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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > South West > Private client > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

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Agriculture and estates

Index of tables

  1. Agriculture and estates
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next Generation Partners
  5. Rising stars

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

The 'highly skilled' team at Burges Salmon LLP  handles the sale and purchase of agricultural property and landed estates, assists with subsidies and tenancy issues, advises on agricultural development and also has expertise in tax and succession planning. The firm also focuses on advising on regulatory issues regarding the food supply chain. The 'excellent' Sian Edmunds has experience as a litigator and arbitrator, including the handling of contractual and partnership disputes. Emma Folkes acts for farmers and investors on the restructuring of agricultural estate portfolios.

Practice head(s):Tom Hewitt

Other key lawyers:Sian Edmunds; Emma Folkes

Testimonials

The team is sensitive to clients’ issues, making communication of those ambitions a vital part of early planning

The team is highly skilled and committed to the needs of private clients

Genuinely nice people to work with

A team with considerable experience of rural matters delivered through specialist lawyers

Burges Salmon has exceptional knowledge and skill in agriculture and estates. It is second to none. The team is easy to work with, helpful and reliable

The firm has a great understanding of land ownership and food production

The firm’s experience really sets it apart from its competitors

A well-established and highly effective private client firm for the South West region and beyond

Richard Owen is a powerful lawyer who combines pragmatism with a deep understanding of the law

Emma Folkes is highly experienced and always puts clients first

Sian Edmunds is extremely knowledgeable and approachable

Sian Edmunds is a really excellent litigator

Tom exhibits deep knowledge that is second to none

Key Clients

Environment Agency

The Crown Estate

National Trust

John Lewis Partnership and Waitrose

HSBC

South Yorkshire Pensions Authority

The Woodland Trust

Yeo Valley

Gea Farm Technologies

Work highlights

  • Representing The Crown Estate in taking action against a farming tenant for bringing unauthorised waste onto the holding.
  • Defending an international manufacturer of robotic milking parlours in a £6m dispute against contractual claims alleging that supplied manufactured milking parlours were defective.
  • Advising the trustee of landed estates on receiving planning permissions for the development of a 7000-home extension worth £200m.
  • Advising a Landed estate in South Wales on the selling of a £3m castle and wedding business.
  • Acting for a group of private individuals on a £10m corporate restructuring of property ownership and subsequent refinancing.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP covers tax and real estate planning in the context of land sales and purchases. The firm also advises on succession planning, ownership structuring and regulations concerning residential development. Senior associate Tristam van Lawick is experienced in the negotiation of tenancy and partnership agreements. Practice co-head Christopher Page advises estate and private land owners on the legal aspects of strategic investments in the agricultural sector. Clients also include trustees, charities and financial institutions.

Practice head(s):Christopher Page; Christian Massey

Other key lawyers:Tristam van Lawick

Testimonials

The team has a depth of experience

The firm is thoroughly professional and a real expert in the country house, farm and estate market

The practice is efficient and communicative with a strong and high-quality work ethic

A great with great all-round knowledge

The team consists of excellent problem solvers

Exceptionally user-friendly, knowledgeable and prepared to go the extra mile

Christian Massey is always available for clients and able to move quickly when required. He is respected by buying and selling agents which is crucial on complex transactions and gives clients very sensible advice without overcomplicating matters

Work highlights

  • Acting on contentious sale of a country estate on behalf of will trustees.
  • Advising on extracting interests in family farming partnership and advising on the creation of a family-owned investment company.
  • Advising on the sale of a Grade 1 Georgian Mansion House property to a charitable trust.
  • Providing tax and estate planning advice to family estate in light of a sale of an extremely valuable painting.
  • Providing estate and trust administration advice to a large estate and family trust.

Thrings LLP handles family disputes on land and real estates in the agricultural sector, and also assists with advise on real estate developments, land sales and purchases and labour disputes. The practice acts for tenants with regards to tenancy matters including the negotiation of tenancy agreements. Bristol-based Russell Reeves is the key litigation specialist in the team.

Practice head(s):Duncan Sigournay

Other key lawyers:Neil Barbour; Mark Charter

Key Clients

National Farmers Union (NFU)

The Badminton Estate

Country Land and Business Association (CLA)

EU Plants

Denhay Farms

Work highlights

  • Advising a litigation friend on an £11m farm partnership and inheritance dispute between a father and a son.
  • Advising a claimant on a £10m proprietary estoppel claim.
  • Acting for Houghton Catching Services Ltd as the defendant with regards to the first-ever High Court claim against a British company in relation to modern slavery.
  • Representing a breeder of pedigree Holstein dairy cows in a dispute with a genetics laboratory with respect to a mistaken in vitro fertilisation.

Clarke Willmott LLP’s agriculture and estate practice advises on the structuring of agri-businesses, lifetime tax planning, and the sale and purchase of agricultural land, as well as on the negotiation of tenancy agreements and contentious tenancy disputes. The firm also handles succession planning matters and acts for banks on secured lending transactions undertaken by agricultural borrowers. Senior partner Tim Hayden leads the team, which includes the 'meticulous' Rod Lloyd-Jones.

Practice head(s):Tim Hayden

Testimonials

A well-respected firm with a great reputation that the practice easily lives up to

Very happy with the depth of knowledge shown

Rod Lloyd-Jones is very thorough in his title investigations, making sure that the lender’s interests are protected throughout. His practical no-nonsense stance is most welcome!

Rod Lloyd-Jones is diligent and meticulous, whilst also working at pace

Key Clients

The National Farmers’ Union

The Masters of Foxhounds Association

Lloyds Banking Group

HSBC Bank

The Countryside Alliance

Work highlights

  • Advising on a £3.3m proprietary estoppel claim brought against the client's parents.
  • Advising a bank on the re-mortgaging of an agri-business.
  • Advising on succession planning in relation to a family-owned agri-business
  • Acting for Fitzwilliam Land Company, Milton (Peterborough) Estates Company, Sir Philip Vyvian Naylor-Leyland BT and Highwood Farms Limited in a trespassing injunction against hunt saboteurs who disrupted a hunt on the claimants' land and chattels.
  • Advising on the purchase of land from an institutional landowner

Michelmores LLP handles litigations and arbitration in the agricultural sector, including disputes in regards to landowners, tenants and trusts. The practice is also experienced in covering estoppel claims and is active for both claimants and defendants. Practice co-head Ben Sharples handles contractual disputes and is also involved in professional negligence matters as well as on contentious and non-contentious subsidy claims.

Practice head(s):Ben Sharples; Vivienne Williams

Testimonials

'Wide ranging breadth of experience including key partners who have a land agency background providing a balanced professional view on issues and means of resolution for their client's benefit.'

'We have worked regularly with Peter Williams, Vivienne Williams, Tom Hyde, Ben Sharples, Adam Corbin - their knowledge, attention to detail and practical case management capabilities are second to none.'

'They are very good technically, yet down to earth and get the job done.'

'Exceptional experience and depth and breadth of knowledge concerning agricultural law.'

Key Clients

Clinton Devon Estates

The Wasing Estate

Dorset County Council

West Sussex County Council

The Trustees of the Savile Trust 2008

Staffordshire County Council

Powys County Council

Graham, Michael and Elaine Auliffe

Stephen Moore

James Read

Work highlights

  • Advising on an application against a landlord for a succession tenancy under the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986.
  • Advising on a tenancy dispute with the landlord involving arbitrations concerning land worth £100m+.
  • Defending against a £1.5m estoppel claim brought by the client’s son.
  • Acting in a rent arbitration regarding a property worth £1m and where the terms of the tenancy were unknown.
  • Drafting and negotiating a farm management agreement related to several hundred hectares.

Stephens Scown LLP provides commercial advice to leisure, tourism and agri-businesses, and assist with sale and purchase agreements. Kate Theophilus has particular expertise in converting Agricultural Holding Act tenancies (AHA) to Full Agricultural Tenancies (FAT). The firm also covers niche areas such as leases of gallops and equestrian facilities, as well as the acquisition and disposal of fishing and shooting rights.

Practice head(s):Phil Reed; Susie Murray

Other key lawyers:Kate Theophilus

Testimonials

The team has a very strong agricultural and estates practice, which is knowledgeable and extremely thorough when handling sales of agricultural property

Stephens Scown LLP meets needs perfectly

The team care for the quality of advice it gives

Key Clients

Eversfield Organic Limited

Trethowans LLP assists with transactional work relating to the sale and purchase of farms and estates. The team also advises banks on secured lending to agri- businesses, acts on farming partnerships and is also experienced in assisting landowners with inheritance tax and capital gains tax planning. The firm also advises on agricultural and equestrian tenancies as well as on rural and country house transactions. The ‚Äėextremely efficient‚Äô Marcus Thorpe heads the practice and has expertise on lease agreements, including on the extraction of minerals from farmland within a given lease period.

Practice head(s):Marcus Thorpe

Testimonials

Trethowans is very helpful with regards to providing comprehensive legal advice. The team ensures the client gets a clear understanding of the relevant information.

‘Trethowans is a highly professional and highly responsive firm

Marcus Thrope is experienced, professional, thorough and courteous

Marcus Thorpe is prepared to go the extra mile for his clients to find the optimal solution

Key Clients

Agricultural Mortgage Corporation

Clydesdale Bank

Lloyds Bank

Svenska Handelsbanken

James Hay Pension Trustees

Rowanmoor Pension Trusts

Belport Investments

The Bossington Estate

Cornish Mutual

Farm and General Insurance

Work highlights

  • Advising Agricultural Mortgage Corporation on applications for the disposal of any legal interests in a specific property.
  • Advising a high-net-worth individual on the purchase of two separate farms worth £7.7m.
  • Advising National Westminster Bank on secured lending worth £3m over two adjoining farms.
  • Advising on the acquisition of a racehorse trainer’s house and racing stables.
  • Providing regulatory advice on tax planning and responsibilities for a life interest trust.

The ‚Äėexperienced, agile and very bright‚Äô Peter Bourke heads the practice at Wilsons and advises farmers and landowners on the sale and purchase of agricultural land, assists with the division of assets on divorce, and represents landowning clients in boundary disputes. The firm also provides tax and trust advice. Other specialisms involve the structuring of farms and landed estates, agricultural succession planning, as well as rent reviews, dilapidations and the leasing of renewable energy sites.

Practice head(s):Peter Bourke; Robert Swift; Alison Bailey; Jonathan Stephens

Testimonials

A practical and quick firm that possesses real knowledge of the dynamics of farms and estates

Wilsons has a helpful approach, seeking clients’ objectives and delivers objectives in the most straightforward manner and in plain English

Wilsons has a strong reputation among rural clients

Alison Bailey is exceptionally helpful, diligent and accommodating. Her breadth of expertise is remarkable and her attention to detail is superb

Work highlights

  • Negotiating a development option agreement.
  • Advising on the negotiation of a promotion agreement.
  • Advised on the sale of a listed farmhouse.
  • Advised on the purchase of a strategically important site with unregistered title.
  • Providing tax advice relating to the sale of development land.

Ashfords LLP advises on succession planning and farm management, the financing of land sales and purchases, the development of farm-based energy projects, as well as on the drafting and negotiation of contract farming and partnership agreements. The firm also assists with the drafting and amendment of feedstock supply contracts. Other areas of expertise include advice on planning issues, including planning enforcement and certificates of lawfulness. The 'outstanding' Darren Blackburn heads the practice.

Practice head(s):Darren Blackburn

Testimonials

A friendly and personable practice.

The team is technically strong with depth and high servicing standards

Ashfords has a knowledgeable, friendly and approachable team with good local knowledge of the agricultural property sector. The team is always willing to help and provide sound reasoned advice to clients

Darren Blackburn is outstanding

Work highlights

  • Advising on contentious intestate estate involving a deathbed gift claim and an application for contempt of court with potential criminal sanctions
  • Administering a £1.45m estate involving legacy payments and deed of variations
  • Made a successful challenge to Ofgem on behalf of Struss & Parker (Farms), around the applicability of renewable heat incentives for Proflo feedstock
  • Advising on the purchase of a £7m property holding from the Crown

Blanchards Bailey LLP advises clients on agricultural business law, land development and renewable energy investments. The practice also drafts and negotiates tenancy and partnership agreements, which involves assistance with the establishment and dissolution of farm partnerships and trust. The firm is also experienced in handling contractual disputes. Key clients involve farming individuals and families, rural business and landowners.

Practice head(s):Paul Dunlop

Work highlights

  • Advising on a £1m claim of donation mortis causa.
  • Advised on estate planning, including on succession planning, the sale of land and making gifts to charity.
  • Advising on the dissolution of farm partnership and trust deed dispute.
  • Advised in respect to agricultural land sold for redevelopment to a housebuilder subject to significant overage
  • Advised on the refinancing of a farm

Coodes Solicitors has expertise in the sale and purchase of farms, the transfer of Single Farm Payment entitlements, and the property aspects of rural business transfers. The firm is also involved in estate and succession planning, trust-related tax planning and estate administration. Another key aspect of the firm’s work is the drafting and negotiation of tenancy agreements. The firm typically advises high-net-worth landowning individuals and families.

Practice head(s):Pam Johns

Testimonials

The team is stable with longstanding serving solicitors who all possess strong local knowledge and understanding of the agricultural sector

Work highlights

  • Advising on estate and succession planning, as well as on setting up a farm partnership agreement.

Foot Anstey’s expertise encompasses contentious disputes, including estoppel claims as well as tenancy, partnership, will land and property disputes and non-contentious activities involving the drafting and negotiation of sale and purchase agreements. The practice also provides regulatory advice on subsidies, environmental issues and health and safety. Clients include high-net-worth farming families and individuals, business owners, trustees, charities and beneficiaries.

Practice head(s):Edward Venmore

Key Clients

Lloyds Banking Group

The Bolitho Estate

NFU

HSBC Bank

NatWest

St. Aubyn Estates

Santander Bank

Tregothnan

Work highlights

  • Providing advice to HSBC in respect of the restructuring of the borrower’s £30m dairy business.
  • Advising on a missed extension of tenancy arrangement after death of the main land tenant.
  • Advising on an agricultural Holdings Act dispute ending in arbitration and court proceedings.
  • Advising on a dispute regarding the lease for a telecoms mast with Vodafone on the client's property. 
  • Advising on a police, HMRC and HSE investigation regarding alleged modern slavery.

Mogers Drewett LLP advises agricultural clients, business owners and landowning clients on succession planning and the formulation of wills, the sale and acquisition of farmland, as well as on licensing matters. The firm also handles litigations in the agricultural sector, which involves advice on farm tenancy, partnership and registration disputes. Other areas of expertise include advising agricultural borrowers on the refinancing of farms. Jonathan Cheal is an expert on property transactions.

Practice head(s):Frank Collins

Other key lawyers:Jonathan Cheal

Testimonials

The hardworking and diligent team is able to advise on all aspects of property transactions

Frank Collins is an excellent first port of call for advice and always instantly understands the problems and comes up with a solution straight away

The practice keeps appraised of the situation at regular intervals and ensures the client needs are met

Willans LLP assists with the sale and purchase of land and properties, advises on succession planning for rural businesses and has experience in the drafting and negotiation of option agreements. Practice head Robin Beckley also has expertise in the de-registration of common land and carries out map modification orders. The firm acts on behalf of high-net-worth landowners and farming families as well as for sellers and buyers of properties.

Practice head(s):Robin Beckley

Testimonials

Robin Beckley has an excellent understanding of the problems clients face and solves them readily

Work highlights

  • Advised in connection with the granting of an option to a housebuilder of over 140 acres of strategic land.
  • Advised on the sale of a farm with farmhouse and entitlement to single farm payment with overage imposed.
  • Advising on negotiations with other family members concerning the purchase of the family member’s share in a 276-acre farm.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP’s practice has experience in advising on the sale and purchase of agricultural land and properties, the negotiation and protection of agricultural tenancies, and land development as well as on leases and easements. Other key areas of expertise involve residential conveyancing and the negotiation of lending arrangements. The firm acts for public institutions, banks, charities, and high-net-worth individuals and families.

Practice head(s):Robert Drewett


Charities and not-for-profit

Index of tables

  1. Charities and not-for-profit
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Rising stars

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

Stone King LLP advises trusts and funds, which involves acting for museums and galleries as well as for educational charities and charities which work with young people. The firm is experienced in assisting charities with restructurings and reorganisation, fundraising, charity acquisition, legacy disputes and employment regulations. Hannah Kubie and Tim Rutherford head the practice. Rutherford has particular expertise in working with faith organisations such as Roman Catholic charities and alms-houses. Senior associate Alexandra Steffensen advises museums as well as animal charities, and assists independent schools on the borrowing of funds from their permanent endowment to finance construction projects.

Practice head(s):Tim Rutherford; Hannah Kubie

Other key lawyers:Alexandra Steffensen

Key Clients

Methodist Ministers’ Housing Society

Society of Jesus

Faithful Companions of Jesus

Diocese of Arundel Brightin

Jonathan Burchfield as Interim Manager of the Essex Islamic Academy

Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahado Curch of St. Mary of Debre Tsion

Sutton’s Hospital in Charterhouse

Brentwood Roman Catholic Diocesan Trust

The Society of St. Stephen’s House

English Province of the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd

The Carmelite Charitable Trust

Julian House

Sisters of Christian Retreat

Society of the Holy Child Jesus

The Sisters of the Divine Saviour

Screenskills

The Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain

Fairfield Farm Trust

Family Action

Diocese of Westminster

The Polish Catholic Mission

Work highlights

  • Carrying out the incorporation of the Missionary Sisters of Verona, a charitable Roman Catholic religious trust registered in England and Scotland, as a charitable incorporated organisation.
  • Providing data protection advice to the Anne Frank Trust in light of the changes introduced by the GDPR.
  • Advised the Society of St. Stephen’s House, a permanent private hall at the University of Oxford, on its incorporation as a charitable company limited by guarantee and rationalising its subsidiary charities and trusts.
  • Secured approval from the Charity Commission to enable the Grace and Compassion Benedictines to make an ex gratia application following a testamentary residual gift.
  • Advised the Methodist Ministers’ Housing Society, a registered society with regional assets worth £83m, on the process of conversion to become a company limited by guarantee registered as a charity.

VWV specialises in advising healthcare, arts and educational charities. The firm regularly advises on structural reviews, commercial projects, use of trading subsidiaries as well as on governance and fundraising issues. Other areas of expertise include advice on employment law, tax planning, construction and financing matters. The ‚Äėcalm, reflective and well-reasoned‚Äô practice head Con Alexander gives ‚Äėhelpful advice‚Äô when acting for charities, academics, schools and universities on transactions, endowment funds, fundraising, mergers, and the restructuring of subsidiaries. Senior associate Rachel Tonkin assists with charity tribunal proceedings and cross-border transfers of charitable assets. Senior associate Laura Chesham has expertise in the registration and incorporation of charities.

Practice head(s):Con Alexander

Other key lawyers:Barney Northover; Rachel Tonkin; Laura Chesham

Testimonials

'VWV has a very wide and deep charity practice, which possesses an excellent network and a good understanding of current legal and operational issues'

'Barney Northover’s understanding of the sector and particularly of charitable schools is second to none'

Key Clients

Soil Association

Diocese of Truro

Harpur Trust

Wallace & Gromit's Children's Foundation

Institute of Cancer Research

National Star Foundation

Society and College Radiographers

Malvern Hills Trust

University of Law

Royal Academy of Music

London Southbank University

St Peter’s Hospice

Bristol Old Vic

James Tudor Foundation

Work highlights

  • Advised Harry Crook Foundation on making a £1m grant to Bristol Cathedral.
  • Established The National House Project, a charitable incorporated organisation to support young people leaving the public care system.
  • Advised Abbotsholme School on its acquisition by a commercial third party.
  • Advised Bancroft Clark Charitable Trust on a grant funding arrangement with the Alfred Gillett Trust.
  • Advised an educational charity on a governance dispute.

Ashfords LLP advises charities on regulatory and governance issues including their incorporation as entities or trusts. The practice also assists with legacy administration, which involves disputed wills and trusts, proprietary claims and administration disputes. Other areas of expertise involve advice on the prevention of reputational damage arising from contentious matters. Senior associate Barny Croft joined the firm from Michelmores LLP in May 2018.

Practice head(s):John Toth; Kerry Morgan-Gould

Other key lawyers:Barny Croft

Key Clients

Somerset and Dorset Railway Heritage Trust

The Eggbeer Trust

Royal National Lifeboat Institution

Exeter Cathedral Music Foundation Trust

Work highlights

  • Advising the Somerset and Dorset Railway Heritage Trust on planning and property development.
  • Providing strategic advice to the Eggbeer Trust on restructuring, property acquisition and the granting of tenancies and licences over charity-owned property.
  • Providing strategic oversight of charity activities for the Exeter Cathedral Music Foundation Trust.
  • Advised on defending a charity’s legacy, following a challenge to the validity of the will, on the grounds of testamentary capacity and undue influence.
  • Marine licensing for Royal National Lifeboat Institution infrastructure.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP handles the establishment and registration as well as mergers and restructurings of charitable institutions. The practice also assists charities with the sale and purchase of assets, estate tenancy and lease agreements. Associate Penelope Byatt’s areas of expertise include the provision of regulatory advice on constitutional and governance matters. Clients include educational, religious and grant-making charities.

Practice head(s):Christopher Page

Other key lawyers:Penelope Byatt

Testimonials

The firm has excellent knowledge of daily charity business. The team is personable and willing to support the charity’s intent

The team is very approachable, clear and prompt. Its solutions are practical and carefully tailored to specific requirements

Charles Russell Speechlys is a firm with an excellent reputation

Foot Anstey advises trustees, executors, beneficiaries and charities on inheritance and legacy disputes, legacy administration involving secondments as well as on trust compliance and recovering shares of estates. Practice head Lucy Gill also advises on property planning and provides strategic advice to charities with the aim of optimising legacy income and fundraising capabilities. Tax planning is another area of expertise.

Practice head(s):Lucy Gill

Key Clients

Cancer Research UK

Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity (GOSH)

National Trust

RSPB

Salvation Army

Age UK

Scope

The Royal British Legion

Dogs Trust

Work highlights

  • Managing a significant proportion of the National Trust's £50m annual legacy income.
  • Advising Cancer Research UK on legacy administration.

Michelmores LLP advises charity trustees on formation and ongoing governance. The firm also represents charities in litigations arising from legacy disputes. Other areas of expertise are the acquisition and disposal of assets, as well as the handling of professional negligence claims against administrators of estates the clients are entitled to. The practice is also experienced in advising trustees on charitable trusts.

Practice head(s):Tony Cockayne

Other key lawyers:Edward Porter

Testimonials

Senior associate Edward Porter impresses with his knowledge, depth of thought, analytical abilities and client engagement. It is always a pleasure to work with him

Work highlights

  • Advising two charities on the disposal of a gift of land with development potential and national interest.
  • Acting for a charity on a professional negligence claim against the administrators of an estate which it is solely entitled to.
  • Funds review and advice on terms.
  • Advising on a charitable trust administration.
  • Advised on a charity restructuring.

Tozers Solicitors LLP provides charity law support to all types of charities including religious and educational charitable institutions on corporate, commercial, employment, dispute resolution, property, intellectual property and data protection matters. A particular area of expertise is providing assistance with charity mergers and the structuring of charities. James Evans heads the practice and is experienced in assisting organisations with the obtainment of a charitable status and advising charities on regulatory compliance.

Practice head(s):James Evans

Testimonials

Easy to get hold of and very responsive. As a client, it is a positive experience

The firm has an excellent understanding of charity work and an ability to find solutions through deep knowledge of charity regulations

Clients receive a consistently high level of service and have established a strong working relationship with James Evans

James Evans has expert understanding of the charity sector but also understanding of the challenges that charities face.  His advice is always well thought through and pragmatic

Key Clients

The Donkey Sanctuary

Dartington Hall Trust

Plymouth Diocesan Trust

Institution of Railway Signal Engineers

British Accounting and Finance Association (BAFA)

Libraries Connected

Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

Driving Mobility

Plymouth Marine Laboratory

Buckfast Abbey Trust

Family Mediators Association

Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Education

Devon Wildlife Trust

Dame Hannah Rogers Trust

South West Lakes Trust

Hospiscare

South Devon Railway Trust

South West Coast Path Association

Farms for City Children

Clare Milne Trust

Families for Children

Exeter Leukaemia Fund

Heartswell South West

Westbank Community Health & Care

Eddystone Trust

Africa Services International

Work highlights

  • Acted on a joint basis on the merger of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom with the Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science (SAHFOS).
  • Assisted Libraries Connected with the obtainment of a charitable status for the organisation.
  • Advised Brake Bros on the registration as a charity of its ‘Meals & More’ initiative.
  • Advising the Institution of Railway Signal Engineers on data protection and website legal compliance among other corporate and commercial matters.
  • Advising The Donkey Sanctuary on the drafting of an IT contract, employment regulations and data protection matters.

Wilsons advises on disputes involving legacies and disputes arising from the administration of trusts and estates. The practice also advises on charity regulations and assists with the restructuring of charities. Practice head Gillian Fletcher is experienced in advising on breaches of trust and compliance issues. Charity mergers constitute another significant area of expertise, alongside the protection of data and intellectual property rights.

Practice head(s):Gillian Fletcher

Testimonials

Professionally competent and fully on top of their brief

The Depth of knowledge and the quality of advice are the firm’s most valued qualities

Gillian Fletcher stands out as the consummate professional. Her team mirrors her approach and it always delivers

The practice is characterised by an immediacy of response, personal touch, and a range of skill sets brought immediately to bear

The practice members are always polite and helpful and offer sound and impartial advice

Key Clients

RNLI

Hearing Dogs for Deaf People

British Cardiovascular Society

PDSA

Forces in Mind Trust

Blue Cross

BMA Charities Trust Fund

Save the Children

Christopher’s Hospice

Work highlights

  • Advising St Christopher’s Hospice on governance matters and constitutional review.
  • Advising a group of charities on the defence of a challenge to the validity of a will.
  • Advising The Royal Marines Association on its merger with The Royal Marines Charity, and on governance and property-related matters.
  • Advising a charitable independent school on matters arising from a safeguarding allegation.
  • Advising a medical research and education charity on commercial contracts arising in connection with its Joint Congress in Glasgow 2020.

BPE Solicitors LLP is experienced in advising on charity formation and registration, which involves advising on the legal structure and drafting governing documents. The firm also ensures compliance with charity legislation and regulations as well as the implementation of employment and property law. Another area of expertise is the drafting and negotiation of intellectual property and commercial contracts as well as sponsoring and trading agreements.  

Practice head(s):Iain Garfield

Key Clients

Community Foster Care

The House of Bread

Bristol Memorial Woodlands

The Smallpeice Trust

Innov8ive Software/ Anilog

Brockworth Community Sports & Recreation

Gloucestershire Environmental Trust

Gloucestershire Everyman Theatre

Aspire Sports & Cultural Trust

Trinity Church PCC

Action Against Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Roots HR CIC

Work highlights

  • Providing training to key senior and management personnel of Lilian Faithfull Care on the charity’s obligations under the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).
  • Review of corporate structure and implementation of new articles of association for The Children’s Family Trust.
  • Advising on the client’s appointment as outsourced manager of a local museum.
  • Advising on the client’s conversion from a trust to a charitable company.
  • Assisted with first registration and boundary issues within the client’s property portfolio, as well as two property disposals.

Geoff Trobridge heads the practice at Lester Aldridge LLP and advises on charity registrations, charity mergers and restructuring, trustees’ duties and liabilities, fundraising regulations and charity disputes. The practice also assists with legacy protection, risk management and contentious Court of Protection cases. The firm is additionally experienced in the review of charity governance and the role of charity members.

Practice head(s):Geoff Trobridge

Key Clients

Care South

Autism Wessex

Kent Autistic Trust

Lewis Manning Hospice

Solent Mind

Macmillan Caring Locally

The United Reformed Church (Wessex) Trust

Help and Care

Prama Foundation

Work highlights

  • Advising Macmillan Caring Locally on the governing document of the charity.
  • Advised a charity working with people who are drug or alcohol dependent on its merger with another charity.
  • Advising on the incorporation of a nursing home charity by its transfer to a charitable incorporated organisation.
  • Advised the Minstead Trust on its acquisition of Hanger Farm Arts Centre from Nacro through a business transfer agreement.
  • Advised Lewis Manning Hospice on the transfer of its lottery operation to a national organisation.

Stephens Scown LLP covers employment and fundraising disputes and is experienced in handling charity mergers, acquisitions and corporate governance matters. The firm has also expertise in advising charities on terms and conditions, and agency and distribution agreements as well as on confidentiality agreements. The practice regularly assists clients on IT contracts and data protection audits. The firm typically advises healthcare, education, faith and housing charities.

Practice head(s):Laurie Trounce

Key Clients

Age UK Plymouth

Charitable Giving

Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust

Cornwall College

Various Housing Associations

Cornwall Wildlife Trust

Cool Earth Action

Surfers Against Sewage

RSPCA

Cornwall Care Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised the trustees of the Franciscan Sisters – Minoresson on issues arising in respect of the academy conversions of two primary schools.
  • Successfully represented and defended Age UK Plymouth in respect of claims for unfair dismissal and whistleblowing.
  • Advising Cornwall Wildlife Trust on contractual arrangements and grant agreements and provided general corporate and commercial support in relation to fundraising and funding issues.
  • Assisting Bolenowe Animal Sanctuary with the incorporation of a charitable incorporated association (CIO).
  • Advising Charitable Giving on IT contracts, a data protection audit and governance and employment matters.

Willans LLP acts for charities on property-related disputes and provides advice on employment regulations, commercial contracts, intellectual property and business immigration. The firm is also experienced in handling commercial freehold and leasehold acquisitions and disposals, lettings, assignments and surrenders in relation to property portfolios. Other areas of expertise involve assistance with head office relocations and data protection issues including GDPR.

Practice head(s):Nigel Whittaker

Testimonials

This practice contains lawyers who have demonstrated that they know what they are doing, do their work in a way which shows they understand their clients and their requirements, and provide a cost-effective service

Key Clients

Shelter

Trinity Hospice Shops

Cheltenham Festivals

Scope

Sparsholt College

Holy Trinity Brompton

Victim Support

Sue Ryder

Princess Alice Hospice

Work highlights

  • Assisting Princess Alice Hospice with new leases and renewal of leases in expanding its portfolio.
  • Advising Shelter on retail property portfolios.
  • Advised Cheltenham Family Welfare on the TUPE transfer of employees from four different charitable trusts into a new charitable incorporated organisation.
  • Advised on the relocation of Sue Ryder's headquarters.
  • Advising on the expansion of Trinity Hospice Shops' retail property portfolio.

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP advises religious, environmental, educational, healthcare and sheltered accommodation charities as well as trustees on governance restructuring, charity mergers, collaborations and partnerships, as well as on fundraising and tax planning, compliance issues and charity commission requirements. Other significant areas of expertise include the provision of advice on property investment portfolios and endowments. The firm also assists with the implementation of joint venture projects involving multiple charities.

Practice head(s):Emma Moody

Other key lawyers:Robert Drewett

Testimonials

This practice had first-hand knowledge of grant-making, endowed and land-holding charities

The able approach of the lead partners is supported by a strong team of specialists in various sectors

Robert Drewett has vast experience across a wide range of areas of concern to trust. His advice on legal matters is of very high quality and is accompanied by very useful insights into the issue at hand and the environment in which trusts operate

Key Clients

St Monica Trust

Bristol Charities

Chippenham Borough Lands Charity

Crisis UK

Newcastle City Council

British Mountaineering Council

Ampleforth Abbey and St Laurence Education Trust

Gateshead College

Charity Commission – Cardiff Sixth Form College (now Cardiff Educational Endowment Fund)

East Durham College

Bauer Radio Cash for Kids Charities

Zedra Trust Company

Durham University Students' Union

Northumberland County Council

Leeman Road Millenium Green Trust

Wakefield Grammar School Foundation

Percy Hedley Foundation

Humankind

Mental Health Matters

Newcastle upon Tyne Royal Grammar School

St John of God Hospitaller Services

William Leech Foundation

Church Marketplace for Roman Catholic Dioceses

Work highlights

  • Advised St Monica Trust on the structuring of its public-facing facilities.
  • Advised on a review of Crisis UK's governance arrangements.
  • Advised British Mountaineering Council's specialist governance committee on a constitutional review to address structural issues.
  • Advised the Charity Commission on the securing of Cardiff Sixth Form College's assets and reviewing its financial procedures.
  • Advising St. John of God Hospitaller Services on business transformation planning to strengthen its financial resilience and sustainability.


Contentious trusts and probate

Index of tables

  1. Contentious trusts and probate
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Rising stars

Rising stars

  1. 1

Ashfords LLP assists with the challenging of wills, provides advice on mental capacity issues regarding the formulation of wills, and has expertise in implementing the removal and addition of executors and trustees. The practice is also experienced in cross-border disputes regarding the validity of marriages and wills. Senior associate Barny Croft, who joined from Michelmores LLP in May 2018, specialises in contentious trusts, probate and estates.

Practice head(s):Robert Horsey

Other key lawyers:Kerry Morgan-Gould; Barny Croft

Testimonials

'The team is pleasant and professional in its approach and focused on solutions that benefit the client'

'A great team to work with'

'Robert Horsey instils his ethos and professionalism through the team. He remains an excellent practitioner in this field'

Work highlights

  • Advising on the removal of executors in a dispute due to physical and mental acts of violence.
  • Advising on the nature and extent of beneficiaries’ interests under a will.
  • Advising on a cross-border claim including the interpretation of the will.
  • Challenging a will on grounds of lack of testamentary capacity, undue influence and fraudulent calumny.
  • Advising on a £600,000 dispute regarding property.

Burges Salmon LLP combines expertise in trusts and personal tax litigation with experience in pensions litigation. The practice advises on private wealth disputes with pension-related aspects, contentious estoppel arrangements, disputes between trustees and contentious questions concerning inheritance and succession planning. The client base of joint practice heads Kevin Kennedy and Justin Briggs includes high-net-worth individuals and owners of landed estates, including traditional farming families as well as members of the aristocracy and the landed gentry.

Practice head(s):Kevin Kennedy; Justin Briggs

Other key lawyers:Sian Edmunds; Caroline Emslie

Testimonials

'A team that has the qualities of the leading London firms, but less pricey and with more hands-on attention at partner level'

'Sian Edmunds is a really excellent litigator. She is tactically astute and prepared to have a scrap, but is also alive to the benefits of mediation and ADR'

Work highlights

  • Advises five adult siblings of deceased parents in the successful defence of their brother’s proprietary estoppel claim for ownership of a significant part of their parents' £10m estate.
  • Advising on the realisation of UK assets previously owned by a deceased individual, in the face of a claim for beneficial entitlement from the deceased’s former wife.
  • Advising a beneficiary of a trust in a claim against the trustee regarding funds allegedly paid away from the trust improperly.

Foot Anstey advises on a wide range of contentious trusts and probate matters, including claims relating to the construction and validity of wills and trust documents, inheritance act claims, disputes involving executors and trustees, as well as trust variation applications, proprietary estoppel and claims relating to disputed lifetime transactions that affect the value of the respective estate or trust. The practice’s client base involves high-net-worth individuals and families, trust corporations and charities.

Practice head(s):Lucy Gill

Other key lawyers:Alexandra Rogers; Emma Facey

Work highlights

  • Defending the validity of the last will of a high-net-worth individual.

Michelmores LLP advises high-net-worth individuals and wealthy family members as executors, beneficiaries and trustees on a wide range of disputes involving wills, trusts, probates and legacies. The firm’s work includes the assortment of will validity claims, administration disputes as well as estoppel claims. Practice had Tony Cockayne, who is 'recommended for his professionalism, vigour and integrity', is a charity expert and advises private clients on contentious trust matters with international connections.

Practice head(s):Tony Cockayne

Other key lawyers:Jennifer Ridgway; Sara Chisholm-Batten; Jane Swannell; Alice Daniels; Jasmine Davis

Testimonials

'The Michelmores team is thoughtful, responsive and spends time listening to what clients actually need and want before suggesting creative solutions. They also give good value'

'The team is hard-working and professional at all times. It focuses on executable strategies and is not distracted by manoeuvres of their opponents'

'The advice I received graduated towards an agreed solution - at no time did I feel that I was being led into an area that had not been discussed'

'Tony Cockayne is always strategically insightful and is one of those lawyers who makes himself available to clients rather than hiding behind layers of support staff'

'Disputed wills and trusts solicitor Jasmine Davis is enthusiastic and knowledgeable'

Key Clients

Cancer Research UK

Work highlights

  • Acting for one of two siblings in relation to a dispute regarding the validity of the late father’s will and conduct of one of the siblings as an executor.
  • Advising two charities on the disposal of a high-profile gift of land with development potential and national interest and significance.
  • Defending a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 worth in excess of £1.3m involving three generations and a portfolio of investment properties.
  • Advising on a dispute involving a family business with international assets worth over £10m, which is subject of two historic will trusts and an estate
  • Advising on a dispute centred around multiple conflicting claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

Royds Withy King's practice covers a wide range of disputed wills and contentious trusts claims. 'Incredibly industrious' practice head Amanda Noyce handles tax disputes, negligence actions regarding tax advisers, proprietary estoppel claims, inheritance disputes and applications to the Court of Protection in mental capacity matters. Clients involve high-net-worth families and individuals, including farming families, trustees and elderly clients with decreasing mental capacity.

Practice head(s):Amanda Noyce

Other key lawyers:Calum Campbell; Mike Muston

Testimonials

'Royds Withy King has an unrivalled level of experience'

'Amanda Noyce has a wealth of experience in her field and adopts a pragmatic approach to litigation. She has an excellent manner with clients'

Work highlights

  • Defending a proprietary estoppel claim in relation to a farm valued at £8.5m.
  • Advising on the administration of the parents’ $100m estates.
  • Advising in relation to a family dispute concerning a gift purportedly made in 2010 by the mother.
  • Advising on the removal of executors and trustees concerning the estates of the grandmother.
  • Defending in proceedings against the client to recover inheritance tax and the value of assets allegedly misappropriated by the client from the deceased’s estate.

VWV has expertise in lifetime transaction disputes, disputes regarding the legal and financial duties of executors and trustees, and professional negligence claims in respect to will drafting. The firm’s client base includes high-net-worth individuals and business clients, wealthy families, charities and celebrities. The practice is led by Michelle Rose, who 'consistently searches for new ways to lead the legal battle', while senior associate Fiona Lawrence has experience of cross-border probate and trust litigation.

Practice head(s):Michelle Rose

Other key lawyers:Marianne Nankervis; Fiona Lawrence; Sally Rushton; Julia Hardy

Testimonials

'Enquiries are answered promptly and efficiently without the client being left in the dark'

'VWV is a market leader and competes on even terms with major London players in the marketplace'

'The firm is characterised by doggedness and efficiency'

'Michelle Rose is knowledgeable, competent and expresses a profound understanding towards financial and emotional hardships of the clients. She is also ready to make brave financial decisions in support of the client’s ends'

'Michelle Rose swiftly grabs any chance to turn the table in favour of the client and leads to a brilliant result of settlement'

Fiona Lawrence is able to run large high-value estate claims across multiple jurisdictions, which usually end in a very advantageous settlement in favour of the client'

Work highlights

  • Acting as court-appointed independent administrator in estates disputes.
  • Representing claimant in Inheritance Act claim against her late partner’s estate.
  • Representing in a will challenge on the basis of undue influence and lack of testamentary capacity.
  • Representing court-appointed deputy in High Court proceedings involving a £12m unlawful share transfer.
  • Representing in a claim against the client’s late husband’s estate under the Inheritance Act 1975.

Wilsons advises on contentious trust, probate and legacy administration problems as well as on proceedings in the Court of Protection including statutory will applications. The firm is also experienced in assisting with actions by or against trustees of landed estates and cross-border trust disputes. Practice head James Aspden covers claims concerning the validity and effect of wills, claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, and undue influence claims.

Practice head(s):James Aspden

Other key lawyers:Fiona Campbell-White; Peter Jeffrey; Charlotte Watts

Key Clients

RNLI

Blue Cross

Guide Dogs for the Blind Association

RNIB

PDSA

Macmillan Cancer Support

Hearing Dogs for Deaf People

Work highlights

  • Advising on variation of trusts application for £50m settlement.
  • Advising on an estoppel and testamentary capacity claim involving assets of over £5m.
  • Advising on a £1.1m Inheritance Act claim.
  • Advising on company and trust interests in London property worth over £9m.
  • Advising on a spousal Inheritance Act claim involving a £10m estate.

Clarke Willmott LLP is experienced in handling proprietary estoppel claims, will disputes involving farm tenancies and partnerships, as well as disputes between trustees and beneficiaries amongst high-net-worth individuals and wealthy landed estate families. Senior associate Sarah O’Grady deals with a broad range of contentious trusts and probate matters, regularly defends proprietary estoppel claims and acts for executors and beneficiaries on estate claims.

Practice head(s):Esther Woolford; Bonita Walters

Other key lawyers:Sarah O’Grady; Daniel Gill

Key Clients

The National Farmers’ Union

The Countryside Alliance

St James’s Place Wealth Management

Work highlights

  • Representing on a £3.3 proprietary estoppel claim against the client’s parents in respect of the family farm
  • Defending a statutory claim for financial provision brought against a company’s estate.
  • Advising on a partnership dispute and proprietary estoppel action.
  • Defending a trust claim.
  • Acting in respect of an alleged breach of trust claim against former pension trustees.

Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP focuses on contentious trusts and probate work, specialising in claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, disputes concerning the validity of claims on the basis of lacking testamentary capacity and undue influence claims, and trust, executor and proprietary estoppel disputes. The team is led by 'impressive' dispute resolution head Lauren Day, with important clients including high-net-worth individuals and families from the agricultural sector, beneficiaries and elderly individuals.

Practice head(s):Lauren Day

Other key lawyers:Victoria Riddleston

Testimonials

'All members of the team possess a wide range of expertise'

'The litigation team is highly professional and competent. It deals with all matters in a timely, effective and efficient manner'

'Lauren Day always provides concise and balanced judgements and advice'

Work highlights

  • Defending a £230,000 spousal claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 and a TOLATA claim.
  • Defending an adult child claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
  • Challenging the will of a deceased on grounds of lacking testamentary capacity, lack of knowledge and fraudulent calumny.
  • Advising on a contentious proprietary estoppel and estate administration claim.

Stephens Scown LLP handles a wide range of contentious probate work and is particularly experienced in assisting with disputes regarding the business succession planning and the transfer of estates to heirs. The firm also advises agricultural clients on issues involving contentious estoppel claims. The practice is equally involved in challenging the validity of claims on the grounds of lack of testamentary capacity and undue influence.

Practice head(s):Phil Gregory

Other key lawyers:Charisse Crawford; Davina Haydon

Blanchards Bailey LLP advises on Court of Protection claims and contentious probate and trusts work. The firm is also experienced in handling matters relating to the validity of wills, deathbed gifts, undue influence on vulnerable and elderly clients, as well as on matters that involve breach of trust and inheritance act claims. Another focus is disputes affecting rural businesses, including property and contract disputes.

Practice head(s):Paul Dunlop

Other key lawyers:Lucy Mignot

Testimonials

'The team is always approachable, helpful and proactive. It prepares mediation bundles thoroughly and comprehensively. The practice is a pleasure to work with. Paul Dunlop reflects this approach'

Work highlights

  • Acting on the removal of another trustee and his eviction from a deteriorating property.
  • Advising against a reasonable provision claim brought by a spouse.
  • Advising on a £1m claim in relation to the administration of an estate, which involves professional negligence proceedings against the client’s former solicitors.
  • Advising on a proprietary estoppel claim and an Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 claim.
  • Representing in a dispute against the validity of the client’s late mother’s will and a claim of undue influence.

Coodes Solicitors assists with the contesting of wills, advises on will construction and interpretation and acts for trustees and executors on disputes including breach of trust claims and applications to remove or replace executors. The firm is also experienced in handling equitable claims that involve proprietary estoppel and constructive trusts. The team acts for both claimants and defendants in claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Acts 1975.

Practice head(s):Colin Hunter

Other key lawyers:Melanie Grose; Ben Sidgwick; Darren Higginson

Testimonials

'An extremely professional, thoughtful and compassionate team'

'The firm is characterised by its ability to listen and give structured advice in a very calm manner'

'Coodes is a long-established firm, covering all aspects of law and is widely known and recognised throughout the South West. The team is professional, competent and approachable'

'Genuinely interested in applying its expertise to the matter in hand'

'Associate Ben Sidgwick impresses with his attention to detail, his highlighting of areas of possible concern, and his ability to understand and diagnose important issues'  

Work highlights

  • Advised on the interpretation of an ambiguous clause in the deceased’s will.
  • Advised on a proprietary estoppel claim in respect to a £2m estate.
  • Defended against an Inheritance Act claim brought by an estranged stepdaughter.
  • Advising on the refusal of a life tenant’s husband to vacate a property after the death of the life tenant.
  • Represented the husband of a deceased who was not considered in the will.

Frettens LLP advises on the enforcement of trusts created under wills, defending claims under the Inheritance Act, and assists beneficiaries and executors with contentious matters regarding the assertion of undue influence on elderly and vulnerable clients with insufficient mental capacity. The firm is also experienced in handling professional negligence claims against solicitors advising on the drafting of wills.

Practice head(s):Michelle Hayter

Other key lawyers:Carl Geary; Sarah Nineham

Work highlights

  • Defending a claim under the Inheritance Act brought by the deceased’s daughters.
  • Claiming for undue influence and unlawful lifetime gifts taken from the deceased’s estate during the deceased’s lifetime by her son acting under power of attorney.
  • Enforcing provisions of a trust created under a will.
  • Defending a claim brought by siblings against a large estate, with factors allegedly including undue influence and insufficient mental capacity of the deceased.
  • Bringing a claim against the executor who failed to distribute the deceased’s assets.

Lester Aldridge LLP specialises in contested will, trust and probate cases, which regularly involve cross-border aspects. The firm represents charities, care homes, high-net-worth individuals and wealthy families in contentious estate administration disputes. The firm also specialises in acting for vulnerable clients and disputes concerning the mental capacity of elderly clients. The firm also handles sensitive Court of Protection cases.

Practice head(s):Victoria Jones

Work highlights

  • Managing a multi-million fund on behalf of an adult with severe brain injury who lacks the capacity to manage his own financial affairs.
  • Advice on a contested deputyship application.
  • Representing in a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, where proceedings have been issued.

Porter Dodson LLP covers a wide range of contentious trust probate matters with domestic and cross-border aspects, involving the contesting of the validity of wills, advising on claims against estates, claims in the agricultural sector pursuant to estoppels and assistance with disputes regarding the interpretation of wills. The firm is also experienced in advising trustees on the location of assets and beneficiaries.

Practice head(s):Stephen Wray; Cara Hough

Testimonials

Porter Dodson is professional, amenable and always sets clients at their ease'

'A responsive and capable team that provides an excellent service'

'Cara Hough is very helpful, understanding and supportive while remaining very professional'

'Cara Hough is knowledgeable and a competent practitioner who always provides balanced arguments'

'Cara Hough is proactive and pragmatic, providing sensible solutions to difficult and complex issues'

Work highlights

  • Advising on a £400,000 dispute involving an ex-partner’s claim pursuant to estoppel.
  • Representing a client in her claim against her deceased husband’s cross-jurisdiction estate.
  • Advising on a claim brought against the estate by the wife of the deceased.
  • Contesting the validity of a will.
  • Advising on a claim against the mother for promises made by the deceased father.

Steele Raymond LLP handles contested probate and trust disputes and Inheritance Act claims. The firm is experienced in handling disputes regarding offshore trusts and cross-border estates. Clients involve high-net-worth claimants and defendants as well as executors. Another key aspect of the work is advising contentious matters regarding wills constructed by or on behalf of elderly clients with insufficient mental capacity as well as disputes concerning undue influence asserted on vulnerable clients.

Practice head(s):John Andrews

Work highlights

  • Advising on a dispute regarding abuse and undue influence by the sister of the client on the elderly father.
  • Advising on a dispute regarding the validity of a will made by the father.
  • Advising on a dispute between two siblings in relation to welfare arrangements for vulnerable mother.
  • Advising on making claims against the estate of a deceased individual.

Thrings LLP's practice handles disputes over the validity of wills, claims on behalf of beneficiaries who have been left out of an estate, assistance with the removal of executors and trustee applications, as well as advice on proprietary estoppel claims. The team is also experienced in negotiating settlements with the aim of preserving estate and trust assets belonging to the client.

Practice head(s):Emily Prout

Other key lawyers:Robert James; Ramona Derbyshire

Work highlights

  • Acted for a farmer in a successful £8m proprietary estoppel case in the High Court.
  • Defending multiple claims by an estranged daughter in respect to her mother’s estate.
  • Acting for a family following the suspected suicide of a family member to bring an application for presumed death.
  • Defending multiple claims against an estate and in respect to the deceased’s lifetime transactions.
  • Acting for a litigation friend of an underage heir in relation to multiple claims against a £2m estate.

Wards Solicitors LLP has a track record of work on high-value disputes over wills, trusts and probate. Practice head Elizabeth Fry regularly represents private and business clients on disputes relating to the Inheritance Act; the practice also handles cross-jurisdictional issues, including the assessment of the validity of wills, the sale of property belonging to deceased family members, and property transaction reviews.

Practice head(s):Elizabeth Fry

Other key lawyers:Ian Williamson

Testimonials

'Wards have a unique network of small local offices around Bristol and the West, from which they attract a large amount of private client work of good quality. They have specialists in property and wills/probate litigation who are very good at handling this work.'

'Over the years I have needed legal advice on a range of matters and have never hesitated to use Wards. Every team member in whichever discipline has always proved to be not only an expert in their field but very reactive to the exact needs of the client.'

'Quick to respond and always available in times of need. In addition I am constantly impressed by the standard of service provided by the secretarial team. Always responsive and aware of the subject matter. Although the firm has grown in size over the years and expanded across the region the service provided still has the feel of being unique to the individual who is in need of their help.

'Legal advice with just the right amount of empathy for the client.'

'Extremely empathetic, professional and very approachable.'

'This team at Wards immediately gave me a high level of confidence and demonstrated that they were the right people to deal with my contentious probate case. The team lead listened carefully to my needs and thoroughly assessed the case and identified the issues to be addressed and developed a strategy to move forward. Actions taken are swift and produce results in a timely way. Advice is well balanced with risk assessment and options costed and clearly presented. The team are all committed to providing a very high standard and focus to the customer needs.'

'From the date of our initial meeting until our case was settled the team always showed real empathy with our situation and were able to cut through the emotions we often showed to get at the real facts behind the case. We were always treated with the utmost honesty and were able to make good decisions following their advice. They were able to bring the matter to a satisfactory conclusion for us at a reasonable cost and we are very grateful for this.'

'Elizabeth Fry and Ian Williamson are both very experienced and knowledgeable in private client and estates matters, very good at identifying issues and conducting cases.'

'Ian Williamson was calm personified when dealing with me , a client who was at times, overwrought with the emotion of the situation. He was patient and kind and was always able to remove the emotion from the dialogue so as to provide the most cost-effective way of resolving the situation. He has clearly honed his skills over many years of practice and I was astounded by the level of his pragmatism.

'Ian Williamson and calm and unflappable and gives you his best advice even if you cannot always see it straight off through the emotional fog.'

'Elizabeth Fry is a very compassionate, understanding and non judgemental person.'

'The experience is personal, professional and responses to my requests have been swiftly dealt with. There is clearly a stong well motivated team here.'

'Both Elizabeth Fry and Ian Williamson are outstanding in their area of expertise, a privilege and pleasure to work with and give me absolute confidence they are the right people to advise and help me deal with my difficult case.' 

Work highlights

  • Advising on claims relating to the validity of the last will of the deceased and reviewing all previous property transactions of the deceased to assess composition of the estate
  • Advising on a claim relating to the validity of the client's late mother's last will relating to an estate worth over £2m.
  • Advising on a dispute regarding an estate with multiple land holdings held on very difficult trusts with overlapping ownerships with assets worth about £800,000.
  • Defending the client's claims brought against the estate by step=children under the Inheritance Act.
  • Represented a client in a dispute regarding a jointly owned property following separation over ten years ago.

Willans LLP handles claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, challenges the validity of wills, represents in claims for the removal of executors, personal representatives and trustees, and assists with applications to the Court of Protection. The practice, which is led by the 'incredibly professional' Paul Gordon, is also experienced in challenging the administration of estates. Another focus is handling proprietary estoppel claims on behalf of agricultural clients.

Practice head(s):Paul Gordon

Other key lawyers:Nick Southwell

Testimonials

'The firm acted very efficiently and professionally. The communication process was swift throughout'

'Paul Gordon shows sensitivity and guides the case to the outcome the client hopes for. The service he provides is exceptional'

Work highlights

  • Challenging the administration of a late father’s estate.
  • Advising on bringing a counterclaim to challenge the will on basis of a proprietary estoppel.
  • Defending six beneficiaries from an excluded nephew's £250,000 claim to rectify the deceased’s will.
  • Assisting with winding up a family trust and applying the most tax-saving structure for the beneficiaries worth £1m.
  • Acting in a claim for wrongful distribution of assets against the executors.


Family

Index of tables

  1. Family
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next Generation Partners
  5. Rising stars

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Burges Salmon LLP has expertise in negotiating financial settlements on relationship breakdown and divorce. The senior associates Nicky Howarth and Mary Gaskins deal with asset protection in case of divorce and draft domestic and cross-border pre- and post-martial agreements. The firm’s advice on family law incorporates tax and estate planning measures. Practice head Sarah Hoskinson specialises in in divorce law and handles corporate and trust issues as well as on the effect of divorce on the clients’ pension schemes. Alison Hawes has a particular expertise in financial settlement cases that involve issues regarding business assets.

Practice head(s):Sarah Hoskinson

Other key lawyers:Alison Hawes; Nicky Howarth; Mary Gaskins

Work highlights

  • Handling issues regarding trust assets after divorce.
  • Advising on maintenance variation with significant pension.
  • Assessing the effects of pre-marital agreements on financial settlement.
  • Advising on post-nuptial settlement when assets acquired during marriage.
  • Assessing claim to assets held in husband’s sole name.

Clarke Willmott LLP assists with cross-border divorce proceedings, handles private children disputes and is experienced in negotiating nuptial and cohabitation agreements. The firm also drafts financial settlements involving companies, partnerships, trusts and farm businesses. Practice head Gareth Schofield is additionally experienced in advising on unmarried family disputes. Daniel Eames advises high-net-worth individuals on international asset protection measures and financial disputes arising from marriage and cohabitation.

Practice head(s):Gareth Schofield

Other key lawyers:Daniel Eames

Work highlights

  • Advising on a complex cross-border divorce.
  • Advising on an international Schedule 1 claim.
  • Assisting with a financial settlement on divorce involving SDLT and CGT advice.
  • Advising on a financial remedy dispute.
  • Advising on an international pre-nuptial agreement.

Irwin Mitchell focuses on high-net-worth financial cases and handles the drafting and negotiation of nuptial and post-nuptial agreements, professional negligence cases arising out of matrimonial work, as well as matrimonial settlements and cross-border divorce proceedings. The practice also assists with the protection of pre-marital wealth. Practice head Nicola Walker specialises in financial disputes and regularly advises on cases involving trust assets and financial remedy matters.

Practice head(s):Nicola Walker

Work highlights

  • Advising on a high-net-worth matter involving international business assets and a jurisdiction issue compounded by the parties' relocation.

Michelmores LLP is experienced in handling divorce and dissolution proceedings, the drafting and negotiation of cohabitation agreements, the enforcement of court orders, as well as the implementation of injunctions that involve protection from harassment. The firm also provides assistance with dispute resolution mediums, such as mediation, arbitration and collaborative law. Practice head Simon Thomas regularly advises high-net-worth individuals on matrimonial finance matters. Louisa Ghevaert left the practice in May 2018. Associate Rachael Shearmur has particular expertise in relation to financial matters and domestic violence.

Practice head(s):Simon Thomas

Other key lawyers:Rachael Shearmur

Royds Withy King focuses on public children work. The firm assists guardians with the representation of children in care proceedings and handles cases of injuries and legal argument, as well as issues such as adoption and grandparents’ rights matters. Cross-border divorce, wealth protection and the negotiation of nuptial agreements constitute other areas of expertise. Key lawyers include accredited Resolution specialists Sharon MacDonald and Jon Toogood, while Rebecca Stevens deals with family disputes including child protection issues and residence disputes. Will MacFarlane joined as partner from Withers in February 2018.

Practice head(s):Richard Ellis

Other key lawyers:Sharon MacDonald; Jon Toogood; Will MacFarlane; Rebecca Stevens

Work highlights

  • Acting on multiple divorce proceedings including, among others, a HNW client in a highly acrimonious divorce case and a complex case involving the valuation of a client’s business.
  • Acted for the former partner of a premiership footballer in financial claims pursuant to Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989.
  • Acting on behalf of a child in a case with serious allegations of domestic violence between the mother and the partner.
  • Representing a client within private law enforcement proceedings.
  • The team regularly acts on highly complex care proceedings involving cross-border and potential criminal law issues.

Stephens Scown LLP covers legal aspects concerning high-net-value divorces involving pensions considerations, private child law and adoption disputes, international abduction and domestic abuse issues, as well as disputed trust and tax issues arising from relationship breakdowns. Practice co-head Liz Allen is a trained mediator and specialises in high-net-worth financial and business settlements on divorces involving companies and partnerships. The practice also handles child maintenance disputes.

Practice head(s):Liz Allen; Sarah Atkinson; Peter Marshall

TLT seeks settlements through court proceedings and through out-of-court divorce settlements. The team also advises families on urgent international children cases, with a focus on abduction and relocation cases, as well as child arrangements and parental alienation cases. Practice co-head Mark Sage, who was promoted to legal director in May 2018, is experienced in asset protection cases and the negotiation and drafting of cross-border nuptial, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. Practice co-head Natalie Drew covers financial remedy cases and matters involving business and trust elements.

Practice head(s):Natalie Drew; Mark Sage

Other key lawyers:Sarah E. Green

Testimonials

'I've worked with every member of the TLT team for several years and have referred clients to them consistently because they are an exceptional team and the service and skill set on offer is second to none.'

'Well regarded team for providing matrimonial advice. They are sensible and pragmatic with their approach. Easy to deal with and commercially minded.'

'TLT are one of the powerhouses in family in Bristol, consistently excellent and highly recommended for good reason.'

'Natalie Drew and Mark Sage form an incredible leadership within their team. You'll never be let down by them and they\'re a pleasure to work with. Excellent.'

'Mark Sage is perhaps the most pragmatic and sensible family lawyer in Bristol. He listens to both sides of the arguments and makes a balanced judgement. Always a positive when he is on the otherside.'

'Natalie Drew is forging a presence in London.'

'Natalie Drew is a fantastic lawyer - very acute and with great client care skills who gives very good advice.'

'Mark Sage is a very safe pair of hands with a great manner and very approachable.'

'I have known Mark Sage for many years. He gives good, balanced advice and is knowledgeable about what he does. Mark handles clients and their expectations well. He cares well for clients. He is efficient and personable.'

'Natalie Drew is a well known figure in matrimonial law circles in Bristol and she and Mark from a good team. Both attract good work.'

Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP advises on the division of family assets and businesses, the challenging and defending of nuptial agreements, cohabitee disputes, and private children cases, particularly on internal and external residential relocation as well as on special guardianship cases. The firm also has expertise in advising on posthumous conception and fertility treatment, including donor conception, donor disputes and co-parenting arrangements. Katie Taft advises on matrimonial finance and has expertise in matters concerning international child abduction and injunctions. 

Practice head(s):Deborah Leask; Sean McNally

Other key lawyers:Katie Taft

Harrison Clark Rickerbys handles domestic and international divorce proceedings and advises married and cohabitating high-net-worth individuals on asset, tax and pension structuring measures. Carolyn Green heads the practice and is experienced in assisting with cross-border divorce, financial settlement and Children Act proceedings. Other areas of expertise involve ancillary relief matters and the drafting and negotiation of nuptial, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. James Grigg joined the team from Willans in July 2019.

Practice head(s):Carolyn Green

Other key lawyers:James Grigg

Lester Aldridge LLP undertakes financial remedy cases, advises on pension and tax structuring and is experienced in drafting and negotiating pre-nuptial agreements as well as declaration of trust and cohabitation agreements for the protection of assets. The firm is also specialised in private children law and is involved in international children cases that encompass disputed contact, residence and surrogacy aspects.

Practice head(s):Jane Porter

Other key lawyers:Rosemary Sharp

Work highlights

  • Advised in connection with an application under Schedule 1 of the Children Act in respect to a client's three-year-old daughter.
  • Assisted with international relocation proceedings.
  • Advised on financial remedy application.
  • Acting in Children Act proceedings.
  • Advising on divorce and financial remedy proceedings.

Lyons Davidson has expertise in nuptial agreements, divorce proceedings and private child law. Practice co-head Philippa Morgan handles international child abduction cases including wardship cases, applications to recognise and enforce foreign orders and applications to permanently remove children from the jurisdiction in question. The practice also advises prospective adopters and special guardians in child proceedings. The firm is additionally experienced in handling divorce disputes and financial remedy aspects.

Practice head(s):Philippa Morgan; Iona Phillips

NGA Law has expertise in fertility law, surrogacy and LGBT-related family matters. Natalie Gamble leads the practice and is experienced in dealing with divorce disputes, the negotiation of nuptial agreements, and wealth protection measures for married and cohabitating partners. Another area of expertise is private children law and matters regarding relocation as well as adoption, special guardianship and maintenance claims.

Practice head(s):Natalie Gamble

Steele Raymond LLP advises on financial remedy and cohabitation disputes, as well as on financial settlements after divorce and relationship breakdown. The practice also covers the drafting and negotiation of prenuptial agreements and assists with the protection of assets. Polish-speaking practice head Daniel Sanders handles child-related matters such as relocation disputes and regularly acts for members of Polish community groups. Senior associate Lindsay Halliwell is a family mediator and advises on urgent interim child arrangements. High-net-worth individuals, landowners and business owners count to the practice’s key clients.

Practice head(s):Daniel Sanders

Other key lawyers:Lindsay Halliwell

Work highlights

  • Advised on divorce and financial remedy proceedings
  • Advising on Children Act as well as Family Law Act and assisting with proceedings concerning living and contact arrangement regarding the children
  • Advising on application for internal relocation, with potential for cross-border issues
  • Advised on a prenuptial agreement to protect high-net-worth assets
  • Advising on divorce specifically relating to financial matters

The Family Law Practice is experienced in advising on divorce and financial remedy work within matrimonial proceedings as well as on the negotiation and drafting of pre-nuptial agreements. Practice head Ashley Palminteri deals with high-net-worth individuals who he advises on the protection of commercial and trust assets as well as on the effect of marriage on income, tax and pension structures.

Practice head(s):Ashley Palminteri

Other key lawyers:Sharon Mahmood

Work highlights

  • Advised in divorce and financial remedy proceedings.
  • Advising on TOLATA and Schedule 1 proceedings.
  • Assisting with the negotiation and drafting of a pre-nuptial agreement.
  • Representing client in divorce, financial remedy and private children proceedings.

Thrings LLP acts for landowning families and high-net-worth individuals on marriage-related farm asset planning and advises on financial settlements after divorce and relationship breakdown. The firm drafts and negotiates nuptial agreements and is also experienced in negotiating nuptial agreements. Another key area of expertise is the representation in cross-border family disputes, which involves children relocation disputes and cross-border divorce proceedings. Samantha Newton has expertise on the impact of divorce on assets owned by business owners.

Practice head(s):Fiona Kellow; Matthew Kellow

Other key lawyers:Samantha Newton

Work highlights

  • Advising on cross-border financial negotiations after divorce

VWV provides legal advice on legal aspects of family breakdown and divorce proceedings, which covers assistance with financial settlements, unmarried family disputes, separation planning and wealth structuring. Other aspects include cross-border relocation issues, child support agreements, cohabitation claims and Court of Protection proceedings. The firm seeks settlements both within and outside court hearings. Practice head Samantha Hickman is especially active in matrimonial and cohabitation disputes, as well as on disputes involving children.

Practice head(s):Michelle Rose; Samantha Hickman

Work highlights

  • Advised on an application to vary the terms of a periodical payments order.
  • Advised on a leave to remove application and international child arrangements.
  • Advised on divorce and financial remedy proceedings.
  • Provided cohabitation advice.
  • Advised on the enforceability of pre-nuptial agreements.

Ashfords LLP handles divorce proceedings, advises on disputes involving children, collaborative law and pre- and post-nuptial agreements, and provides legal advice on the rights of unmarried couples. The firm also acts for clients in cases of severe domestic abuse and undertakes measures to protect victims. Practice head Zoe Porter specialises in financial matters arising from relationship breakdowns, while Jayne Turner focuses on advising high-net-worth individuals on the protection of inherited wealth and investment portfolios.

Practice head(s):Zoe Porter

Other key lawyers:Jayne Turner

Barcan+Kirby LLP has expertise in collaborative law, financial negotiations in cases of relationship breakdown and divorce, as well as on children-related matters, which involves acting on behalf of children in care proceedings. The team is experienced in matrimonial finance and also assists with maintenance claims. Another area of expertise is the provision of legal assistance in cases of severe domestic violence.

Practice head(s):Jim Gridley

Testimonials

'The size of the practice allows good communication and working relationships to develop between partners and associates. There is a instant feeling/ reassurance that you will be well represented when you enter the Barcan & Kirby practice. The receptionists are friendly and very professional. I thankfully have only had to deal with one practice and feel that I don\'t need to look any further than B&K.'

Barcan & Kirby provide a consistent legal service in both children and financial remedy cases.  They have a high street presence which translates into effective legal representation at court.'

'Barcan & Kirby are one of the largest family law practices in Bristol and surrounding area. A very capable high street offering with a number of good quality and practical lawyers who are client focused and effective.'

'A mid-tier firm which punches above its weight in terms of the service and quality of advice.'

'Great value for money as well as being well known in and around Bristol. They provide a good service to their many longstanding clients.'

'The Family team combines expertise with a truly client-centred culture.'

'Alison Whiles is an excellent advocate for collaborative and non-contentious divorce related matters.  She approaches her work in a calm and practical manner which is relayed well to clients.'

'Chris Miller is calm, thoughtful and offered complete reassurance. He guided me well through a tricky divorce and always made me feel it would all work out well.'

'Alison Whiles has better attention to detail than anyone else I know. She is also bright, sensible and personable.'

'Chris Miller is a good communicator and proactive. Always willing to pick up the telephone to discuss issues.'

'Kirsten Hale is very client focused and will fight hard for her clients in all circumstances. She does however see the bigger picture and ensures that expectations are managed leading to effective negotiation.'

Hanni Pennelegion and Kirsten Hale are both absolutely excellent. They're each really down-to-earth and quickly gain a client's trust. Their advice and judgement is usually impeccable so client expectations are really well managed. They also prepare really well for counsel.'

'Alison Whiles is tenacious and extremely hard-working.'

'Hanni Pennelegion is extremely popular and likeable. Clients always feel that she is on their side and she puts them at ease. She is not afraid of the complicated or unusual case.'

'Jim Gridley provides a wealth of experience and brings calm and empathy to every case.'

'Chris Miller is experienced with a thoughtful and creative approach to problem solving.'

'Anna Wilson shows great empathy and a sharp mind.'

'Kirsten Hale is passionate about getting the best outcome for her clients and applies diligence and creativity in equal measure.'

Blanchards Bailey LLP is experienced in drafting and negotiating pre-nuptial and cohabitation agreements and has expertise in dealing with divorce proceedings, relationship breakdown, financial matters and private children law matters. The team also advises on the rights of grandparents as well as on the implementation and dismissal of Child Arrangement Orders. Another area of expertise is the relocation and removal of children from their domicile, which regularly involves cross-border matters.

Practice head(s):Clare Cherry; Laura Martin

Work highlights

  • Applied for contact with a grandchild
  • Advised on the dismissal of the father’s application for a Child Arrangement Order
  • Advising on a divorce proceeding and a £1.5m financial claim involving a family business
  • Acted as mediators on financial matters arising from separation
  • Advised on the protection of future inheritance

Foot Anstey assists with divorce proceedings, cohabitation disputes, children-related disputes as well as wealth protection measures and property disputes. The firm is also experienced in the drafting and negotiation of pre- and postnuptial agreements. Exeter-based Jessica Pitt is the practice head and regularly liaises with high-net-worth clients and farming families on setting out financial claims arising out of relationship breakdown.

Practice head(s):Jessica Pitt

Gregg Latchams LLP advises on relationship breakdown matters, including separation, divorce, dissolution of civil partnership and disputes between cohabitating coupled. The firm also assists with claims for financial provision for children. Other areas of expertise are Children Act laws and applications to remove children from particular jurisdictions. The team is also experienced in dealing with financial settlements and asset structuring.

Practice head(s):James Myatt

Mowbray Woodwards Solicitors handles divorce and separation proceedings as well as asset protection measures for high-net-worth individuals. Managing partner Tracey Smith heads up the family law team, which includes solicitor Lucy Terrell, who specialises in private children matters and has expertise in advising clients accused of sexual offences and those with an ASD diagnosis. The firm also assists with care proceedings and handles cases that involve the relocation of children to other jurisdictions.

Practice head(s):Tracey Smith

Other key lawyers:Lucy Terrell; Meg Moss

Testimonials

'High quality advice allied to approachability.'

'The firm provides a client-centric approach, delivered in a personable manner with no doubt as to the professional excellence that underpins advice. I have only dealt with three of the team at Mowbray Woodwards and found them to be very personable while also very knowledgeable and proficient. While most people want to do business with professional and efficient companies, they will ultimately choose this companies that they like doing business with. The friendly and personable approach to clients makes the difference.'

'Tracey Smith is experienced and practical.'

Nash & Co handles negotiations on financial settlements in cases of divorce and separations, negotiates and drafts nuptial agreements and has expertise in cases involving domestic abuse. The firm also regularly advises on special guardianship and child arrangement orders. Practice co-head Helen Bull specialises in public children work, with particular experience in acting for children and parents in care cases involving non-accidental injuries. Practice co-head Eleanor Barber was promoted to partner in December 2018 and covers financial matters arising from divorce and relationship breakdown.

Practice head(s):Helen Bull; Eleanor Barber

Other key lawyers:Peter Ash

Porter Dodson LLP acts for high-net-worth individuals, business owners and landowners on relationship breakdowns and divorce, which involves dispute resolution and litigation, wealth protection measures, the negotiation and drafting of financial settlements, as well as the representation of disputes regarding the relocation of children. The firm is also experienced in handling private and public children law matters and advises on fertility law.

Practice head(s):Richard Baker

Sharp Family Law LTD is experienced in advising on estate planning, asset protection, as well as on the drafting and negotiation of financial settlements and child maintenance agreements between divorcing and separating partners. One key aspect of managing partner Richard Sharp’s work is assistance with disputes about the domestic and cross-border relocation of children. The firm collaborates with psychotherapists and relationship specialists.

Practice head(s):Richard Sharp

Other key lawyers:Sharon Giles; Clare Webb

Stone King LLP advises on divorce and financial relief proceedings and is also experienced in mediating for married couples and between cohabitating individuals on financial matters and maintenance claims. The firm is also experienced in dealing with private children law matters, which involves relocation disputes. Another area of expertise is the representation of plaintiffs and defendants in allegations of domestic violence.

Practice head(s):Caroline Fell

Work highlights

  • Advising on divorce and financial relief proceedings
  • Advising on negotiations regarding financial claims and maintenance issues
  • Mediated on financial issues
  • Advising on children relocation matter
  • Advising on children law dispute involving allegations of domestic violence

Tozers Solicitors LLP advises high-net-worth individuals on divorce proceedings as well as on the drafting and negotiation of financial settlements, pre-nuptial agreements and cohabitation agreements. The firm also acts for vulnerable children and victims of domestic and sexual abuse. The firm also assists family members with children law disputes over residence and contact. Practice head Tracy Lambert is a qualified mediator.

Practice head(s):Tracy Lambert

Other key lawyers:Caroline Ryan

Work highlights

  • Advised on divorce settlement

Trethowans LLP is experienced in the drafting and negotiation of cohabitation and marital agreements, advises on cohabitation disputes and assists with children-related matters that involve relocation disputes, the negotiation of living arrangements and maintenance claims. The firm also assists with asset structuring and financial settlements after divorce or relationship breakdown. The firm has also expertise in private law adoptions and fertility law, which includes the negotiation of donor agreements.

Practice head(s):Andrew Mercer

Willans LLP's team handles complex cases of divorce, separation and relationship breakdown, as well as financial settlements and disputes concerning children. The firm is also experienced in dealing with cross-border disputes concerning the residence of children and the making of maintenance claims, and assists with the drafting and negotiation of cohabitation and nuptial agreements. The team is now led by Sharon Giles, who joined the firm in September 2019, while other key team members include 'highly experienced' senior associate Jonathan Eager.

Practice head(s):Sharon Giles

Other key lawyers:Jonathan Eager

Testimonials

'Jonathan Eager is highly experienced. He is good with clients and quickly identifies the key issues.'

Work highlights

  • Advising on financial matters in a divorce case
  • Advising on financial claims and the relocation of children after divorce
  • Advised on financial claims arising from an offshore business as the sole matrimonial asset
  • Assisting with an urgent application to the court concerning children and financial matters against the backdrop of a prognosis predicting the approaching death of the critically ill wife
  • Protecting the right of the mentally ill mother to stay in contact with her children

Woolley & Co, Solicitors is experienced in advising on the financial implications of cross-border divorce proceedings and relationship breakdown. This includes advice to vulnerable clients with additional financial needs arising from mental and physical health issues. The firm also assists with international children relocation and domicile disputes, including the prevention of a removal from particular jurisdictions. Clients involve high-net-worth individuals and families, couples and British expatriates.

Other key lawyers:Susan Harwood; Judith Buckland

Work highlights

  • Advising on a children act case involving psychological assessment
  • Advising on a cross-border divorce proceeding with pension and financial settlements
  • Defended defence of application for the removal of children to a foreign jurisdiction

The legal expertise of Battens Solicitors Limited involves divorce proceedings, nuptial agreements and financial settlements. Senior associates Louise Gidley is the practice head and has over 13 years post-qualification experience in high-net-worth matrimonial disputes and guardianship issues concerning children. Senior associate Gareth Bishop also covers children act proceedings and represents parents, guardians and children in cases involving allegations of physical and sexual abuse.

Practice head(s):Louise Gidley

Other key lawyers:Gareth Bishop

Testimonials

Battens Solicitors is a beacon of good practice and ability in care proceedings and private law children cases

The family team is universally strong, with a clear shared ethos placing the client at the centre of their work

Battens is in the top flight of firms that deal with care proceedings

A solid outfit with expertise throughout the field and a well-pitched personal approach

Louise Gidley, Gareth Bishop and Georgina Bacon are outstanding and well-prepared lawyers

Gareth Bishop shines in his case preparation, advocacy, and knowledge of care proceedings

When working with Gareth Bishop for parents and guardians, his ability to intellectually dissect the most complex of care cases shines through

BPE Solicitors LLP advises on divorce and separation proceedings and has experience in drafting and negotiation nuptial agreements and post-nuptial financial settlements. Another key element of the firm’s legal work is the provision of assistance with children act applications and advice on cross-border children relocation disputes. Practice head Helen Cankett is regularly active as a family mediator. Typical clients are high-net-worth individuals, business owners and their spouses and cohabitation partners.

Practice head(s):Helen Cankett

Work highlights

  • Advising on a divorce and financial remedy proceeding
  • Advising on private law children act proceedings involving an application by mother to relocate
  • Advising on children arrangement proceedings

GA Solicitors acts for high-net-worth individuals and covers financial disputes arising from disputes and relationship breakdown, which covers advice on the ramifications of divorce on tax and pension structuring. The firm also drafts and negotiates nuptial and cohabitation agreements. The firm is equally experienced in private children work involving guardianship and relocation disputes as well as on mediation.

Practice head(s):Michelle Gove

Goughs Solicitors drafts and negotiates nuptial and cohabitation agreements and negotiates on behalf of parents on the relocation of their children. The firm is also involved in drafting financial settlements, including the negotiation of favourable cross-border child support arrangements. The firm also assists with wealth protection issues and undertakes tax and asset structuring before marriages and after relationship breakdowns.

Practice head(s):Matthew Drew

Work highlights

  • Negotiated prenuptial agreement for a marriage abroad
  • Secured 50% of asset share in a cohabitation case where all assert where initially in former partner’s name
  • Excluded non-matrimonial property from divorce settlement
  • Assisting with a cross-border relocation dispute regarding the children

Kitsons LLP regularly advises on the drafting and negotiation of cohabitation and nuptial agreements, which includes advice on wealth and asset protection as well as tax and pension structuring. Practice head Tony Hunt leads the team who also deal with divorce and separation proceedings, which incorporates maintenance and relocation disputes concerning children and financial settlement disputes. Another area of expertise is legal assistance with the claiming of protection against domestic abuse.

Practice head(s):Tony Hunt

Mogers Drewett LLP assists with the drafting and negotiation of nuptial and cohabitation agreements and is also experienced in private children matters involving domestic and cross-border relocation as well as maintenance disputes. Rebecca Silcock heads the practice and has experience in the legal ramifications of divorce and relationship breakdown on financial matters ranging from family trusts and inherited wealth to commercial ventures and family businesses.

Practice head(s):Rebecca Silcock


Personal tax, trusts and probate

Index of tables

  1. Personal tax, trusts and probate
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next Generation Partners
  5. Rising stars

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Rising stars

  1. 1

Burges Salmon LLP is especially experienced in dealing with landed estates, which involves regulatory advice regarding agricultural law and inheritance tax planning. The firm is also experienced in trust establishment and restructuring, which often involves the movements of assets domestically as well as offshore. The firm regularly liaises with family business owners on corporate and personal tax matters as well as the transfer of assets to the next generation. John Barnett provides tax advice to high-net-worth individuals and financial institutions. Senior associate Catherine De Maid leads the firm’s philanthropy team and specialises in international tax, trusts and estate planning advice.  Senior associate Tim Williams  is another specialist in tax, estate planning and trust work.

Practice head(s):John Barnett; Beatrice Puoti

Other key lawyers:Tom Hewitt; Jim Aveline; Suzanna Harvey; Catherine de Maid; Tim Williams

Key Clients

UBS

PraxisIFM

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP combines expertise in family businesses, landed estates, heritage property and international tax. Practice head Christopher Page advises estate and private land owners, family business entrepreneurs and trustees on tax strategy, succession planning. Associate Tabitha Collett assists with asset protective and ownership structures. Julia Cox and Henry Fea count both domestic and foreign residents to their client base.

Practice head(s):Christopher Page

Other key lawyers:Tabitha Collett; Daniel Shutt

Key Clients

Real estate and land owners

Trustees

High-net-worth individuals

The expertise of Foot Anstey encompasses domestic and international tax, trusts and succession matters, which involves property structuring, shari’ah-compliant wealth structuring and succession planning, as well as the administration of landed estates. The practice also runs a trust corporation and advises financial institutions on trust law, fiduciary duties and compliance issues. The firm is additionally experienced in providing tax and probate advice tailored to elderly clients.

Practice head(s):Deborah Carrivick; Anna Parker

Other key lawyers:Michelle Seddon; Katherine Willmott; Lisa Weekes

Key Clients

Qatar Islamic Bank

Rosette Bank

Gatehouse Bank

Greenridge Investments

Michelmores LLP handles domestic and cross-border wealth structuring for high-net-worth individuals and their families, while working closely with the firm’s financial services, agricultural and privacy lawyers to provide advice on tax, trusts and succession planning matters. James Radcliffe is especially experienced in advising clients with connections to the USA. Typical clients of the practice include farmers, entrepreneurs, trustees as well as vulnerable persons and elderly clients that require extra assistance with formulating their will. Senior associate Edward Porter covers estate administration and focuses on estate matters with tax and trust elements.

Practice head(s):Jonathan Riley

Other key lawyers:Sandra Brown; Jennifer Ridgway; Edward Porter

Testimonials

Michelmores provides top quality advice at sensible charge out rates

Jennifer Ridgway has been outstanding. She is very responsive and hard-working and has extensive experience in trust and tax related work

Jonathan Riley is calm, affable and technically excellent

TLT combines banking and trusts advice and has recently increased its activity in the agricultural sector. The firm also advises on estate planning aspects and the restructuring of wealth holding structures. International tax work, especially in connection with US tax law, is another significant pillar of the practice. Associate Tristan Smale provides tax and trust advice to individuals, families, trustees and financial institutions. Debbie Gale was promoted to legal director in April 2018 and leads the probate part of the practice.

Practice head(s):Patrick Wooddisse

Other key lawyers:Chris Williamson; David Wheeler; Tristan Smale

Testimonials

‘Certainly a cut above any of the other firms in Bristol’

'Patrick Woodddisse is very bright and can quickly get to the real issues.'

'Patrick Wooddisse has the ability to think on his feet; he is exceptional and his problem solving skills are very good.'

'They marry hand holding with professional expertise.'

'Chris Williamson is brilliant with clients - he delivers advice clearly and concisely and is always willing to lend additional thoughts or time that may take him outside of his billable hours. He is highly professional and excellent with international clients who are new UK law and often need additional guidance when navigating their estate planning objectives.'

'Patrick Wooddisse is a superb communicator and is as good on UK tax as he is on international matters. He is always responsive and makes intelligent commercial suggestions and is happy to agree schemes of work that are of use to me (and my firm) as his client, rather than what suits his team and is easy.'

'Everything TLT offer is top-notch; the quality of their work is unimpeachable and I would have no hesitation in putting a client of mine in front of them knowing they were in good hands. Not only are they technically excellent, they are lovely to deal with and handle difficult or troubled clients with the utmost care and consideration.'

‘Their professionalism and proactivity ensures the clients’ wish to establish a long-term relationship’

Expertise and ability to deal with any query helpfully and in a commercial fashion’

‘Competitive pricing’

‘Always proactive, responsive and highly professional’

‘Quick to respond to requests, often go above and beyond what is required of them’

Work highlights

  • Advised a recently retired Formula 1 driver on the preparation of will and wider tax and succession planning including dealing with international image rights.
  • Developed trust policies on behalf of trustees of personal a personal injury trust for a disabled child and invested the £5m trust fund within three months of appointment
  • Advised a businessman on tax and succession planning including business succession plans
  • Provides trust advice for a bank on ad hoc issues
  • Advised a farming family and ice cream manufacturer on succession planning.

Wilsons advises high-net-worth individuals and families on the transfer and inheritance of business, land and real estate assets. The practice also handles the establishment and structuring of offshore trusts for farms and landed estates, which involves tax advice to individuals, farming communities and trustees. Trust litigation, private wealth disputes and settlements equally represent a major aspect of the practice’s work.

Practice head(s):Frances Mayne

Other key lawyers:Belinda Watson; Adam Herbert; Rupert Wilkinson

Testimonials

Wilsons provided excellent service to my family company and handled our case very well, which involved complex tax and corporate issues

Wilsons is an exceptional group of lawyers with a unique blend of being at the top of its game but very down to earth

 

Ashfords LLP advises individual real estate owners, agricultural clients, high-net-worth family members and trust corporations on succession and estate planning, tax mitigation and wealth management. Trust administration constitutes another significant focus of the practice. The firm also handles contentious tax aspects of private wealth structuring, which involves expertise in contentious offshore trust arrangements.

Practice head(s):Michael Alden; Robert Horsey

Other key lawyers:Tom Biddick; John Toth; Kerry Morgan Gould

Key Clients

High-net-worth individuals and families

Trustees of maintenance fund for heritage property

Work highlights

  • Assisting a high-net-worth family as executors of estate planning
  • Advising children of a deceased individual on estate administration including elements of domicile and potential intestacy

Being especially active in the agriculture sector, Clarke Willmott LLP maintains a rural client base and focuses on real estate planning to individuals and entrepreneurs along with the resulting advisory wills, trusts and probate aspects. The firm also assists with the establishment and management of family trusts as well as in relation to the winding up of taxable estates.

Practice head(s):Anthony Fairweather

Other key lawyers:Emma Pope; Samantha Grimwood; Imogen Lea

Testimonials

A highly competent team with excellent specialist knowledge

Clarke Willmott is very professional and has an excellent work ethic. All details are explained in clear language

A very friendly and accommodating firm

No matter how often they are contacted: they are always ready to answer queries or make early appointments

Key Clients

Bath and North East Somerset Council

Bristol City Council

Somerset County Council

St. James’s Place Wealth Management

Harrison Clark Rickerbys offers advice on matters ranging from the establishment and running of personal injury trusts, financial administration, inheritance tax planning, health and welfare issues to asset protection. The firm also provides tailored trust administration offerings and handles both contentious and uncontentious cases, which regularly involves disputes regarding real estate ownership. Clients involve high-net-worth family members and elderly individuals.

Practice head(s):Alex Taylor

Other key lawyers:Phillipa Bruce-Kerr; Mark Hartley

Testimonials

A very knowledgeable team with a broad range of specialisms

Mark Hartley obviously knows his subject very well and makes clients feel confident in his advice which is delivered with warmth

Stephens Scown LLP provides advice to individuals on their tax residence and domicile status and assists with the reorganisation and establishment of holding structures for partnerships and family investment companies. The practice has also expertise in the tax treatment of employment income and employment related securities, as well as on inheritance tax reliefs and exemptions.

Practice head(s):Malcolm Emery; Philip Reed

Other key lawyers:Graham Murdoch; Ian Newcombe

Testimonials

This team probably provides the most comprehensive service in the area of Trusts and Probate of any firm in the region

The team has breadth and depth, and its coverage is second to none

The individuals are experts in their field, and also provide practical advice and a personal service. Where appropriate, the partners deal with matters on a personal basis, and also access and face to face availability is good

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP assists executors with inheritance tax matters and provides regulatory advice to trustees on the establishment and running of trusts. Legal director Christopher Kerr-Smiley is especially active with regards to the restructuring and taxation of domestic and offshore charitable, lifetime and corporate trusts. The practice’s client base includes landowners, businessmen, high-network individuals as well as wealthy families.

Other key lawyers:Christopher Kerr-Smiley

Blanchards Bailey LLP provides estate planning and tax advice, is experienced in probate and estate administration, and manages client affairs through powers of attorney, deputyship orders and trusts. The firm also assists vulnerable and elderly clients with the protection of assets from high care home fees. Other clients involve high-net-worth individuals, business owners and farmers, who the firm regularly advises on tax and pension planning and equity release schemes.

Practice head(s):Jerome Dodge

Other key lawyers:Ian Campbell; Emma Needham; Rachel Pullen; Meggie Crane

Testimonials

Blanchards Bailey is always polite, helpful and easy to work with

They are always quick to reply to any communications

The staff is always helpful and very friendly and professional. The team goes out of its way to provide clear and understandable information, it does not talk legal jargon

Very knowledgeable and professional staff

Best in terms of personal attention, a quick response time and very good professional advice

The team has a diverse mix of people with a large variety of skills and treats its client with respect and approaches matter with a rational calm mind

The team reaches good conclusions with a minimum of fuss and delay

In a time of grief, the team gave great comfort to know that the complicated details were being dealt with

Jerome Dodge - always helpful and full of knowledge

Jerome Dodge’s advice aspires absolute confidence in the administration of the client’s affairs

Meggie Crane was extremely understanding and very professional at the same time. She is an asset to Blanchards Bailey

Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP provides tax advice and evaluates inheritance tax liabilities alongside the drafting of wills and the analysis of estate planning options for high-net-worth land owners and farmers. The firm also acts as estate administrator and assists with the establishment and administration of domestic and offshore trusts. Practice head Carla Brown joined from Moore Blatch LLP in July 2018.

Practice head(s):Carla Brown

Other key lawyers:Andy Kirby; Theresa Mills; Katy Sewell

Testimonials

Very approachable, build good relationships, obviously keen on what they do and keen to support clients in any way

Listening to clients, understanding them first and foremost and then being practical in the approach and advice

We found Carla Brown to be knowledgeable, helpful and understanding of our needs. Her advice has been prompt, imaginative and presented in an understandable manner. She was a pleasure to consult.

Work highlights

  • Administering £1.35m estate originally belonging to a deceased high-net-worth individual
  • Administering £3.4m estate of a deceased farmer
  • Advising on inheritance tax liabilities of a high-net-worth individual in a second marriage

Royds Withy King liaises with high-net-worth family members on the management of personal injury trusts and deputyships, the structuring of offshore real estate and farmland assets and on the establishment of philanthropic work and charities. The firm has expertise in reviewing the tax implications of property ownership structures and estate planning measures. The practice additionally assists elderly clients with the preparation of their wills.

Practice head(s):James McNeile; Samantha O'Sullivan

Other key lawyers:Amanda Noyce; Becky Ricards Small; Edward Vidnes

Work highlights

  • Acting on UK and US tax implications and advice regarding philanthropic intentions, use of trusts and residence aspects
  • Providing ongoing advice involving a trust rearrangement
  • Reviewing and reporting to the court on various family trusts with underlying property investment company
  • Administering taxable estates, including a valuation of shares held in private company
  • Assisting with the provision of wills

Stone King LLP advises landowners, farmers and elderly high-net-worth individuals on wills and estate planning, the management of private family trusts and capital tax planning schemes. The firm is also experienced in handling international and cross-border probate and succession matters, which regularly involves the establishment of multi-jurisdictional inheritance tax saving schemes and the challenging of decisions made by HMRC on matters including domicile.

Practice head(s):Alison Allen

Other key lawyers:Daniel Harris

Work highlights

  • Advising the executors of a £2m estate on the planning, arranging and meeting of care needs for an elderly individual
  • Reorganising private client arrangements for a client with a £2.7m estate.

Trethowans LLP advises on inheritance tax and capital gains tax planning for high-net-worth individuals, establishes personal injury trusts and assists with the administration of a wide range of assets, including agricultural land, woodland and family businesses. The firm also assists farmers and entrepreneurs with succession and capital tax planning. Charity trustees constitute another significant client base, as do elderly and vulnerable clients.

Practice head(s):James Hammersley

Other key lawyers:Mihiri Gajraj; Rupert Thompson; Gary Pick

Work highlights

  • Advising on estate planning with cross-border elements
  • Assisting with estate planning and the establishment of a trust

Trowers & Hamlins LLP covers succession planning and asset structuring for family business owners and high-net-worth individuals, advises land owners, farmers and property developers on estate planning, and prepares wills for elderly clients. The practice is also experienced in advising on philanthropic work and the establishment of charitable trusts. London-based practice co-head Jonathan Kropman joined from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP in April 2018.

Practice head(s):Jonathan Kropman; Helen Honeyball

Other key lawyers:Frank Cook; Amanda Rainford

VWV advises on estates and trusts with issues involving inheritance tax, capital gains tax and stamp duty land tax, which also includes assistance with the claiming of any tax relief available. The firm also advises on the creation of lifetime trusts and provides advice to trustees and existing trust administrators on exercising their duties. The team regularly acts as estate administrator. Clients include high-net-worth individuals, charities and business clients.

Practice head(s):Michelle Rose; Mary McCrorie

Work highlights

  • Acting as administrators of a £9m estate with residue left to charity
  • Setting up a personal injury trust

Headed by Paul Hunston, the Cheltenham-based boutique firm Wiggin Osborne Fullerlove acts for high-net-worth clients and their families on the structuring of their assets and corporate activities. The legal services of the firm involve asset protection, philanthropy, and family office as well as estate planning. The practice is also experienced in assisting clients with HMRC enquiries and consultation processes.

