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


The ‘highly regarded’ team at Brachers, based in Maidstone and Canterbury, is ‘great and responsive’ and tends to clients in ‘a friendly, sensitive and helpful manner’. Collaborating with the corporate and commercial and real estate teams and offering specialist trusts, Court of Protection and probate teams to support family businesses and high-net-worth individuals, the practice assists with succession planning, capital taxes, estate administration, probate issues and family trusts. The ‘extremely likeable’ Christopher Eriksson-Lee demonstrates ‘sensitivity to personal matters and optimism in finding suitable solutions’ and offers significant experience in advising royalty, farmers and business owners on inheritance tax matters. The ‘efficient, knowledgeable and diligent’ Justine Sloover has an in-depth understanding of trusts spanning trust structures and offshore trust exposure as well as tax-related matters.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Eriksson-Lee

Other key lawyers:

Justine Sloover; Mary Rimmer; Sarah Mannooch


‘The team are great and responsive on all aspects of the work we do together. They provide advice regarding a family trust and the wider estate planning for the client.’

‘I work with Christopher Eriksson-Lee and Justine Sloover and both are efficient, knowledgeable and diligent in their work. They are also really nice people and approachable which is important to me.’

‘Brachers has the personal touch, listening carefully to clients’ needs in a friendly, sensitive and helpful manner. It has a wealth of experience, gathered over many decades, and is highly regarded by its local clients in Kent. Such loyalty from locals is reassuring.’

‘Christopher Eriksson-Lee heads the department in a gentle, but effective manner. He is popular with clients, given his willingness to listen, sensitivity to personal matters and optimism in finding suitable solutions. He is extremely likeable, which always helps. Justine Sloover is meticulous in her attention to detail, and I work with her on many trust matters. She is helpful, responsive and has an excellent understanding of relevant law.’

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

The ‘unerringly professional’ tax, trusts and probate team is at the core of Charles Russell Speechlys LLP’ offering in Guildford with recent work involving family business clients and cross-border estates. Practice head Sally Ashford has been described as ‘highly intuitive, generous, friendly and incredibly dynamic’ and specialises in estates and family succession planning including inheritance tax mitigation and trusts and Court of Protection matters. Richard Honey ‘provides responsive and practical support’ and goes ‘above and beyond’ to assist high-net-worth individuals with succession planning and trust structuring work and, more recently, issues involving cryptocurrencies and digitally held assets. New arrival Harriet Betteridge offers substantial experience across a range of matters including estate administration and specialist tax advisory work covering IHT areas and CGT matters. Kathryn Robinson works with large national charity clients and private clients on wills, lasting powers of attorney and lifetime inheritance tax planning. Natalie Butler is also noted by clients.

Practice head(s):

Sally Ashford

Other key lawyers:

Richard Honey; Harriet Betteridge; Kathryn Robinson; Natalie Butler; Lauren Clarke; Charlotte Voller; Tom Denham Smith


‘We have found the team to be extremely empathetic, enabling them to understand and advise us in a sensible and pragmatic way that suits our needs. They are also unerringly professional and we have complete confidence in their knowledge and ability. Nothing is too much trouble for them, from chatting over our concerns to producing the necessary documents. The practice appears well managed, documents are clear and everything is done in a timely fashion.’

‘Natalie Butler is incredibly helpful and seems to understand exactly what we need. She explains processes clearly and succinctly. It is Natalie’s innate friendliness, patience and understanding that make her so very easy to deal with. Richard Honey provides responsive and practical support.’

‘Discussing wealth and estate planning requires mutual trust, discretion, and a personable approach. The team that Sally Ashford has built around her are highly skilled, professional, dynamic and have the capacity to tailor your personal wishes and translate them into legal constructs. This is a multidisciplinary team and related matters can be dealt with in-house. Multiple generations of a family can be advised with mutually beneficial structures, trusts and inheritance planning woven in. This team at CRS will cater to individual needs and wishes, expertly.’

‘Sally Ashford was warm, highly intuitive, generous, friendly and incredibly dynamic. She clearly understands the law, the implications of the various legal structures and constructs and can deliver solutions with elegance and professionalism. Sally navigated us through a mountain of information within the space of a few meetings. Sally understood our needs, our risk appetite and what we wished to achieve with our estate planning and for our family. All our matters were resolved and paperwork completed efficiently and to our satisfaction. Our wider family have also had the benefit of Sally’s advice.’

‘The Guildford Private Client team at Charles Russell Speechlys has considerable knowledge and is able to advise clients with simpler needs and those with complex affairs with equal diligence and care. Practitioners are proactive with their advice, considering individual scenarios and delivering bespoke, high-quality advice.’

‘Sally Ashford and Richard Honey in particular go above and beyond no matter the client size. The personal approach is so valuable and necessary to really understand the clients needs. They are organised and proactive rather than reactive.’

‘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. They are great people to deal with and they get the job done without unnecessary fuss or drama. The team is compassionate and understands their clients’ situations.’

‘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 and can see that she makes her clients feel confident with her ability and at ease with her warm manner. Lauren Clarke is equally delightful to work with. Her reassuring and competent style, which one would normally associate with those of more advanced years, is highly effective at putting clients at ease whilst inspiring confidence. Natalie Butler is another highly valued member of the team for us. Charlotte Voller and Tom Denham Smith have also been excellent to work with and are clearly popular with clients.’


Acing for professionals in the legal and financial sectors, business owners, agriculture and estate owners and families with inherited wealth, the ‘professional, extremely competent and practical’ team at the Tunbridge Wells hub of Cripps regularly handles wealth and tax planning work and succession planning issues. Increasingly acting on multi-jurisdictional matters, the team is led by Kate Arnold, a member of STEP and Charity Law Association, who specialises in supporting entrepreneurs, family business owners and individuals with significant land assets and focuses on UK and French succession planning including philanthropic aims within these plans. Also noted in the market is Paul Fairbairn, who specialises in advising ultra-high-net-worth families on how to structure wealth using trusts, tax efficient structures and heritage properties. Also a member of STEP is key lawyer Clare Savory, who supports with the set up and governance of grant-making charities.

