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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > South East > Private client > Personal tax, trusts and probate: Essex > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Personal tax, trusts and probate: Essex
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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The wills, trust and probate practice at Birkett Long LLP is based in Colchester and Chelmsford and ‘demonstrates a wholly professional yet highly personal approach to any work entrusted to the team’, making it always ‘attentive to the client’s needs’. Claire Read’s ‘positive "can-do" attitude’ assists her in her mitigation, trust creation and administration work, which sometimes contains international aspects. Bruce Ballard and Caroline Dowding in Colchester have a specialisation in the agricultural and farming sector, where they advise families on their wills, succession planning and tax mitigation. Liz Jones, who joined internally from the family department, undertakes long-term care planning, especially for elderly clients, and also liaises with local social service authorities, hospitals and charities in order to make retrospective claims against the NHS. Associate Ben Parmenter heads the team in Colchester and deals with high-value tax and estate planning as well as will execution.

The private client department at Birketts LLP in Chelmsford ‘is excellent across the board’ and ‘a pleasure to deal with’, creating a ‘balance of technical ability, practical advice and reasonable cost’. ‘Technically strong and personableTim Galloway focuses on cross-border and multi-jurisdictional planning work regarding wills, trusts, probate and foundations, typically resulting from citizenship, marriage or assets based abroad. Families in the agricultural sector, high-net-worth individuals and businesses are also on his client list. Solicitor Nicola Nottidge frequently assists Galloway in his matters. Associate Susan Young handles UK succession and tax planning work, including powers of attorney and deputyship, and is ‘very patient and clear on explaining legal aspects’. Additionally, she represents trust companies based nationally and abroad regarding trust management. Mike Rowland joined Seddons.

The practice at ‘long-established firmPalmersprovides solutions to fit individual needs’. Lee McClellan in Basildon, who ‘puts forward multifaceted solutions to clients’, and Tim Steele in South Woodham Ferrers are the key advisers in the respective offices. Consultant Chris Mowat is also recommended for his ‘ability to demystify legal matters in order for solutions to be readily understood’. The team undertakes a broad range of work, including wills, lasting powers of attorney, estate planning and administration, Court of Protection, inheritance tax as well as trust creation and administration. Steele also handles contentious probate and Inheritance Act claims, while solicitors Viju Chhagan (based in Thurrock) and Georgina Leighton advise clients on care fees and other services for elderly clients. Helen Jago recently handled issues of domicile, succession, valuation and grant of probate extensions in relation to two estates with property and wills in Spain and England. The new additions to the team during the second half of 2016 were solicitors Kate Middleton from Hattens Solicitors and Mediators in Thurrock and Siobain Moore from Blaser Mills and Marissa McKenzie in Basildon.

Clients describe Thompson Smith and Puxon’s private client department as ‘approachable, efficient, knowledgeable and empathetic’, ‘working well as a strong team’ and having ‘impressive dedication to the client’. Team lead Fiona Ashworth is ‘always knowledgeable and gets on well with clients’ and has a ‘good but strict work ethic’. Apart from wills and succession planning, powers of attorney, tax, trust and Court of Protection work, Ashworth specialises in supporting elderly and agricultural clients. Sarah White, who became an associate in 2016, ‘maintains good communication’ with clients and is ‘extremely resourceful and very committed’. Also recommended is the ‘professional, organised and sympathetic’ solicitor Aileen Hirst. Pragna Chhagan joined from Atkins Thomson in February 2016.

Wortley Byers LLP is an ‘extremely competent, professional and efficient firm’ that fosters ‘good liaison between departments’ and provides an ‘exceptional combination of people skills, ability and hard work’. The ‘supportive, knowledgeable and confident’ Nicola Healy works across the field, but has particular expertise in estate planning and administration (including wills and intestacy) and is ‘good with elderly and high-net-worth clients’. Also recommended are the ‘knowledgeable and personable’ trust and estate planning expert Poh Shan Chong and ‘capable’ head of private client Anne Ellis. The ‘patient and approachable’ John Southan, who specialises in private client matters involving property and also handles deputyship applications, was promoted to associate level in 2016.

Attwaters Jameson Hill Solicitors’s private client department has ‘a good strong team with a wealth of experience’. The team advises high-net-worth, elderly and mentally vulnerable clients on wills, trusts, powers of attorney and probate, as well as funding for care fees by local authorities. Additionally, Andrew Flannagan and Lesley-Ann Mayhew act in professional deputyships (often in connection with personal injury or clinical negligence claims). The ‘hugely knowledgeable, creative and unflappable’ Mayhew is ‘entirely winning in her professional approach’ and is also recommended for her Court of Protection expertise. Flannagan recently represented clients in their grant of letters of administration application regarding the payment of insurance money to the deceased’s partner in a situation where no will had been made. Associate Tony Brownlie advised clients on issues regarding the drafting as well as interpretation of wills and trusts.

