Back to United Kingdom - Solicitors

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

Brachers

Brachers advises wealthy regional families, agricultural clients and business owners on their succession planning, estate administration, family trusts and post-death disputes. The team is also experienced in high value and complicated contentious matters. Department head Christopher Eriksson-Lee handles business and agricultural assets - 'his knowledge of private client law is first class and he is a good listener'. Alexandra Gordon is a Chartered Tax Advisor, STEP member and Notary Public whilst Justine Sloover leads the department’s trust administration team.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Eriksson-Lee

Other key lawyers:

Alexandra Gordon; Justine Sloover; Mary Rimmer

Testimonials

‘Dedicated private client team, with a huge resource of experience. Exceptional trust department and excellent professional service always received.’

‘Personal service and the sensitive touch differentiate Brachers from the average law firm. Success of the team is forged on longstanding relationships and trust, formed in many cases over generations. Understanding family situations, forming and administering trusts, sensitivity over probate, arranging care for elderly clients and finding dynamic solutions for entrepreneurs are examples of the services provided by the team.’

‘The hallmarks of the team are professionalism, transparency and technical competence.’

‘Both Christopher Eriksson-Lee and Justine Sloover are highly knowledgeable, efficient and excellent client service. During the last year, both Chris and Justine and their team have continued to provide excellent legal advice and support during the pandemic.’

‘The individuals are very responsive and do not require chasing. Christopher Eriksson-Lee is an excellent practitioner who looks after some large trusts that my own firm does work for. We have a really good relationship which means the client has a team across different disciplines working together for the benefit of the client.’

‘Christopher Eriksson-Lee’s knowledge of private client law is first class and he is a good listener. He takes time to understand a client’s situation and works out how best to address their needs in a sensitive, supportive manner. He has excellent support from his fellow partner Alexandra Gordon.’

‘Mary Rimmer stands out as a professional who has demonstrated a level of care and support that goes well beyond the provision of technical advice and client service.’

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

The Guildford-based private client team at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP is headed up by 'excellent leader' Sally Ashford, who has significant experience of Court of Protection matters. The team offers a full range of core private-client services, including tax, trust, succession planning, and additionally it advises clients nationally and globally on estate management and family office structuring. The Guildford office also houses the legacy administration team which handles contentious and non-contentious work for charities. Richard Honey has expertise in complex estate administration matters.

Practice head(s):

Sally Ashford

Other key lawyers:

Richard Honey; Natalie Butler; Lauren Clarke

Testimonials

‘Excellent attention to detail. Excellent client focused advice, care, anticipation and appreciation of client specific risks.’

‘There is a real family feel to the practice whilst also being extremely professional. They are very knowledgeable and genuinely care about their clients and the long term outcomes. They are very collaborative when dealing with other professionals and always keep others informed where the client permits. ’

‘Excellent attention to detail and ability to advise based on the “bigger picture.” Disciplined and communicative approach. Excellent, client-focused advice, care, anticipation and appreciation of client specific risks.’

‘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.’

‘Charles Russell Speechlys at Guildford provided a very friendly and responsive team, led by Natalie Butler. Natalie was available to discuss matters with both me as executor and my brother and sister – they both felt very comfortable with the advice that Natalie gave to them directly.’

‘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.’

‘Lauren Clarke is delightful to work with. Complex situations with nervous clients who find themselves in uncharted territory are addressed with warmth and confidence, making her a trusted adviser. 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.’

Cripps Pemberton Greenish

Cripps Pemberton Greenish has a large private client team in Tunbridge Wells. Alongside the core private client offering, the team handles work related to trust and estate administration and philanthropic giving. Its regional, national and international clients include business owners, legal and financial professionals, estate owners and individuals with significant inherited wealth. Kate Arnold, who leads the team, has considerable experience advising a wide range of clients; she has a notable focus on UK and French succession. Paul Fairbairn has extensive experience advising international individuals whilst Stephen Horscroft is skilled at advising on complex capacity issues. Jessica Jamieson has a particular specialism in international probate matters.

Practice head(s):

Kate Arnold

Other key lawyers:

Paul Fairbairn; Stephen Horscroft; Jessica Jamieson

Testimonials

‘We were recommended this firm and were not disappointed. ’

‘Locally based firm in Tunbridge Wells, but providing a London class of service and professionalism.’

‘Cripps Pemberton Greenish have excellent lawyers with very good quality of work. ’

‘Kate Arnold is willing and able to explain the legal aspects of private wealth issues, particularly concerning wills and succession planning, and then deliver to an agreed strategy. Very friendly and approachable manner.’

‘Jessica Jamieson quickly grasped the case’s complex issues, provided clear and relevant advice and drafted easily readable and understandable documentation to achieve the agreed results’

‘Jessica Jamieson is an excellent lawyer both in the terms of technical knowledge and also client service/handling. She has a very detailed understanding of tax and trust issues as well as wider private client matters including Court of Protection. She has an eye for detail and will very often pick up on a point that others before her will have missed. She is very calm under pressure and a genuinely nice person to work with.’

Work highlights

  • Advised a formally resident and domiciled couple – who now live in the US and hold green cards but retain some properties in the UK – on their transatlantic estate planning.
  • Advising a CEO of a major private company on estate planning for his estate worth in excess of £100m, including shares in the business and a landed estate.
  • Acted for a terminally ill UHNW individual who owns a substantial London property portfolio and properties owned in two investment companies and by the client’s incapacitated elderly mother.