Practice head(s):

Kate Arnold

Other key lawyers:

Paul Fairbairn; Clare Savory; Stephen Horscroft; Jessica Jamieson


‘The team are very user friendly and great to have on your side. Paul Fairbairn in particular is a pleasure to work with and very practical in his approach.’

‘The team at Cripps are professional, extremely competent and practical.’

‘Technically strong, but practical and good communicators.’

‘Good coverage of key legal specialities, and good communication between the different groups. The Private Client department has a good reputation, among other law firms as well as from clients. Very good and timely responsiveness to queries and contacts.’

‘We consulted Clare Savory, a senior associate, seeking advice about our estate planning and particularly how to minimise inheritance tax. She rapidly digested our background information. She made herself readily available and was happy to speak on the telephone at short notice when needed. She showed remarkable retentiveness of the background and of her communications with us. This meant that she was often able to provide very well-informed advice or comments without the delay that would have occurred if she had had to go through all our papers again. She produced an admirably clear report about our situation and the options open to us. She explained and justified her recommendations, with references where needed, in a way that gave us added confidence.’

‘This is an extremely knowledgeable team with client care at its forefront.’

‘Stephen Horscroft is a brilliant lawyer catering to every need of the client.’

‘We sought advice regarding our wills and our LPA’s. The manner in which the solicitor at Cripps conducted the meeting with the family and the manner in which she applied herself to our needs was faultless and of considerable comfort to us. Our solicitor showed patience, calmness and considerable knowledge in the advice given.’

Work highlights

  • Advising a high-net-worth individual on how to manage his £20m share of proceeds of sale of his business from an estate and tax planning perspective.
  • Advising a high-net-worth client on legal affairs, including estate planning and trusts.
  • Advising on a high-net-worth individual’s multi-jurisdictional estate with assets in the UK and US worth approximately £18.5m.

DMH Stallard LLP

The ‘professional, experienced and efficient’ personal tax, trusts, and probate team at DMH Stallard LLP has recently been bolstered by its merger with private client firm Griffith Smith LLP. Split into the estate planning, trust administration services and estate administration teams, the department is headed up by ‘capable and experienced solicitor’ Lorna Fairbairn, who divides her time between London and Brighton. Nadia Cowdrey, who heads up the Sussex team, is cross affiliated with the firm’s contentious trusts and probate team, handling wills, trusts and inheritance planning. Leading the Surrey private client team is Michael Derrick, who specialises in the administration of estates and intestate estates, and is contacted for advice on Court of Protection issues and lasting powers of attorney. Other notable arrivals following the merger include Simon Rozzier in Horsham and Emma Weir in Hassocks.

Practice head(s):

Lorna Fairbairn; Nadia Cowdrey; Michael Derrick

Other key lawyers:

Emma Weir; Simon Rozzier; Kerry Young; Sarah Higgs


‘Our legal experience with the private client team at DMH Stallard LLP involved assistance and advice in reviewing old wills and LPAs and the preparation of new ones. The main strengths of DMH Stallard are their approachability and friendliness, the firm’s clarity in setting out the engagement and summary of what is involved plus timeline, the effective preparation of new (and revisions to old) legal documents in very clear, modern and succinct English and the effective and timely preparation and completion of new Wills and LPAs. Communication throughout the engagement was excellent.’

‘The team are professional, experienced, and efficient. They are fully up to date with the latest thinking and practice and are friendly and supportive of the client. Lorna Fairbairn stands out as a very professional, capable and experienced solicitor. She is friendly and forward-looking.’

‘Fantastic team who all are extremely knowledgeable in their respective areas. The quality of advice that they have offered to my clients has been exceptional but equally their people skills are very good. They can advise both other professionals but also those who are not as familiar with legal matters.’

‘Sarah Higgs has also offered exceptional advice to my clients, and she has also advised my family on our wills. I chose Sarah as she explained the will writing process in a clear and effective manner to my wife who had been reluctant to engage in talking about such matters, but Sarah reassured her. Sarah is very knowledgeable but communicates in a clear and concise manner.’

‘My primary contact is Sarah Higgs who is always available to speak with our mutual clients across a number of offices. Sarah is very engaging and doesn’t simply act under instruction. She probes clients and makes them consider their options, discounting scenarios until the best fit is found. Often clients have complex needs and Sarah has proven to be empathetic and considerate in her dealings with them. From a personal perspective, I appreciate Sarah’s time management and regular and accurate correspondence, updating me so that I don’t have to chase Sarah.’

‘The team are very responsive and communicate well with clients. Lorna Fairbairn is particularly helpful.’

‘I have used this practice on three occasions now and each time I have been treated with the utmost respect. They have helped me twice with obtaining probate and each time everything was explained fully & clearly including what was needed and all charges were clearly laid out. I always felt that nothing was too much trouble and if I did not understand anything I was always given the time I needed for things to be made clear.’

‘Michael Derrick was my main contact each time. He was always so kind and understanding. I think this is a very important value and he would always listen and I felt I had his full attention at all times. He took time to explain things and I felt I could ask him anything.’

