all many times before. It is a great comfort.

Shepherd and Wedderburn

Shepherd and Wedderburn's group handles a varied portfolio of high-end work under the leadership of Malcolm Rust in Edinburgh and Aberdeen-based partner Gillian Campbell (who was hired from Burnett & Reid in 2019). The team undertakes Scottish private client work for locally-based clients; this includes wills, trusts, executries and tax planning. In addition, the firm is able to provide English probate services and other English private client advice from the offices in Scotland. Also notable is that the team in Scotland works with practitioners in England to advise international clients on private client matters with a multijurisdictional component. Other names to note include dual England and Scotland-qualified partner Chris McGillGreig Honeyman and recently promoted partner Douglas Sinclair. In April 2021 the team was significantly expanded by the addition of a 20-strong Dentons team led by Eleanor Kerr and Alexis Graham.


The team has a breadth and depth of knowledge. We approached them in relation to one standalone piece of work and now they are our go-to firm. They have both the legal expertise across a number of areas but also a very commercial approach. I’ve instructed a number of solicitors across a number of different areas but S&W’s private client team have been consistently the most impressive. The service levels are spot on in terms of response time, quality and price.’

‘Douglas Sinclair is always on top of the brief, provides advice (and training) at the appropriate level. He’s knowledgeable, approachable, personable but most importantly he consistently delivers.

The team is one of the strongest technical teams in Scotland. In my view, this is reflected by its ongoing commitment to training and the level of client base – pre-eminent in commercial firms. Chris McGill and Douglas Sinclair are measured and impressive in their knowledge.

For me, it is the people and their personal skills. I like the fact they have offices in all the main cities in Scotland and despite being a large firm it has a very personal/regional feel.’

‘Gillian Campbell is very knowledgeable but I think more importantly has emotional intelligence in abundance. She is very genuine and makes sometimes what clients may perceive as a very complex situation/scenario seem very simple, giving clients peace of mind.

Eleanor Kerr is thorough, personable, dependable, knowledgeable, practical and bright.

‘Keith McLaren is very easy to work with and keen to operate collaboratively. He is open to considering wider options for clients, to meet their overall needs.’

‘Eleanor Kerr is a pleasure to deal with and a great supporter of collaborative working with other professionals. Eleanor is always keen to consider wider client needs and to introduce the right personnel at the right time to ensure the advice to the client is joined up.’

‘Alexis Graham is good to work with and has a very practical approach.

‘Eleanor Kerr and Keith McLaren take a holistic approach to client service/client satisfaction and genuinely put the clients’ needs and satisfaction at the forefront. They will assist the client with finding solutions in the most practical way and are happy to collaborate with other advisers, sharing their own thoughts and expertise freely.

Balfour+Manson LLP

Balfour+Manson LLP is noted for its specialism in the formation, management and taxation of trusts, particularly large trusts for vulnerable beneficiaries and personal injury trusts. Other areas of expertise include contentious and international executry cases and tax planning and overseas residence and domicile issues for high-net-worth individuals. Practice head Shona Brown and Karen Phillips, who has a particular focus on advising high-net-worth individuals on personal injury trusts, are 'approachable and client oriented'. Associate and qualified accountant Margaret Ross specialises in tax and financial management.

Practice head(s):

Shona Brown

Other key lawyers:

Karen Phillips; Margaret Ross


‘I feel they are unique in many aspects, particularly their dedication, attention to detail and the strong sense of trust between themselves and clients.’

‘Shona Brown works tirelessly, with the primary objective, and indeed only objective, of what’s best for the client. She consistently goes above and beyond, often working well into the evenings and weekends. I know that I could contact her at any time if I need her, and that’s exactly the kind of relationship that’s valued. Her meticulous attention to detail is outstanding but more than anything I value her sense of trustworthiness. We could not have managed without her. I feel very lucky to have her fighting in our corner!’

‘Knowledgeable and empathetic, understand the particular needs of their often vulnerable clients, and can provide reassurance as well as remaining firm when needed.’

‘Karen Phillips has a terrific nature and remains positive.’

‘Shona Brown is very calm and provides great reassurance whilst adopting a common-sense approach to her client’s affairs.’

