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Personal tax, trusts and probate in South West

Burges Salmon LLP

With a varied client base spread across Bristol, London and further afield, Burges Salmon LLP offers a variety of wealth management services. Its strong offering across trust restructurings, complex tax issues and traditional probate matters allows it to offer an 'exceptionally efficient and innovative' service. A core area of expertise is the team's work with landed estates, while its international client base is continuing to grow. Beatrice Puoti and John Barnett co-head the practice, specialising in private client tax work and international tax and estate planning work respectively. Associate Tim Williams works in the taxation of developed land and recently promoted Catherine De Maid focuses on philanthropy and South African clients.

Practice head(s):

Beatrice Puoti; John Barnett

Other key lawyers:

Tim Williams; Catherine De Maid; Tom Hewitt; Suzanna Harvey; Jim Aveline


‘Exceptionally efficient, innovative and very well versed in the complexities of personal tax and trusts.’

‘Tom Hewitt is very bright and is able to explain complex ideas in a clear and succinct manner. He was able to provide very good advice and was very focused on what was best for us, his clients.

‘The team has a very pragmatic approach to provide solutions to technical matters and delivers a professional service of a very high standard.’

‘Catherine de Maid has the perfect combination of being a good technician with high professional standards while also being very personable and being someone that clients can relate to. This is a very important quality in the Private Client space.’

‘I have experienced that the private client team at Burges Salmon are very knowledgeable and are clearly used to working in a cross-border context. They keep a very close client contact so that the client really feels taken care off. ’

‘They are very client-minded and have a pleasant pragmatic approach that is appreciated by clients but without losing the technical details out of sight. I would definitely recommend them to clients that are confronted with UK issues arising in the field of taxation and the area of private clients.’

‘Great team of professionals from a broad range of backgrounds. Excellent teamwork, very approachable, responsive and always willing to help.’

‘John Barnett is a fountain of knowledge. He is patient and always willing to assist others. He explains complex tax matters in an easy to understand format, often using very creative diagrams.’

‘A go-to team for me as a resource on private client matters and particularly the intricacies of UK tax for UK-connected international clients.’

Key clients


Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

Acting on behalf of a wide range of both regional and international clients, Charles Russell Speechlys LLP offers 'market-leading' experience across the full range of private wealth, trust and probate matters, with 'the depth of knowledge and skill to manage difficult situations'. Julia Cox focuses on estate and succession planning, with an emphasis on entrepreneurs, high net worth individuals, and non-UK domiciled individuals. Henry Fea, also active in the firm's agricultural department, has strong experience with trustees, private companies and foreign banks. The firm has also recently added two senior associates to bolster its probate team. The 'astute' and highly experienced Christopher Page heads up the Cheltenham-based practice. He is often supported by legal director Alexander Caton, who works with rural businesses and landed estates.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Page

Other key lawyers:

Henry Fea; Julia Cox; Alexander Caton; Claire Conlon; Sarah Roberts


‘A truly collaborative, joined-up team of lawyers – an individual and supportive approach to the client. High level of knowledge across all areas that I have engaged them in.’

‘Trust, communication, dedication – they have the depth of knowledge and skill to manage difficult situations. I have not worked with professional and dedicated lawyers like this before, they stand out as real thinkers and innovators.’

‘The strongest private client team in the UK as far as I know. The team work hand in glove with their corporate team which is great for my entrepreneurial clients.’

‘They offer a friendly, clear and efficient service to clients in a subject which can sometimes be quite complicated.’

‘The team at CRS are market-leading, they balance uniquely the ability to be approachable, collaborative with other advisors and provide the very best advice and support. ’

‘Julia Cox is a triumph, she is incredibly bright and balances this with her approachable and compassionate style. 

‘Christopher Page is an astute lawyer, easy to communicate with, and builds a good rapport with clients.’

Work highlights

  • Advising family, executors and trustees on trust, tax, probate and succession issues relating to valuable commercial, residential and rural property and heritage assets.
  • Advised a serial entrepreneur in relation to pre-sale tax and succession matters involving high-value assets, estate planning issues and the establishment of asset holding structures.
  • Advised clients on their respective domicile statuses and planned and implemented a succession structure across both in the US and their residency countries.