Irwin Mitchell

The ‘brilliant’ lifetime and estate planning team at Irwin Mitchell offers advice to clients in the business wealth, rural business and private wealth spaces on all elements of tax, trusts and estate planning, including financial administration for individuals that lack capacity and Court of Protection work. Offering two trust companies and its in-house service, Irwin Mitchell Asset Management Limited, the team in Gatwick is led by the ‘fantastic’ and ‘exceptionally good’ Caroline Shelton, who acts for business owners as well as professional sportsmen and landowners with complex assets, wealth preservation issues and succession planning needs. Leading the Chichester office is Naomi Neville, who focuses on instructions from high-net-worth clients and handles probate and estate administration work for those with urban and rural businesses. Also co-heading the team is the national director of legal services for private clients Paula Myers, and national head Paula James. Rose Macfarlane is ‘a standout’ lawyer with a niche practice in non-contentious court applications for trustees.

Practice head(s):

Caroline Shelton; Naomi Neville; Paula James; Paula Myers

Other key lawyers:

Rose Macfarlane; Lucy Samy


‘Clear, concise, readily understandable advice is delivered promptly and efficiently by the team. Caroline Shelton is exceptionally good in terms of both expertise and responsiveness. She is a real pleasure to work with.’

‘The team is extremely hands on and responsive. They take pride in their work and in their dealings with clients. They are extremely savvy too. Lucy Samy is very dependable and easy to work with. She is extremely knowledgeable. Her response time is superb. She is a steady pair of hands and is very reassuring in her demeanour and manner of dealing. She goes out of the way to ensure the client’s needs are attended to.’

‘A brilliant team who really think about their clients and their circumstances. The team offers great technical flair for spotting opportunities that others would miss.’

‘Caroline Shelton is a fantastic asset to the team. She is responsive, client focused, and technically brilliant. She is one of my favourite people to work with across the industry.’

‘The team offers a wide range of services over a number of locations and good knowledge of the law and its implications.’

‘I have found the team to be incredibly responsive and knowledgeable in the field of UK tax. In addition, they are excellent with the underlying clients, able to explain complex tax points in an easily digestible manner, sensitive to an individual’s particular needs. They are now one of my go-to UK firms for tax advice.’

‘Rose Macfarlane is excellent and someone I rate both for her client manner as well as the exceptional quality of her advice. Truly a standout member of an excellent practice.’

Work highlights

  • Advised funeral plan policy trustees on steps needed, including the creation of new trusts, to achieve compliance of trust deeds and fund management in line with new FCA regulations.
  • Advising a family rural business and individual farmers on minimising their corporate and personal exposure to inheritance tax, through company restructuring, updates to business plans, improved will structures aligned with corporate documentation, and careful consideration of protective trust and corporate structure for the next generation.
  • Advising a husband with significant wealth, who is in a long-term second marriage to his wife with very limited wealth, in reframing his testamentary wishes to limit disputes and ensure that on his earlier death, his intention to pass all wealth to his own children is achieved.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Located in Guildford, ‘go-to firm in the region for private client work’ Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP excels in international tax planning and trust administration work for families and business owners. Led by member of STEP Lucy Edwards, who advises charities and specialises in estate and succession planning work for UK and international families and is instructed on a range of matters including will drafting and executorship, the practice also offers its own corporate trustee, PennTrust. Recently promoted partner and director of PennTrust Elizabeth Nicholas is known for her expertise in international and offshore matters, and ‘has excellent knowledge of trust law’ and ‘unrivalled’ expertise. Managing associate Cecelia Ward, who is dual qualified as a chartered tax adviser, is also noted. Another key lawyer is Hannah Gearey, who acts on complex probate matters involving vulnerable beneficiaries and philanthropic work.

Practice head(s):

Lucy Edwards

Other key lawyers:

Elizabeth Nicholas; Liz Cardy; Hannah Gearey; Olivia Hodgson; Cecelia Ward; Vanessa Riley


‘The team offers professionalism and knowledge. They have expertise in the areas of probate and empathy during what can be a very difficult time for the client. They maintained high levels of communication throughout, were always good at explaining in detail any complicated matters and were willing to adapt their practices to support my needs.’

‘Liz Cardy demonstrates empathy, professionalism, pragmatism and expertise. Hannah Gearey shows professionalism. Olivia Hodgson pays attention to detail and is professional and empathetic.’

‘Elizabeth Nicholas has excellent knowledge of trust law. She is innovative where problems arise and extremely practical. She shows patience and care with difficult issues and is quick to point out any potential problems that could arise. She makes clients feel that their concerns are safe in her hands and that all aspects of their matters are being considered. Elizabeth is highly recommended.’

‘The team is very knowledgeable and up to date with all new regulations, giving us the right advice to suit our circumstances. The team covered all the diversity needed and their response was quick and efficient.’

‘Pennington Manches Cooper are a go-to firm in the region for private client work. The team are very capable and are definitely my first port of call outside of London. My experience suggests real strength in depth and no weak links in the team.’

‘Cecelia Ward, supported by Vanessa Riley, has been acting on a complex estate of which I am executor. The complexity of the matter does not phase them. The team has a full grasp of the detail, is able to advise on all aspects with some very knotty problems and provide good value advice to the family.’

‘High responsiveness to client needs, combined with high proficiency in dealing with them. Cecelia Ward and her team are assisting me. The list of Cecelia’s skills and attributes would be long and that of her shortcomings, empty.’

‘The best private client department outside London. They have the depth and breadth of experience of a big firm but the flexibility and informality of a small one. It is a winning combination. Elizabeth Nicholas is the best young partner with whom I’ve worked in the last year. Her expertise and strategic vision is unrivalled. The availability, understanding, flexibility of Elizabeth to deal with our case stood out. Any client is lucky to have Elizabeth on their side.’

