Personal tax, trusts and probate: Kent, Surrey, Sussex in South East

Brachers

Brachers’ Maidstone private client team advises landed estates and wealthy families across the region on succession planning issues, including capital tax and will planning work, estate administrations, probate matters, and family trusts. The team works closely with other teams within the firm to provide high-net-worth clients with a seamless service. Team head Christopher Eriksson-Lee is ‘sensitive, discreet, warm, personable and efficient’, and has ‘excellent knowledge of inheritance and tax work’. Alexandra Gordon, who is the current president of Kent Law Society, is a chartered tax adviser and notary public, while Justine Sloover is a trust expert.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Eriksson-Lee

Other key lawyers:

Alexandra Gordon; Justine Sloover; Mary Rimmer; Sarah Mannooch

Testimonials

‘The team are knowledgeable and responsive and have access to other teams outside of their team to provide comprehensive advice where the job is diverse and requires different specialities and knowledge in order to bring jobs to a timely and beneficial conclusion.’

‘Speed and quality of written and spoken responses are valued. Ability to communicate in good plain English also valued as this is a rare attribute. Awareness of recent developments in Law gives clients confidence. Civility and general awareness of clients needs also welcome.’

‘Christopher Eriksson-Lee has a detailed knowledge of our affairs and we are happy to place our trust in him and to accept his advice on matters that are very important to us.’

‘It is the personal service and connection they get with their clients that really stands out. A firm that is outside of London, but can easily compare to many London firms in the services and standards they deliver.’

‘Sarah Mannooch stands out as a very knowledgeable and personable lawyer. Sarah will always put every effort in to find a solution that works for her clients. She has a great way with clients to assist them at what can be a tough time when it comes to probate cases. Her tax knowledge is very strong, and this allows her to assist clients structure their affairs efficiently, whilst always ensuring she understands the needs of the overall family to help with succession issues.’

‘Alexandra Gordon is the partner with whom I deal and for whom I have great respect for her knowledge and attitude to clients, speedy response, helpful civility and sharp wit.’

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP has a strong tax, trusts and succession team in Guildford, ‘with resources at all levels of experience’. Team head Sally Ashford has considerable experience in Court of Protection matters including deputyship and statutory will applications. Senior associate Richard Honey frequently acts for several generations of wealthy families, including dealing with their complex trust and tax issues, and Lauren Clarke is a specialist in the administration of cross-border estates, working closely with colleagues in the firm’s Swiss offices. Natalie Butler has extensive experience in the charity sector, including administering charitable trusts and advising charity trustees, and Will Dewey’s expertise in private wealth disputes allows him to identify potential disputes at an early stage.

Practice head(s):

Sally Ashford

Other key lawyers:

Richard Honey; Natalie Butler; Lauren Clarke; Will Dewey

Testimonials

‘The team were extremely knowledgeable and professional. They were very helpful in providing the information we needed to help in our decision making. They were approachable and always pleasant to deal with.’

‘What makes the team different is the balance of professionalism, warmth and reliability, which seems to be pitched at just the right level. Consequently, it is clear that the team really do care about their clients, and are able to deliver appropriate solutions.’

‘It is clear to me that Sally Ashford has carefully put together her private client team, and that she is an excellent leader who is respected and liked by them. It is also clear that she is a trusted adviser to her clients and genuinely cares about them. I have witnessed her skilfully overseeing complex situations with multiple stakeholders with varying degrees of financial experience and acumen.’

‘The vast experience of Sally Ashford gave us confidence in her advice which was open and frank. She appeared genuinely interested in our situation. We dealt with Will Dewey on a regular basis. He always delivered and was willing to help in any way he could which we really appreciated. He was extremely personable and a pleasure to work with.’

‘Natalie Butler seems to have the innate ability to be a consummate professional, whilst being pragmatic and empathetic. She explains situations and options clearly and sensibly, in a way that cuts out legalese and makes potentially difficult, and sensitive, issues seem far less overwhelming. Natalie worked with us rather than for us.’

‘Richard Honey has been very good during Covid, providing a high level of service and explaining complex matters to private clients in a measured and clear manner so that they are engaged in the process.’

Cripps

Cripps’ Tunbridge Wells private wealth team advises clients beyond core succession and tax planning issues, with expertise in trust and estate administration, accounting work, and philanthropic giving. The team also works closely with the contentious private wealth team on trust and estate disputes and professional negligence claims, including the niche area of financial services negligence. Team head Kate Arnold, who is known for her ‘friendly and relaxed approach and ready availability’, has extensive experience supporting clients who have an international element to their affairs, with a particular focus on UK/French succession planning. Senior associate Clare Savory is also an active team member.