‘I believe Balfour+Manson are outstanding at what they do and especially at getting to know their clients fully and therefore proving a very bespoke service, tailored to the specific client’s needs. Balfour+Manson are extremely approachable and friendly whilst maintaining highly professional relationships.’

‘I feel the approach from Karen Phillips and Shona Brown is unique in that they make the client feel at ease immediately. There is no legal jargon to confuse or intimidate the medical negligence/personal injury clients who are often in a fragile state after many years of waiting for their settlement.’

‘The private client department is one of the most committed, caring and empathetic teams I have dealt with. They have a genuine desire to build meaningful, long-term client relationships and are highly professional.’

‘Shona Brown and Karen Phillips are two of the most approachable, client-orientated private client specialists. They are excellent with vulnerable clients, both elderly and disabled.’

‘A very strong private client team that is well placed to assist with inheritance tax and trust-based work.’

‘Karen Phillips is an exceptionally bright and talented private client solicitor. She has a warm and friendly demeanour coupled with a technical knowledge that is well above average.’

Burness Paull LLP

Burness Paull LLP's strong client base includes high-net-worth individuals and family and owner-managed businesses, which the 'exceptionally good' team assists with a range of trust and tax planning matters, including providing advice on UK tax to non-residents and resident non-domiciliaries. Practice head Colin McKenzie has been active in high-value contentious matters, and also advises on investment and succession planning. Claire Macpherson, who has expertise in inheritance tax planning and the international aspects of trusts and estates, and Fiona Clarke - both of who were recently promoted to partner - are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Colin McKenzie

Other key lawyers:

Claire Macpherson; Fiona Clarke


‘Burness Paull have a growing strength within private client and vast experience in trusts, and in particular in domicile issues.’

‘I have been very impressed with Clare Macpherson’s knowledge in regard to trusts and estates and the relevant planning that accompanies the creation of a trust and the work undertaken within an estate.’

‘Personal and conscientious service, very efficient collaboration’

‘Fiona Clarke is personable, provides clear advice for clients, and is conscientious.’

‘Claire Macpherson is knowledgeable, practical and pragmatic.’

‘A very close-knit and supportive team. Colin McKenzie is hands on with the clients but does an excellent job of ensuring his junior team members are viewed as an equally important part of their service offering. They are exceptionally good from a technical perspective but their people skills and ability to engage with and relate to their clients at the appropriate level is exceptional: clients feel at ease and supported by the team rather than intimidated and pressured.’

‘There is always a sense of collaboration with Colin McKenzie and Fiona Clarke. This makes achieving the desired end result for the client a much smoother and more rewarding process. Both Fiona and Colin are exceptionally personable and a joy to work with.’

Key clients

CHAP (Holdings)


Malcolm Allan Housebuilders

National Oilwell Varco

Petrofac Group

Scotia Homes

Stena Drilling

Transocean Group

University of St Andrews

Wood Plc.

Work highlights

  • Acting for an oil and gas services entrepreneur in his succession planning worth £50m, where the majority of ‘his’ shares are held in two trusts and it is critical that the shares qualify for business property relief (at a rate of 100% relief from inheritance tax).
  • Acting for the executors of a high-net-worth individual who died within 18 months of her high-net-worth husband. The deceased’s assets were located in five different jurisdictions and in multiple different forms, ‘legal rights’ claims (£3m net each) from two children are also to be negotiated and agreed.
  • 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.

Harper Macleod LLP

Following the acquisition of Elgin firm Wink & Mackenzie in September 2019, Harper Macleod LLP has further expanded its private client practice. The team has notable expertise in domestic and foreign taxation; estate planning, particularly for high-net-worth individuals; and trusts, including personal injury and charitable trusts. Practice head Pamela Niven is highly experienced in estate planning, while the 'professional and friendly' Jacqueline Leslie specialises in trusts, and Julie Doncaster has expertise in advising farmers and rural business owners on succession and inheritance tax planning.

Practice head(s):

Pamela Niven

Other key lawyers:

Jacqueline Leslie; Julie Doncaster


‘Pamela Niven is practical, compassionate, and always able to find a way forward with the most complex and sensitive private client issues.’

‘From my first meeting with Jacqueline Leslie, I felt comfortable and confident with her. She is totally professional and displays a quiet, caring, helpful approach. She is very thorough and acts promptly in all matters.’

