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

B P Collins LLP

The wills, trusts and probate team at B P Collins LLP has considerable experience in high-value matters pertaining to cross-border estate planning and administration issues, as well as capital tax planning expertise with a focus on trusts and complex wills. Based in Gerrards Cross, the team frequently collaborates with the firm’s dispute resolution department in response to its increased involvement in contentious matters, including disputes between trustees. Practice leader Lucy Wood works with high-net-worth clients, advising on complex assets and estates. Senior associate Sharon Heselton has experience in probate applications and intestacies, while senior associate Dominic Ibbs deals with trust creation and administration mandates.

Practice head(s):

Lucy Wood

Other key lawyers:

Sharon Heselton; Dominic Ibbs

Testimonials

‘The BP Collins private client team have always been responsive, personable and knowledgeable. They are my go-to firm for wills and trust and related planning.’

‘Lucy Wood and Sharon Heselton are a natural fit for clients who require a high level of service, close attention to detail and a personal touch.’ 

‘Forward thinking regional practice. Combines the talent and expertise typically associated with a large city centre firm but with a local presence.’ 

‘Accessibility, professional focused action and advice. Lucy Wood has been exceptional.’ 

‘I have been involved with several members of the team who have all been helpful and efficient.’ 

‘The uniqueness of the firm is that it manages a blend of both rural comfort and corporate professionalism.’

Blaser Mills Law

Blaser Mills Law’s wills, trusts, and probate team handles a range of matters, including high-value estate planning and administration mandates, the preparation of wills and Court of Protection applications. Operating out of offices in Amersham and High Wycombe, practice leader Jonathan Gallop has experience in handling complex estate planning and trust matters. Minesh Thakrar is highly recommended and deals with powers of attorney, wills and private client issues concerning the elderly. Karen Woodison advises on complex estate administration, probate and Court of Protection matters. Senior associate Sara Rendell is praised by clients as 'absolutely delightful and personable'.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Gallop

Other key lawyers:

Minesh Thakrar; Karen Woodison; Sara Rendell; Sarah Ripper

Testimonials

‘Blaser Mills are very responsive and efficient, even more so during lockdown. Jonathan Gallop is friendly and turns work round amazingly quickly. He is kind and caring. Jonathan anticipated my needs without always having to be told. This was important as some requirements were difficult for me to articulate. The process was managed during lockdown, via Zoom. My new will and supporting documents were turned around in a week. I was delighted by the response.’ 

‘Minesh Thakrar was very professional and extremely helpful, especially with my son’s estate. He did not leave a will and Minesh went the extra mile to complete all the transactions needed.’ 

‘Jonathan Gallop is an excellent person to work with. He has that special skill of making his clients feel important and valued. He was flexible on fees during what was a difficult time for me. I greatly appreciated that consideration, which has left me feeling warmly about the firm.’ 

‘Sara Rendell is absolutely delightful and personable, irrespective of the level of difficulty of the issue in hand.’

Debenhams Ottaway

Debenhams Ottaway’s ‘high-quality private client team in St Albans’ advises high-net-worth clients in Hertfordshire and London on a range of matters including inheritance tax and estate planning work, the preparation of wills, trusts and general lifetime planning issues. Practice leader Susan Glenholme specialises in private wealth management work, while Claire Sharp has particular expertise in trusts and tax planning issues. Rachel Hyndman handles Court of Protection work and lasting powers of attorney in relation to the elderly, and Andrew Spearman advises clients on setting up trusts. Nicholas Turner retired in 2020 and continues to assist the team on a consultancy basis.

Practice head(s):

Susan Glenholme

Other key lawyers:

Claire Sharp; Rachel Hyndman; Andrew Spearman; Nicholas Turner

Testimonials

‘Extremely knowledgeable, professional and efficient. The team are prepared to go the extra mile to assist their clients, many of whom will be experiencing significant stress.’

‘Susan Glenholme is a great listener. She is also, as the main partner of the firm, seamlessly able to bring in other professions when needed to give the true holistic outcome.’