Stevens & Bolton LLP

The team at Stevens & Bolton LLP regularly provides the full spectrum of private client services including tax, trust and estate planning advice to high and ultra-high-net-worth individuals and businesses with a variety of assets and holding structures. The practice also offers comprehensive legal, accounting and trust administration assistance with its in-house trust company. The Guildford-based practice is headed up by Daryl Fox, who has a specialism in estate administration work in relation to high-value estates, complex associated trusts and international matters. Appointed to the Law Society’s Tax Law Committee is Rosie Todd, who is an expert in corporate and funds tax and has substantial experience in advising fund managers and entrepreneurs on UK and international structures. Trusts specialist James Hardaker is also noted. Gareth Walliss joined the team from Shoosmiths LLP in May 2022 offering a broad practice in tax, trusts and succession planning, and Nick Acomb has adopted a consultant role since March 2022.

Practice head(s):

Daryl Fox

Other key lawyers:

Rosie Todd; James Hardaker; Gareth Walliss; Nick Acomb; Matthew Peto


‘James Hardaker – fabulous solicitor. Very knowledgeable indeed. Excellent knowledge and good collaborative approach.’

‘Rosie Todd – I’ve recommended her to clients for years now, and when I needed advice myself, I went straight to her. And she’s been absolutely superb. Calm, knowledgeable and very easy to deal with.’

‘Excellent quality of advice, delivered thoughtfully and with a real feel for what is important. Absolutely top drawer.’

‘James Hardaker – exceptional communication and client management with a drive to put the client at the centre of his thinking and advise and then execute the best plan with buy in from all parties. I have recommended James on multiple occasions.’

‘James Hardaker – technically excellent and a calm and reassuring presence.’

‘The Stevens & Bolton private client team provide extremely high levels of service.’

‘Rosie Todd gives excellent guidance and leadership.’

‘Matthew Peto was extremely knowledgeable, clear thinking, and dealt with the complex restrictions already in place around the family business.’

Thomson Snell & Passmore

The estates, tax and succession team based in Thomson Snell & Passmore’s Tunbridge Wells office acts for clients in the business succession, agriculture and charity sectors including celebrities, public figures and families, farmers and other landowners. Practice head, notary public and member of STEP Nicola Brant regularly assists clients with estate planning, business protection, inheritance and capital gains tax planning work as well as the creation and administration of trusts. Leading the probate division is Helen Stewart, who is a specialist in advising on tax and intestacy issues relating to high-net-worth estates, while Esther Lee offers experience in wills and lifetime succession planning, lasting power of attorney matters and estate administration work.

Practice head(s):

Nicola Brant

Other key lawyers:

Helen Stewart; Esther Lee; Mark Politz; Amy Lane


‘I find the people I deal with are knowledgeable, wise and efficient.’

‘A very professional team with an empathetic approach, they make you feel relaxed, and you trust that they are fully focused on you and what is right for you. They provide an extremely knowledgeable and professional service.’

‘Helen Stewart is professional, approachable and completely reassures you so that you know that she has your best interests at heart. She keeps me updated with any new information.’

Coole Bevis LLP

The ‘efficient, responsive and knowledgeable’ Sussex-based private client team at Coole Bevis LLP ‘acts with a high degree of integrity and professionalism’. The practice offers clients, which include large companies, SMEs, private individuals and not-for-profit organisations, a specialist Court of Protection team and Coole Bevis Wealth Management, a joint venture with a financial adviser which provides wealth planning assistance. In Horsham, team leader Jenny Murphy ‘always delivers an outstanding service’, focusing on Court of Protection and elderly client matters, undertaking will drafting, tax planning and estate administration. Alex Bowers specialises in estate administration and trust creation and administration. The practice expanded in November 2022 by acquiring private client practice Rita Sen Solicitors, which specialises in wills, probate intestacies, inheritance tax work, Court of Protection issues and lasting powers of attorney, resulting in a fifth office located in Rose Green and the addition of Rita Sen to the group.

Practice head(s):

Jenny Murphy

Other key lawyers:

Alex Bowers; Rita Sen; Emily Wardrope; Christina Grinham; Claire Carberry


‘The personal service at this practice is outstanding. All questions are managed at speed and the delivery of answers are easy to understand. The communication is always effective. The whole team clearly works as one with a keen eye for detail. They are clearly at the top of their game, delivering an outstanding customer experience every time. They also support the local community.’

‘Jenny Murphy has looked after us on many occasions over a number of years and always delivers outstanding service. Her attention to detail is outstanding as is the empathy and understanding. When faced with complicated situations, Jenny delivers a clear solution.’

‘Over many years, and various complex legal problems, every partner we have dealt with has been exceptionally knowledgeable, patient and kind.’

Judge & Priestley LLP

The ‘outstanding’ private client practice at Judge & Priestley LLP offers ‘first-class service and specialists in the field’ and has gone ‘from strength to strength in recent years’ with the acquisition in November 2022 of Woolsey Morris & Kennedy, resulting in a new office in Sidcup and three new private client partners; Tim Goodwin, Isabel Elliott and Chris Elliott. Co-heading the team is the ‘passionate’ David Chandra, who has significant experience in acting for high-net-worth individuals, charitable bodies and financial institutions on high-value estates and succession planning issues, and the ‘technically superb’ fully qualified STEP member Brian Tan, who specialises in probate and inheritance tax matters.

Practice head(s):

David Chandra; Brian Tan

Other key lawyers:

Tim Goodwin; Isabel Elliott; Chris Elliott; Peter Taylor


‘The whole team are always attentive and helpful in every situation. I wouldn’t recommend anyone else. I mainly deal with David Chandra and I must say it’s so refreshing dealing with someone who’s so passionate in delivering the very top service to the people that he cares for all whilst loving what he does.’

‘The team’s expertise and technical knowledge in relation to cross-border estates is unparalleled. Brian Tan is technically superb in tax matters and offshore estates. He is approachable and engaging.’

‘The solicitors in this team are very professional, efficient, and friendly. I worked with Brian Tan and Peter Taylor. They offer a very good service and of all the practices I have tried, I think this one is the best.’ 