DMH Stallard LLP

DMH Stallard LLP has a strong regional presence, with offices in Brighton, Guildford and Horsham. Key names include Michael Derrick in Guildford and senior associate Deborah Henn in Horsham; Lorna Fairbairn leads the overall private client offering for the firm’s South East and London offices. The ‘first class‘ team advises on wills, administration of estates, acting as executor, trustee or deputy, estate planning, trust creation and Court of Protection applications. Bryan Dean has expertise in the administration of estates and associate Stuart Price, who joined the Brighton team from Thomson Snell & Passmore, has strengths in estate planning.

Practice head(s):

Michael Derrick; Deborah Henn

Other key lawyers:

Lorna Fairbairn; Bryan Dean; Kerry Young; Stuart Price

Testimonials

‘A prompt, professional and efficient service from the firm as a whole. This gave me confidence when referring further clients to the firm.’

‘DHM Stallard are first class. Nothing was ever too much trouble for them and all my queries etc were answered quickly and things I didn’t understand were explained clearly. I have had dealings with other solicitors but DMH Stallard were far superior and efficient.’

‘Kerry Young is very capable in her field and uses the strong backup within the firm when niche expertise is necessary. I always feel that I am getting priority even though I am sure that as a client I am somewhat smaller than most of the DMHS portfolio. I have confidence in their advice.’

‘Deborah Henn is very knowledgeable in her field and she has been very supportive and understanding while undertaking the wishes of my parent’s wills following their deaths. Her knowledge of the law and processes is exemplary.’

‘Michael Derrick was the person I dealt with the most and I cannot rate him high enough. He made a very sad and emotional time for me easier to deal with by showing empathy and concern. I felt I could ask him anything and felt if I didn’t understand something, that I could talk to him easily and openly. He was always in touch with me on a regular basis to ask how I was and explain the next steps needed.’

Work highlights

  • Advising on corporate and private client matters, including the creation of a FIC and a family trust, IHT, a business exit and succession planning; generating significant potential tax savings.
  • Assisting with structuring the UK affairs of a musician domiciled in Canada and advising on domicile for IHT purposes (global estate value in excess of £20m).
  • Acting for executors in the administration of a high value estate of circa £4.2m, involving the preparation of a detailed deed of variation and negotiations with residuary charity beneficiaries; avoiding a potentially costly and lengthy dispute.

Irwin Mitchell

In addition to the core client offering, the private client team at Irwin Mitchell  has a sub-team which acts on behalf of minor beneficiaries for life insurance policy trusts, and two trust companies and wealth management capabilities in-house. Caroline Shelton, Gatwick department head, specialises in advising clients on their wealth preservation and succession planning and Paula James heads the Chichester office. Darran Fawcett heads the trust administration and compliance team in Chichester and Rose Macfarlane joined the team in 2020 from Adams & Remers with expertise in approval for trustee decisions.

Practice head(s):

Caroline Shelton; Paula James; Paula Myers

Other key lawyers:

Darran Fawcett; Rose Macfarlane

Testimonials

‘Great communication skills, attention to detail. Really nice people to deal with, who seem to care about the client’

‘Always deliver 100% effort in responding in a time fashion and in a very professional manner. They clearly come across as wanting to make a difference for their clients.’

‘The service we have received from this team, led by Caroline Shelton, has been outstanding. As a private client I wanted a very high quality of service with professional and reliable advice. This Irwin Mitchell team have exceeded my expectations. There have been no weak links in an excellent team.’

‘Excellent collaboration and co-operation between departments. A one-stop shop for all aspects of legal advice. Clean, tidy and welcoming meeting rooms with refreshments always available. Always a warm welcome from the receptionist who has been made aware of your meeting before your arrival. An email and/or call from the senior partner several times a year, simply to keep in touch, is most welcome. Flexible meeting arrangements – different geographic locations, after hours, online – ensures matters are dealt with promptly and efficiently. Being able to call partners directly without a long wait on a switchboard is extremely helpful.’

‘Caroline Shelton quickly found solutions to complex family matters, is always well prepared for meetings and remembers family names and situations without reminding. She is always welcoming, reassuring and helpful with her analysis of complex family matters and offers well considered helpful advice.’

‘The team at Irwin Mitchell give an excellent, friendly and professional service. ’

‘They are experts in their field and provide clear, concise and pragmatic advice. They respond quickly and efficiently.’

Work highlights

  • Advising professional trustees on the termination of a trust unequally between beneficiaries, and on seeking Court approval of their decisions on a non-contentious basis, to end any trustee exposure to the risk of future claims, including by minors and unborns.
  • Advising a UK resident client on the tax and other implications of significant reporting errors for a £24m offshore trust, and a possible rescission claim in the courts.
  • Providing second opinion advice, in particular in relation to domicile, on the administration of a complex international estate with multiple wills across jurisdictions including Hong Kong and New Zealand, resulting in an IHT saving of £1.3m.

Stevens & Bolton LLP

Stevens & Bolton LLP’s private client team is based in Guildford; the firm is described as being 'akin to a London firm outside of the City'. As well as the full range of private client services, including succession and estate planning, the team has been growing its tax compliance abilities. The department is also increasingly advising on cross-border matters. Stuart Skeffington heads the team; he has considerable experience in all core aspects of tax, trusts and charities work. Nick Acomb holds experience in tax planning for non-UK domiciliaries and international succession issues, whilst Daryl Fox leads the probate and estate administration team.