‘Swift response to queries. Professional understanding of the complex issues that cross between financial services and legal aspects. Great interpersonal skills and client empathy.’

‘Jacqueline Leslie provides a thoroughly professional and friendly client service.’


'Strong technically and covering a wide range of private client issues', the team at Lindsays is highly experienced in drafting wills and advising on estate and succession planning, including estates with international assets. The team also has extensive expertise in tax planning, covering inheritance tax and capital gains tax mitigation; trust creation and administration; and executries. Practice head Grant Johnson is experienced in advising on asset protection, inheritance tax planning and trusts, and the 'sharp, focused and genuinely caring' Sandy Lamb is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Grant Johnson

Other key lawyers:

Sandy Lamb


‘The team are all strong technically, covering a wide range of private client issues. What sets them apart from some other firms is that they are all just really nice, normal people who are able to engage with their clients in a professional but personable manner, giving the client confidence that they are in good hands.’

‘I find the individuals I deal with, particularly Grant Johnson, very strong technically and easy to work with. He exudes a calm confidence that resonates with clients.’

‘The team has a very rounded knowledge that covers all the aspects for trusts and executries required. The team works very smoothly in that there is always someone to acknowledge an email or phone message, which gives peace of mind.’

‘The team are easy to contact and work in a collaborative manner. They are experts in their area of work.’

‘It has a more caring, family-friendly business offering. They have a down-to-earth, approachable attitude and appear sympathetic to their clients’ needs. I have dealt with Lindsays on both a professional and personal level. In my profession, I am often asked if I can recommend a solicitor and Lindsays are always at the top of my list of recommendations.’

‘With Grant Johnson, I felt comfortable that I would receive the correct advice and service.’

‘A mid-size full-service firm with a good private client team. We have been working with them for a number of years and can vouch for their quality of service.’

‘Sandy Lamb is a good listener, has youth on his side, does a good, effective job and gets on well with clients.’

‘My dealings with the firm were very efficiently and courteously attended to throughout by all staff, from reception onwards.’

‘Friendly and approachable with clients’

‘Grant Johnson is very approachable by nature and offers clear and practical advice on client issues.’

‘Highly personalised service, which is particularly empathetic to clients’ needs.’

‘Sandy Lamb seems a very safe pair of hands – sharp, focused and a genuinely caring person.’

MacRoberts LLP

The practice at MacRoberts LLP  is led by the 'exceptional' Carole McAlpine-Scott, who has specific expertise in elderly client care, acting as attorney or guardian in relation to the structuring of their affairs. She oversees a team lawyers in the firm's Glasgow, Dundee and Edinburgh offices; in Glasgow, inheritance planning and capital gains tax specialist James Inglis is praised for his 'urbane manner and 'unfailing good humour'. The team also has strong experience of creating personal injury trusts and major estate administrations.

Practice head(s):

Carole McAlpine-Scott

Other key lawyers:

James Inglis; Brian Jackson


‘The team is very approachable and flexible. It provides a wide range of expertise and is well integrated, meaning that an inquiry will always be dealt with by the most appropriate person. That gives confidence in the advice being given and also that any initial contact will be appropriately dealt with in a helpful, efficient and professional manner.’

‘Extremely professional team that works together to provide good client outcomes. Highly knowledgeable and very client focused.’

‘James Inglis provides very thorough and detailed professional advice. He also has an empathy for his clients’ needs. He deals with matters speedily, efficiently and very thoroughly. He is open to discussing, considering and accepting alternative points of view when appropriate. He displays unfailing good humour and his approach is often complimented by clients.

‘I find James Inglis to be very efficient and a pleasure to deal with. His urbane manner is combined with sound knowledge and a steely determination when that is called for.’

‘Carole McAlpine-Scott is an exceptional private client solicitor. Wealth of knowledge and experience and treats every client with the utmost respect and gives first rate advice without exception.’

Work highlights

  • Regularly receives instructions from a national UK law firm to create personal injury trusts on behalf of their clients.
  • Providing a Scottish estate administration service for a national company of will writers.
  • Instructed in a multimillion-pound estate administration, involving the winding-up of two Liferent Trusts.

Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie LLP

Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie LLP provides an integrated service to clients covering legal, tax and investments, while the firm's family business consultancy - Family Business Solutions - also enables it to cater to a broader range of client needs. The firm has continued to invest in its private client practice in recent years, with new additions bolstering the team, which has notable strength in Glasgow and Inverness. Private client head Ian Macdonald represents Scotland on the Council of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners - he is described as 'one of the go-to trust lawyers in Glasgow'. Susan Hoyle, a solicitor and chartered tax adviser, is also well-regarded.

Practice head(s):

Ian Macdonald


‘WJM has a unique blend of tax and legal experience that allows them to deal with clients in the best possible way; they have individuals with years of experience who can empathise with individuals and allow those individuals the time and space to tell them their story, this is where WJM are quite unique in their approach.’

‘They are good in all areas and have an excellent culture, led from the top down.’

‘They have an ability to listen; central to the core of what they do is their ability to allow an individual the time to articulate to them what is required. Susan Hoyle in particular has developed a skill for understanding what people need; you feel that she can be sitting on either side of the table, the way she deals with people.’

‘Ian Macdonald’s years of experience in dealing with trusts leads to him being one of the go-to trust lawyers in Glasgow.’

‘Ian Macdonald has years of experience and knowledge, is practical and gets on well with clients.’

Aberdein Considine

Aberdein Considine has ramped up its focus on private client work in recent years with a series of hires including James MacKinnon and Aileen Entwistle, who joined from Gillespie Macandrew LLP and Anderson Strathern  respectively. The firm is notable in that it has 18 offices across Scotland, making it more accessible for prospective clients. The team handles wills, trusts, executry estates, estate and succession planning, and also has expertise in complex inheritance tax matters and cross-border matters. MacKinnon heads the team in Edinburgh and the Lothians; Entwistle leads the Glasgow department, while the 'extremely knowledgeable' Ryan Fox is north east practice head.

Other key lawyers:

Anthony Quin


‘I used Aberdein Considine for executory work on my late father’s estate. Aberdein Considine have in-house expertise in an extensive range of disciplines that together enable them to provide a complete executory service. These disciplines include finance, personal tax, inheritance tax, conveyancing. Key to the team’s success was the establishment of a clear timeline of activities required to complete the executory process, identifying the risks to the timeline, and providing clear, comprehensive and timely updates.’

‘Fast, efficient and friendly service. All referred clients are treated in the same way regardless of income or wealth; made to feel important, with their needs and desires listened to and swiftly acted upon.’

‘Ryan Fox is extremely knowledgeable and helpful in the area of administration of estates and in complicated estate matters including where documents are not self proving.’

‘An excellent team – they are always very friendly and professional. Easy to deal with, reliable, strong communication skills – they deliver.’

‘The team is smaller than its competitors in the Edinburgh market, but James MacKinnon and his colleagues are still dedicated to providing excellent service and advice. It is James’ experience in the sector that is the key strength, as he offers ‘big firm’ advice and assistance, but without the cost of the big commercial firms.’

‘Ryan Fox ensured that he always made himself available when required to discuss and explain the complex financial and legal issues regarding the executory process. His communications were timely, comprehensive and written in layman’s terms. He was extremely knowledgeable, diligent and detailed in his communications. Ryan was sensitive to the difficult and emotional time I and the executors were going through. His level of service was exceptional and exceeded my expectations.’

‘James MacKinnon won our confidence immediately and continued to handle our affairs scrupulously. He also generously gave me time on the spot when I needed advice on another matter of concern and suggested a route to address it.’

‘Anthony Quin is always friendly, reliable and easy to work with no matter what my demands have been.’

‘James MacKinnon is efficient, has strong communication skills, first class knowledge and good relationship skills.’

‘James MacKinnon’s expertise in dealing with both complex farming estates and trusts gave us the confidence in recommending him to our clients, in addition to his experience with agricultural and business property relief. James’ thorough, practical and clear approach together with his expertise assisted us in bringing a complex matter to a close for our respective clients and I would recommend him to others with complex estates.’

