Personal tax, trusts and probate: Thames Valley, Berks, Oxon, M4/M40 in South East
Blandy & Blandy LLP handles all matters in relation to wills and estate planning, non-contentious and contentious probate, lasting powers of attorney (LPAs) and Court of Protection matters. Key advisors in the the Reading office include head of practice Jonathan Gater, who specialises in trusts and estate administrations and Caroline Casagranda, the lead partner for matters related to tax planning and LPAs. Graham Benwell likewise has significant experience in the field of tax and estate planning involving wills and trusts.
Jonathan Gater; Caroline Casagranda
Other key lawyers:
‘First class team. A joy to work with and for. Regularly recommend them.’
‘Blandy & Blandy provide an excellent service to their clients and have the ability to explain complex matters to make clients feel at ease.’
‘Attention to detail, quality of service and value for money.’
There is a broad range of experience within this department/team.’
‘For the handling of my step-mother’s will and the ensuing sale of her house, it was very clear that Blandy and Blandy LLP had highly competent and experienced staff with detailed knowledge of the relevant law. Precision and timeliness were the virtues of the service I experienced.’
‘A strong team with a great reputation for private client work. I trust them to do a good job. Full of practical ideas despite the difficult field of work. Really want the help the client to achieve their goal. Know how to work across legal disciplines to help the client.’
‘Philip Darcy is a dream of a private client/trusts/litigation solicitor. Calm and focused but genial and down to earth. Has obtained first class results in very protracted and contentious matters.’
‘All of the individuals I have worked with, or referred clients to, always put the client first whilst providing excellent advice.’
‘Caroline Casagranda and Anna Butler are responsive and efficicient.’
‘I have found everyone I have worked with in the personal tax, trusts and probate team to be approachable, clear, understandable and easy to work alongside. I would particularly mention Caroline Casagranda and Lizzie Short who do both have a vey approachable manner with professionalism, assisting people with what is generally a very difficult time.’
‘Graham Benwell stood out for me – not only was his advice very pertinent, his handling of our stepmother’s estate, and of the subsequent sale of her house was highly efficient. He was always forbearing in the face of my lack of knowledge re legal procedures and he made sure that all aspects of the conveyancing were properly handled.’
‘Caroline Casagranda is full of enthusiasm to do a fantastic job for the client.’
‘Paul Linsell carefully considers the options to give thought-through and concise advice.’
Boodle Hatfield LLP is known as one of the pre-eminent private client practices in the Thames Valley. Its expertise spans cross-border and multi-disciplinary tax, trusts structuring and succession planning work on behalf of high-net-worth clients, owners of landed estates and family businesses. The Oxford office also houses a top-tier contentious probate practice and can advise on art collections, including tax implications of the sale of art. Chartered Tax Adviser Fiona Graham has notable experience in domestic and international private client tax, trusts and succession matters. Key figure Natasha Hassell also has experience in long-term estate planning, handling both onshore and offshore trusts, tax planning and wills. Associate Eleanor Sopanski is recommended for offshore structures and international tax and estate planning, particularly in the US.
‘Fiona Graham has a terrific reputation in the private client field.’
‘Highly recommended trusts and tax planning specialists.’
Field Seymour Parkes LLP's Reading–based team has substantial experience handling estate administration, tax planning work, including inheritance and capital gains tax planning as well as broader private client matters. Key figures in the practice include tax experts Dr Philippa Roles and associate and Chartered Tax Advisor Ben Oliver and practice head Sue Vandersteen who specialises in complicated lifetime planning and wealth preservation. Rob Crowther is noted for his experience representing clients in contentious probate matters, as well as capacity-related issues, including lasting powers of attorney and Court of Protection applications. Also of note are associates Mandy Clarke for trust administration and Katherine Riley for dispute resolution.
‘A friendly professional approach to giving excellent advice.’
‘The team is has excellent communication and negotiation skills, and pulls out all the stops to get the job done and meet deadlines.’
Freeths LLP provides ‘excellent’ and ‘well-balance’ assistance to a wide range of clients including high-net-worth individuals, estate owners and family businesses. Areas of expertise include complex contentious and non-contentious probate and trust work, Court of Protection and wealth planning, often with a cross-border element. Nigel Roots and Jane Maitland are particularly well known for their work in managing complex inter-generational wealth structures for private individuals. Sarah Foster represents individuals, executors/trustees and charities in disputes arising out of wills, estates and trusts. Lisa Mark-Bell is also recommended for the management of trusts.