Practice head(s):

Kate Arnold

Other key lawyers:

Paul Fairbairn; Jessica Jamieson; Stephen Horscroft; Clare Savory; Dominic Ribet

Testimonials

‘Well informed and knowledgeable about their practice area, responsive, unstuffy, positive in their approach and offer good value for money.’

‘We work with Kate Arnold whose friendly and relaxed approach and ready availability enhances the delivery of her undoubted expertise.’

‘Paul Fairbairn is an excellent private client lawyer. Not only is he technically excellent, he’s responsive and he has a genuine empathy for clients.’

‘Partners Jessica Jamieson and Dominic Ribet have provided particularly helpful advice and a high quality of service. Jessica is highly experienced and knowledgeable on tax, wills, estates and trusts. Quick to understand and assess issues and suggest ways to address them. Agreed steps are dealt with efficiently and promptly. Excellent rapport with all of them.’

‘Cripps has a broad range of in house expertise and depth of resource at all levels able to advise on and deal with my relatively complex personal affairs. High quality, personal service led by partners. I can call on the firm’s other private wealth services as required.’

Work highlights

  • Advising on the complex tax aspects of a disputed estate.
  • Advising an entrepreneurial family on complex succession and inheritance tax planning issues for business and property assets.
  • Advised on a £20m estate with assets across multiple jurisdictions, as well as further IHT planning taking into account the domicile and asset position of the surviving spouse, including offshore trusts.

DMH Stallard LLP

DMH Stallard LLP’s private client team is known for its ‘friendly approach and prompt attention and action’. The Brighton and Horsham teams, both headed up by the ‘extremely professional, helpful, informative and supportiveLorna Fairbairn, focus on trust services and estate planning work respectively. The Guildford team is led by Michael Derrick and specialises in estate administration. With the collaboration between the teams, the private client department is well-positioned to provide a full service to clients.

Practice head(s):

Lorna Fairbairn; Michael Derrick

Other key lawyers:

Bryan Dean; Kerry Young; Stuart Price; Marian Merritt

Testimonials

‘Accessible, well-resourced and probably more strength in depth than most of the Surrey/Sussex competition. Willing to think “tax”, which many firms just are not.’

‘The practice has been prompt and attentive to our needs throughout. They have proactively advised and guided us through the technical aspects of probate but have always been respectful and sensitive to the emotional side of the process.’

‘Always prompt in answering queries and initiating and following up action with the appropriate authorities. There is a range of partners so between them they can provide specialist knowledge in a wide range of legal areas.’

‘All the work that has been carried out for me, both personally and for the clients which I have introduced, has been handled in a first class and professional manner. In over 30 years there have been no problems, issues or negative comments.’

‘Lorna Fairbairn – extremely professional, helpful, informative and supportive.’

‘Kerry Young (Associate) is always available when I want her and is very good at replying to phone and email messages.’

‘Bryan Dean’s level of understanding, support and ability to make sure that the work is done correctly and on time is excellent. When needed he has involved colleagues but makes sure that the work is still transacted to his standards.’

‘Marian Merrit was very helpful, patient and good at explaining complicated legal documents to me and guiding me through the completion process. She was also very helpful and patient in explaining the same documents to my 91-year-old mother. I particularly valued her calmness, kindness and professionalism in the situation.’

Irwin Mitchell

Irwin Mitchell’s tax, trusts and estates team has extensive experience advising high-net-worth clients on their estate and tax planning issues, trusts, wills, business/rural/agricultural asset arrangements and succession matters. Caroline Shelton heads up the Gatwick office and is praised for being ‘professional, committed to client care and personable and pleasant to deal with’. Paula James leads the Chichester office, which focuses on tax, trust compliance and accounting mandates, and senior associate Rose Macfarlane handles estate planning work. The firm’s two trust companies as well as non-legal regulated services in-house such as Irwin Mitchell Wealth Management Limited further strengthen the team’s experience.

Practice head(s):

Caroline Shelton; Paula James

Other key lawyers:

Naomi Neville; Rose Macfarlane; Lucy Samy

Testimonials

‘They are able to articulate legal jargon in an easy to understand manner for the lay person. Their service is of high quality and their people are top class’

‘Caroline Shelton is technically proficient and goes out of her way to provide the best customer service. Her team give her good support.’

