Personal tax, trusts and probate: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx in South East

B P Collins LLP

B P Collins LLP‘s wills, trusts and probate team is highly regarded for its experience in capital tax planning, the use of trusts both inter-vivos and in wills, Court of Protection applications and complex administrations. The office is based in Gerrards Cross, a hub for high-net-worth individuals who require estate planning and administration advice. Lucy Wood heads the team and has expertise in handling complex assets and estates. Sharon Heselton is experienced in contentious estate work and inheritance tax issues while Dominic Ibbs advises trustees and beneficiaries.

Practice head(s):

Lucy Wood

Other key lawyers:

Dominic Ibbs; Sharon Heselton

Testimonials

‘Approachable, efficient and empathetic towards clients’ situations.’

‘We work with several different individuals and all make our lives easier. All are willing to help and are extremely efficient. I believe all at B P Collins are working for the right reasons which makes them incredibly easy to trust.’

‘Lucy Wood has been excellent in looking after our clients and ensuring their estate and trust planning needs are met. I find her approach to be very collaborative and she gets the job done for clients in an excellent way.’

‘The team know their stuff. They deliver their knowledge to clients in a way that non-legal people are able to understand. What we like most about the team is that they feel like colleagues working in partnership with us for the benefit of our clients.’

‘Knowledge, application of that knowledge and service is top quality. Feedback on what is happening and how matters are progressing keeps us connected to the client experience.’

‘All the team members I have met have been approachable and easy to talk to. Their costs are clear and reasonable. They are very knowledgeable with a good team covering most disciplines.’

‘Highly professional, but friendly at the same time, and prepared to help the client reach a practical commercial decision as well as explaining the legal situation. Always provide very timely and clear communications.’

Blaser Mills Law

The personal tax, trusts and probate team at Blaser Mills Law provides a full range of services from administration issues and high-value estate planning to Court of Protection applications. Jonathan Gallop heads the practice and offers private client services including will drafting, trusts, lasting powers of attorney, tax and estate planning. Minesh Thakrar deals with matters relating to preparation of wills, inheritance tax mitigation and probate while Karen Woodison is well-versed in estate planning. Sara Rendell is a reputable senior associate.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Gallop

Other key lawyers:

Minesh Thakrar; Karen Woodison; Sara Rendell

Testimonials

‘Sara Rendell is an excellent communicator and clear and precise in her reading of client requirements.’

‘Prompt and efficient in carrying out the business requested.’

‘I have found this firm to be very responsive and user friendly. They are strong in private client matters.’

‘I have mainly instructed Jonathan Gallop on private client matters – wills, probate and lasting powers of attorney. I have found him to be very responsive ad thoughtful in his approach.’

‘I have used Blaser Mills Law for over 20 years. It has always been essential for me to feel confident in my dealings with matters such as this and the team at Blaser Mills have always been professional yet friendly. Communication via the phone, email or personal visits have always been dealt with efficiently. Time has been given for discussion and reflection. I have in fact recommended the firm to others.’

‘The team offer a professional and pragmatic approach to their work.’

‘The individuals that I deal with offer a personal approach and are always responsive.’

Debenhams Ottaway

Debenhams Ottaway‘s personal tax, trusts and probate team is one of the largest in the South East with three primary areas of expertise in trusts, protecting and managing wealth and lifetime planning. The firm has an extensive client base consisting of young professionals, celebrities, entrepeneurs, business owners and wealthy families. Practice head Susan Glenholme specialises in all legal aspects private wealth management and is regularly appointed to act as executor, trustee and attorney for clients. Claire Sharp manages a number of trusts while Rachel Hyndman has developed key relationships with accountants, IFAs and banks.

Practice head(s):

Susan Glenholme

Other key lawyers:

Claire Sharp; Rachel Hyndman; Andrew Spearman; Barry Griffin

Testimonials

‘Regional business but with a London-style focus on clients. Good adoption of technology and I have found the entire team to be very responsive and helpful.’

‘Highly knowledgeable. Very thorough and open minded to clients changing of their minds. Very conscious of providing value for money especially by cross referring within the wider team to ensure clients get all their ducks in a row. Empathetic and good listeners.’