‘The team is highly supportive and empathetic. The solicitors are truly capable and hold a high standard with your best interest at heart. A first-class service and specialists in the field. Brian Tan is an excellent solicitor, highly empathetic, knowledgeable and pragmatic.’

‘An outstanding strong private client team which has gone from strength to strength in recent years.’

‘Brian Tan has worked for us over the years and we have always found him to be friendly, professional and always at the end of the telephone or email to answer any immediate questions. We have nothing but praise for Brian.’

‘The team has many strengths with a wide range of expertise. A solid and capable team which provides all-round private client advice.’

‘Peter Taylor always went above and beyond. He was personable, shared his own anecdotes, and always made me feel like he cared as much about my situation as much as I did. I never felt like I was bothering him, he always made me feel welcome and understood.’

Keystone Law

The ‘sophisticated and very knowledgeable operation’ at Keystone Law involves ‘top-quality technical analysis’ and a ‘seamless’ experience. ‘Private client specialist’ and ‘superlative practitioner’ Robert Knight advises entrepreneurs, farmers, professionals and families with inherited wealth on the structuring and taxation of wills and trusts, as well as probate matters. The ‘outstanding’ and ‘technically strong’ Camilla Bishop, who is an expert in will drafting and regularly acts as a professional executor, handles all estate planning matters, focusing specifically on inheritance tax work.

Other key lawyers:

Robert Knight; Camilla Bishop


‘The ability of the individual solicitor Camilla Bishop, her technical knowledge and the way it is presented to clients makes Camilla outstanding. Additionally, Camilla has the support of a network of solicitors with Keystone and that adds a layer comfort for me.’

‘Camilla Bishop is technically strong but manages to simplify matters and convey these to clients in a friendly and helpful style and without talking down to them.’

‘Robert Knight is an excellent private client specialist.’

‘Quite simply, the experience is seamless.’

‘Robert Knight has so many qualities, from being kind to absolute professionalism. Robert is gentle and considerate in nature, he has taken the time to understand me, my family and my businesses. The advice he has provided has taken all aspects of my life into consideration and importantly made it a simple process to understand. Robert is also very patient and appreciates my busy life, the communication has been excellent. I’ve received gentle reminders from Robert, this has kept the process moving and I’m pleased to say my affairs are now in place. Lastly he always has time to listen, a rare quality these days.’

‘Top quality technical analysis and fully on top of all relevant considerations. Clearly a sophisticated and very knowledgeable operation.’

‘We worked with Robert Knight on estates and trust matters, who was outstanding. We really appreciate the time Robert took to understand our aims and objectives, but also to point out relevant pitfalls and alternative approaches. Robert was also able to assist us superbly at short notice on a new matter unrelated to the original engagement. A superlative practitioner in this area.’

‘Creative in the best sense in clients’ interests, but always take care to identify risks and discuss with counsel where appropriate. Robert Knight exemplifies these qualities.’

Moore Barlow

Operating out of the firm's Guildford and Woking hubs, Moore Barlow‘s private wealth team is well known for its tax efficient succession planning services. Advising national and international SME businesses, high-net-worth individuals and trustees, and led by Southampton-based Naomi Wilkes, the team is able to ‘steer clients through difficulties with ease’. In Guildford, Tim Adams offers assistance with probate, succession planning, will, trust and estate matters, while Alexandra Milton works with the Court of Protection team and has extensive experience working with ultra-high-net-worth clients on cross-border and efficient estate planning strategies.

Practice head(s):

Naomi Wilkes

Other key lawyers:

Tim Adams; Alexandra Milton


‘I live overseas but was the sole executor for my mother’s estate. Following a recommendation from a UK relative I sought out Moore Barlow. They did an excellent job and were very transparent throughout.’

‘Moore Barlow LLP’s private client department offers London quality advice without the premium of London prices. The breadth of work undertaken by them is wide and of very high quality. They are able to steer their clients through difficulties with ease.’

Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP

Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP’s core offering involves advising high-net-worth individuals and families on tax, specialist trusts and succession planning matters. The private client team, which spans the Kent and Sussex regions, collaborates with the corporate practice to act for business owners, directors and shareholders. Team leader Bruce Clarke has wide-ranging private client experience and advises on complex tax and estate planning work, creating and administering trusts, and advising on powers of attorney and mental capacity law. Clients praise Ian Best as an ‘exceptional asset’ to the practice; he has specialist expetise in will drafting, probate and trust tax compliance work. Member of STEP Max Wright has extensive knowledge of capital tax planning issues, CGT, IHT, trusts and succession planning, as well as cross-border work.

Practice head(s):

Bruce Clarke

Other key lawyers:

Ian Best; Max Wright


‘Ian Best has looked after us for many years now. We have worked through inheritance tax issues, house gifting, wills, powers of attorney and have at all times been met with friendly, supportive, in-depth, knowledgeable support and guidance. Ian is an exceptional asset to the company.’

‘Individual personal service is offered.’

‘Max Wright has in-depth knowledge of personal legal affairs helping with wills, powers of attorney and inheritance tax planning.’

‘Good coverage of specialism for a non-London firm, with some excellent experience among the team and a “can do” approach to new enquiries.’

Russell-Cooke LLP

Advising high-net-worth clients, business owners and international clients on cross-border estates, Russell-Cooke LLP’s ‘strong and experienced’ private client department, based in Kingston upon Thames, offers a ‘good blend of expertise and empathy’. Jointly leading the team is the ‘very competent and helpful’ Julie Man, who is the director of the Russell-Cooke Trust Company and works with multi-generational family businesses and entrepreneurs on succession planning and cross-border estates, particularly in the US. The ‘extremely knowledgeable, highly practical and prepared’ Kieran Bowe also co-heads the team.

Practice head(s):

Julie Man; Kieran Bowe

Other key lawyers:

Annika Bell


‘Kieran Bowe is prepared, competent and up-to-date as well as excellent on a personal level.’