‘Caroline Shelton has been a consistent and valuable adviser and she goes out of her way to help my entire family. She also enables introduction to other experts and this is helpful in the continuity and connectivity.’

‘Friendliness and the ability to relate with my needs. Caroline Shelton is particularly good in this respect.’

‘Rose Macfarlane is an absolute professional, she is fast, knowledgable and an absolutely capable and kind human being. She combines extreme professional insight with kindness and efficiency. She has helped my family navigate heartbreaking negotiations with supreme skill and warmth. I fully trust her advice. She goes above and beyond at all times and I cannot recommend her more highly.’

‘Rose Macfarlane is a first class adviser on estate planning, wills and trusts and has advised me and my family for well over 10 years. She has a deep well of experience to draw on.’

‘Naomi Neville has great empathy with her clients and has the ability to simplify complex matters in a clear and concise manner. Highly accomplished and very personable and knowledgeable manner.’

‘I have a great relationship with Lucy Samy. I have no hesitation referring clients to Lucy. Lucy is very personable and explains things in a simple-to-understand manner for clients. Lucy is also great at bringing in specialists across Irwin Mitchell to address client needs and to ensure clients can benefit from cross-functional expertise where necessary.’

Work highlights

  • Advised national lottery winners on estate planning including wills, lasting powers of attorney, gifting, and trusts following a win.
  • Advised professional and lay family trustees of complex and interwoven family trusts on the momentous termination of the trusts by sale and appointment of the co-owned commercial assets of the trusts, involving complex tax and legal advice and including the preparation of more than 30 separate and multifaceted deeds of appointment.
  • Advised business owners in the lead up to the sale of their successful business on the options available to them to ensure protection of proceeds the sale for the longterm benefit of their family, including advice on business property relief and the use of multiple trusts to reasonably limit the family’s tax exposure over time.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP’s Guildford-based private client practice is known for its ‘very broad capabilities and diverse knowledge across the team’. Group head Lucy Edwards advises on a broad range of private wealth, tax and trust matters, with extensive experience in estate and succession planning matters, acting for UK and international families. She also has particular expertise in the use of Family Investment Companies as an alternative to trusts. Hannah Gearey has expertise in complex probate issues, substantial philanthropy matters, and vulnerable beneficiaries and those in receipt of personal injury awards.

Practice head(s):

Lucy Edwards

Other key lawyers:

Hannah Gearey; Cecilia Ward

Testimonials

‘In brief – they ALWAYS perform outstandingly! I have never had to chase them, they are unique amongst all the solicitors I’ve employed in my 40-year-old business career!’

‘The best private client team outside the London practices. Really strong practitioners at all levels. It is not surprising that they attract the quality of clients and the quality of work they do – nothing is beyond them.’

‘The Private Client team based in Guildford is of exceptional quality, depth of expertise and availability. To us, it is the standout private client team in Guildford and surrounding areas.’

‘Penningtons Manches Cooper is a massive company with the depth of knowledge and experience that this brings, but the people who work there still provide a personal touch.’

‘A very experienced team, very knowledgeable in areas of Inheritance Tax and Probate. They operated within a structured methodology and took a detailed and logical approach to the task, which was exactly what was needed.’

‘Lucy Edwards has been exceptional with clients – delivering an excellent service, on a variety of different legal matters, within tight timeframes and always within budget.’

‘Very broad capabilities and diverse knowledge across the team. Very friendly and approachable and good communication skills.’

‘I have always found Cecilia Ward to be technically strong and able to advise on all relevant matters in her field. She has very strong people skills and communicates well. The ability to relate to people and inspire confidence is a reason I have returned back to Cecilia and also referred others to her.’

Stevens & Bolton LLP

Stevens & Bolton LLP’s private client team at Guildford continues to grow in all its core practice areas, and closely collaborates with the firm’s private wealth disputes team and in-house trust company. In addition to leading the team, Daryl Fox also heads up the probate and estate administration group, and Nick Acomb has notable experience advising on tax and trust-related matters. With a background in corporate tax and funds tax work, Rosie Todd is well-suited to advise on matters combining private client and corporate structuring issues. James Hardaker has a particular focus on trusts, advising both UK and non-UK resident settlors, beneficiaries and trustees.

Practice head(s):

Daryl Fox

Other key lawyers:

Nick Acomb; Rosie Todd; James Hardaker

Testimonials

‘Incredibly competent both on UK domestic and cross border issues. More cost effective than central London so provides a good alternative for clients who do not need central London lawyers but need the same level of expertise and gravitas.’