Ellisons Solicitors’ private client department spans Colchester, Clacton on Sea, Frinton and Dovercourt. Managing partner Tim Logan undertakes both non-contentious and contentious wills, administration, probate, inheritance tax planning, trusts, assets, Court of Protection and lasting powers of attorney work, while Jeanette Hollington specialises in personal injury trusts and acting in the interest of vulnerable or handicapped clients. Associate solicitor Gina Westbrook is the key contact for the Clacton office, handling a similar range of matters to Logan and also providing legal assistance in this field to dementia patients. Most of the clients are high-net-worth individuals and their relatives or representatives.

Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP’s private client department is ‘very good and efficient’, advising on probate, wills and lasting power of attorney matters in the commercial and agricultural sectors. The team also provides access to attorneys outside of business hours, free home visits to elderly clients, virtual meeting facilities and walk-in clinics once a week. Colchester-based head of team Susanne Grimwade also takes care of high-net-worth estates, equity release, trusts, Court of Protection and later-years advice, while solicitors James Bird and Sarah Rankin provide further experience in conveyancing. The ‘very knowledgeable, helpful and compassionate’ associate Amy Burton in Chelmsford has a specialisation in advising on estates with foreign jurisdiction. Andrea Godfrey in Clacton was promoted to associate in 2016.

Giles Wilson LLP in Leigh on Sea and Rochford has a ‘thoroughly dependable and excellent local practice’ that is appreciated for its ‘customer care and solid performance’. In 2016, the team appointed Daniel Curnock from Harold G Walker as head of private client, who specialises in cross-border matters. The ‘knowledgeable, efficient and empathetic’ senior partner Melinda Giles is ‘prompt and clear in her advice’, handling Court of Protection work, high-value estates, tax and trust issues. She recently acted as executioner of a discretionary trust created from the will of a deceased company director which involved settlement negotiations, a grant of probate application and the Court of Protection. Helen Martin specialises in matters involving property, while assistant solicitor Pippa Bavington is experienced in tax issues with high-value estates and trusts. Court of Protection specialist Carol Etherington joined from Mullis & Peake LLP.

Jefferies Essex LLP’s private client department provides an ‘outstanding level of service’ in the drafting of wills, LPAs, management of trusts and Court of Protection applications, with a special focus on estate administration. In the latter field, the ‘approachable and knowledgeable’ FCILEx Gill Tobin undertakes professional executorship and provides a full administration service for personal executors, as well as representing clients in grant of probate and letters of administration applications. The client spectrum ranges from high-net-worth individuals with assets abroad and the life tenants and remaindermen of will trusts, to elderly clients who need help managing their financial affairs through the Court of Protection. Tobin is ‘committed to providing clear legal advice and service to clients’. Solicitor Kirsty Bone qualified in the past year and advises on LPAs, will drafting and grant of probate applications.

The private client department at Paul Robinson Solicitors LLP is based in Westcliff-on-Sea and Billericay. Caroline Cole specialises in drafting wills and managing trusts and estates as well as elderly client, Court of Protection matters and inheritance tax planning, while associate solicitor Lee Hibell also undertakes administration and lasting power of attorney cases. The team recently assisted a client with the preparation of their will and now acts as executors to the estate, acting on business property relief claims and the auctioning off of company assets (resulting from winding-up). The lawyers also handled an estate containing assets in the UK and abroad. Another highlight was a Court of Protection matter arising from a personal injury, involving deputyship applications.

Pinney Talfourd LLP’s private client team in Upminster, Brentwood and Hornchurch has a ‘good reputation’ for being ‘professional, friendly and helpful’ and providing ‘excellent value for money’. The lawyers have particular experience in the creation of different types of discretionary trusts for financial security and in relation to tax and care fee minimisation. Head of department Matthew Edwards advises on estate administration with cross-border elements, business and property relief claims, intestacies and missing beneficiaries, as well as the drafting of wills and other agreements with a focus on asset protection. Senior associates Claire Buttress and Kristian Croad also handle lasting power of attorney matters and deputyship applications, with Croad having a further specialisation in cases for elderly clients and trust management. Associate Jill French, who works on power of attorney management files and elderly client cases, is recommended for her ‘valuable local and professional knowledge, attention to detail, empathy and pragmatic approach’. Edwards recently advised a married couple on their mirror wills containing their matrimonial home, savings and trading company shares worth over £2m, resulting in the creation of a discretionary trust for the company shares without the application of inheritance tax, as well as a cross-option agreement containing life cover payments on all shareholders’ lives which would be paid out equally among them. Newly qualified solicitor Nicholas Conway joined the Brentwood office in September 2016.

The private client department at Tees Law advises on a range of matters, with a focus on estates and will drafting. Chelmsford-based head of team Ian Johnston, who was promoted to senior associate in 2016, advises on estate planning and administration involving pre-emptive rights. Assistant solicitor Oliverio Budino also advises on estate planning as well as structuring matters in the charitable sector, with clients including a charity for people suffering from sight impairments. Associate Heather Fuff is based in Saffron Waldon and previously represented a client during pension negotiations with the HMRC. Assistant solicitor Hayley Weston re-joined in May 2016, after working as a college law lecturer and school governor. She recently advised a client on intestacy provisions which threatened their inheritance since their partner had died without a will, and also handled a matter concerning French succession rules.

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