‘The private client team is a diverse, knowledgeable, fresh and friendly group. The people within it, and the excellent leadership by Susan Glenholme, is what truly sets it apart. I can refer clients to them and I know that they will be listened to, will get the right advice for them and it will be done at a reasonable fee.’

‘Rachel Hyndman has an excellent personality and combines an easy to deal with manner, with total expertise and excellence.’

‘Andrew Spearman puts clients at ease and quickly builds trust.’

‘Not only are the private client team at Debenhams Ottaway very professional, but they also have a friendly and personal touch. Clients are in good hands and Debenhams Ottaway complement our own company’s ethos of delivering a highly personalised and comprehensive service.’

‘Claire Sharp has a wealth of experience, and is always happy to help. Claire is efficient, knows what needs to be done, and delivers her outstanding service in a calm, friendly manner.’

‘Susan Glenholme is friendly, caring and approachable, but is also extremely knowledgeable. She is very practical in her approach. She is very well respected in the local business community and has built this reputation from her hard work and commitment to her clients. She also manages the whole private client team and the practice extremely well.’

Key clients

Hubbard Will Trust

Work highlights

  • Advised Hubbard Will Trust on the scope and purpose of the trust, and the provisions in relation to surplus income.

IBB Law

IBB Law advises high-net-worth clients on both local and multi-jurisdictional matters including estate planning and administration work, and tax planning issues related to trusts and complex wills. Jacqueline Almond leads the wills, trusts and probate teams in Chesham and Uxbridge, and is known for her expertise in planning estates with foreign assets or domicile issues. Joanna Mills has experience in lifetime tax planning work and handles complex estate administrations, often involving business and farm assets. Russell Hallam is also noted for providing financial and estate planning advice.

Practice head(s):

Jacqueline Almond

Other key lawyers:

Joanna Mills; Russell Hallam

Testimonials

‘Exceptional personal service with approachable staff.’

‘My experience has been spread over 12 years with Joanna Mills at IBB Law. I have always had excellent, clear, detailed advice relating to all the issues that Joanna has handled for me over the years, and I value her advice highly.’

‘The team are approachable and efficient.’

‘Excellent partner interaction with client. Wide range of skills in house and appropriate connections outside.’

Sherrards Solicitors LLP

Based in St Albans, Sherrards Solicitors LLP is noted for its internationally focused private client work including will preparation, tax planning and complex probate work and estate planning issues. The team advises domiciled and non-domiciled clients across North America, Europe and Asia, and focuses on providing legal protection to vulnerable adults and children. Practice leader Nicole Marmor has considerable expertise in handling will preparations for non-domiciled clients and clients with multi-jurisdictional assets. Elizabeth Jones advises high-net-worth individuals and entrepreneurs on all aspects of inheritance tax mitigation; and senior solicitor Donna Payne handles private wealth matters involving economic control elements and the protection of vulnerable individuals.

Practice head(s):

Nicole Marmor

Other key lawyers:

Elizabeth Jones; Donna Payne

Testimonials

‘We have used the services of Sherrards now for a number of years, for wills and preparing trusts, always passing through Nicole Marmor, who we find most efficient, and who takes the time to explain all clearly.’

‘I would like to mention Donna Payne, in connection with the proceedings regarding the estate of my husband, for her kindness and attention to detail, her willingness to be always available, by phone or text, her sheer determination to bring this matter to a satisfactory conclusion, her very pragmatic advice gently given.’

‘Nicole Marmor explains all so we are not confused by legal documentation. We trust in her completely.’ 

‘The team is helpful and thoughtful, bringing up difficult points about wealth and how to deal with it when young.’

‘The individuals we work with are friendly and easily accessible, which added to their breadth of knowledge and experience. Gives confidence that they are providing the quality service you need.’ 

Shoosmiths LLP

Following the incorporation of the firm’s disputed wills and trust department into the remit of the wealth protection team, Shoosmiths LLP advises high-net-worth clients on a range of matters including international estate administrations, complex wills, trusts and inheritance tax issues. National head of wealth protection Charlotte Dunn provides planning advice to clients including establishment figures with landed estates and high-value chattels, directors and business owners; while Stephen Patch advises high-profile sports players, clubs and associations on private wealth matters. Sue Bowler joined from Coffin Mew LLP in August 2020.