‘The team is very knowledgeable, technical and produces advice of high quality, very detailed and accurate. I have worked with them for several years and they really have a tailor made approach to find out the best solution for their clients. The value for the work that they deliver is exceptional.’

‘Daryl Fox has advised us over many years, is always proactive and alerts us to IHT and will issues before they arise. She is quick to respond to queries and has worked very well with our US lawyers on many issues. Friendliness and being a good listener make her special.’

‘Rosie Todd has extensive experience with all kind of private client matters, which makes her perspective and insight very relevant.’

Thomson Snell & Passmore

Thomson Snell & Passmore’s tax planning, probate and trust management team has long-standing relationships with high-profile individuals, farm owners, landed estates, and leading business figures, with particular expertise in the agriculture, later life and charity sectors. Team head Nicola Plant advises on all aspects of estate planning, asset protection and associated inheritance tax work, and capital gains tax planning issues. Helen Stewart has notable experience in estate administration matters, and senior associate Esther Lee is STEP qualified.

Practice head(s):

Nicola Plant

Other key lawyers:

Helen Stewart; Esther Lee

Testimonials

‘Very responsive and pragmatic advice for private client matters including wills and future planning.’

‘Technically strong, responsive, friendly and approachable, personable.’

‘Personality, way with clients and the ability to convince others to change their positions to provide a practical solution to issues.’

‘They seem to have a wide range of experience and capability and they get work completed in a timely manner compared with other legal firms.’

‘Nicola Plant – clearly very experienced. Nicola gave us excellent advice, with her experience not only of the law, but of how families organise their financial affairs shining through. Advice delivered for a reasonable cost, and budget was complied with.’

‘Esther Lee is a very impressive private client lawyer, balancing a high level of technical ability on estate planning and probate with empathy, efficiency and professionalism. I send her work often, safe in the knowledge she will do an excellent job. In terms of experience, Esther builds on what she has learned and just gets better and better every time.’

Adams & Remers

Adams & Remers’ Lewes-based private client team, led by Bibi Fortin Lees, provides personal and bespoke advice on estate and tax planning issues, wills, probate, trust matters, powers of attorney and elderly client issues, and personal tax compliance work; the team also has a strong reputation for handling complex probate matters. Working closely with tax managers, trust specialists and an ACIB chartered banker, the team provides clients with holistic advice. The team also offers ‘Family office’ services for several notable families, many of which have been clients of the firm for decades and generations.

Practice head(s):

Bibi Fortin Lees

Other key lawyers:

Francis Nation-Dixon; Amanda Epstein

Testimonials

‘Local firm with an understanding of local issues and very knowledgeable.’

‘A world-beating service offered by a regional firm, yet retaining the perfect personal touch. Extremely high quality, technically delivered with a sensitivity and understanding that is unrivalled.’

‘Bibi Fortin-Lees would be one of the best practitioners in London, had she stayed in the capital. Her clients can, instead, find excellence on their doorstep.’

‘Francis Nation-Dixon and Amanda Epstein provide an absolute wealth of experience and expertise as consultants, complementing the strong team of young associates and managers.’

Coole Bevis LLP

Coole Bevis LLP is a full-service law firm with offices in Brighton, Horsham, Hove and Worthing. Jenny Murphy, who is head of the private client practice, is praised for her ‘perseverance, strength, patience and knowledge’; she specialises in Court of Protection matters, lasting powers of attorney, and managing the affairs of elderly clients. Alex Bowers specialises in estate administration work, complex will drafting, and trust creation and administration issues, and associate Amanda Owen is STEP qualified.

Practice head(s):

Jenny Murphy

Other key lawyers:

Alex Bowers; Emily Wardrope; Amanda Owen; Claire Carberry

Testimonials

‘We work regularly with their private client team and have done for many years. They are efficient and highly responsive and provide an excellent level of customer service.’

‘Jenny Murphy showed great empathy and went above and beyond when assisting with my father’s estate. She ensured that probate was granted so we were able to complete the sale on his property in a timely manner exhibiting perseverance, strength, patience and knowledge.’

‘Claire Carberry was extremely understanding and helpful when it came to helping me revise my will. She was thorough and professional. And very prompt with her responses to my queries and situation.’

‘I find them fast and reliable, easy to make appointments at short notice and happy to accept correspondence dropped into the office anytime.’