‘An excellent team with some standout and highly talented individuals that work together to give a great strength to the client offering. Kieran Bowe is extremely knowledgeable, highly practical and incredibly pleasant to deal with. He is a delight to work with.’

‘Strong and experienced team with a good blend of expertise and empathy. They have the ability to understand individual and family dynamics and accordingly frame advice and planning within this context.’

‘Julie Man is the partner to see regarding personal tax, trusts and probate. What makes her stand out is that she really takes time to ensure that my wife and I fully understand what is required and that Julie fully understands what our circumstances are and what we require. We have needed to deal with family solicitors on a number of occasions through our lives and quite simply she is both the warmest and most clear of any we have dealt with in the past. She is the most thorough and is always empathetic.’

‘We consulted Russell Cooke because Julie Man moved there. Julie Man is highly approachable and professional, her advice is to be trusted.’

‘I felt straightaway that Russell-Cooke would have the right people. The team was professional, helpful and caring.’

‘Julie Man worked with other members of the team in order to give me the best legal advice, ensuring that every single legal aspect of my situation was considered. At all times professional to the core. She is very competent and helpful. I cannot recommend her enough.’

Thackray Williams LLP

Covering wills, trusts, inheritance issues, tax planning, elderly client care, LPAs and Court of Protection work, the ‘incredibly knowledgeable, personable and conscientious’ solicitors at Thackray Williams LLP are well versed in handling matters for clients in the entertainment industry including issues relating to the management of royalties and the associated rights. The practice is jointly headed up by Bromley-based Elliot Lewis, who regularly advises wealthy clients on wills, estate administration and tax issues, and STEP accredited Anthony Macey, who has a ‘good manner with clients’ and focuses on advising families and individuals including celebrity recording artists and business owners on tax planning and high-value estate administration issues.

Practice head(s):

Elliot Lewis; Anthony Macey

Other key lawyers:

Nima Stepney; Zahra Kanani


‘Knowledgeable, organised, very competent and easy to work with.’

‘Anthony Macey has a good manner with clients and a good understanding of the issues and pressures affecting them.’

‘All the solicitors at Thackray Williams are incredibly knowledgeable, personable and conscientious. They always put the client first and provide a first-class service. I have referred clients to Thackray Williams for many years and the feedback has always been incredibly positive. Their client communication is second to none and I would be happy to refer my clients to any of the solicitors at Thackray Williams, assured that the knowledge that they would be provided with is first class.’

TWM Solicitors LLP

Situated across Guildford, Leatherhead and Epsom, the ‘well-managed and diverse team’ at TWM Solicitors LLP offers a range of private client services including the preparation of wills, trust creation and administration, tax planning and wealth management as well as estate administration. The practice also offers multi-jurisdictional advice, elderly client and later life planning assistance, specialist Court of Protection application support and a trust corporation. The team is headed up by Caroline Foulger, who focuses on overseas and local estate and tax planning work and administration issues and is also a chartered tax adviser. Director of the TWM Trust Corporation Allison Crossman is also noted. Laura Walkley has qualified as a notary public and is also a member of both STEP and SFE.

Practice head(s):

Caroline Foulger

Other key lawyers:

Allison Crossman; Laura Walkley; Fiona Wright; Madeleine Beresford; David Lunn


‘We were very satisfied with the performance of the firm’s probate and personal tax departments. The solicitor with whom we dealt on probate matters was always efficient and courteous, making us feel that we had his full attention and understanding. All our contacts were with a managing associate, and he was excellent.’

‘TWM offer a friendly professional service. All team members are well informed, capable and often able to deal with your query.’

‘David Lunn is efficient, speedy, offers excellent advice and guidance based on what he feels is in the client’s best interest.’

‘TWM were the quickest and provided the most detailed replies to every question raised in trusts that lay folk can understand. Very efficient indeed.’

‘TWM has a strong private client presence across all its offices in Surrey and London and, as necessary, is therefore able to offer a seamless service to its clients. It presents a well-managed and diverse team. From the moment you engage with TWM as a client you know you are in capable and professional hands. TWM take great pains to explain the service it will provide, who will be the point of contact and who will act as back-up should the need arise, there are no unpleasant surprises. All methods of contact are offered, and the firm makes sure it is easy to contact the right person when you need to. As one would expect the firm’s knowledge and application of the law is first class, leaving you feeling absolutely confident that you have received the very best legal advice for whatever your circumstances might be.’

‘Fiona Wright at TWM’s Epsom office is a highly capable private client solicitor. Fiona’s knowledge of the law surrounding probate and trusts is extremely impressive. Moreover, when it comes to advice on matters such as wills, trusts, the winding up of an estate or the tax implications of any steps one might take, at a time which can often be very sensitive for the client Fiona proffers straightforward and jargon-free explanations. Fiona is highly accessible, has excellent client empathy and is backed up by a superb back-office team.’


In Canterbury and Herne Bay, the ‘unique’ private client practice at Girlings offers a ‘wealth of expertise in wills and probate law’. The team has recently handled the administration of trusts, inheritance and tax planning work, intestate estates and asset protection issues. The ‘superb’, ‘highly experienced and professional solicitor’ Lesley Rushton, who supports high-net-worth clients and several different charities, jointly leads the team with ‘standout partnerCharlotte Nock, who is commended for her ‘exceptional communication skills’ and has experience in advising domestic and international clients including families and professionals on succession planning and private client matters relating to French law. Louise Wilson heads up the Court of Protection department.

Practice head(s):

Lesley Rushton; Charlotte Nock

Other key lawyers:

Poppy Cooke; Louise Wilson


‘Charlotte Nock is a standout partner in the firm. Her deep understanding of wills and probate law, combined with her exceptional communication skills, make her an invaluable asset to her clients. She takes the time to explain complex legal concepts in a way that is easy to understand, and her unwavering commitment to her clients’ interests has earned her a loyal following.’