Clarke Willmott LLP

The private wealth team at Clarke Willmott LLP offers expert advice on tax planning, estate administration, and Court of Protection work on behalf of its clients. It is particularly notable for its trusts work, providing tailored advice to over 450 trusts with combination property and investment portfolios. Anthony Fairweather and Carol Cummins co-lead the team from Bristol, with Cummins also leading the international services unit. Emma Pope also co-leads the practice from Taunton, leading the estate administration department and handling Death on Active Service inheritance tax exemption claims. It has also been strengthened by new hires Tom Chiffers and Jacqui Lazare.

Practice head(s):

Anthony Fairweather; Carol Cummins; Emma Pope

Other key lawyers:

Elizabeth Smithers, David Maddock; Jane Halton; Jacqui Lazare; Samantha Neagle


‘Samantha Neagle was very approachable and helpful and responded promptly and understandably to any queries I needed to raise. She called on specialist help when required and the transfer of information back and forth between the teams seemed to run very smoothly.’

‘A personal and professional team. Collaborative approach with relevant specialists. always keeping the client at the heart of the decision-making process.’

‘Jane Halton has dealt with many clients and family members with sensitivity. It is her attention to detail and knowledge that particularly stand out for me.’

‘The standout feature of this practice for me is how they collaborate across different areas to come up with solutions that are as unique as the situation put to them. This increases confidence in the advice and recommendations given as the solutions are well thought through and all aspects covered.’

‘The personal tax, trusts and estates team are always so helpful and easy to approach. They have a broad range of skill sets within the team to meet client needs and budgets. Their services are well priced and offer good value for money.’

‘ The service I received from Jacqui Lazare was excellent and I found her to be amenable, available and very supportive.

‘Carol Cummins always has time for questions and is very willing to help. She has the ability to explain complex planning scenarios and tax rules in easy to understand way. She sets clients at ease encouraging questions to confirm their understanding. Her follow up is thorough and efficient and she does what she says she will do. I have no hesitation in recommending Carol to clients.’

Michelmores LLP

Michelmores LLP offers 'technical but pragmatic’ advice on a full range of wealth planning matters for high-value clients. The team is particularly known for working with internationally mobile families, in particular those with US/UK tax issues. It also supports the firm's agricultural team, providing private client services to farmers and landed estate owners, and is known for offshore tax planning. The team is based out of Bristol and Exeter, where co-heads Sandra Brown and Jennifer Ridgway are based respectively. Recently promoted James Frampton focuses on trust and estate planning, while Edward Porter works with agricultural clients.

Practice head(s):

Sandra Brown; Jennifer Ridgway

Other key lawyers:

Edward Porter; James Frampton


‘Very good value for money. They are technical but pragmatic.’

‘Good private client team, with depth of knowledge and experience.’

‘Approachable and have a good understanding of working with other professionals.’

‘Jennifer Ridgeway is a very experienced practitioner who is able to give clear and timely advice in a manner that is very client-friendly. She works well with the other professionals in the team supporting us as a client and is a pleasure to deal with.’

‘They offer an attractive combination of London experience out of non-London fee-charging offices. I like their working knowledge of US tax issues too, which is unusual for a regional firm.’



TLT offers clients the full variety of tax, private wealth and probate services, offering 'a London service on a West of England fee scale'. While the team acts on behalf of individual clients, its most prominent work is in connection with businesses and banks, representing a wide number of private international banks. Patrick Wooddisse leads the private wealth arm and is well regarded for his international tax and trust work, particularly with US/UK clients. Debbie Gale heads up the team's growing probate arm and also acts as the sole estate administration provider for certain private banks.

Practice head(s):

Patrick Wooddisse; Debbie Gale


‘Good quality private client team. Approachable and easy to communicate with.’

‘Excellent knowledge and an ability to think on their feet. Good interaction with other professionals.’

‘Very knowledgeable and to the point. Patrick Wooddisse in particular normally has an immediate grasp of the issues. ’

‘Patrick Wooddisse as above is excellent and is able to translate his knowledge into providing real solutions.’

‘ Very diverse skill set. A London service on a West of England fee scale.’

‘Always available to give relevant advice’

‘Patrick Wooddisse is one of our solicitors of choice. Always approachable and offers practical advice.’