‘I found Amanda Owen extremely competent at all times. I was very impressed with the quickness in response to emails and telephone calls. Amanda acted always with great confidence and I would not hesitate to ask her to represent me again if needed.’

‘Emily Wardrope has been excellent to date. Whilst having to deal with a cross border probate matter which is complicated enough she has also had to grapple with insolvency issues that she has taken easily in her stride.’

Furley Page Solicitors

Furley Page Solicitors’s Canterbury private trusts and estates team has extensive experience providing estate planning and succession advice to high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth individuals, with niche expertise in French wills, property matters and succession issues; the firm also has a vulnerable client team, which provides Court of Protection expertise. The practice works closely with the real estate group on sales of large country estate and houses, and also assists charities. Team leader Aaron Spencer regularly advises on lottery wins.

Practice head(s):

Aaron Spencer

Other key lawyers:

Joshua Williams; Melanie Christodoulou

Testimonials

‘Aaron Spencer provided me and my family with a wealth of high level expertise, whilst other members of his Private Client Team were able to cater to the range of tax issues which arose. His personal approach was greatly appreciated.’

‘Aaron Spencer has been professional, efficient & approachable from the very start. We have been dealing with a complex family issue, which he has handled with sensitivity & legal skill. In a word, we trust him implicitly to give us the best possible advice & counsel.’

‘The crucial difference between Furley Page and other firms is their client rapport. Phone calls are followed through and emails answered promptly.’

‘Taking personal interest in the client’s needs is what I would deem to be the big plus.’

‘It was especially appreciated that the advice provided was delivered with empathy and understanding. Correspondence was dealt with promptly and the team provided clear information in connection with a multitude of tax planning areas.’

Judge & Priestley LLP

Judge & Priestley LLP’s private client team in Bromley is co-headed by David Chandra and Brian Tan, and has expertise in private wealth issues, philanthropy, cross-border estates, the succession of digital assets and the EU Succession Regulation. Chandra advises on all aspects of private client work, with particular emphasis on probates, wills, powers of attorney, inheritance tax planning issues, trusts, Court of Protection matters, and elderly client services. Tan specialises in succession planning matters and the administration of deceased persons’ estates, with a particular focus on complex, high-value estates and all aspects of inheritance tax.

Practice head(s):

David Chandra; Brian Tan

Testimonials

‘The team brings a level of knowledge and technical expertise that I have not experienced with other firms.’

‘This firm is a well-established practice and I regularly recommend them to clients who require advice on complex tax and trust matters, as well as estates with international elements.’

‘I deal regularly with David Chandra who is a strategic problem solver. He is personable and approachable.’

‘High level of seamless collaboration across the team with relevant specialists.’

‘I think the leadership is an important factor in making the team so successful. I like the fact they keep their word and are easily contactable.’

‘Brian Tan has been reassuring and sympathetic in dealing with my father’s estate which included a trust. He has been most supportive and his knowledge has meant there have been no problems or delays on his part to bring this to a conclusion. The team has given a very good service, which in my opinion shows Brian is a good leader and manager. I would have no hesitation in recommending him to friends.’

‘I do feel that this diverse and cohesive team has real strength in breadth and depth, comprising a number of very talented lawyers led by top partners in the industry.’

Moore Barlow

Moore Barlow’s private wealth team in Guildford is known for being ‘very professional, friendly and approachable’. Tim Adams heads up the private wealth team, which is spread over over six offices, and specialises in succession planning for high-net-worth individuals and their families in the South East. In addition to notable experience in high-net-worth succession planning, Alexandra Milton works very closely with the firm’s major trauma team, advising on personal injury trusts.

Practice head(s):

Tim Adams

Other key lawyers:

Alexandra Milton; Daniel Milano

Testimonials

‘The team are very professional, friendly and approachable.’

‘Tim Adams is approachable and provides high levels of client service.’

‘Very sound, able and sympathetic lawyers.’

‘City service at regional rates. Helpful, friendly and willing to go that extra mile to help when needed.’

Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP

Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP specialises in advising high-net-worth individuals and families on specialist trusts, tax issues and succession planning. Team head Bruce Clarke works extensively with many wealth management businesses and accountants, and Max Wright, who is based in the Brighton and Hove office, is a full member of STEP. Ian Best, in the Uckfield office, leads the probate team, and Alistair Rustemeyer qualified as a full member of ACTAPS in 2021. The team also has two dedicated later life executives.