‘Girlings’ wills and probate service is a unique practice that stands out from other firms in several ways. Firstly, the team at Girlings is highly experienced and knowledgeable, with a wealth of expertise in wills and probate law. They are also committed to providing a personalised service to each of their clients, taking the time to understand their needs and tailor their advice accordingly. One of the key strengths of Girlings is their approach to collaboration. The team works closely together to ensure that clients receive the best possible service, and they are always happy to refer clients to other departments within the firm if necessary. This collaborative approach means that clients benefit from a comprehensive and holistic service that meets all of their legal needs.’

‘Approachability, friendliness and patience from the minute you either phone, email or enter the premises. Lesley Rushton is superb and has a wealth of knowledge and experience, but also a knack of explaining things in a clear and accessible way. She gives you time to digest information and consider options and does not put you under pressure to make decisions until you are comfortable.’

Herrington Carmichael LLP

The team of ‘dynamic and great communicators’ at Herrington Carmichael LLP’s Camberley hub, which was bolstered by the acquisition of Bonnetts Solicitors Limited in March 2022, is well versed in high-value probate matters. Collaborating with the real estate and corporate and commercial teams, the practice increasingly advises on inheritance tax matters and is active in assisting high-net-worth individuals with trusts and estates planning work. Practice head Charlotte Woods has significant experience in dealing with trusts, wills, estate administrations including insolvent estates, and LPAs. Graeme Black focuses on estate administration and Court of Protection work, while Minnaar Badenhorst advises on all areas of private client law from will drafting to powers of attorney and working with the elderly.

Practice head(s):

Charlotte Woods

Other key lawyers:

Graeme Black; Minnaar Badenhorst; Nicole Miller


‘Herrington Carmichael offers a wealth of knowledge and experience through each of their team members individually but also as a collective. Their service is exceptional and they have always been able to provide fantastic outcomes. I’ve always felt hugely confident and comfortable with any interactions they’ve had with my clients. When concerning matters such as wills, LPAs and trusts, I have found no better service out there. What they do is by far better than any other practice.’

‘I have always felt confident working with them from their delivery and service standards. I’ve never had a query or client outcome that has not been satisfactorily dealt with by any of the individuals whom I’ve had the pleasure of being in contact with. Charlotte Woods has such a great way with clients and a fantastic way of being able to easily identify and understand their needs. Graeme Black has such a wealth of knowledge and can offer this in such a way that client’s find it easy to understand.’

‘The team has a wide range of knowledge which means that you know an answer will always be looked at from a 360 degree perspective. The size of the team means there is also a variety of clients they are dealing with and ultimately help us with.’

‘They are all dynamic and great communicators. No chasing has to be done and they are on the front foot for all matters.’

‘HC strikes me as being a safe pair of hands and this is something to value in a trusted adviser.’

‘Charlotte Woods and Minnaar Badenhorst are knowledgeable and turn work around promptly.’

Howell-Jones LLP

Located across six offices in Surrey, the private client team at Howell-Jones LLP regularly advises on wills, trusts, probate, powers of attorney and deputyships as well as Court of Protection and elderly client issues. Team head Helen Hotten specialises in wills, post-death variations, inheritance tax and lasting power of attorney matters, while Jess Buttaci is the ‘standout lawyer in the practice’ and handles complex estates involving international elements, business and agricultural property relief and trusts.

Practice head(s):

Helen Hotten

Other key lawyers:

Jess Buttaci; Hadiha Waheed; Philip Johns


‘The partner I have dealt with, Jess Buttaci, displays great depth of knowledge on the subject, takes a holistic view and shows proactivity where appropriate and liaises with client advisers/accountants where relevant. This results in a more complete satisfactory outcome. Jess Buttaci brings unique qualities and is the standout lawyer in the practice.’

‘Howell Jones’ team stands head and shoulders above the rest. My Initial meeting with Jess Buttaci and Hadiha Waheed was very warm, informative and clear. The team strength and efficiency was amply demonstrated by the way Hadiha dealt with all queries and follow-ups. Hadiha and team were very much hands on, keeping me updated at every stage. Hadiha was thorough, very familiar with the process and often pointed out alternative and simpler routes to achieve the end goals.’

‘The team is very friendly and welcoming. They show complete professionalism and instill confidence in their clients, which is very important since often the matters being dealt with are those that seldom crop up in normal life.’

Mayo Wynne Baxter Solicitors

The private client team at Mayo Wynne Baxter Solicitors, member of AMPA, is led by Fiona Dodd, who frequently acts as a professional executor and trustee in matters concerning entrepreneurs, high-net-worth individuals and families with business and farming interests. The team handles an array of work including cross-jurisdictional estates, Court of Protection matters, trusts as well as wealth, tax and succession planning issues. As Dementia Friends, the team also serves elderly clients and tackles lasting powers of attorney work.

Practice head(s):

Fiona Dodd

Other key lawyers:

Jessica Partridge; Claire Busuttil; Matt Parr; Caroline Flint; Rebecca Louis


‘I refer individuals to Mayo Wynne Baxter’s private client non-contentious team because I know them to be capable and trustworthy.’

‘Jessica Partridge is definitely one to watch. She is excellent with clients and comes up with pragmatic and technically sound solutions. Fiona Dodd’s straight talker, no nonsense approach makes her an ideal candidate to act as a replacement independent administrator of an estate where there is a background of a dispute between beneficiaries and/or previous executors.’

‘They have all bases covered. Although a large team, with a huge amount of expertise, it feels like you are dealing with a small company.’