Practice head(s):

Stuart Skeffington

Other key lawyers:

Nick Acomb; Daryl Fox; Rosie Todd

Testimonials

‘Stevens & Bolton were very good at simplifying complex issues and making clear to us what we were signing up for.’

‘They are very competent, thorough, effective.’

‘I never hesitate to refer clients to this team, knowing that they will be well looked after.’

‘Very quick to respond on emails and knowledgeable in their areas. They were very happy to have follow-up calls to answer questions we had and put our minds at rest and make any changes we requested. Really high level of service and friendliness unusual for a larger firm of solicitors.’

‘Thoroughly professional team giving sound clear advice to myself my family and my clients. The firm gives high value for money’

‘Stevens & Bolton are akin to a London firm outside of the City. Many of them are ex-City lawyers and the service you received from them is top rate.’

‘Rosie Todd is very efficient and has been responsive – I have valued her advice.’

‘Daryl Fox is the complete article when it comes to advising on private client and trust related matters. They have been assisting my wife and I for many years in complex (and politically tricky) trust matters. We would recommend them as a team to anyone dealing with such matters. They are highly effective, efficient, approachable and reasonably priced. They go the extra mile.’

Thomson Snell & Passmore

Thomson Snell & Passmore’s private client team has a primarily regional focus on tax planning for clients with complex assets and structures, trust management, Court of Protection cases and contentious probate. The department is led by Nicola Plant, who is skilled in advising individuals and families on their estate planning, asset protection and inheritance tax and capital gains tax planning. Helen Stewart is head of probate, with specialisms in high-net-worth estates with complex tax and intestacy matters. Christopher Walker has particular expertise in advising domestic and non-domiciled clients on their personal matters whilst also acting as a trustee for family trusts.

Practice head(s):

Nicola Plant

Other key lawyers:

Helen Stewart; Chris Walker; Esther Lee

Testimonials

‘They are a highly skilled and efficient team with a very good reputation. They embrace technology and have taken advantage of the benefits new forms of communication can offer, particularly through the pandemic. ’

‘Helen Stewart is approachable, intelligent, efficient and clear with her advice to her clients. She is always acting in their best interests and she doesn’t hesitate to get involved in and help resolve complex matters. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Helen to friends, colleagues and clients.’

Adams & Remers

Adams & Remers provides a full private client service, covering estate tax and succession planning, wills, probate, trust management and elderly client issues. The team has many long-standing high-net-worth clients. Bibi Fortin Lees, who heads the private client team in Lewes, is a member of STEP and the Law Society Private Client Section - she is described as 'a first-class private client lawyer'. Francis Nation-Dixon is also a founder member of STEP. The firm is praised for having 'a wealth of experience and expertise that far exceeds many legal practices of this size.'

Practice head(s):

Bibi Fortin Lees

Other key lawyers:

Francis Nation-Dixon; Amanda Epstein; Catherine Fromant

Testimonials

‘The team provides the expertise of a London practice with the personal service of a local firm.’

‘Wide ranging experts in every field, readily accessible and prompt’

‘The firm has a wealth of experience and expertise that far exceeds many legal practices of this size, whilst continuing to provide clients with a friendly, personal and supportive service.’

‘Bibi Fortin-Lees is a first-class private client lawyer. Originally trained with one of the best London law firms and bringing London service to the South East at an affordable price. ’

‘I have no hesitation in recommending Bibi Fortin Lees to my private clients for excellent advice delivered in a professional and considerate manner. A detailed consideration is given on all issues, providing real comfort to clients when they are often at periods of genuine stress in their personal lives.’

Coole Bevis LLP

The private client team at Coole Bevis LLP is spread across offices in Brighton, Hove and Horsham. The department handles matters for clients based in the South East and London, while also increasing its international focus, advising on complex estate planning and administrations and trusts. Jenny Murphy leads the private client team also heads the Court of Protection practice in Horsham whilst also sitting on the Panel of Deputies. Alex Bowers handles high-net-worth estate and tax planning matters in addition to multi-jurisdictional estate administration.

Practice head(s):

Jenny Murphy

Other key lawyers:

Alex Bowers; Emily Wardrope; Amanda Owen

Testimonials

‘I like the team’s ability to use down to earth language to explain complicated matters. It is an art to do this without sounding patronising or omitting complex but pertinent risks.’

‘The team work in an efficient manner. There is a good variety of experience and nothing is ever too much trouble for them to deal with.’

‘Kindness, compassion and sensitivity are just three of the strengths that come to mind. My solicitor is a truly amazing human being and her thoughtfulness towards our family during our bereavement was truly first class. ’

‘High level of competence and knowledge of field of law relevant to our needs. Very sympathetic in regard to our situation. Excellent all round.’

‘Jenny Murphy has a very good knowledge of her area of expertise. She also deals with client matters in a timely and efficient manner.’

‘Jenny Murphy in particular is outstanding. She leads a great team but her personal expertise and breadth of knowledge combined with natural empathy and compassion is in a class of its own for all private client matters. You really could not find a better candidate to represent you in times of need.’

‘Emily Wardrope is helpful, compassionate and warm.’

‘Amanda Owen led me through the process with thoroughness, efficiency and gave sound advice. I was impressed with how quickly she replied to my emails; if I was concerned about any part of the business I knew I would not have to wait for an answer, and this was particularly invaluable in dealing with the sons.’