Practice head(s):

Bruce Clarke

Other key lawyers:

Max Wright; Ian Best; Alistair Rustemeyer

Testimonials

‘Very trustworthy, knowledgeable and empathetic.’

‘Calm friendly people. Billing clearly declared before any work carried out. Ease of use of technology, business conducted equally well online or face to face. Strong collaboration between overlapping departments. Charming.’

‘Great breadth of knowledge and experience, akin to many London practices without the same level of fees.’

‘Bruce Clarke, whilst delivering technical legal advice, has a very practical approach to the client circumstances to ensure that advice can be easily implemented and the client can move forward.’

‘Ian Best – Stand out partner. Calm, caring, friendly, very professional and thoroughly knowledgeable.’

Thackray Williams LLP

The private client team at Thackray Williams LLP has recently taken on many new instructions from high-net-worth individuals, and has a solid reputation for advising those who work within the entertainment industry, as well as specialist expertise in dealing with royalties-based challenges, across the literary and music industries. The team is jointly led by Elliot Lewis and Anthony Macey, based in Bromley and London respectively, and includes recently promoted partner Zahra Kanani, who has a notable reputation in providing advice on the issue of Sharia law and its interaction with UK inheritance tax.

Practice head(s):

Anthony Macey; Elliot Lewis

Other key lawyers:

Zahra Kanani

Testimonials

‘Thackray Williams are a dynamic, ambitious and growing company. They are very diverse and the people that work there are all incredibly knowledgeable and approachable. Every client I have referred to them has been happy with the service and attention they have been provided. They always put the client first and are looking at ways to improve their offering.’

‘Anthony Macey and Elliot Lewis are incredibly knowledgeable and brilliant with clients.’

‘We have valued the attention to detail and myriad of ideas coming from the particular individuals with whom we had contact. Where there has been any need for extra clarity this has been provided until all parties are clear which is very helpful.’

‘Anthony Macey is always quick to come back to me on emails and my clients have always liked his straightforward advice. I have always found him pro-active and a pleasure to work with. Clients are confident in Anthony’s advice and would always love to work with him again. Since he is STEP qualified as well as a lawyer he is always on hand to answer any trust tax issues I have or even legal.’

‘Elliot Lewis is always a joy to talk to and I like the fact that I can always pick up the phone and ring him anytime for a chat to pick his brains on any issue.’

TWM Solicitors LLP

TWM Solicitors LLP’s Guildford-based private client team is made of highly qualified individuals, including team head Caroline Foulger, who is a chartered tax advisor, full accredited member of Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE), and a full member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP). The team also includes a dementia champion, who is taking part in developing the Hammersmith and Fulham Dementia Strategy with local stakeholders; a dual-qualified solicitor in Spain and England, and four notaries public.

Practice head(s):

Caroline Foulger

Other key lawyers:

Allison Crossman

Batchelors

Batchelors’ Bromley-based private client team continues to take on significant amounts of contentious and non-contentious mandates, with team head Edward White’s contentious practice benefitting from his wealth of experience in the preparation of wills, lasting powers of attorney, estate administrations and tax planning issues. Sarah Hickey regularly acts for families spanning several generations, and consultant Nick Stotesbury has substantial experience in contentious probate matters.

Practice head(s):

Edward White; Nick Stotesbury

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Hickey; Annmarie Jones; Dalia Sainsbury

Testimonials

‘The trusts and probate team at Batchelors has a depth of experience and knowledge in relation to disputes concerning wills and trust arrangements. They have the legal acumen to provide sound legal advice on issues arising in such disputes, but also the understanding to place such disputes within their human and familial contexts in order to achieve practical outcomes.’

‘Their approach makes reaching out for legal advice easy to access by offering a friendly, personable and proactive approach. They appear committed to really understanding the clients they work with to develop tailored solutions.’

‘All round capability allows this business to be my one stop shop for all formal legal matters. Friendly, helpful staff at all levels provide prompt response. The business has evolved with good succession planning over the many years I have known it. Reliable advice which I can trust.’

‘Batchelor solicitors have been amazing in handling our case. Nick Stotesbury and his team were with us every step of the way. They were incredibly knowledgeable in this area but also in other areas that were relevant to the case. The team worked together to achieve the best outcome and they went well above our expectations. We are absolutely grateful to have found them and would recommend their service to anyone looking for advice in similar circumstances.’