Practice head(s):

Charlotte Dunn

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Patch; Sue Bowler

Testimonials

‘Charlotte Dunn has an exceptional track record of experience and knowledge in this sector. She goes the extra mile to understand client needs and requirements, and then provides individual solutions to these as appropriate. She has excellent attention to detail and is also not frightened to challenge clients’ thinking where appropriate.’

‘Helpful and professional. Client friendly, down to earth and take a straightforward approach. Work is carried out to a high standard.’ 

‘Stephen Patch is very friendly, approachable, diligent and down to earth. Excellent communication skills with clients and has a relaxed style which sets clients at ease.’ 

‘Charlotte Dunn is supported by a competent team with thorough knowledge and depth.’

‘My professional relationship with Shoosmiths in Milton Keynes and Northampton extends back almost 15 years now, and where other relationships have come and gone, Shoosmiths continue to deliver. They are very strong in most areas, but specifically private client.’

Key clients

Blue Cross

Cancer Research UK

Cats Protection

Dogs Trust

Guide Dogs for the Blind

Help for Heroes

Macmillan Cancer Support

National Trust

Parkinson’s UK

RSPB

RSPCA

The Donkey Sanctuary

WWF-UK

Work highlights

  • Resolved tax and valuation issues for a client in order to declare the estate to HMRC.
  • Advised a professional footballer and his partner on the preparation of wills.
  • Prepared a will for a high-net-worth client, taking into consideration the tax status of the potential beneficiaries and mitigation measures to avoid creating further charges in their respective estates.

Taylor Walton LLP

The private client team at Taylor Walton LLP advises business owners, landed families and farmers on a range of matters including probate issues, complex wills, trusts, the administration and planning of estates, and power of attorney issues. Based in St Albans, practice co-head Alex Drake has experience in inheritance tax planning work, the preparation of wills and estate planning matters. Fellow co-head Alison Voyce advises high-net-worth clients on issues relating to succession concerns and deals with complex trust and probate matters. Steven Hamilton undertakes a range of work including inheritance tax and succession planning mandates.

Practice head(s):

Alex Drake; Alison Voyce

Other key lawyers:

Steven Hamilton

Testimonials

‘The Taylor Walton private client team’s key strength is building long term relationships with families, understanding the need of and involving each generation. The practice is very responsive to provide legal advice and “joins the dots” to ensure the advice provided is holistic.’ 

‘Alison Voyce is extremely personable. This allows her to explain complex legal matters fully and easily. Her knowledge is vast, and various options have always been given. Her response to any query is fast, and her advice has always been well received.’

‘Steve Hamilton has been very responsive, proactive and keen to ensure a correct outcome. We were also impressed by the clarity and consistency of the fee charging. Steve exudes trust and we have been happy to place our full confidence in him.’

‘Alex Drake doesn’t make issues unnecessarily complicated and is accommodating.’ 

‘The foremost strength of the team is approachability. This allows for very easy conversations, and the opportunity to question anything that is not fully understood.’ 

‘Steve Hamilton has been most efficient, helpful and friendly. He responds promptly to any correspondence and provides detailed information about procedures.’ 

‘Alison Voyce is quick to respond to client or introducer enquiries. You can be confident in her advice and ability to interact with any client. She will take ownership of decision making and not be afraid to contradict a client’s thoughts when she feels she is giving the most appropriate advice.’

Work highlights

  • Advised a client in connection with family trusts and the impact on those arrangements following the death of the settlor.
  • Assisted with an estate involving varied assets and lifetime trusts set up by the deceased.
  • Advised a couple in connection with inheritance tax and succession planning issues, preparing complex wills and protection as well as tax-saving opportunities.

Crane & Staples LLP

Based in central Hertfordshire, Crane & Staples LLP provides advice to long-standing local clients on a spectrum of matters including complex tax issues, the preparation of wills and the administration of estates often involving overseas assets. Head of the wills and probate department David Bird has experience in administrating high-value estates and complex cases involving tax issues. Samantha Webb handles inheritance tax issues, will preparations and complex estate administration matters. Other key members of the team include senior associate Tahir Nisar and associate Georgina Donnellan.