‘Alex Bowers has been efficient and helpful in numerous matters – highly recommended.’

Furley Page Solicitors

Furley Page Solicitors’ private client team handles estate planning and succession advice for HNW and UHNW clients, Court of Protection matters and trusts administration. The practice also has a niche specialism in French wills, with three French speakers among the team. Aaron Spencer leads the team, advising high-net-worth clients based in both Kent and London while Joshua Williams has clients in Whitstable. Senior associate Sarah Bogard specialises in French property, tax and estates. Melanie Christodoulou has expertise in intestacy matters and cross-border work.

Practice head(s):

Aaron Spencer

Other key lawyers:

Joshua Williams; Sarah Bogard; Melanie Christodoulou

Testimonials

‘The team cover a broad range of areas, and with sufficient expertise to have confidence that all aspects will be taken into account. I find the team to be very responsive, proactive and approachable.’

‘Furley Page are an established and highly regarded firm in Canterbury. Our experience in working with them is always enjoyable and beneficial to all involved. The individual lawyers and their assistants are also great to work with being competent, professional and communicative. ’

‘By having a complete suite of services within the private client team to support French property owners and buyers, both from a French and and English legal and tax perspective, Furley Page has successfully covered this niche area. ’

‘I appreciate the consistent quality that I get from Furley Page. The quality, presentation and branding of their documentation and guidance is so clear that it inspires a level of confidence in their professionalism. I’ve been a client in a number of practice areas over several years and always been very happy with the results and the service.’

‘Aaron Spencer was excellent at simplifying complex issues and writing in a style that I can understand. He was always able to answer all questions to my satisfaction. ’

‘Aaron Spencer is a knowledgeable solicitor, with a practical approach, who is very personable and gets on well with clients.’

‘Melanie Christodoulou kept me fully informed about how the process of probate worked and its likely timescale. I felt involved without in any way feeling overwhelmed.’

‘Sarah Bogard is clearly an expert in her area, and has the ability to distill complex areas of law and tax into a language that the layperson can understand and make informed choices from.’

Work highlights

  • Advising local businessman, fundraiser and record-breaking mountaineer Hari Budha Magar with his family’s private client affairs.
  • Acting on behalf of the executors for the estate of the late Hans-Joachim Cohne, the former managing director of Cohline UK.
  • Acting on behalf of the executors for English record-breaking quadriplegic sailor’s estate.

Judge & Priestley LLP

The Kent-based private client team at Judge & Priestley LLP has developed its offering to include advice on probate and administration of UK and international estates, philanthropy and succession of digital assets. Its clients include high-net-worth individuals, family businesses and entrepreneurs. The department is divided into private wealth, trusts and administration, estate administration and management, and Court of Protection teams. The private client team is co-led by David Chandra, who has expertise in handling high-value estates, and Brian Tan, who has experience handling Inheritance Tax and succession planning.

Practice head(s):

David Chandra; Brian Tan

Testimonials

‘Great contact and explanation of processes. Prompt response to letters and emails. Set clear time lines and maintained contact if there was any changes. ’

‘Extremely knowledgeable. Managed expectations from the start. Kept me updated of progress very frequently. I felt my interests were well looked after. Very complex probate administration with very many angles to it, from property valuations and transfers to sale of shares and dealing with inheritance tax liability.

‘A highly reputable and cohesive team with individuals who are technical experts in their fields and very sensitive to clients’ needs.’

‘The firm gives excellent advice with the expertise to serve a broad spectrum of clients. I refer my more complex cases to them knowing that they will provide the best outcome for the clients. An excellent firm all round.’

‘In my experience the coordination of the whole team at Judge & Priestley is remarkable. The team has experience in cross-border matters and it understands the complexity of such matters. ’

‘David Chandra is a great communicator and very personable. ’

‘Brian Tan is highly skilled in resolving challenging legal issues in high value and complex estates.’

‘Brian Tan is a truly remarkable individual. I have a never met a solicitor as knowledgeable and dynamic as he is. Always explaining everything in simple-to-understand terms. I felt he was looking after my interests and that I was in safe hands. I wholeheartedly recommend him.’

Work highlights

  • Acting for a client in the administration of a cross-border estate of a deceased who died in tragic circumstances, involving assets in the UK, Spain and Jersey.
  • Advising a high net worth client in creating innovative structures to assist with the transfer of wealth from one generation to the next, using a combination of family trust and corporate vehicle.
  • Acting for a client in the administration of multi-jurisdictional estate involving assets in the UK, France, Cyprus and Jersey.

Moore Barlow

Moore Barlow’s private client team offers 'clear and incisive advice, unfailing professionalism and a relationship-orientated approach'. Alongside the core private client offering, the team holds expertise in succession planning for clients based locally, in London and internationally. Its clients include SME businesses, individuals with inherited wealth and high-net-worth individuals. The firm’s Lymington office in particular handles work for clients with farms and landed estates. The department is led by STEP qualified Tim Adams in Guildford; he has expertise in complex trusts, tax will writing and wealth management work. Recently promoted partner Alexandra Milton leads the private wealth team in Woking.

Practice head(s):

Tim Adams

Other key lawyers:

Alexandra Milton; Samantha King; Daniel Milano

Testimonials

‘Expert personal service. Excellent implementation of remote working systems.’

‘Alexandra Milton has helped my family and I in various areas. Alexandra has always provided a fantastic service to us – she is knowledgeable, responsive and adaptable. I enjoy working with her.’