‘Edward White has provided us with clear and economic advice on wills, LPAs and any issues relating to tax, family trust and gifting. Extremely knowledgeable, delivered in a very user friendly manner. Really happy with the service.’

‘Nick Stotesbury and Edward White are both highly experienced in the field of trusts and probate disputes. They are able to analyse a dispute from a number of angles to ensure that a client receives well-rounded advice as to their position and the real issues that arise from the dispute. They are both courteous and level-headed. They can advance a client’s case assertively, whilst remaining sensitive to the need to engage constructively with other parties.’

‘Sarah Hickey is always helpful and extremely understanding with the complexities of dealing with different relatives. When there has been a query it is apparent she has done her research on us and then gives an informed view. I feel totally confident the way she deals with queries. Sarah Hickey stands out going above and beyond.’

‘Attentive, trustworthy and a real willingness to help and act in the very best interest of the clients they serve. Edward White and Sarah Hickey have shown these qualities time and time again.’

Girlings

Girlings’ private client team is known to be a ‘friendly, professional practice with highly skilled practitioners’. Lesley Rushton, who is head of the Canterbury team, is active in work for both national and local charities. Charlotte Nock, who leads the Herne Bay team, is a key name to note for matter relating to French law, and Louise Wilson is the key contact in Ashford.

Practice head(s):

Lesley Rushton; Charlotte Nock; Louise Wilson

Testimonials

‘I have worked with a number of partners from Girlings, across a variety of specialisms and I have always found them to be very professional and responsive – offering a great service to me and my clients.’

‘Girlings’ team are very dedicated to their chosen field and each person in the team gives 100% all of the time. They are always on hand to explain the issues and resolve problems as quickly as possible. They are focused on finding solutions.’

‘Lesley Rushton is highly knowledgeable and approachable and always personable and willing to guide and give expert opinion. Her response times are excellent and she is able to filter elements down to the essential ingredients.’

‘Lesley Rushton was fantastic. She listened, was approachable and explained everything really clearly, several times. She was patient with my nervousness and demystified the whole process. She was kind and supportive.’

‘Lesley Rushton was without a doubt the star of the team and went above and beyond during these trying times. Needless to say she has a superb team.’

‘I specifically have worked with Charlotte Nock, who was excellent and very knowledgeable. She went above and beyond to assist one of my clients during some very difficult and complicated times when restrictions were in place.’

‘Louise Wilson has been very supportive.’

Herrington Carmichael LLP

Led by Charlotte Woods, Herrington Carmichael LLP’s Camberley-based private wealth and inheritance team is praised for its broad knowledge base and has particular expertise in elderly matters. Oliver Wilson brings extensive experience from corporate and debt recovery roles prior to working in the private wealth arena, and Minnaar Badenhorst is a STEP-qualified lawyer and a Solicitor for the Elderly.

Practice head(s):

Charlotte Woods

Other key lawyers:

Oliver Wilson; Minnaar Badenhorst

Testimonials

‘Great team, lots of different personalities and backgrounds. Such a pleasure to work with as always. Impeccable service that you cannot find anywhere else.’

‘Excellent knowledge and understanding of issues. Efficient and helpful at all times.’

‘Charlotte Woods is absolutely fantastic. Her level of professionalism and knowledge is the best out there I have come across. She is a credit to her profession.’

‘I find HC to be a responsive and professional firm. It strikes me that their clients will find a safe pair of hands.’

Keystone Law

Keystone Law provides advice to individuals, trustees, trust companies and families. Robert Knight, who is praised as ‘a first-rate private client lawyer’, has particular experience in the structuring and taxation of wills and trusts, and also advises on probate issues, powers of attorney and deeds of variation. Camilla Bishop, who joined in 2021 from DMH Stallard LLP, is an experienced lawyer who specialises in all aspects of estate planning with a particular focus on inheritance tax matters.

Other key lawyers:

Robert Knight; Camilla Bishop; Alex Boothman; Barry Adamson; Luke Trigona

Testimonials

‘Robert Knight provides a great service to clients in the Chichester area and further afield.’

‘Robert Knight is a first-rate private client lawyer – his attention to detail and bedside manner mean that he provides a great service to clients.’

Morr & Co LLP

Morr & Co LLP’s private client team in Redhill undertakes a wide variety of work for private individuals and owners of SMEs. The firm’s recent growth in the contentious probate and trust offering has enabled the team to provide a full-spectrum service. Team head Holly Chantler has particular expertise in the area of elderly and vulnerable clients; she is also an experienced Court of Protection practitioner.