‘This is a very approachable team. Meetings often have the tone of discussions amongst trusted friends.’

‘Claire Sharp and Andrew Spearman both exhibit great knowledge, instilling great client confidence.’

‘A very efficient and well run team. Very responsive, client focused and professional’

‘Susan Glenholme has a great ability to put the client at ease, offer a friendly approach, knowledgeable and cares enough to go the extra mile.’

‘The private client team at Debenhams Ottaway is exceptional. I have known Susan Glenholme for 20 years; she has always provided fantastic service and advice to my clients and has built a great team around her, allowing the firm to grow and yet still maintain her high standards.’

‘As the head of the private client team and now managing partner, Susan Glenholme has built an exceptional team around her. In particular, I have been very impressed with Rachel Hyndman and Barry Griffin, who provide excellent service, high quality advice and value for money for my clients.’

IBB Law

IBB Law‘s personal tax, trusts and probate team offers a comprehensive legal service from setting up trusts to applications to the Court of Protection. The practice has expertise in advising vulnerable clients in relation to high value personal injury and clinical negligence claims. Jacqueline Almond heads the practice and specialises in high value and complex probate work with estates that often involve foreign assets. Joanna Mills handles lifetime tax planning while Russell Hallam‘s strengths are estate planning for owners and managers of small to medium-sized businesses.

Practice head(s):

Jacqueline Almond

Other key lawyers:

Joanna Mills; Russell Hallam

Testimonials

‘The work was done very efficiently and at a reasonable cost.’

‘Jacqueline Almond has guided me through a number of complex issues. At every step her thoughtful approach and constant feed back has offered me peace of mind and a quiet confidence that problems will be resolved. I have recommended IBB to a few people over the years who have been very pleased with the service.’

‘I would trust Jacqueline Almond with any private client issues that I have. She is professional but the personal touch means that you feel your issue will be worked on for the best outcome. She is honest and takes time to explain. I never feel that my questions are a nuisance or pointless . It seems important to Jacqueline that I understand the process.’

‘Great expert knowledge. Highly recommended.’

‘Very professional, communicate well and very personable.’

‘The team is proactive, efficient and approachable.’

‘Jacqueline Almond is the best possible lawyer.’

Sherrards Solicitors LLP

Sherrards Solicitors LLP operates from two offices in St Albans and London, working with a varied roster of domiciled and non-domiciled clients. The team has expertise in preparing wills, estate and tax planning often with a cross jurisdictional element including the re-sealing of foreign grants. In addition the practice carries out trust work encompassing the establishment of life-interest trust, offshore and charitable trusts. Practice head Nicole Marmor has extensive experience in cross-border issues for domiciled clients including advising on the preparation of wills.

Practice head(s):

Nicole Marmor

Testimonials

‘The team were extremely caring and sensitive’.

‘Donna Payne was helpful, patient and efficient, especially when working through the difficult circumstances surrounding working remotely. She dealt with the difficult aspects of my case very competently.’

‘They dealt with all matters very swiftly and we were kept up to date with the costs and progress.’

Shoosmiths LLP

The wealth protection team at Shoosmiths LLP has a well-established reputation for advising private clients in relation to complex and high value personal tax and probate matters. The firm has expertise in complex international estate administration, trusts and inheritance tax issues. Charlotte Dunn heads the practice and is a specialist in dealing with high net worth clients including establishment figures, those with landed estates and heritage assets, directors and business owners. Stephen Patch focuses on estate planning for business owners, entrepreneurs and other wealthy individuals such as professional footballers.

Practice head(s):

Charlotte Dunn

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Patch

Testimonials

‘Knowledge of complex areas of law and prompt service.’

‘Stephen Patch is approachable,  friendly and very knowledgeable.’

‘Stephen Patch is excellent. Helpful to clients and gives great client service. Practical and pragmatic with the clients best interests at heart.’

‘The team is accessible and approachable and gives that personal service that is often missing with other national companies.’

‘Stephen Patch has provided an excellent quick service when a will and power of attorney was required within a week. The case was not an easy one yet it was delivered on time. Stephen’s personal touch helped a great deal too.’