Nigel Roots, Jane Maitland, Sarah Foster
Other key lawyers:
Blake Morgan LLP's private client practice is known for its breadth of knowledge in administration of trusts and estates, wills, wealth and tax planning in addition to contentious and Court of Protection work. James Greig is a ‘well-respected trusts, inheritance tax and probate advisor in the Oxford area’. Other key figures in the team include Robert Mulvany and senior associates Kathryn Woodward, who is also a Notary Public, Kate Allred and Alison Craggs as well as associate Philip Allen.
‘Blake Morgan’s private client team are technically very capable at dealing with complex situations but also friendly and approachable.’
‘James Greig is very approachable and knowledgeable and comes up with pragmatic solutions for his clients.’
Clifton Ingram LLP Solicitors’s houses one of the 'best client-orientated' private client practice in the Thames Valley. The department, headed by Peter McGeown and Stephanie Rose advise clients on administration of estates and trusts, the preparation and drafting of Wills, codicils and lifetime disposals, in addition to cross-border tax and estate planning. McGeown is particularly experienced in inheritance and capital gains tax planning, while Rose has a niche within the specific issues affecting the elderly.
Other key lawyers:
‘Clifton Ingram Solicitors have been invaluable to us – we are more than happy with Peter McGeown’s advice in the area of wills, trusts, and wealth preservation.’
‘We found Clifton Ingram Solicitors to be completely professional and very sympathetic to our needs from reception staff right up to senior partner.’
‘I am consistently impressed with Peter McGeown’s integrity, expertise, knowledge and management of trusts. ’
Gardner Leader LLP’s ‘vastly experienced’ private client team have notable strengths in helping high-net-worth clients in tax planning, often with a cross-border element and utilising its experience negotiating with HM Revenue & Customs. Other areas of expertise include inheritance tax, international estate planning and powers of attorney and Court of Protection work. Jolyon Barton's practice spans inheritance tax and capital gains tax mitigation, wills drafting, trusts and their use in tax planning, administration of estates and lasting powers of attorney. Robert Jobson is noted for his skills in establishing and administering trusts, while Penny Wright is recommended for tax planning, wills, incapacity and probate issues. Richard Mead and Kathryn Tarry are also of note for estate planning and administration. Senior associate Niamh Minihane specialises in will drafting and related inheritance tax planning.
‘The private client team has a good reputation and gives a good, personal service to its clients.’
‘Penny Wright always offers good, sympathetic service often in situations that require sensitivity- she makes every client feel understood and cared about.’
‘Jo Barton, Robert Jobson and Richard Mead in the private client team are highly recommended. They are all vastly experienced, give a personal service and are excellent at communicating with their clients in a way they can understand without diluting any technical issues.’
Irwin Mitchell’s private client practice combines expertise in trusts, wills and estate planning with in-house complementary tax advisory and compliance services. International tax specialist George Merrylees, who has recently joined the Newbury team from the London office, is experienced in advising on French tax and succession matters and is the key contact for Francophone clients. Practice head Sarah Phillips has a strong track record advising entrepreneurs, business managers and senior executives on protecting their business interests including advising on inheritance and capital gains tax and also advises on Court of Protection matters. Andrew Parry has expertise in tax and succession planning, with substantial experience of advising on matters affecting owners of landed estates and rural businesses. Senior associate Stewart Stretton-Hill is recommended for mental incapacity and Court of Protection work.
‘Sarah Phillips and Stuart Stretton-Hill keep me informed of progress and are always happy to answer speculative queries and to offer guidance and next steps prior to client engagement.’
Caroline Van Zyl heads up the private client practice at Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP Oxford office where she primarily assists high-net-worth individuals and families with succession and tax planning, often with an international element. Louise Lewis is the key contact for individuals seeking advice on philanthropic donations; advising on trusts for tax planning purposes. She is also experienced in digital estate planning.
Caroline Van Zyl
Other key lawyers:
‘Caroline is very knowledgeable on trusts and administration of commercial property. It was very reassuring to know that every aspect of administration of the entire estate could be dealt with under one roof.’
‘Caroline van Zyl has given me expert advice in intelligible prose and clearly explained any potential hazards which may come up further down the line. A splendid person to work with.’
‘Louise Lewis is very sensible and hard-working. She is forthright but polite, and performs with excellence. ‘
Royds Withy King has enhanced its practice with the addition of a private wealth offering to complement its strong reputation in contentious wills, trusts and inheritance matters. Tom Gilman is the key Oxford-based advisor and is particularly skilled in estate planning for private individuals and families. He also advises on complex trust structures and undertakes Court of Protection work. Also of note are associates Calum Campbell, who is experienced in representing clients in disputes arising out of trusts, wills, The Inheritance Act and proprietary estoppel claims, and Chris Wilson and Jan Tyley for assistance in tax planning and trust arrangements.