Morr & Co LLP

The large private client team at Morr & Co LLP is spread across nine offices with bases in Redhill, Guildford, Wimbledon and Oxted. Undertaking a variety of work for a range of clients including private individuals and owners of SMEs, the team is noted for its work with elderly clients and knowledge of Court of Protection work and tax mitigation. The team is led by ‘technically excellent’ experienced Court of Protection practitioner Holly Chantler, who handles all private client work, focusing heavily on elderly and vulnerable clients. Sarah Sarwar is ‘approachable, honest and trustworthy’ and has expertise in handling complex and multi-jurisdictional matters including trusts work, wills and inheritance tax and succession planning mandates.

Practice head(s):

Holly Chantler

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Sarwar; Natalie Payne


‘It is a very efficient practice and revamped my will for me. I worked with Sarah Sarwar.’

‘We have always received a professional, courteous and friendly service often in matters which can be quite difficult. Sarah Sarwar has dealt with our family’s affairs for around a decade and we find her very knowledgeable in her field. Sarah is approachable, honest and trustworthy. She is very personable with a calm demeanour and measured in all of her advice. Dealing with affairs that can be quite stressful, Sarah dissects the process in a logical manner which enables good and structured management. Sarah is no doubt an asset to the company and industry. I have also recommended Sarah to friends and family.’

‘Mid-sized team with a mixed portfolio of clients. Very committed to the client and motivated to deliver outstanding client service.’

Renaissance Legal

In Brighton, the ‘excellent practitioners’ at niche private client firm Renaissance Legal excel in assisting disabled and vulnerable people and their families with wills, trusts, powers of attorney and Court of Protection applications. The team also offers estate administration and tax planning advice. The team is led by the ‘outstanding’ Philip Warford, who is a specialist in advising disabled and vulnerable individuals, with experience that is ‘second to none’. ‘Diligent, dedicated’ and ‘excellent practitioner’ Katherine Miller advises parents and carers of individuals with learning difficulties on decision making issues and lasting powers of attorneys.

Practice head(s):

Philip Warford; Katherine Miller

Other key lawyers:

Gina Cucciniello


‘Renaissance is a leader in its field and has expanded over time. The high level of knowledge, professionalism and care which is provided is exceptional. Each branch of the firm work closely together and this makes the team as a whole very cohesive in how they work with clients.’

‘Philip Warford truly is an outstanding lawyer. It is very rare to find someone with all the qualities he has. He is highly professional, discreet, and exceptionally empathetic and incredibly knowledgeable in his field. You feel you are in very safe and knowledgeable hands with him and having him advocating for you provides a reassurance which is immeasurable. He is very easy to talk to and approach with any issue and also can refer to services out of his field which relate to the needs of families. He is passionate about making a difference not only to individual families, but to the disabled community as a whole. I cannot recommend him highly enough.’

‘Really excellent specialist knowledge and a wide network of links to other professionals to help you safeguard the future of your disabled child.’

Key clients


National Autistic Society

Work highlights

  • Working closely with Mencap in a unique partnership which improves access to specialist legal advice for families and carers of learning-disabled people.
  • Working alongside The National Autistic Society to provide advice and support to parents and carers of people with autism via a telephone helpline.

Warners Solicitors

Led by Mary Shaw, who specialises in estate planning advice for couples and families, the Tonbridge-based private client practice at Warners Solicitors fields an in-house tax team and also includes capital tax planning expert Philip Raggett. As a member of the firm’s agricultural and elderly and vulnerable team, Gail Hall advises on a range of matters including wills, lifetime tax planning, lasting powers of attorney and trust and estate administration issues. Richard Theobald advises executors on the administration of estates and restructurings for tax efficiency purposes, while full member of STEP Fiona Taylor deals with complex probate matters. Arshoo Singh joined the team from Weightmans LLP in September 2023.

Practice head(s):

Mary Shaw

Other key lawyers:

Philip Raggett; Gail Hall; Richard Theobald; Fiona Taylor; Tracy Sales; Arshoo Singh


‘Warners has a good team, covering all the different fields. I have never had anything other than good, well-informed and helpful advice from them. The team offers a personal service, is prompt and knowledgeable, and has a professional attitude. They are quick to understand personal requirements and advise accordingly.’

‘A hugely impressive private client practice that is very client focused and responsive. Gail Hall is a stand-out talent, she is extremely bright, has a great reputation in the market and has become a go-to adviser for me on private client matters. I cannot speak highly enough of her.’

‘A very professional service. They are caring and thoughtful towards clients and explained the issues and options clearly. Fiona Taylor was kind and professional in her work with my family after my father’s death. She was readily available and managed complicated family dynamics in a sensitive way.’

‘We have found them to be helpful, quick and professional. They often ‘go the extra mile’ to ensure that things are done on time. Gail Hall is exceptional.’

‘Tracy Sales handled our cases. Tracy was calm, thorough, and compassionate. At every stage, the process and next steps were clearly explained and we were gently guided through. We felt we were in safe hands and were consistently kept up-to-date on progress. Options and alternative ways of approaching things were explained from which we were able to make informed decisions. Given the sensitivities of what we were dealing with, being looked after in this way was much appreciated.’

‘The team are very approachable, accessible and friendly. They have good broad knowledge and are able to draw on specialist knowledge across their team.’

‘Fiona Taylor has been very helpful and provided guidance through a long and complicated estate process. She has been accessible, engaged and helpful. Ultimately the process has been significantly eased through this positive engagement.’

‘In our dealings with Mary Shaw, her humanity and compassion are very evident. She listens carefully to the clients’ worries and wishes, and clarifies anything which may be confusing on either side. She has the ability to put people at ease and explain even quite complex processes in a way that is easy to understand, without being patronising. She has a “matter of fact” approach which demystifies some of the more complex or scary legal processes which need to be followed. This gives the client confidence that their business is being handled professionally.  I would not hesitate to recommend Mary and Warners to anyone needing the advice of a solicitor.’