‘In my experience Shoosmiths LLP are excellent at communication and response times. There is a general assumption that a firm of solicitors can perform the task they are engaged to do, but Shoosmiths stand out for their response times and clarity of advice.’

‘Stephen Patch is responsive, clear, and most importantly can get on well with clients.’

Work highlights

  • Advised a client on a range of issues arising on the purchase of their yacht.
  • Advised a trustee in their personal capacity on a complex company and head lease structure designed to divert income away from the trust.
  • Advised a high-net-worth client with assets in Gibraltar, Italy and the UK in relation to putting in place wills, trusts as well as considering the issue of domicile.

Taylor Walton LLP

Taylor Walton LLP advises on all aspects of personal tax and probate including wills, estate planning, trusts and powers of attorney. Based in St Albans, the firm regularly advises business owners, landed families and high net worth individuals. Co-head Alex Drake frequently acts as an executor, trustee and attorney in addition to being appointed as a professional deputy. Co-head Alison Voyce has expertise in advising clients in relation to tax planning and succession concerns. Steve Hamilton deals with lasting powers of attorney and the creation and administration of trusts.

Practice head(s):

Alex Drake; Alison Voyce

Other key lawyers:

Steve Hamilton

Testimonials

‘They are very efficient,  friendly and supportive.’

‘The team communicated clearly and ensured that I had a positive experience.’

‘Alison Voyce was exceptional. Having worked with several major London/international firms in the past I would put Alison up there in the top three I have ever worked with. I cannot recommend her highly enough.’

‘We found the team to be very knowledgable, responsive and thorough. They provided very comprehensive advice covering broad subjects of inheritance and related matters, beyond just legal documents. Their use of template based questionnaires helped us prepare and consider a broad range of aspects prior to our meeting which helped reduce meeting times.’

‘Taylor Walton provide a high level of service, that which I would expect from a far larger firm, but maintain that level of personal touch akin to a provincial practice.’

‘Steven Hamilton was extremely helpful and responsive. He also offered extremely pragmatic and succinct advice which is so important in this field in my opinion.’

‘Taylor Walton have been my go-to M&A/commercial solicitors for over 25 years and they suggested I use their estate planning department. I was not disappointed.’

‘Steve Hamilton was patient, hardworking and diligent throughout the process but above all he understood the balance I wanted to achieve between looking after my chosen beneficiaries and the sustainability of the business that has given me so much. The trusts he has created mean I have one less thing to fret over!’

Work highlights

  • Advised as a professional executor in connection with the estates of a wealthy married couple who died in quick succession.
  • Advised a couple in connection with the administration of an estate which required significant sensitivity due to some of the adult children being left out of the will.
  • Provided estate and tax planning advice for Adrian and Beverley Clark who have a number of business and property interests.

Tees Law

Tees Law has a comprehensive personal tax, trusts and probate offering which deals with lifetime tax planning and wills, Court of Protection work and the administration of complex and high-value estates. The firm acts for several high-value charities and there is an international and agricultural dimension to much of the work carried out by the team. Co-heads Nicola Havers and Sarah Walker both joined the partnership in 2022 with combined experience in estate administration and inheritance tax planning. Sarah Walker also has expertise in advising on Anglo-French matters.

Practice head(s):

Nicola Havers; Sarah Walker

Testimonials

‘I use Tees because they have been our family solicitors for 80 years. I find them trustworthy and they know my business and family.’

‘Friendly and approachable, Nicola Havers in particular.’

‘Sarah Walker clearly had a mastery of her subject. She answered all my questions clearly and concisely. It was a pleasure to deal with her.’

‘The Tees private client team has helped my family over three generations. I would recommend Tees to every family in need of advice on trusts, tax, succession and estate planning.’

‘The obstacles we have faced as a family have been made much easier by having the extremely capable Tees private client team by our side, advising us along the way.’

‘Nicola Havers stands out because she has emotional intelligence and has an exceptional ability to deliver practical and understandable solutions to complex family situations. She has an empathetic nature and the combination of her excellent communication skills and legal knowledge made an anxious family member feel comfortable and reassured to take first steps to sort out their affairs. Nicola is very straightforward, responsible and easy to deal with. I trust Nicola to deliver difficult messages to family members.’