Practice head(s):

Holly Chantler

Testimonials

‘A leading light in the world of Court of Protection. A well resourced, knowledgeable team with a personal approach.’

‘Holly Chantler is a leading practitioner and very much at the top of her field.’

‘Holly Chantler is a very special Head of Private Client. She is a young and dynamic leader that leads from the front. She has a lot of emotional intelligence and simultaneously a cutting edge that is so important when running this department.’

‘Morr & Co is an excellent regional firm and Holly Chantler is an impressive Court of Protection lawyer.’

Renaissance Legal

Based in Brighton, Renaissance Legal is a boutique private client firm which specialises in advising on the finances and welfare of disabled and vulnerable people, their families and carers using wills, trusts, powers of attorney and Court of Protection applications. Philip Warford works with various national charities, including the Mencap Wills and Trusts and the National Autistic Helpline. Katherine Miller specialises in advising disabled and vulnerable individuals, particularly individuals with learning difficulties, autism and Down syndrome, and their families.

Practice head(s):

Philip Warford; Katherine Miller

Other key lawyers:

Gina Cucciniello; Joanna McCarthy

Testimonials

‘This team offers an exceptional service to both private clients, and professionals who advise private clients, and has a particular expertise in advising vulnerable persons and those with learning disabilities. Advice is given on time and is cost effective.’

‘In addition to the legal team the firm has benefits advisers who can break through the complexity of this area and assist with maximising the benefits receivable by a particular client based upon their individual circumstances. You immediately get the impression that you are in very safe hands.’

‘What makes the practice unique is their sector focus. The firm concentrates on providing legal services to assist the disabled and vulnerable and they are good at it. They have a deeper knowledge of their field than other practitioners I have met.’

‘The uniqueness comes from the focus on and commitment to estate planning and lifetime trust planning for families of those with learning disabilities (and other disabilities). In addition, the fact that they have in-house welfare benefit experts – a very rare service – adds great value to what they can offer.’

‘Philip Warford is an extremely experienced professional and is clearly an expert in his field. He is very approachable and personable and the advice given is always clear and concise. Working with Philip is always reassuring because he provides exactly what is required, within the agreed deadline and for the fee quoted. You know exactly where you are with Philip and he never fails to impress.’

‘We have been supported by Philip Warford for over a decade – as well as his legal advice we have appreciated his personal touch, tact, support and care. He is a specialist in his area. We are lucky to have found him all those years ago as he has unravelled and brought order to a complex and unusual situation. It is doubtful we would have received such a service for any other firm. He is unique and an absolute delight to work with.’

‘Phil Warford and Katharine Miller are stand out lawyers with excellent technical knowledge, solution driven focus and a genuine understanding of the challenges that face the learning disabled adults and family carers who they assist.’

‘Katherine Miller is a fountain of knowledge! But what makes her really standout is her ability to cover complex topics at a level accessible for the layperson. Having a disabled child heading towards adulthood is utterly overwhelming but Katherine has been a steady hand and a constant source of support. She is empathetic but practical and has such a lovely manner.’

Key clients

Mencap

Castlewood Trust & Company Ltd

National Autistic Society

Work highlights

  • Acting as legal advisors to the Mencap Legacy Department and the Wills & Trusts Team, including answering technical legal questions, passing on legal updates, reviewing literature given to the families they help and training staff.
  • Acting for Castlewood in the preparation of legal documents which it needs for clients.

Russell-Cooke LLP

Russell-Cooke LLP’s private client team in Kingston has recently seen substantial growth in the number of family office clients, which benefit from the group’s expertise in French succession and property matters. Julie Man specialises in complex estate planning work, inheritance tax advice, trusts, probate and estate administration and mental capacity work, while Kieran Bowe advises on all aspects of private client mandates.

Practice head(s):

Julie Man; Kieran Bowe

Warners Solicitors

Warners Solicitors’ Tonbridge-based private client team fields a broad range of experts. Team head Mary Shaw specialises in working with families, in particular helping them manage their assets held in trust, while Philip Raggett is a well-recognised expert in capital tax planning issues, and Gail Hall focuses on the needs of elderly and vulnerable clients. Martin Terrell is an expert in Court of Protection matters, and Samantha Bradburne deals with all aspects of trust matters.

Practice head(s):

Mary Shaw

Other key lawyers:

Philip Raggett; Gail Hall; Martin Terrell; Richard Theobald; Fiona Taylor; Samantha Bradburne