Personal tax, trusts and probate: Hampshire in South East

Blake Morgan LLP

Blake Morgan LLP's succession and tax practice is led by Simon Treherne, who specialises in advising entrepreneurial private clients on business ownership issues. The 'down-to-earth' team offers a broad range of wealth protection services including tax and trust planning,  drafting of wills and corporate advice on business structuring. The group collaborates with the firm's litigation and built environment teams in relation to contentious trusts and probate and landed estate matters. Senior associate Jonathon Sleep assists individuals with mitigating against inheritance tax and care fees, and also advises on safeguards against losing mental capacity.

Practice head(s):

Simon Treherne

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Sleep


I had every confidence in senior associate Jonathon Sleep‘.

Senior associate Jonathon Sleep was exceptionally supportive and gave me excellent advice to guide me through a somewhat complicated situation; I was pleasantly surprised by his genuine concern for me‘.

My advisers were very pleasant and extremely knowledgeable they quickly took my concerns on board‘.

Douglas Smith was particularly impressive and exhibited a very wide and detailed knowledge of his practice‘.

Darren Price is very personable and competent‘.

Knowledgeable, experienced and empathetic with client needs‘.

Laura Richard is an an emerging talent. Helen Bunker has lots of experience and knowledge of client needs‘.

Jonathan Sleep explained things very clearly and concisely and was the perfect calm adjudicator, working with me to create a solution. He proved to be an excellent listener – truly kind and sympathetic‘.

Work highlights

  • Acting for the executors in dealing with the administration of the estate.
  • Acting for the personal representative in administering the deceased’s estate under intestacy law.
  • Acting as the professional executors in the administration of an estate.
  • Instructed by client to give tax planning advice.
  • Administering the estate due to complications arising from foreign assets in the estate.

Coffin Mew LLP

Coffin Mew LLP has a varied private client practice, which covers matters such as tax planning, will drafting, trust administration and succession planning. Court of Protection work - where the firm acts for applicants and respondents - is another major specialism. It also fields a specialist inheritance and wills dispute team, which is experienced in challenging wills, making applications for financial provision from estates, the variation of trusts and complex capacity issues. Clients include business owners and directors, high net worth individuals and individuals from the agricultural/rural communities. Practice head Annabelle Vaughan is the name to note for complex property and affairs applications.

Practice head(s):

Annabelle Vaughan

Other key lawyers:

Spencer Gardner; Chris Gambs; Roz Wyeth

Work highlights

  • Representing Mrs C in a complex Inheritance Act 1975 case.
  • Acting on an Inheritance Act case involving a UK national with a long term Thai partner and their 11 year old daughter with dual citizenship.
  • Acted for the second wife of the deceased in an Inheritance Act case in which the client was only left a life interest trust by her wealthy husband.
  • Represented the family in a dispute about the legal and beneficial ownership of a debenture.
  • Instructed by trustees to challenge local authority funding arrangements.

Moore Blatch LLP

Moore Blatch LLP's diverse client roster includes SME business owners, high net worth individuals, trustees, attorneys and deputies. Its team has expertise in business property relief and care fees planning, and also advises on asset protection and complex tax planning matters. Team head Phillip Whitcomb is an expert in issues specific to clients in rural and farming communities. The firm also has a specialist sub-division which focuses on Court of Protection work; Fiona Heald is recommended in this space. Carla Brown departed for Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP.

Practice head(s):

Philip Whitcomb

Other key lawyers:

Alison Lloyd; Fiona Heald; Matthew Billingsley; Peter Stagg; Kate Marsh

Paris Smith LLP

Nick Turner leads the tax and estate planning department at Paris Smith LLP, which acts for elderly clients and disabled individuals, among others. The team includes Isabel Deverill, who has extensive expertise assisting high net worth individuals with lifetime and post-death tax and trust matters. The group also advises on other matters, such as the creation/ termination of trusts and wills, care issues and Court of Protection issues. Elizabeth Power is another key figure. With the firm having a rural property team, it is well-placed to provide bespoke tax and trusts advice to farmers and landed estates.

Practice head(s):

Nick Turner

Other key lawyers:

Isabel Deverill; Elizabeth Power

Work highlights

  • Acting as executors of a complex estate with valuable interests in family companies, partnership involving farming, commercial let property, golf course and hotel and obtaining business property in complex situations.
  • Acting as court appointed independent administrator of complex disputed estate.
  • Advising executors of a complex estate including a Home Loan Scheme and successfully arguing the effectiveness of the Home Loan Scheme.
  • Advising married couple on exceptionally complex domicile issues on moving to new domicile without resurrecting UK domicile.

Phillips Solicitors

The 'friendly and professional' wills and probate team at Phillips Solicitors has had a notable increase in work from high net worth individuals. Attracting both regional and national mandates, the practice is led by solicitor Caroline Wallis, who is experienced in preparing complex wills and assisting with inheritance tax planning. Another notable individual is solicitor Sian Lias, who is 'professional, compassionate and incredibly patient'. Solicitor Hannah Clark departed for Field Seymour Parkes LLP in January 2019.