‘Daniel Milano is such a genuinely nice person, who is always on the end of the phone when needed. Extremely professional and yet very personable. Knowledgeable and if he is unclear or unsure of legal aspects he will check with his associates within the firm.’

‘We have consulted Moore Barlow, and for some years we have not found it necessary to consult other firms. Clear and incisive advice, unfailing professionalism and a relationship-orientated approach characterises the firm.’

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP advises individuals, families and business owners based in the UK and internationally on the full range of private client needs. Lucy Edwards leads the team in Guildford after moving there from London; she has expertise in estate and succession planning for UK and international clients. Adrian Moss leads a team which provides accounting and tax and trust compliance service to clients including trustees, executors and individuals. Associate director Hannah Gearey handles complex offshore probate and philanthropy matters.

Practice head(s):

Lucy Edwards

Other key lawyers:

Adrian Moss; Hannah Gearey; Elizabeth Nicholas; Vanessa Riley

Testimonials

‘The firm are professional, personable and caring. I genuinely feel they put the customer at the heart of all they do. This has not only been my experience but also the same constantly high standard service and experience of my friends, family and colleagues who I have recommended to Penningtons Manches Cooper.’

‘Clarity of advice, availability and always willing to ensure every issue is thoroughly thought through and perfectly explained.’

‘As a team, they are brilliant at joining the dots which means the client experience is seamless. I’ve always had a point of contact at Penningtons and they’ve ensured the internal navigation is completed on my behalf. I also think one of Pennington’s particular strengths is listening. They are so good at truly listening to you, even when you’re grieving and distressed. From the moment you walk through the door to sitting down with lots of potentially scary lawyers, they make you feel in safe hands. And the reality was, I was in the safest of hands. They’re an amazing group of people and I can’t thank them enough.’

‘Their compassion and empathy is incredible and a rarity within their profession. They bring an immense amount of expertise, patience and professionalism to each interaction with the client, whether that’s on the phone, in person or in writing. I valued the speed and brevity at which they managed each of my circumstances – they always responded to emails promptly, thoroughly and on-point. Crucially, all costs/fees were transparent throughout – no bill shock.’

‘This is the best private client team outside central London and possibly outside the magic circle, full stop.’

‘Lucy Edwards leads the team and is a top-class private client lawyer.’

‘Vanessa Riley is superb at explaining extremely complex areas of law which enabled me to keep fully across what we were doing and why. She also has a wicked sense of humour, which massively helps when you want to cry, scream or both!’

‘Elizabeth Nicholas is the most impressive solicitor in the private client arena below partner level I have ever worked with. She is always pragmatic, determined and persuasive. She achieves solutions for clients that other could not through a combination of strategic thinking and technical expertise.’

Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP

Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP handles a broad range of private client services, including capital tax planning, wills, trusts, probate and estate planning. The team’s clients include high-net-worth individuals such as entrepreneurs, business owners and directors, and the private client team regularly works closely with the wider firm’s corporate department. Bruce Clarke heads the private client department in Sevenoaks after joining the firm in 2019. STEP member Max Wright frequently acts as executor and trustee for clients. Ian Best is skilled at complex will drafting whilst Alan Foster has particular expertise in Inheritance Act claims.

Practice head(s):

Bruce Clarke

Other key lawyers:

Max Wright; Ian Best; Alan Foster

Testimonials

‘Good communicators; top end IT systems; empathetic; caring and client-focused. Technically adroit, and they deliver good value. They don’t have that rigid corporate style – I always feel that I am dealing with likeable people doing their best for you – they are not robots reading scripts.’

‘The team have been especially proactive and available over the pandemic. They have always been very quick to return email and have gone the extra mile to overcome practical difficulties.’

‘The members of the team from the front to the back office were courteous, discreet and professional in all areas of their work. Giving advice clearly and guiding the process in all aspects of the business we were handling. I was also impressed with the seamless way Rix & Kay worked with our IFA.’

‘Very good at handling difficult trust situations and difficult beneficiaries. Good problem solving and clear thinking.’

‘I have worked with Bruce Clarke over a number of years. He is very personable and easy to work with. Good client manner too.’

‘Ian Best has advised my wife and I on drawing up our wills and lasting powers of attorney. We found him to be very approachable, highly professional and extremely knowledgeable. He has an ability to grasp and understand immediately and exactly what our family needs are and, to date, has set out effective and clear solutions for us to consider and which have informed our decision making. We intend instructing Mr Best to advise us on other matters related to estate planning in the near future.’

‘Ian Best is approachable, likeable, reliable and technically sound; to-the-point.’

‘I dealt with Max Wright on several matters and his vast experience allied to very clear explanations and advice was excellent.’

TWM Solicitors LLP

With nine solicitors in the team STEP-qualified, TWM Solicitors LLP handles a wide range of private client work, including for high-net-worth individuals, such as advising on their estate administration, preparation of wills, tax planning, Court of Protection matters and trust creations. The team is increasingly advising on international matters. The private client team is led by Caroline Foulger, who is a chartered tax advisor, enabling her to effectively advise on stamp duty land tax and capital gains tax queries. Allison Crossman, former head and now director of the TWM Trust Corporation Ltd, specialises in all aspects of estate administration.

Practice head(s):

Caroline Foulger

Other key lawyers:

Allison Crossman; Stuart Downey; Laura Walkley

Testimonials

‘Polite, professional, approachable and timely – a far better service on all fronts than other law firms which tend to be opaque and impenetrable. Intra-company referrals to other specialists have been prompt and their advice also top class.’