Blackadders LLP

Blackadders LLP has recently expanded its offering with the 2019 acquisitions of Morisons' private client team in Glasgow and Aberdeen's Plenderleath Runcie. Managing partner Johnston Clark leads the private client team from Dundee; he is personally authorised by the FCA as chief executive of the firm's wealth management sister LLP. The team works with a range of individuals, families, trustees, executors, businesses and local authorities - with key clients including The Salvation Army, Glasgow City Council and The V&A of Dundee - advising on matters relating to wills, powers of attorney, trusts, tax and executries. Laura McDowall has a particular specialism in incapacity and mental disability law.

Practice head(s):

Johnston Clark


‘The firm is long established with an excellent reputation, offers a broad range of services and has a well connected international network and very good relations with other professional bodies in main operating bases.’

‘The team is very well led.’

‘Douglas Sneddon – nothing is too complex, nor too simple, for him to attend to in ensuring the lay person fully appreciates the relevant issues.’

‘Laura McDowall has been particularly impressive in navigating a way through what has been a very difficult process for me, in such a persistent way, that I feel has been cost-efficient and obtained a very good outcome for me.’

Key clients

South Lanarkshire Council

The Salvation Army

The Great Scottish Tapestry

The V&A of Dundee

Guildry Incorporation of Dundee

The City of Dundee Burgesses

Balnacraig School

Glasgow City Council

Dundee City Council

Walter Craig Charitable Trust and W S Philips’ Trust

BTO Solicitors LLP

BTO Solicitors LLP's team handles the full range of personal tax, trusts and executries work, covering tax planning, wills and estates, powers of attorney, asset and family protection and executry administration. The team is led by Ross Brown, who has strong experience of dealing with cross-border issues relating to estate administration. and Lynn Melville, who recently advised on the administration and distribution of the estate of a late client, which at £3.7m was the the largest valued intestate estate that the firm has dealt with to date.

Practice head(s):

Ross Brown; Lynn Melville


‘I found BTO to be attentive, highly efficient and very professional whilst maintaining a friendly and personal approach.’

‘Lynn Melville and Fraser Tait were extremely knowledgeable, efficient and professional whilst also being friendly and understanding at a difficult time.

‘Ross Brown and Karen Deans have been my two main contacts. Each in their own way have surpassed my expectations.’

Work highlights

  • Administration and distribution of an intestate estate with a gross value in excess of £3.7m.
  • Administration and distribution of a client’s estate situated in the UK, Switzerland, Mexico, US and Serbia valuing just under £2m, to include a non-domiciled spouse claiming legal rights and proposed complex Deed of Variation.
  • Assisting longstanding clients of the firm with interests in various business interests including landed estates and hydro schemes in connection with their Wills, Powers of Attorney and business succession planning.

Stronachs LLP

Stronachs LLP  prides itself on providing quality work at lower rates than its larger competitors. The team, which is led by Jaclyn Russell, advises on matters including estate planning, succession planning and complex executries, advising high-net-worth clients with business and farming interests, both in the UK and further afield. The firm, which is based in Aberdeen, has recently turned its attention to building up its client base in Inverness and the surrounding area. Senior associate Magnus Mackay specialises in succession planning.

Practice head(s):

Jaclyn Russell

Other key lawyers:

Magnus Mackay; Kirsten Anderson


‘The team have far exceeded my expectations in terms of their support in a legal rights issue relating to my father’s will. They were able to help me understand this complex area of law in a way that allowed me to make decisions effectively about how to progress. The team had a wide knowledge and clearly worked effectively together to support each other, both within the team and across the wider business. There is a real empathy and connection with the client (particularly, as in this case, when it was a very sensitive matter.’

‘Kirsten Anderson has been my key contact and has been exceptional in her service and support. She has an empathy for her clients that is often rare in lawyers, is extremely knowledgeable in her area of expertise and ultimately allowed me to reach a settlement in excess of my expectations.’

Work highlights

  • Undertook a business and succession planning exercise for a prominent local business owning family, whose total assets are worth in excess of £120m.
  • Advised a high-net-worth individual with global assets on an international inheritance, specifically on how the complex foreign will could be re-structured using a UK deed of variation to redirect the inheritance, averting a future multimillion-pound UK inheritance tax liability
  • Dealt with the administration of the estate of a member of a landed-estate owning family, whose total assets are worth over £20m. Ensured the smooth progress of the administrative process, while taking the opportunity to incorporate decisions regarding the distribution of the estate into the existing multi-generational succession plan.