Practice head(s):

David Bird

Other key lawyers:

Samantha Webb; Tahir Nisar; Georgina Donnellan

Testimonials

‘The perfect mix of personable, helpful and understanding solicitors who are also superbly accurate and efficient at what they do.’

‘Tahir Nisar understood our needs and guided us through the process with patience and understanding.’

‘Head of department David Bird has a remarkably sure touch, capable of ensuring the best results for his clients in a complex and difficult field.’

‘Georgina Donnellan was readily contactable and most helpful in ensuring that all requests were dealt with in time, either by herself or other colleagues, as necessary.’

‘Fantastic personal touch and trustworthy services.’

‘Samantha Webb was very knowledgeable and personable. We felt she was trustworthy and efficient in her job.’

‘Tahir Nisar was always available to respond promptly to questions and reassurances regarding the probate process. He met all expectations and delivered a first class, timely service.’

Work highlights

  • Acted in the administration of an estate valued at £6.7m, where the key assets included various limited companies.    
  • Acted in a matter regarding the gifting of a reversionary interest of a Trust, which resulted in Inheritance Tax savings of £60k.
  • Acted in the administration of a taxable estate valued at £1.7m with assets in the US.

HCR Hewitsons

HCR Hewitsons specialises in providing tax and trust advice to both local and international clients, including inheritance tax planning assistance and trust reorganisations, as well as capacity issues relating to lifetime gifts, wills, and the administration of complex estates. The private client team frequently collaborates with other teams in the firm to provide a comprehensive service. Practice leader Carolyn Bagley has 'a fine analytical brain ' and handles a range of private wealth matters including complex trusts and wills, inheritance tax planning issues and administrations of multi-jurisdictional estates.

Practice head(s):

Carolyn Bagley

Testimonials

‘The combination of great experience, proven technical knowledge and a focus on client service make HCR Hewitsons a stand out private client team.’

‘Carolyn Bagley is vastly experienced with huge technical knowledge. She has a fine analytical brain which enables her to find appropriate solutions. She has a knack of being able to explain complex issues in a way that clients find easy to understand.’ 

‘HCR Hewitsons’ wealth management team are all very knowledgeable and can be relied upon to give good advice.’ 

‘Carolyn Bagley is highly knowledgeable, meticulous, clear in her explanations of the law, and flexible when the situation calls for it.’ 

‘My experience with the wealth management team has been one of total confidence in their ability, advice and both internal communication and communication with me the client. All work has been carried out according to my expectations. The relationship is built on trust.’ 

‘I found Carolyn Bagley extremely thorough, willing and able to address all the issues I raised in a constructive fashion.’

‘HCR Hewitsons offers consistently good, prompt, and friendly service.’ 

Longmores Solicitors LLP

Based in Hertford, the private client team at Longmores Solicitors LLP focuses on strategic planning work for rural and farming families, advising on matters pertaining to the preparation of wills and trusts, inheritance tax planning issues and the administration of trusts and estates. Practice leader Richard Horwood specialises in high-value estate administrations and tax planning issues, and also undertakes Court of Protection work. Newly promoted partner Alastair Liddiard is noted for his work on complex estates, often involving foreign assets, and trusts.

Practice head(s):

Richard Horwood

Other key lawyers:

Alastair Liddiard

Testimonials

‘The team has consistently demonstrated the highest standards of professionalism and service, despite the difficulties posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. They are efficient and communicate quickly and effectively.’ 

‘Richard Horwood leads the private client team and provides personal, tailored advice in a form that is clear and concise. Clients benefit from Richard’s wide experience.’ 

‘The private client team works well together; they are knowledgeable, personable and provide a high level of service. This has been a difficult year due to lockdown and working from home but it is noticeable that Longmores’ communication and service levels have not reduced over the period.’

‘Friendly and very professional.’ 