‘I find them easy and friendly to deal with, and I always get concise advice. I have several clients as well as myself who deal with TWM. They are able to communicate with clients at all levels and make them feel valued. They are quick to respond to queries’

‘We have been working with TWM on a referral basis for a number of years and their overall professionalism stands out, compared to other firms we have had dealings with. A key strength is technical knowledge and thinking ‘outside of the box’ for our clients.’

‘TWM are a great firm to work with. They have a number of offices across Surrey and London which means they maintain their family approach without feeling too corporate. They are essentially a one stop shop offering most legal services and we have found them to offer an excellent service in a number of areas.’

‘Caroline Foulger is very professional. Approachable but expert in her field, drawing not just from technical knowledge but also experience. She is responsive, empathetic and collaborative where needed. Caroline has our best interests at heart, and I trust her judgement completely.’

‘Allison Crossman has been very helpful and supportive in addition to being very knowledgeable and experienced. She has also been sympathetic in addition to being very professional. She is timely in replying to calls and emails, thorough with work and she is also happy to recommend others for additional help (all of whom within the practice have been very helpful and professional). Allison is approachable and doesn’t rush you when asking questions or feel that asking any questions are stupid.’

‘Stuart Downey is really knowledgeable on a broad range of private client matters. I have no hesitation in passing my clients over to Stuart in the secure knowledge that he will treat them as I would.’

‘Caroline Foulger is professional, experienced but friendly and approachable.’

Batchelors

Batchelors' private client team covers a wide range of non-contentious work, including wills, lasting and general powers of attorney, Court of Protection matters, probate and tax planning. The team is led by Edward White, who has particular expertise in wills, lasting powers of attorney and estate administration, and Nick Stotesbury, who is skilled in claims for financial provision under the Inheritance Act 1975. Consultant Sarah Hickey, who recently handed over leadership of the private client team to White, continues to advise clients in the finance and health and welfare sectors on a range of significant matters.

Practice head(s):

Edward White; Nick Stotesbury

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Hickey

Testimonials

‘The team offers a wealth of experience in probate and succession disputes and is able to guide clients carefully and considerately through an often challenging experience.’

‘The team has a very personable approach. This helps substantially when trying to deal different types of clients. They speak in a language that everyone can understand and strive to ensure each person is completely happy.’

‘High degree of technical knowledge. Good use of simple will process through questionnaires.’

‘Edward White is my primary content as his knowledge is excellent. He is able to advise on complicated trust and estate matters.’

‘Sarah Hickey has been excellent in keeping up to date with our family situation and agreeing how best to proceed.’

‘Nick Stotesbury is very familiar with the practicalities of resolving inheritance disputes. He understands how disputes play out and gives clients sound advice as to how to approach them.’

‘I mainly deal with Sarah Hickey and Edward White. Both are very approachable and easy to speak to. Also, any information that I request is received in a prompt manner. They cannot do enough to help!’

‘Edward White is excellent. Nicholas Stotesbury is a brilliant litigator.’

Girlings

Girlings offers a wide range of private client services from offices in Canterbury, Herne Bay and Ashford, led by Lesley Rushton, Charlotte Nock and Louise Wilson respectively. Rushton has particular expertise in wills, trusts and probate and acts as a deputy to a growing number of clients, while Nock handles cross-border matters with her fluency in French.

Practice head(s):

Lesley Rushton; Charlotte Nock; Louise Wilson

Testimonials

‘From start to finish the team at Girlings were extremely thorough but were able to do this with compassion and empathy. I will always recommend Girlings’

‘The individuals working with my client are some of the most available and involved deputies that I have worked with in my field. They care greatly for my client and ensure that the finances are holistically viewed as part of client wellness. They keep my client at the heart of decision making and include him and his views in decisions whenever possible, while protecting his finances and financial privacy.’

‘We have referred clients to Girlings who have wanted to discuss establishing a Will and Powers of Attorney. The feedback we have had is that they are professional with a personal touch which is greatly valued when discussing these matters. They are always happy to meet face to face or make arrangements via email or telephone’

‘Girlings Solicitors are a highly professional business offering a top-quality service. The teams are friendly, knowledgeable and experienced in their fields. We have collaborated with them in the past and this has been a very successful partnership.’

‘In what has been a very difficult year for everyone the team at Girlings have remained available and contactable and have dealt promptly with matters raised by either me or my clients approaching us for clarification and information on a timely basis without having to be chased.’

‘Lesley Rushton has been outstanding in her support to me, not only handling the legal formalities of two estates of close relatives, but also taking a huge weight from my shoulders during a very difficult emotional time. I have had absolute confidence in her dealing with estates, which has been so important at a time when the current pandemic has made life twice as difficult.’

‘Charlotte Nock is professional, kind and understanding. Charlotte always goes out of her way to help and support clients and charities. Charlotte is never too busy to listen and give advice when needed. I feel supported and listened to.’

‘Louise Wilson is highly knowledgeable and passionate about helping charities and the wider community.’