Practice head(s):

Caroline Wallis

Other key lawyers:

Sian Lias; Claire-Marie Selwood


The lawyers work well as a unit, drawing upon each other’s experience and expertise‘.

Their technical knowledge is apparent throughout and they always put the client first‘.

Sian Lias makes discussions very easy; she is knowledgeable, straightforward and great at explaining things‘.

Caroline Wallis is enthusiastic and responsive; she simply gets things done‘.

Work highlights

  • Estate administration of a complex high net worth farming estate involving claim for both APR and BPR in respect of Inheritance Tax relief.
  • Estate and tax planning advice for high net worth individual owning land and business interests including establishment of Discretionary Trust and complex supporting Letter of Wishes appointing member of the firm as Trustee.
  • Assisting and advising in estate administration of an intestate estate with contentious element now having arisen and ensuring maintenance of estate throughout the period of litigation.
  • Estate administration where the firm were appointed as Executors and beneficiaries were resident overseas but we maintained relations and kept the beneficiaries updated throughout and received outstanding feedback.
  • Intestate estate administration including the drafting of Deed of Variation to bring equality throughout the family and assistance provided throughout in relation to Japanese Knotweed issue at property of deceased.

Thrings LLP

Flexible and adaptive to client needs‘, Thrings LLP‘s succession and tax practice is led by Rachel Brooks, whose practice is focused on passing assets down generations and wealth preservation. The firm as a whole specialises in agriculture; the team is thus highly experienced in handling issues involving landed estates, farms and agribusiness. Elsewhere, tax planning and succession planning are major areas of work. The group mainly works for entrepreneurs and business owners.

Practice head(s):

Rachel Brooks


Very experienced and good people to work with – clients love working with the Romsey team‘.

Rachel Brooks is highly experienced and pro-active. She is simply excellent with clients‘.

Everyone was most obliging and helpful‘.

The interest taken and time spent in advising us was highly impressive‘.

Work highlights

  • The team advised on the restructuring of ownership of a valuable house in a tax efficient manner to allow the property to continue to be used for many years without the need to sell.
  • The team advised on a complex landed estate with a business, and secured arguments with HMRC in saving over £1m of inheritance tax.
  • A high net-worth client was advised in relation to his wills and tax planning to facilitate the use of Business Property Relief.
  • The team advised an individual regarding provision for a spouse and children from a first marriage where there were trusts involved and looked at balancing various interests.
  • The team advised on a substantial probate with a linked trust and the use of the residential nil rate band when claiming reliefs on death.

Trethowans LLP

Mihiri Gajraj, who specialises in tax planning and trusts, heads up the private client practice at Trethowans LLP. Complex probate administrations, tax planning, succession planning and Court of Protection matters are areas of strength. Cross-border mandates are also handled by the team, particularly those involving Belgian, French or German legal issues. Senior associate Rupert Thompson joined from Stilwell & Harby in January 2019.

Practice head(s):

Mihiri Gajraj; Rupert Thompson


The team goes out of its way to meet clients’ needs and has the depth of experience and knowledge to do so‘.

The team is eficient and reliable‘.

I am always impressed by their professionalism and their commitment to their clients‘.

The firm has the specialist knowledge needed to provide high-quality advice to its clients‘.

Mihiri Gagraj has an answer for everything and really cares for her clients‘.

Mihiri Gagraj is very efficient and provides sensible, common-sense advice‘.

Mihiri Gagraj can handle even the most difficult clients and tight time frames‘.

Mihiri Gagraj combines a friendly attitude with incredibly efficiency and knowledge‘.

Work highlights

  • Assisted client with an estate planning matter with a cross-border element.
  • Advised the client on mutual wills.

Shoosmiths LLP

Shoosmiths LLP's Solent-based team forms part of a wider national wealth protection practice, which includes the Milton Keynes, Reading, Birmingham and Manchester offices. Senior associate Naomi Neville has a strong track record of acting for high net worth individuals and business owners. Neville's expertise includes estate and tax planning, wills, lifetime giving (including the use of suitable specialist trust structures) and the preparation of lasting powers of attorney (for personal and business matters).

Practice head(s):

Naomi Neville

Other key lawyers:

Christopher Bull


Shoosmiths offered us very sound advice in relation to wills and tax planning‘.

We were very impressed with how Naomi Neville handled wills; as well as being incredibly knowledgeable and professional, she is easy to talk to‘.

Key clients

Anna-Louise Naylor-Leyland

Ruth Mclean

Jeremy Johnson

Work highlights

  • Acted for client in an Inheritance Act claim brought against the estate of the son of Lady Wilton who was married to the 7th Earl of Wilton.
  • Acted on behalf of the wife of the deceased in bringing a claim against her late husband’s estate.
  • Assisted client in a complex dispute involving arguments in relation to secret trusts, the capacity to revoke a will and a claim under the Inheritance Act.