Wiggin Osborne Fullerlove

'A small firm with a very personal touch', private client boutique Wiggin Osborne Fullerlove provides a 'top service to a highly discerning clientele', offering advice across the full range of tax, trust and estate matters. Its core services include asset protection, wills, trusts, philanthropy, estate planning and disputes, but also offers a bespoke wealth preservation structure service in complicated instances, led by Rose Chamberlayne. The 'highly knowledgeable' Matthew Cain spearheads the firm's tax offering. Managing partner Paul Hunston and senior partner Tim Osborne lead the firm from Cheltenham. Matthew Shayle is also well regarded for his advice to hyper-mobile international clients.

Practice head(s):

Paul Hunston; Tim Osborne

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Shayle; Rose Chamberlayne; Stephen Pallister; Matthew Cain


‘A small firm with a very personal touch. Our organisation likes to work with people as opposed to big names. We do some work with larger firms, but it is the personal relationship which matters most to us.’

‘We work with one of the senior partners who has a great knowledge of our clients’ activities and interests. The holistic approach is critical to be able to deliver what we are looking for on a broad range of issues.’

‘Matthew Cain is a highly knowledgeable, client-friendly lawyer who is always available to support and resolve client issues’

‘Very good client base. Good depth of knowledge and judgment. All they partners are good, particularly Matthew Shayle.’

‘Rose Chamberlayne is a top private client lawyer.’

‘The team is small but highly competent and freely brings in resources from large international firms when needed. Their approach displays an understanding of the strengths and sufficient confidence in client loyalty to use other fine law firms whenever necessary. ’

‘Tim Osborne has been a top performer from his days at Lovells onwards. He is able to master both difficult clients and the extreme challenges of providing top service to a highly discerning clientele.’


The sizeable private client team at Wilsons - which can 'match up with any of the big London firms'  - has three core areas of experience: international clients, landed estates, and Court of Protection matters. Beyond these, the Salisbury-based team offers a full slate of non-contentious private client work. Adam Herbert leads the offshore team, which has seen growth in tax advice and offshore trust work. Belinda Watson focuses on landed estates, bringing in many clients. Court of Protection work is headed by Frances Mayne, with a specialisation in high-value brain damage cases. Jessica Broxup is also well regarded for her work with international and landed estates clients.

Practice head(s):

Frances Mayne; Belinda Watson; Adam Herbert

Other key lawyers:

Jessica Broxup; Rupert Wilkinson; Tim Fullerlove


‘They are a great team – real strength and breadth of experience.’

‘I have recently very much enjoyed working with Belinda Watson. The process has been extremely collaborative, which is great. She is knowledgeable, astute, practical and thorough. I rate her extremely highly.’

‘Wilsons’ private client practice punches well above its weight with the bigger based London law firms in this area. ’

‘Adam Herbert has excellent knowledge, patience and client understanding. Rupert Wilkinson is excellent to deal with. The constant professional Tim Fullerlove is superb.’

‘Good strength of knowledge through the private client and property teams.’

‘Frances Mayne is both knowledgeable and pragmatic. She is approachable and clients appreciate her calm manner. ’

‘Outstanding levels of service in terms of responsiveness, quality of output and understanding the needs of the client.’

‘Wilsons is a top quality law firm and its staff can match up with any of the big London firms. More importantly, their response time is better than many London firms, and their fees are more than reasonable.’

Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

Acting on behalf of national and international clients, Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP's team is described as 'first class and excellent value for money', offering strong advice on tax, trust and estate planning, as well as more specialised private wealth matters. Drawing on its network of offices in the US, the team has significant expertise in US/UK cross-border matters, in particular those involving offshore trusts. It is additionally experienced working with landed estates, charities, and in institutional matters. Mark Woodward leads the team from Bristol, often working alongside trust specialist Christopher Kerr-Smiley and recent addition James Radcliffe on the firm's high-value cross-border work.

Practice head(s):

Mark Woodward

Other key lawyers:

James Radcliffe; Christopher Kerr-Smiley


‘The whole terms comprises of very different characters and personalities –  they offer something for everyone.’

‘Mark Woodward has the best client care approach I have ever come across.’

‘Christopher Kerr-Smiley is encyclopaedic in terms of his knowledge, tax planning and approach.’

‘Mark Woodward and his team are first class and excellent value for money.’

‘Brilliant drafting, wonderfully clear communication, practical advice, and great client service.’

Ashfords LLP

With a strong base of landed estates and other agricultural clients, Ashfords LLP offers a full range of private wealth and probate services. The team has experience advising on succession, tax planning, wills and property relief claims for high-net value individuals, families and businesses. Kerry Morgan-Gould and Michael Alden co-head the Exeter-based firm, with Alden personally focusing on the landed estate clientele. The firm has also been developing a niche in trust administration, with an emphasis on tax advice. David Wood joined from Langleys Solicitors LLP.

Practice head(s):

Michael Alden; Kerry Morgan-Gould

Other key lawyers:

David Wood; Sarah Mansbridge; Sue Knowles


‘Sue Knowles is helpful, responsive and approachable.’

‘We receive excellent service – they are very quick to respond to a query and very pleasant to deal with. They work with you on day to day issues that arise. They price their work appropriately.’

‘They are very professional but also friendly. We have a very good rapport and if I have any query they are always happy to help. Nothing is too much, we have worked on various projects with them. They are approachable and we are very happy with the service we receive.’

‘Michael Alden and his team’s strength lie in their ability to be professional but down to earth. He explains complicated financial matters in an easy way to understand.’

‘The team work well together.’

‘They are both professional and understanding, and are always at the end of the phone if we need any assistance.’

‘Very approachable, responsive, thorough and confident when dealing with complex cases ’

Work highlights

  • Restructuring a farming and commercial property partnership after the death of one of the partners saving £1-£2m in inheritance tax.
  • Advising the residuary beneficiaries of an estate worth circa £5-£10m in order to try to secure their inheritance.
  • Advising on the ongoing succession planning for a landed estate owner with an estate worth circa £11m.

Foot Anstey

The team at Foot Anstey has a track record of work on share schemes, SLDT planning, European property advice and death in service matters. Its client base, much of which is international, covers the breadth of private individuals and families, as well as banks, trustees, and companies. Anna Parker leads the Bristol-based office, working with a wide set of high net-value clients. Rachel Brooks and Douglas Smith lead the adjacent Southampton office, after having joined the team in April 2020. Brooks focuses on agricultural clients and landed estates, while Smith provides tax advice for international clients.

Practice head(s):

Anna Parker; Rachel Brooks; Douglas Smith

Other key lawyers:

Michelle Seddon; Robert Marshall


‘There is strength across the team, from probate and charity work (which is growing at pace) to the international wealth division. Their use of technology has been a triumph during lockdown.’

‘The greatest asset is the ability to explain complex issues in an easy-to-understand manner.’

‘Anna Parker is a stand-out partner.’

Harrison Clark Rickerbys

With one of the largest private client teams in the Cheltenham areas, Harrison Clark Rickerbys - the result of the recent merger of Harrison Clark Rickerbys and Hewitsons - offers its clients a full range of private wealth services. This includes bespoke trust administration and financial planning on behalf of high net value clients. It also has a notable speciality in working with older and vulnerable clients on matters including injury trusts and asset protection, as well as cross-border matters. Alex Taylor heads up the team, focusing on complex tax planning. Mark Hartley and Phillipa Bruce-Kerr manage the elder client practice. Tom Murphy-Kirkhope is also well regarded.

Practice head(s):

Alex Taylor

Other key lawyers:

Mark Hartley; Phillipa Bruce-Kerr; Tom Murphy-Kirkhope


‘In this area of law, a feeling of trust and confidence in your legal team is key. We have absolute faith in the team, trust them implicitly, and know that they will examine every angle, nook and cranny to make sure the advice is appropriate to our situation. ’

‘Alex Taylor has not only been lead partner on our work; he has gone above and beyond in terms of support for the family. This has included navigating tricky family dynamics, difficult situations, and complex arrangements. We are incredibly grateful for all he has done, and continues to do, for us, all delivered with a healthy dose of empathy and humour. ‘

‘The private client side is very knowledgeable. Estate planning is first rate. ’

‘Alex Taylor gave very good advice which was personally tailored to our circumstances.’

‘I have worked with Tom Murphy-Kirkhope and have been continually impressed with his knowledge and understanding. All the work that he has done has been both prompt and thorough. I particularly like his approach to quantifying any advice he gives as this gives confidence in decision making.’

‘The team has a strong historic private client base and team.’

‘Alex Taylor is very bright and thinks around issues – he knows his subject very well. Mark Hartley is really approachable and has a lovely style with clients.’

Stephens Scown LLP

Stephens Scown LLP‘s private client team focuses on clients in Devon and Cornwall, offering complex tax and estate planning for high-net value individuals, with ‘the feel of a small local practice but with the significant resources and scale available to a major regional firm‘. It provides a strong array of elder client services, emphasising care requirements, and Court of Protection work, which includes preparing lasting powers of attorney.  It also offers a trust advice service and expertise on the growing area of death in active service exemption cases. Phil Reed heads up the practice from its Truro office, and Exeter-based Ian Newcombe focuses on wills and trusts for agricultural clients.

Practice head(s):

Phil Reed

Other key lawyers:

Ian Newcombe; Graham Murdoch


‘This practice has the most comprehensive range of services and expertise of any law firm in Cornwall in particular and the wider South West. No other firm that I deal with comes close.’

‘Graham Murdoch has particular expertise in trusts and estates.’

‘Phil Reed has particular expertise in rural matters, estate planning and Inheritance tax work.’

‘Very easy to get along with and to work with. Able to deal with difficult issues of law while also being amiable to clients.’

‘Very down to earth and easy to work with. Can relay info and legal issues to lay clients well and work hard to ensure clients get the outcomes they are seeking.’

‘Very experienced and dedicated team with knowledge of each of the overlapping areas that clients need help with’

‘They offer a focus on the client’s needs and finding the solution that works in a cost-effective manner.’

‘The team at Stephens Scown combine the right mix of professionalism and approachability, giving the feel of a small local practice but with the significant resources and scale available to a major regional firm. This is appreciated by us and the clients we refer to Stephens Scown.’


VWV advises high-net-worth clients on a full array of matters, including the creation and administration of trusts, succession planning, and estate administration, often handling cross-border issues. The team has also seen increased interest from charities for its advice on legacy funding protection. Michelle Rose and Leila Goodarzi lead the Bristol-based team.

Practice head(s):

Michelle Rose; Leila Goodarzi

Other key lawyers:

Shelley Faulkner; Megan Alexander


‘As well as dealing in a traditional way, VWV have all the modern-day technology attributes at their fingertips – especially in the current climate where everything really has to be dealt with either by telephone or email.’

‘Shelley Faulkner is very professional, with an amazing memory and close attention to detail. She is sympathetic, good at listening to concerns and at explaining legalities and procedures. Proactive and available.’

‘Megan Alexander treated us with the respect and empathy required when my mother passed away, gave clear guidance when my father was sick and incapable of handling affairs and the right level of information and direction in subsequent dealings.

‘VWV is the only firm that I have worked with, in relation to managing a trust, so I can only speak for them. They have gently guided me over many years, and I cannot fault them. All aspects of my experience with this company have been positive and the trusts we manage are run in a very efficient manner.’

Blanchards Bailey LLP

With a large team based across rural Dorset, Blanchards Bailey LLP offers services to a variety of clients, both wealthy and vulnerable. It has a growing practice in Court of Protection matters, supporting clients with limited capacity in need of longer-term care assistance. Jerome Dodge leads the team from Blandford Forum and focuses on tax and estate planning advice.

Practice head(s):

Jerome Dodge

Other key lawyers:

Emma Needham; Catherine Roberts


‘I have found all my dealings with individuals to be marked by prompt and effective responses and in particular their ability to frame those responses in a way that a lay customer finds easy to assimilate and decide upon. My principal dealings are with Jerome Dodge who I find extremely helpful in all regards. ’

‘My issues were taken care of consistently, even when my individual solicitor was on annual leave, giving me confidence it was always in hand.’

‘I found Emma Needham to be very knowledgeable and helpful. Emma explained that, although not covered under the free simple will service, I would need to set up a trust and she gave me easily understandable information and a fixed price for the service.’

‘The team’s internal communication is good. All team members have an attentive and professional, yet personable, manner.’

‘I think the team at Blanchards Bailey are excellent. They seem to act as a very close knit group, and a strength I have found is how they work hard to build a relationship with clients that goes beyond just providing a legal service.’

‘Personable team, pragmatic straightforward advice and work. Efficient.’

‘I have found the partners and juniors very capable and always very attentive and pleasant to deal with.’

‘Consistent in quality of service. Professional and diligent. A trustworthy and personable service.’