Work highlights

  • Acted for a client in a highly complex cross-border intestacy matter in which unilateral foreign tax relief was successfully claimed on the English estate despite there being no double taxation relief treaty between England and Belgium for succession tax purposes.
  • Acting as both UK and Australian Deputy in the registering ‘strata tile’ for sale of a £6m property on the Australian Gold Coast and applying for orders from the Australian Trustee and Guardian to sell the property and remove the funds to the UK once sold to raise money for the client’s UK care fees.
  • Acting for a client regarding a valid Will with no living executors and the challenging process of identifying a client and possible beneficiaries as French nationals. This involved seeking to ascertain beneficial entitlement from the ‘Livret de Famille’ from various sources.

Herrington Carmichael LLP

The private client team at Herrington Carmichael LLP handles probate, estate planning and elderly and vulnerable client matters for regional and London-based clients, including high-net-worth individuals and directors of SMEs. After joining the firm from Anderson Rowntree in 2021, Charlotte Woods now heads the private client team in Camberley. Former practice head Anthony Tahourdin has experience in business property relief and agricultural property whilst Frankie Tierney has considerable expertise in handling matters involving Chancery Division disputes.

Practice head(s):

Charlotte Woods

Other key lawyers:

Anthony Tahourdin; Frankie Tierney; Sonia Dhesi

Testimonials

‘Herrington Carmichael get the blend right between being approachable and professional. We have a range of clients from different backgrounds and Herrington Carmichael deals with them all in a way that puts them at ease and as importantly fulfils their professional obligations. ’

‘The staff at HC are good communicators. I appreciate that they are good at responding in a timely manner.’

‘A very personal efficient service, providing sound advice in all areas of private client work. Herrington Carmichael are more efficient and knowledgeable than most firms. ’

‘Approachable, easy to access, good sound advice. Wide range of departments that can deal with matters as they arise. Always on hand to provide advice to myself, my team and my clients on a range of needs. ’

‘Herrington Carmichael get the blend right between being approachable and professional – something that the legal profession often has issues with. We have a range of clients from different backgrounds and Herrington Carmichael deals with them all in a way that puts them at ease and as importantly fulfills their professional obligations. ’

‘Charlotte Woods is extremely knowledgeable in her field and is able to explain even the most complicated matters in the simplest of terms.’

‘Sonia Dhesi is a wonderful human being with a keen sense of humour. All of our connected clients speak incredibly well of how easy Sonia is to speak with, and how diligent she is towards her work. From my perspective she is incredibly responsive when it comes to any queries I may have.’

‘Anthony Tahourdin inspires such confidence in his knowledge and his professionalism is beyond reproach. I take the greatest care when I refer my clients to specialists and I will choose Anthony whenever possible because he has delivered every time.’

Keystone Law

At ‘virtual firm’ Keystone Law, the bench of South East private client lawyers cover a wide range of private client issues such as wills, trust work and probate issues, working with a variety of international and UK based clients. Robert Knight has particular expertise in issues of succession, trust and UK personal tax. Alex Boothman  frequently advises high-net-worth international clients on tax planning and asset protection.

Other key lawyers:

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

Testimonials

‘I have regular dealings with Robert Knight who has been excellent in providing advice to my clients. Robert is very empathetic to a clients needs and is an extremely good listener. He personally deals with my clients which is what i like and is very responsive not only in contacting the client but also in providing feedback to me.’

‘Camilla Bishop is a great communicator, excellent at explaining what needs to be done and helping the clients understand everything.’

Morrisons Solicitors LLP

The private client team at Morrisons Solicitors LLP merged with Wheelers in 2020. The expanded practice specialises in advising clients on Court of Protection matters, capacity issues, business and heritage property and mitigation of capital gains tax, as well as an increase in contentious probate and trust work. Holly Chantler leads the team with expertise in handling work regarding elderly and vulnerable clients. Kellie Williams-Jauvel is another key member of the team.

Practice head(s):

Holly Chantler

Other key lawyers:

Kellie Williams-Jauvel; Sarah Ahchoon

Testimonials

‘The team has gone from strength to strength in recent years and is now one of the stand-out practices in the South East, especially with relation to Court of Protection matters.’

‘The team embrace technology and are constantly seeking new and innovative ways that data and emerging technology can improve their ability to better support clients and work more efficiently. All members of the team I have dealt with are exceptionally knowledgeable and deeply care about delivering the best possible service and advice to clients. ’

‘Morrisons believes in its staff and ensures that each member of staff displays the same positive, intelligent approach to solving clients’ problems in an efficient courteous manner in a timely way. This is very refreshing. Morrisons puts people first both in the manner it treats its own staff and the way it treats its clients.’

‘Holly Chantler is smart, intelligent and values her staff immensely and she tells them so.’

‘Sarah Ahchoon is highly intelligent, a bundle of energy and a great problem solver.’

‘Holly Chantler is firmly a leader of the pack in the field of Court of Protection matters.’

‘Holly Chantler is exceptionally committed to the sector.’

‘Sarah Ahchoon is also  a standout team member and cares deeply about her clients and ensures an exceptional service is delivered always with regard to the clients best interests. ’

Renaissance Legal

The private client team at Renaissance Legal in Brighton specialises in advising on issues related to wills, trusts, powers of attorney and Court of Protection applications for clients who are disabled and vulnerable, their families and their carers. The team is co-headed by Philip Warford and Katherine Miller - the duo 'live and breathe the values of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, putting these in to practice for the benefit of clients and their families.'

Practice head(s):

Philip Warford; Katherine Miller

Testimonials

‘Renaissance Legal provide a unique legal service to people with learning disability and their families. A caring, professional and competitively priced firm that understand that it is just as important to put people at ease as it is provide good advice.’

‘Philp Warford is excellent at putting vulnerable people at ease.’

‘The practice is unique due to its specialism in supporting adults with learning disabilities and the parents of children (including adult children) with learning disabilities. The team’s expertise in mental capacity and planning ahead for this client group is impressive, and sets them apart from private client teams who do more generic work.’

‘Philip Warford and Katherine Miller both have brilliant client care skills which allow full trust and engagement by a client group who can find it difficult to know which lawyers to use and trust. They both live and breathe the values of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, putting these in to practice for the benefit of clients and their families.’

‘As a private client charged with looking after the financial affairs of an adult vulnerable niece, who has inherited a significant amount of money, this firm came to my attention as specialising in working with vulnerable people and their families. It became clear that the team possesses a excellent breadth and depth of knowledge in their chosen specialisation, and shows a real understanding of the needs of vulnerable people and also their families.’

‘When my husband and I met and spoke to Philip Warford, we felt we had found an adviser for life. He lifted a burden, helping us to understand what we needed to do to plan for our disabled son’s future. We had received advice previously that did not fill us with confidence, whereas Philip does that. His level of knowledge and interest in us is high.’

‘Katherine Miller was recommended to us by local care providers for specialist support to families with disabled members. She has acted with exemplary care and consideration. Her knowledge of these specialist areas is evidently complete and current, and her ability to convey complex mechanisms and implications has been particularly noteworthy.’

‘My perspective on Renaissance Legal is tempered by four decades in industry dealing from time to time with large commercial law practices in London and New York. Though Renaissance is small, the style and professional standards of the firm would compare well with the best of them. I have no hesitation in recommending this firm to others in need of specialist advice and have indeed passed their details to two other families.’

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.
  • Acting for Castlewood Trust & Company Limited in the preparation of legal documents which they need for their clients.
  • Advising the National Autistic Society regarding parents and carers of people with autism via a telephone helpline.

Russell-Cooke LLP

Russell-Cooke LLP is skilled at advising high-net-worth, domestic and international clients on contentious trusts and probate matters and tax planning. Julie Man joined the private client team in 2020 from Mundays; she has a focus on business succession planning and cross-border matters for high-net-worth clients, and co-heads the team with Kieran Bowe.

Practice head(s):

Julie Man; Kieran Bowe

Thackray Williams LLP

Elliot Lewis, who has expertise in handling the affairs of high-net-worth and high-profile clients, heads the private client team at Thackray Williams LLP in Bromley. The firm also has offices located in Sevenoaks and London, the latter of which is lead by Anthony Macey. The team handles wills, trusts, inheritance, tax planning, elderly client care, LPAs and Court of Protection matters for high-net-worth clients often with busines interests or assets abroad. Senior associate Zahra Kanani has a specialism in Sharia-compliant wills.

Practice head(s):

Elliot Lewis; Anthony Macey

Other key lawyers:

Zahra Kanani

Testimonials

‘My wife and I were extremely satisfied that the team were responsive to our questions.’

‘Special praise goes to Zahra Kanani. Her advice was easy to follow and very clear.’

‘I have a good relationship with the firm and Zahra Kanani. My experience has been exceptional and Zahra has been highly responsive to my clients. I have clients often come back to me who have spoken very highly about Zahra.’

Warners Solicitors

Warners Solicitors’ team is led by Mary Shaw, who specialises in helping families manage their assets held in trusts. The firm's clients include high-net-worth clients and families, and the broad range of services that the team offers includes advice on estate and lifetime tax planning, creating trusts, trust compliance, Powers of Attorney and Court of Protection matters. The firm also has a Court of Protection team as well as an in-house tax team. Philip Raggett advises on capital taxes estate planning, and Gail Hall specialises in wills, life-time tax planning, Lasting Powers of Attorney and trusts and estate administration.

Practice head(s):

Mary Shaw

Other key lawyers:

Philip Raggett; Gail Hall; Martin Terrell

Testimonials

‘Great understanding of the local area, key suppliers and ability to make and maintain networks of contacts to support clients with a variety of legal challenges.’

‘Warners provides high quality advice and service to the local market.’

‘My experience has been very good and I cannot fault the service I received. Dealing with lawyers and law firms can sometimes make one feel quite apprehensive; however the team’s approachable manner makes you feel at ease and dispel the myth that lawyers are scary people. The service I received was personable to work undertaken and not treated like a one size fits all approach which you often find with large firms of solicitors.’

‘From the outset I found Warners to be extremely knowledgeable, helpful, efficient and empathetic, added to which the charges for probate were clear and reasonable. I had total confidence in the team to deal with my mother’s probate.’

‘From the first phone call to the general office, the service given by the firm was exceptional, from the solicitor and her associates who dealt with my mother’s will, a professional, friendly and prompt service. All queries where dealt with promptly and although we were in the throes of a global pandemic everything ran very smoothly. I would certainly have no hesitation in using this firm again for any legal matters.’

‘From their town centre modern premises Warners provide very comprehensive legal services. They work to traditional standards, delivered by contemporary methods. They have a significant local presence.’

‘Mary Shaw is a partner of great integrity and dedication.’

‘Mary Shaw was very knowledgeable, explained everything in plain English in a pleasant, controlled and sympathetic manner. Often these types of issues can be charged with emotion, so you need a lawyer who can put you at ease. The charging was discussed and agreed before any work started, so there was no nasty surprises at the end.’