‘The team is accessible, approachable, knowledgable and helpful. They are happy to see clients irrespective of the size of the issue – seeking to built client relationships over the long term.’
‘I can’t praise Tom Gilman and Chris Wilson enough for providing excellent and engaging advice, and taking a ‘can do’ approach in seeking a solution, irrespective of whether it is profitable for the firm, as they look to put the client first.’
David Endicott leads the ‘pro-active and value-for-money’ group at Spratt Endicott, which assists clients in all aspects of trusts, wills and estate planning. The practice is developing a focus on cross-border issues to assist international clients - advising on multi-jurisdictional estate planning, while also maintaining close contacts with local accountants and financial advisors. The practice also offers expertise in contentious probate as well as mediation. Lucy Gordon handles all aspects of probate, estate administration, personal tax and succession matters, often with an international angle as well as having niche expertise in issues affecting the elderly. Tom McInerney departed to Hedges Law in December 2018.
Other key lawyers:
‘They are pro-active without using up hours. The team makes useful recommendations based on recent inheritance tax experience with HMRC.‘
‘The team take the time to understand client needs and then have a high level of technical knowledge to work through situations and provide solutions.’
‘David Endicott is a brilliant personal solicitor – understanding, engaging and has a wealth of knowledge in this sector.’
‘Lucy Gordon is excellent. A city legal brain at non city prices which clients love.’
‘Lucy Gordon is efficient approachable and gives the very best advice in all areas of private client work.’
Boyes Turner’s expertise spans the core areas of wills, trusts and estate planning as well as contentious probate, LPA’s and Court of Protection work. The practice also advises on the specific legal issues affecting elderly and vulnerable clients, including legal implications of moving into long-term care and the funding options, often working in conjunction with the firm’s financial experts. Paul Lowery is the key figure in the Reading-based wealth protection team.
Herrington Carmichael LLP bolstered its private client practice with the recruitment of department head Alexander Mulroe, who previously led the private client practice of Paris Smith LLP. Mulroe brings in complementary expertise in structuring complex cross-border estate planning and experience advising high-net-worth clients on a wide range of tax and succession planning issues. Other key figures in the Wokingham office include Anthony Tahourdin and Robert Syms for contentious matters and Sonia Dhesi, Andrew Smith and Faye Smith are also recommended.
BDB Pitmans added complementary expertise from its recent merger with Bircham Dyson Bell in November 2018. Sheila Magee heads the Reading-based team and is able to draw upon her real estate expertise to advise clients with landed estates on estate management issues, in addition to assisting domestic and international domiciled and elderly clients on a wide range of private client issues. Senior associate Alexander Morgan specialises in wills and lifetime trust drafting, probate applications and elderly client care matters. David Ainslie retired in March 2018.
Other key lawyers:
‘Very efficient and effective service, with close attention to detail and clear explanations of what was required and why in the form of regular and comprehensive updates.’
‘Excellent personal service and keenness to help was evident from outset.’
‘Sheila Magee provided close and expert advice and help from the outset.’
Brethertons LLP’s Oxfordshire group is recommended for estate planning including a niche in assisting landowners ensure the succession of the family farming arrangements, wills, trusts and later-life assistance to elderly clients. Daniel Boyle made partner in April 2019 and is assisted by senior associate Emma Stewart and associate Sophie Wales.
‘Emma was extremely knowledgeable and completely honest and frank about costs and the timescales involved in completing the work.’
‘Daniel Boyle and Sophie Wales are extremely helpful and patient with each and every client.‘
Shoosmiths LLP offers tailored solutions to high-net-worth clients in wealth planning, estate administration, wills and trusts as well as coordinating with other departments to assist with corporate, real estate and pensions matters. The Thames Valley office has expanded its capabilities in contentious probate with the arrival of Angela Bowman from Freeths LLP in September 2018. Melissa Maple, who divides her time between Thames Valley and London and is also experienced in advising a range of clients on long term protection and devolution of their assets through estate, succession and tax planning. Charlotte Dunn heads the wealth protection practice from the Milton Keynes office.
The Burnside Partnership
Specialist private client practice, The Burnside Partnership assists clients in will drafting, creation of family trusts and advising clients on matters concerning capital gains and inheritance tax. The firm also supports Court of Protection and deputyship applications. Anna Burnside and Fiona Wheeler are the key advisors.
Other key lawyers: