Firms To Watch: Personal tax, trusts and probate: Beds, Bucks, Herts, Middx

Osborne Morris & Morgan‘s niche practice primarily handles a variety of Court of Protection matters and personal injury trusts, with practitioners regularly acting as trustees and deputies. The team is jointly led by Sheenah Shah and Hazel Page in Leighton Buzzard.

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

B P Collins LLP

In Gerrards Cross, B P Collins LLP houses a ‘personal, caring and efficient‘ practice with a diverse offering, handling both contentious and non-contentious issues. The group regularly dispenses advice on capital tax planning work, with practitioners often appointed to act as professional executors and trustees. Lucy Wood heads up the practice with her vast experience in acting for high-net-worth individuals with inheritance tax planning, the administration of trusts, and lasting powers of attorney. ‘Experienced, responsive and cerebral‘ senior associate Dominic Ibbs is adept at advising on a broad range of issues, including Court of Protection applications and estate administrations, while associate Sharon Heselton has extensive expertise in advising on estates consisting of overseas assets and business shares.

Practice head(s):

Lucy Wood

Other key lawyers:

Dominic Ibbs; Sharon Heselton; Naadim Shamji


‘Working with BP Collins has always been easy. They are personal, caring, and efficient when dealing with clients at a distressing time.’

‘Sharon Heselton and Dominic Ibbs – their communication and efficiency makes the whole process run smoothly, during what can be a difficult time.’

‘Prompt attention to matters. They have a good probate and trust team .We work closely with Naadim Shamji. It goes without saying that the technical quality of the team is high.’

‘Dominic Ibbs is experienced, responsive and cerebral.’

‘Naadim Shamji is clear, comprehensive, understanding and empathetic to clients’ needs.’

Blaser Mills Law

The practice at Blaser Mills Law is ‘strong across the board‘ with expertise in acting for clients with disabilities in trust-related care home issues, and offshore trust matters. Practice head Jonathan Gallop works out of the Marlow office; praised by clients for his ‘calm, common sense‘ approach, he has ample expertise in advising clients on estate planning issues and lasting powers of attorney. In Amersham, Minesh Thakrar often assists with the drafting and preparation of wills, and the mitigation of inheritance tax, while senior associate Sara Rendell primarily advises on the administration of estates. High Wycombe’s Karen Woodison is particularly adept at handling Court of Protection issues and probate matters.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Gallop

Other key lawyers:

Emma Hurrell; Minesh Thakrar; Karen Woodison; Sara Rendell


‘I have had excellent service across a range of issues, including drafting wills, and probate. The team is strong across the board.’

‘Jonathan Gallop is very user friendly and responsive, with a calm, common sense approach.’

‘I find Blaser Mills very approachable.’

‘The wills and probate team offer an efficient and pragmatic approach.’

Debenhams Ottaway

Praised for its ‘attention to detail, empathy and client service‘, the team at Debenhams Ottaway provides a diverse offering, often advising on lifetime planning for the protection of vulnerable adults, the administration of trusts, and inheritance tax issues. The ‘magicalSusan Glenholme heads up St Albans-based practice with her deep knowledge of private wealth management, the drafting of lifetime trusts and registration of enduring powers of attorney. Claire Sharp maintains a trust-focused practice, regularly dispensing advice on life interest trusts and discretionary trusts, in addition to being appointed by clients as trustee or executor. The ‘excellentRachel Hyndman is particularly experienced in advising on Court of Protection issues concerning care for the elderly and deputyship issues.

Practice head(s):

Susan Glenholme

Other key lawyers:

Claire Sharp; Rachel Hyndman; Andrew Spearman; Barry Griffin


‘Generally knowledgeable, helpful, and get back to you in a reasonable time frame.’

‘Debenhams Ottaway looks after my high-net-worth clients. I have always been extremely impressed with the team, and have only ever received positive feedback from clients. I would say that their strongest points are attention to detail, empathy, and client service.’

‘Susan Glenholme is magical. Her calm manner settles your nerves even in the most complex of situations.’

‘Barry Griffin and Rachel Hyndman are both excellent.’

‘I have never worked with more caring and considerate lawyers. They go the extra mile to ensure you understand everything that is being discussed.’

Sherrards Solicitors LLP

The team at Sherrards Solicitors LLP provides ‘excellent advice and support‘ on a broad variety of matters, including obtaining and re-sealing foreign grants, and the establishment of disabled trusts. Nicole Marmor leads the St Albans-based group, often assisting non-domiciled clients with drafting wills and setting up discretionary, excluded property and bare trusts. ‘Very knowledgeable‘ associate Aisling Kelly has broad experience spanning lasting powers of attorney, the administration of estates, and obtaining probate.

Practice head(s):

Nicole Marmor

Other key lawyers:

Charles Burrell; Louise Stradling; Aisling Kelly


‘The team are knowledgeable, very supportive, attentive to our timescale, and give us both excellent advice and support throughout a difficult situation.’

‘They are fully interested and engaged in not only finding us the best outcome but also guiding through timings and process. We felt that we had someone on our side that was both batting for us as well as thinking ahead of the game to influence the future outcomes.’

‘Aisling Kelly is clearly very knowledgeable, and is able to answer all our questions with sound advice. Most importantly, Aisling has natural empathy and sensitivity when dealing with what can be a difficult subject for people to discuss. Would certainly use her again and recommend her to others.’

‘Aisling Kelly and her team were friendly and on the ball all throughout the process. Aisling is brilliant at explaining what would happen. Her empathy shone through and made this difficult and stressful process easier than originally expected. She stayed in touch throughout and everything was dealt with promptly.’

‘The team is knowledgeable, communicates in an understandable way, willing to look at matters from different angles.’

‘Charles Burrell stands out for his wide knowledge, and enthusiasm to search for options. Working with him feels like we are not only instructing a reliable firm, but that we have welcomed a great team member.’

‘Nicole Marmor is a very pleasant person to work with. She has a strong sense of knowing what is expected by her clients. At the same time, she is correct and understanding. Nicole knows how to deal with people, firmly, but at the same time she is unimposing.’

Taylor Walton LLP

The ‘fantastic‘ team of ‘highly skilled‘ practitioners at Taylor Walton LLP acts for a diverse client base of farmers and landowners, entrepreneurs and charities. Alex Drake heads up the practice from St Albans, while Steven Hamilton and Alison Voyce lead the team from Harpenden. Drake has long-standing expertise in assisting high-net-worth individuals, providing ‘invaluable‘ advice on inheritance tax and estate planning matters, in addition to grants of probate applications and estate administration. The ‘very skilful‘ Hamilton has broad expertise spanning lifetime tax planning, trust administration, and lasting powers of attorney; while Voyce utilises her ‘excellent knowledge of the law‘ to represent a number of public figures and farmers on succession planning and probate issues.

Practice head(s):

Alex Drake; Steve Hamilton; Alison Voyce

Other key lawyers:

Zoe Sivelle


‘They were fantastic from day one, they explained and guided me through legal matters in a patient and transparent way, all decisions were made with upmost care and thought. I have no hesitation in recommending them to anyone.’

‘Excellent manner with clients. Ability to explain complex issues in a clear and straightforward way. Friendly, approachable, flexible, knowledgeable.’

‘I cannot praise Steve Hamilton highly enough. His calm, reassuring manner is great, plus he can explain things clearly without being patronising. He also seems very kind and considerate, and has great empathy with one’s predicament. Needless to say he is very skilful, Steven is a credit to his profession! I’m very grateful for his help and regard him as my go-to solicitor!’

‘Steve Hamilton provides an excellent probate, trust and tax service. I would not hesitate to recommend Steve and Taylor Walton. Steve understands and deals with private clients on an empathetic and understanding basis, and provides clear and precise advice as required.’

‘Alex Drake’s expertise and advice are invaluable at what can be a difficult time.’

‘All individuals are highly skilled and in every experience I have had with different members of the team, I have found each to be highly proficient, understanding, and empathetic.’

‘For me the great strength of this practice is the personal relationship I have been able to develop with the professionals I have worked with. I feel that they know me and my needs well, while never straying from being wholly professional at all times. I have absolute confidence in their ability to handle all matters that I require their assistance on.’

‘Alison Voyce has always been very efficient and she has an excellent knowledge of the law. I have found all her advice to be excellent. I am very impressed with her knowledge of the law, her quick uptake of any situation and her ability to quickly determine the correct path to take.’

Work highlights

  • Advising a high-net-worth family on options for organising their personal affairs and inheritance tax mitigation, including setting up a family discretionary trust and related deed of appointment of a revocable life interest to hold shares in the family trading company shares with various family and charitable beneficiaries.
  • Advising on the administration of the estate of a wealthy individual, who died overseas during lockdown leaving assets in various jurisdictions, including establishing the domicile of the widow for IHT purposes prior to applying for the Grant of Probate, and also advising on the optimum treatment of various family trusts.
  • Advising on the high-value estate of a wealthy retired businessman and a number of lifetime trusts as well as advising the executors and family members in connection with their own estate planning.