‘I found the advice given was clear and concise. All deadlines and other timing commitments were honored. Communication was excellent at all times.’

Work highlights

  • Advised a couple on a £27.5 million estate in addition to reviewing and updating their wills, lasting powers of attorney and a lifetime settlement.

EMW Law LLP

The private client team at EMW Law LLP provides legal services in personal tax, trusts and probate to high-net worth individuals, business owners and families. The team advises clients in relation to estate planning, tax, trusts, transfer of wealth and the administration of complex estates. Daniel Wilson heads the practice and specialises in special planning, wealth protection and Court of Protection work. Georgina Sinha focuses on high value properties and complex trust arrangements.

Practice head(s):

Daniel Walsh

Other key lawyers:

Georgina Sinha; Joanne Chapman; Oliver Kent

Testimonials

‘Diligence and attention to detail is off the charts. I have a complex probate case where other firms have been unable to grasp or tackle the complexities. They have enabled us to move forward and given me back my sanity.’

‘Georgia Sinha has been the primary person handling our case, and has been absolutely wonderful. A real saviour. Our case is contentious and she has understood that and managed to make very substantial progress despite the long-standing contentions..’

‘The EMW team have a depth of expertise across all aspects of personal tax, IHT, trusts and probate. They provide an efficient, supportive and sympathetic approach to deliver clear advice and direction while always working to budget.’

‘Joanne Chapman has great experience and expertise with will writing and helping to organise and prepare for probate applications. She is efficient, organised and extremely knowledgeable and has provided sound options and in-depth advice in complex matters relating to poorly drafted wills and issues with trusts’

‘Excellent service.’

‘Oliver Kent was brilliant.’

‘Oliver Kent has helped and explained every step of the process and made me feel very confident.’

Crane & Staples LLP

The private client department at Crane & Staples LLP deals with a broad range of work from complex estate administration, court of protection matters, technical tax issues and statutory wills. Practice head David Bird handles complex matters such as administration of high value estates, preparation of wills and cases involving tax issues. Samantha Webb is a specialist in inheritance tax issues and will preparation. Tahir Nisar is a competent associate with a varied case load including some cross-border issues. Georgina Donnellan is also a key member of the team.

Practice head(s):

David Bird

Other key lawyers:

Samantha Webb; Tahir Nisar; Georgina Donnellan

Testimonials

‘I was very pleased with the service from Georgina Donnellan in the preparation of my will, including suggestions which I had not considered. She was very efficient and personable.’

‘Helpful, efficient.’

‘Georgina Donnellan is understanding, friendly and efficient. Any questions answered immediately.’

‘They are truly excellent at what they do. At no point during any of our dealings with them did we have to chase for an update or wait for them to contact us. Any time we were told that something would happen, it did, usually ahead of schedule. There isn’t a single fault to be found with any part of the company that we worked with and we wouldn’t hesitate in using them again, or recommending them to everyone we know.’

‘Crane & Staples has a highly skilled team of individuals who are knowledgeable, dedicated, approachable and who liaise with their colleagues to ensure the optimum level of service is delivered. Although we are served will by local solicitors in the market town we live in, none of them have the skills and strength in depth we experience with Crane & Staples.’

‘Tahir Nisar was helpful, polite and accommodating at all times and in all respects. He was never to busy to explain and clarify anything we were unsure about. He made all the form filling associated with the process of probate as simple as possible. The process was remarkably stress free due to the helpful nature of Tahir and his team.’

‘We have used C&S for a number of legal needs over the past 10 years. They have always acted in a highly professional manner, seeking to fully understand our requirements before providing advice. Their follow-up has been proactive and we have always been fully satisfied with their delivery.’

‘We have worked several times with Samantha Webb, who we rate very highly. She is a warm and highly experienced individual, and always strives for the best outcome for her client.’

Work highlights

  • Acted in a complex and high-value probate dispute involving misappropriated funds valued at over £3.5 million.
  • Acted in an estate administration involving substantial assets abroad valued at over £7 million.
  • Assisted a business owner with their estate planning to mitigate tax liability on their £3 million estate.

Longmores Solicitors LLP

The main focus of the work undertaken by the private client team at Longmores Solicitors LLP is inheritance tax planning, preparation of wills and trusts and the administration of those estates. Richard Horwood leads the team, focusing on strategic planning for families and specialises in high-value administrations. Alastair Liddiard is recognised for his work on complex estates which often involve foreign assets and trusts.

Practice head(s):

Richard Horwood

Other key lawyers:

Alastair Liddiard

Testimonials

‘Richard Horwood and Alasdair Liddiard are all professional, diligent and it is clear they have their clients’ interests at heart.’

‘The working relationship with Longmores is an easy one as they are responsive, they keep an eye on the portfolios we manage but also provide feedback, making communication easy.’

‘Richard Horwood shows good commercial awareness as he is proactive in keeping us updated and demonstrates knowledge of what is happening in the market.’

‘Alastair Liddiard is very efficient and knowledgeable about the clients we manage on their behalf.’

‘Very approachable and can explain at the right level of complexity, whether for a vulnerable widow or knowledgeable business owner. Better than other firms at helping clients to make decisions.’

‘I am very comfortable with introducing Richard Horwood to any of my clients, as I know he will look after them well. Not only is he very knowledgeable, but he is also excellent at communicating with clients.’

‘A good friendly and professional team for which its always a pleasure to assist with their probate instruction.’

‘Richard Horwood and Alistair Liddiard are always accommodating, professional and a pleasure to work with.’

Key clients

Marjorie Maplethorpe Trust

Arthur Stevens Charitable Trust

The Tappenden Charity

The Walter Wallinger Trust

Robert Wallace Family Trust

Eddy Family Trust

Machins Solicitors LLP

The personal tax, trusts and probate team at Machins Solicitors LLP is experienced in advising high-net worth individuals on private client issues such as estate administration and inheritance tax planning.  These clients often include premiership footballers, music artists and high-profile MPs. Nic Pestell co-heads the team with Nicki Denton-Masih and has experience in tax planning and business succession planning in addition to wills and structures.

Practice head(s):

Nic Pestell; Nicki Denton-Masih

Testimonials

‘Always available, skilled supportive staff.’

‘Nic Pestell is the partner whom I trust. Responsive skilled and helpful.’

‘The best thing about Machins is that you get a personal service led by a competent partner expert in the field.’

‘They take personal interest in the case and give you a full rounded service.’

‘The team are all knowledgeable, professional and approachable.’

‘Nic Pestell is approachable and deals with difficult circumstances with care and sensitivity, he responds to clients professionally but with sympathy and understanding.’

‘They are very clear on their website, they are open and friendly. During the pandemic they made it easy to communicate through Zoom. They have a good payment system over the phone partial human and then automated generated for security.’

‘Strong leadership is evident, depth of knowledge, even amongst juniors is impressive. The team obviously and consistently puts the client’s needs at the centre of all discussions. Their client facing staff are very patient, caring and practical with their advice. The meetings feel more like chats than interviews. One feels, they are on your side, and fully prepared to listen to every detail, to ensure they truly understand their clients needs.’

Woodfines LLP

Woodfines LLP is a reputable personal tax, trusts and probate practice which provides estate planning to business owners and directors in the agriculture and rural industries. The team regularly advise on succession planning and the administration of complex estates, often acting on behalf of high-net worth individuals. Practice co-heads Mikhala Leak with Tim Addinell have experience in drafting wills, inheritance tax issues and lasting powers of attorney.

Practice head(s):

Mikhala Leak; Tim Addinell

Testimonials

‘Efficient and communicative service at all times. A diverse range of expertise available to clients via the collaboration of colleagues within Woodfines.’

‘We went to Woodfines for new wills and LPAs on the recommendation of a friend. We have found everyone at Woodfines friendly and helpful.’

‘The firm’s probate team seek to obtain the best and most appropriate outcome for their clients, both when working independently or collaboratively with their clients’ other advisers.’

‘Mikhala Leak has a wonderful group of legal professionals in her team ensuring that Woodfines’ will and probate clients always receive the best service possible. Their detailed knowledge of trust and estate tax matters means that they can approach their legal work with great tax efficiency.’