Practice head(s):Paul Hunston

Other key lawyers:Tim Osborne; Matthew Cain; Matthew Shayle; Rose Chamberlayne

Testimonials

Matthew Cain has a strong technical knowledge combined with sound commercial judgement and an exceptional work ethic

Work highlights

  • Acting for an international family in the sale of a UK business
  • Advising a multi-business philanthropic family on UK property-holding trusts and personal investment worth £30m
  • Advising a UK-resident, non-UK domiciled individual on a personal and trust tax position in the wake of the April 2017 changes to ‘non-dom’ tax rules

Willans LLP advises on various aspects of private client work, which includes will drafting, lifetime and post-death tax planning, succession planning, the administration of estates as well as assistance with the funding of care home fees. Typical clients involve farmers, business owners, elderly and vulnerable clients as well as high-net-worth individuals. The practice also handles the establishment and management of trusts.

Practice head(s):Simon Cook

Other key lawyers:Jen Cockett; Susie Jones; Robin Beckley

Testimonials

A friendly and sympathetic team that offers friendly and professional advice at a fair price, while being always prepared to go the extra mile

Simon Cook has in-depth knowledge and combines a professional manner with a friendly reassuring approach which gives clients confidence that they are in good hands and that their affairs are being handled in a sympathetic, professional and timely manner

Work highlights

  • Administering a £20m estate including advice on agricultural property relief and business property relief issues, with lengthy negotiations with HMRC
  • Administering a large estate with overseas assets
  • Ongoing assistance with the administration of a personal injury trust
  • Administering an estate by setting up multiple trusts

BPE Solicitors LLP handles inheritance tax planning, the formulation and interpretation of wills, estate administration, as well as trust creation, structuring and management. The practice also provides elderly client services, which involves asset protection from care home fees and the management of assets for clients with deteriorating mental capacity. Another field of expertise is the establishment of charities and assistance with philanthropic work.

Practice head(s):Clare Young

Other key lawyers:Peter Tyrell; Lottie Goldstone; Natalie Cottrell; Rebecca Dorrington

Work highlights

  • Interpreting historically made wills and advising on potential claims against the estates
  • Managing the properties and financial affairs of an elderly high-net-worth individual with deteriorating mental capacity
  • Representing in relation to the administration of the estates of a deceased individual 
  • Advising in relation to estate planning

Farnfields LLP’s legal services include inheritance and personal tax planning, trust and estate administration, the formulation of wills, as well as succession and estate planning for future generations. Local farming families with high-net-worth estates are among the practice’s key clients. The firm is also experienced in handling tax and trust matters on behalf of executors, and matters involving offshore assets of deceased individuals.

Practice head(s):Susan Lacey

Other key lawyers:Fiona Thomas; Natasha Evans; Claire Muirhead; Valerie King

Work highlights

  • Representing the client in the release of her life interest in a will trust
  • Estate planning including advice on agricultural and business property relief
  • Handling inheritance tax matters regarding a valuable estate
  • Administering estates including a solicitor’s practice and ongoing administration of the discretionary will trust

Frettens LLP advises on trust creation, taxation and estate administration as well as on succession planning for personal and business assets belonging to high-net-worth individuals, wealthy families, and pre-retirement owners and managers of regional businesses. The team also reviews wills and carries out trust restructuring, while simultaneously being experienced in advising elderly clients, particularly in relation to local authority care funding.

Practice head(s):Lee Young

Other key lawyers:Heather Varley; Julie Frampton

Work highlights

  • Estate and succession planning for personal and business assets worth in excess of £25m
  • Estate planning as well as review and update of wills and advice on trust arrangements

GA Solicitors is particularly active with regards to trusts and capital tax planning, the formulation of wills and probate for entrepreneurial clients and wealthy families, as well as with the administration of estates. The team is intertwined with the firm’s commercial department to provide legal services concerning business succession planning and the transfer of business assets to subsequent generations. Mathew Rose was promoted to partner in July 2018.

Practice head(s):Jonathan Hall

Other key lawyers:Mathew Rose; Catherine Bailey

The specialist areas of Humphries Kirk involve handling tax and compliance reporting for trusts, dealing with Court of Protection applications as well as enabling cross-border double taxation reliefs, cross-border tax planning and estate planning for high-net-worth individuals. The firm also advises on questions of domicile and assists with the application of UK inheritance tax to worldwide estates. Simon Cross stepped down as head of department to become managing partner, while Adam Scott and Laura Staples were promoted to practice heads in summer 2018.

Practice head(s):Adam Scott; Laura Staples

Other key lawyers:Chris Keenan; Simon Cross; Abigail Doggrell

Work highlights

  • Advising on the administration of an estate with an IHT liability
  • Acting for executors of an estate resulting in a reduction in IHT payable by over £470,000
  • Advising on the administration of assets located in the UK and Germany and belonging to a deceased individual

Kitsons LLP handles tax planning as well as offshore probate work for high-net-worth individuals, farmers and wealthy families. Another area of expertise is assistance with the formulations and updating of wills as well as enabling the distribution of assets in accordance with applicable probate laws. The firm also advises elderly and vulnerable clients on wealth preservation and assists them with applications for NHS and healthcare funding.

Practice head(s):Lynn Smith

Other key lawyers:Charlie Siegle; Marjorie Creek

Laceys assists with the establishment and management of family trusts and handles tax-related aspects regarding landed estates, both on death of deceased individuals and for planning during lifetime. The practice is also experienced in succession planning, the formulation of probates and the modification of wills. Important clients include farmers, high-net-worth families, charities and vulnerable individuals who require additional assistance.

Practice head(s):Kate Mansfield

Other key lawyers:Simon Nightingale; Joe Spring

Testimonials

Laceys has a very well-run team of excellent people who work hard and deliver a first-rate service

Laceys has been exceptional

Courtesy and accessibility is a key strength. It is possible to speak directly to the lawyer and receive a swift response, whether verbally or written

Lester Aldridge LLP has expertise in international estate transfer, domestic and offshore tax planning, the establishment and structuring of trusts for vulnerable individuals, as well as in wealth planning, business succession issues and cross-border wealth transfer between high-net-worth individuals and family members. Other key clients include charities, which the team regularly advises on regulatory aspects and the structuring of assets.

Practice head(s):Oliver Phipps; Kurt Lee

Other key lawyers:Melanie Wilkins

Work highlights

  • Administering of an estate of a deceased wealthy individual
  • Advising on the inheritance of an offshore estate

The legal services of Lodders Solicitors LLP include estate and tax planning for high-net-worth individuals and structuring business and land holdings under tax aspects, wealth structuring, wills and succession planning, as well as managing finances and high-net-worth assets under deputyship orders, which also involves advice on care funding and Court of Protection work. The headquarters in Stratford upon Avon is also involved in serving clients from the South West.

Practice head(s):Martin Green

Other key lawyers:Jessica Beddows; Stephen Brignull; Victoria Borrow; Caroline Cowley

Testimonials

Lodders are a very professional team, really personable, easily reachable and have incredible knowledge and expertise

They have a long history of providing legal expertise

They are very welcoming and spend time getting to know their clients

Work highlights

  • Acting in the administration of a deceased individual’s estate
  • Advising on the preparation of wills and the establishment of a family trust for a vulnerable beneficiary
  • Managing financial affairs for a vulnerable client
  • Evaluating options to amend a will

Mogers Drewett LLP is specialised in wills and later life support, the administration of estates as well as in trust and tax planning for high-net-worth individuals, elderly clients and families involved in the agricultural sector. The practice also advises executors and beneficiaries on legal and tax obligations and assists them with the reduction of tax liabilities. The firm also serves trustees in the establishment of charities.

Practice head(s):David Hill

Other key lawyers:Rory McFarlane; Rebecca Beresford; Tom Chiffers

Mowbray Woodwards Solicitors assists high-net-worth individuals with estate planning, probate and estate administration, preparation of wills, and advice regarding tax and trust planning. Specialisms also include probate matters with cross-border elements and assistance is provided to elderly and vulnerable clients regarding asset transfer and protection. The firm equally handles the establishment and running of trusts and advises on inheritance tax planning.

Practice head(s):David Whitworth

Other key lawyers:Rebecca Broom; Eirian Whitehead; Sarah Hickson

Testimonials

'The practice is excellent and very professional while retaining an approachable and friendly atmosphere'

'There was a refreshing attitude with Mowbray Woodwards to the discussion of the issues, and more importantly, the willingness to consider the things that really mattered and concentrating on those first, and then moving on to close out the remaining issues.'

'David Whitworth is extremely knowledgeable in all aspects of wills, trusts and probate. David has built a team around him of like-minded individuals'

Porter Dodson LLP provides long-term tax and succession planning as well as will drafting. The team deals with the creation and management of trusts through lifetime settlements and complex wills as well as with the administration of estates. The firm’s succession planning matters regularly involve the restructuring of assets with the goal of wealth preservation. The practice’s client base consists of agricultural clients, elderly high-net-worth individuals, entrepreneurs and vulnerable individuals.

Practice head(s):Ian Sankey

Other key lawyers:Sharon Collier; Kate James; Sarah Stone

Testimonials

Very responsive, with a great team ethos and back up

Sarah Stone is a key associate within the team. She encourages delegation, overcomes hurdles and always has the client’s needs to the fore. She communicates to clients in jargon-free manner

Steele Raymond LLP specialises in technical tax issues, including advice on the taxation of offshore assets, inheritance tax, estate tax returns and the tax-efficient termination of trusts. The practice is also experienced in administering trusts and estates. The team additionally provides regulatory advice regarding company reorganisations and stamp duty land tax. Another field of expertise is the drafting of wills.

Practice head(s):Sue Adams

Other key lawyers:Paul Causton

Testimonials

The private client team has a great tax expertise which is a big bonus; it can interface very well with accountants and link well

Sue Adams and her team really are a credit to the firm

Sue Adams is very approachable and easily understood and a pleasure to deal with

Work highlights

  • Advising in relation to UK tax issues arising from a settler returning to the United Kingdom and becoming domiciled and resident
  • Advising in relation to a deed of variation of an estate establishing a trust for company shares and property
  • Advising and dealing with the assignment of offshore bonds and the termination of trusts on death of a life tenant
  • Advising on issues arising from the winding up of a pension scheme
  • Advising in relation the establishment of a charitable trust

Tanners Solicitors LLP assists with the creation of traditional and discretionary wills, advises on succession and inheritance tax planning, as well as on the establishment and administration of trusts and charities. The practice also possesses expertise on the transfer of real estate assets to executors. The firm counts high-net-worth individuals, wealthy families, real estate owners and trustees among its client base.

Practice head(s):Richard Isaac

Other key lawyers:Jeremy Taylor; Anna Freeland; Geraldine Craig; Alice Fitzgerald

Testimonials

It is possible to talk freely on technical matters, which are addressed competently and in a timely manner

Whatever action is decided upon is truly jointly agreed on and the client is fully engaged.

Tanners has always been a very approachable and friendly firm and prepared to listen and act on issues

Work highlights

  • Advising about succession and inheritance tax planning
  • Advising on the administration of an offshore trust, including tax planning
  • Administering an estate, including agricultural and business property assets
  • Advising on estate planning, estate gifting, creating flexible wills and establishing a lifetime trust

Wansbroughs offers technical advice on the establishment of trusts and tax planning, particularly concerning inheritance tax and capital gains tax. The firm also advises on the ongoing administration of trusts after their establishment. Matters regarding family trusts, estates and tax planning regularly carry a cross-border aspect. The practice’s client base involves trustees, executors, landowners, agricultural clients, business owners, elderly and vulnerable clients as well as high-net-worth individuals and families.

Practice head(s):Alan Ciechan

Other key lawyers:Andrew Jenkins; Anna Wensley Stock

Testimonials

Wansbroughs’ strength is a long and illustrious tradition of providing private client advice coupled with a modern and practical approach

Wansbroughs compares very favourably even compared to high-profile London firms

They have big clients with complex needs and lawyers who can deal with that

Andrew Jenkins is a highly able and instinctive private client lawyer. He is very thorough and careful but also a deal-maker and a negotiator where necessary, bringing into play his skills and litigation experience

Alan Ciechan is a very well-respected legal brain

Anna Wensley Stock has a razor-sharp legal mind

Anna Wensley Stock is a trust and estate planning expert who can relate to clients and turns around work promptly

Wards Solicitors LLP provides legal advice to local businesses, high-net-worth individuals and wealthy families on inheritance tax planning and reduction, the establishment and administration of trusts, charitable exemptions and on the updating of wills. The firm is also experienced in assisting elderly and vulnerable clients with asset protection as well as with the securing of care home funding.

Practice head(s):Jenny Pierce

Other key lawyers:Andrew Wareham; Tom Scoffham; Rebecca Purchase; Ruth Coles

Testimonials

'A very professional and friendly service in respect of will updating and rewriting as well as with regards to the preparation of LPAs'

'Ruth Coles dealt with matters in an efficient and timely manner and has always been proactive in keeping me up to date.'

'Rebecca Purchase’s reassuring, professional and sympathetic manner helped enormously.'

Work highlights

  • Advising on extricating clients from trusts
  • Assisting with the deputyship application
  • Advising on a statutory will application
  • Advising on applying for inheritance tax reduction regarding a £1m estate, including advice on charitable exemption and business property relief


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