Tees Law

Offering ‘fantastic personal service and attention to detail‘, the team at Tees Law assists high-net-worth individuals with lifetime tax planning and the administration of estates. Nicola Havers and the ‘exceptionalSarah Walker jointly lead the practice in Bishop’s Stortford. Havers primarily handles the creation and management of trusts, often acting as a trustee, while Walker focuses on inheritance tax and estate planning, with a strong focus on Anglo-French wills and estates involving assets located in France. Letitia Glaister leads the Royston group; she is praised by clients for her ‘pragmatic approach and can do attitude‘ and acts for numerous farming clients in succession matters.

Practice head(s):

Nicola Havers; Sarah Walker

Other key lawyers:

Lauren Glynne; Letitia Glaister; Helen Craughwell


‘Fantastic personal service and attention to detail. Their client focus is exceptional, as is their subject knowledge.’

‘Tees stands out for their service. Tees is the firm I feel I can trust to get things right.’

‘Sarah Walker is exceptional in helping us with wills in France and UK. She listens brilliantly, responds appropriately, and gave clear and simple principles to work to.’

‘Letitia Glaister stands out as very responsive and helpful. Her pragmatic approach and can do attitude are welcomed by clients.’

‘Lauren Glynne has been straightforward kind and considerate. Helen Craughwell is very efficient, helpful, and kind. Both have taken a great burden from us at a difficult time and been very supportive. We cannot recommend them enough.’

‘Tees Law gives you confidence that they will get the job done efficiently and well. Tees has a full range of legal and financial specialists to assist with your requirements and they are straightforward to deal with.’

Work highlights

  • Advising on two individuals wills, review, and re-draft their lasting powers of attorney, review a lifetime settlement which holds potential development land, arrange to update the appointment of trustees, and introduce an additional class of beneficiaries as potential beneficiaries of the settlement.
  • Advising trustees on the management of The Allan & Nesta Ferguson Charitable Trust (valued at £32m) with respect to both governance and the grant making process.

Crane & Staples LLP

The team at Crane & Staples LLP exhibits an ‘unsurpassed depth of knowledge‘ when acting in matters concerning gift applications, trust management, statutory wills and agricultural estates. The ‘tremendously knowledgeableDavid Bird heads up the Welwyn Garden City practice, with his longstanding expertise in the creation and administration of trusts and estates, in addition to the preparation of lasting powers of attorney. Samantha Webb is ‘willing to help in every way she can‘ when advising on declarations of trust and Court of Protection applications, while associate Georgina Christou has broad knowledge of inheritance tax planning and is ‘extremely efficient‘ when assisting with applications for deputyship orders. Tahir Nisar departed the practice to join Whiskers in April 2023.

Practice head(s):

David Bird

Other key lawyers:

Samantha Webb; Georgina Christou; Katie Smits


‘They are very attentive and have looked after my legal affairs with compassion, support and understanding. Their ability to communicate with clarity is excellent. Their staff are always courteous and always get back to me.’

‘All individuals stand out. They have their own areas of expertise, and are extremely patient wherever necessary. Samantha Webb is an absolute delight, and willing to help in every way she can.’

‘Samantha Webb is very professional with a friendly disposition. Someone you feel that you can trust. Samantha is very approachable and makes sure every eventuality was covered, discussed and agreed.’

‘I found David Bird to be excellent. David exhibits thoroughness, speed of response, and care, and has been tremendously knowledgeable and helpful in his explanations.’

‘Katie Smits is bright, knowledgeable, and very smart. She has a wonderful way with people and is a fabulous communicator which is so important when important issues are being discussed. I would strongly recommend Katie .’

‘Georgina Christou, I only have praise for her and her team. They have been extremely efficient and helpful while looking after me and my affairs, showing a great duty of care.’

‘Unsurpassed depth of knowledge. A real attention to detail and all round professional, dedicated approach that makes them a joy to work with. Very personable and easy to deal with.’

‘I have dealt with Crane & Staples for a number of years and I am confident potential clients will be provided with an experienced and professional service.’


IBB Law houses a broad team, which is praised by clients for handling the full spectrum of issues concerning the establishment of family investment companies, and claiming agricultural relief with ‘care and full understanding‘. In Chesham, practice head Jacqueline Almond has longstanding expertise in estate planning work, often advising clients on domicile issues, foreign assets, and provisions for vulnerable beneficiaries through personal injury trusts. Based in Uxbridge, the ‘attentive, knowledgeable and professionalRussell Hallam is often selected as a panel deputy by the Court of Protection to manage financial affairs for those who lack capacity, in addition to acting as an independent administrator.

Practice head(s):

Jacqueline Almond

Other key lawyers:

Joanna Mills; Russell Hallam; Michael Charalambous


‘My matters have always been handled with care and full understanding of what I need to achieve and the best way forward.’

‘Jacqueline Almond has always been kind and understanding. I feel that she is able to think clearly about my needs and takes the multiple issues and places them in order of urgency. She truly cares about the client’s worries and concerns, and is able to limit these with concise explanations.’

‘Russell Hallam and Michael Charalambous are timely, attentive, knowledgeable, and professional.’

‘Responsive and able to explain legal matters clearly to clients in a clear and friendly way.’

Longmores Solicitors LLP

Longmores Solicitors LLP’s ‘extremely professional and efficient’ team is based in Hertford, and assists clients with a broad range of issues, including Court of Protection applications and the administration of trusts and estates. The ‘very knowledgeable and helpfulRichard Horwood heads up the practice, and is particularly adept at assisting clients with reducing inheritance tax liabilities and handling the preparation of wills and succession issues for family businesses. Alastair Liddiard has extensive expertise in drafting trusts, handling powers of attorney, and winding up trusts.

Practice head(s):

Richard Horwood

Other key lawyers:

Alastair Liddiard


‘Richard Horwood is very competent, helpful and professional.’

‘Quick turnaround, friendly and helpful service. The team is knowledgeable, and thinks outside the box.’

‘Richard Horwood is very knowledgeable and helpful, he works very collaboratively and with the ultimate aims of the clients in mind.’

‘The private client team are very personable and helpful. Equally, they are extremely professional and efficient.’

‘Richard Horwood and his team are able to make very complex situations and scenarios manageable and easier to understand. They often have to deal with quite emotional and difficult subjects and scenarios, and always put the client at total ease.’

‘Richard Horwood is the only professional that I recommend consistently to my clients. The work he does and the knowledge he has is second to none in my personal opinion.’

Machins Solicitors LLP

The team at Machins Solicitors LLP provides ‘first-class‘ advice on a myriad of issues, including the administration and planning of high-net-worth estates. Nic Pestell and Nicki Denton-Masih jointly lead the practice from Luton and Berkhamsted respectively. Pestell has significant expertise in the mitigation of inheritance, and provides ‘highly efficient and excellent quality‘ advice on the structuring of wills and trusts, and business succession, while Denton-Masih often handles Court of Protection applications for the removal of trustees, and obtaining grants of probate.

Practice head(s):

Nic Pestell; Nicki Denton-Masih


‘Machins provide first-class service and explain the process to clients in a manner that they understand.’

‘Nicki Denton-Masih gives prompt, highly efficient, and excellent quality advice in every instance. This has been done in a professional and yet friendly manner which has made me feel valued. I would recommend her strongly.’

‘Broad spread of experience. They provide first-class service in a timely fashion.’

‘Very helpful in times of need. Provides confidence in advice. Good firm.’

‘Nic Pestell is the most knowledgeable and approachable lawyer I have met in this field.’

Woodfines LLP

In Bedford, Woodfines LLP houses a team with ‘outstanding‘ knowledge of wills and lasting powers of attorney. Praised by clients for having the ‘perfect balance of technical ability and personability‘, practice head Mikhala Leak has vast experience in assisting clients with applications to the Court of Protection, drafting trust deeds, and the administration of estates.

Practice head(s):

Mikhala Leak

Other key lawyers:

Tim Addinell; Helen Simpson


‘They have a great private client team that strive to provide the best possible service for their clients. Mikhala Leak is particularly recommended.’

‘They are thorough, ethical, and want things done the right way.’

‘The team’s knowledge is outstanding, they are open minded and take a refreshing approach. Mikhala Leak very much leads and encourages this culture.’

‘It’s hard to beat Woodfines. Every partner or solicitor I have met from the firm has exuded friendliness and approachability. They seem to have gathered a great team who are real humans, and I feel very confident in their abilities.’

‘Mikhala Leak is so approachable and warm hearted, and has the perfect balance of technical ability and personability. She is excellent at explaining complex legal arrangements to clients, and does it in a way that instils confidence and eases anxieties. I look forward to doing more work with her.’