‘Richard Horwood – no nonsense, plain speaking clarity to challenges that clients have that require solutions. Obviously a specialist who does not need to seek answers to everything from colleagues. Supported by Alastair Liddiard who clearly understands trusts.’

Machins Solicitors LLP

Machins Solicitors LLP advises high-profile clients including music artists, footballers, MPs and high-net-worth individuals on a range of private client matters, including estate administrations, inheritance tax planning issues and complex wills. Nic Pestell heads up the private client team in Luton, and handles trusts and tax planning matters, as well as wills and trust structures. As head of the team in Berkhamsted, newly promoted partner Nicki Denton-Masih deals with Court of Protection applications, complex wills and the administration of estates.

Practice head(s):

Nic Pestell; Nicki Denton-Masih

Testimonials

‘The team at Machins are approachable and although they are often dealing with potentially difficult situations, they respond to clients professionally but also sensitively and with understanding.’

‘Nic Pestell always communicates well, is approachable and delivers services efficiently.’

‘The team exude confidence in what they do and the advice they offer.’

‘Throughout the transaction, although having to work remotely, Nicki Denton-Masih managed to communicate with me exceptionally well both in writing, whether by post or email, and by telephone where some discussion was desirable.’

‘My family and myself have dealt with Machins for many years and have used many of their professional departments. The service you receive is professional but also very personal to your requirements.’

‘Friendly, efficient and supportive.’ 

Tees Law

The personal tax, trusts and probate team at Tees Law handles a spectrum of matters including lifetime tax planning issues and wills for high-net-worth individuals, high-value trusts and the administration of complex estates with an international element or agricultural dimension. Practice co-head and executive senior associate Nicola Havers specialises in complex trusts and property work, while fellow co-head and executive senior associate Sarah Walker advises on Anglo-French private client matters. Cathy Izzard has experience in wills and probates with an international element.

Practice head(s):

Nicola Havers; Sarah Walker

Other key lawyers:

Cathy Izzard

Testimonials

‘The main feature that makes Tees Law stand out is that they are a very cohesive team, who are prompt and responsive.’

‘I have found Nicola Havers to have a broad depth of knowledge in trusts, and is able to deliver sound practical advice. She is also very approachable, and understanding of wider family issues. This enables her to deliver advice after considering the needs of the whole family. Nicola is an outstanding lawyer, who’s opinions and integrity I value greatly.’ 

‘The team’s strength is continuity of lawyer and client relationship, which is important in private client work. Their ability to work along with my own business accountants and investment advisors is key to a successful working relationship.’  

‘They have helped me in a number of ways over the past few years and I have found them to be very professional and helpful.’ 

Work highlights

  • Advised a retired client, with assets located in multiple jurisdictions with an approximate value of £5m, on protecting inheritance and assets for future generations, as well as making charitable gifts and tax planning.
  • Advised a client on succession planning including wills and powers of attorney totalling £17m, where assets are held by way of a combination of partnerships, family trusts and personally.
  • Advised on the administration of the estate of a client, held in a discretionary will trust, with assets valued at approximately £4m.

Woodfines LLP

Based in Milton Keynes, Woodfines LLP handles complex estate planning matters, including the administration of estates, inheritance tax work and trusts. The team acts on behalf of high-net-worth clients and provides estate planning advice to business directors, including those in the agriculture and rural industries. Practice head Mikhala Leak handles the administration of estates, drafting wills and lasting powers of attorney, and advises on inheritance tax planning issues. Malgorzata Bronisz-Handley joined from Lanyon Bowdler in May 2020.

Practice head(s):

Mikhala Leak

Other key lawyers:

Malgorzata Bronisz-Handley; Tim Addinell

Testimonials

‘In particular, Mikhala Leak has given clear and unambiguous advice.’

‘Very thorough and friendly.’

‘Woodfines is a long established, primarily local firm, with a balanced hierarchy of experienced partners and new developing team members, keen to learn and increase their knowledge. Together they go out of their way to build and maintain a rapport. They can offer wisdom and expertise over a broad spectrum of situations, in a manner which can be easily comprehended.’