BPE Solicitors LLP

BPE Solicitors LLP's 'highly proactive' and 'technically sharp' Cheltenham team offers a comprehensive set of private client services to its broad national and regional client base. In September 2020 the team welcomed new partner Jessica Beddows, who joined from Lodders Solicitors LLP; she specialises in advising elderly and vulnerable clients on health and welfare matters, to lead the practice alongside Peter Tyrrell, who is described as 'extremely user friendly and collaborative.'

Practice head(s):

Peter Tyrrell; Jess Beddows

Other key lawyers:

Malcolm Emery


‘The private client practice has a highly proactive approach and always assures the best outcome for its clients. The team is technically sharp and has a good balance of commerciality in dealing with matters and providing solutions. There is regular interaction with other professional legal and financial teams providing a good fit for any client situation. The team deliver a professional and cost-effective service.’

‘I have worked alongside Peter Tyrrell on many matters over the years. Peter is extremely responsive and adept in identifying issues at an early stage with a real focus on solution-driven outcomes. Peter is highly motivated and this filters down throughout his team which he leads by example.’

‘BPE are a sound firm. They are always willing to chat over the phone to try and help in any to steer clients towards a successful conclusion and help their understanding of the solution to any problem.’

‘Peter Tyrrell is extremely user-friendly and collaborative. The team is very synced with business owner practice.’

‘We have great trust in the team as their client care is excellent, surpassing other lawyers that we routinely deal with. Response and turnaround times are very quick, efficient and thorough.’

‘When you engage with one individual you are aware that you have the assistance of the whole team. They are able to collaborate seamlessly, providing ab all-around service. Cost is always discussed upfront.’

‘Malcolm Emery is extremely professional and very courteous and polite to all our staff. He is always willing to give his time to our mutual clients to talk them through their matter in a patient and clear way.’

‘Peter Tyrrell is our go-to private client lawyer. He is able to deal with the simple and the most complex of issues in a manner that leaves our clients with a complete understanding of the issue and why a particular route has been chosen. Peter returns calls and emails promptly to both ourselves and our clients.’

Work highlights

  • Advising on a set of Court of Protection, succession and tax planning matters involving a company held by multiple family members.
  • Advising the executors of the deceased client’s estate on matters involving a potential misappropriation of funds.

Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP

Though it offers experience on a variety of matters including wills and comprehensive tax advice, Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP has a notably strong trust practice. Carla Brown heads up the Bournemouth-based team, focusing on the firm's high-value client base. It has also recently welcomed Chris Pemberton from Trethowans LLP - he primarily works with farmers and landed estates.

Practice head(s):

Carla Brown

Other key lawyers:

Chris Pemberton


‘Good quality firm with excellent response times and expertise to handle a diverse range of needs to fit the requirements of high-net-worth individuals ’

Work highlights

  • Providing holistic local legal services for a wealthy couple, their children and their international companies.
  • Advising on cross-border will planning for a couple with complicated domicile, residency and family issues.
  • Advising on estate administration involving complex farm site, sale to a developer, associated trusts and estate and tax planning for a family.

Lester Aldridge LLP

Lester Aldridge LLP's team offers 'high-quality advice and client experience' across a range of private client matters, with particular expertise in international matters. In particular, it works administering UK and foreign assets for American, Canadian, and South African clients. It also offers general wealth planning, succession, Court of Protection, and trust services. Kurt Lee, Oliver Phipps and Richard Fairbairn co-head the firm from its office in Bournemouth. Phipps is praised for his 'extensive experience in international matters.'

Practice head(s):

Kurt Lee; Oliver Phipps; Richard Fairbairn

Other key lawyers:

Parisa Jones


‘The team is truly international, with specific expertise on remote jurisdictions such as South Africa. They know and understand that the law is different in other jurisdictions and have the ability to adapt themselves to these peculiar international environments. They also provide unique services such as the medallion signature guarantee for estates involving North American assets. ’

‘I often work with Oliver Phipps, who is the main partner in the international private client department. Oliver has extensive experience in international matters, in particular probate matters, and adapts himself easily to the particulars of each case. He is also a very nice person to work with. ’

‘High-quality advice and client experience. Turns around queries quickly and executes at pace.’

‘Kurt Lee is a perfect professional. He is reliable, knowledgeable and explains complex matters to clients very simply. The ideal fellow professional to put in front of my clients’

RWK Goodman

The private client team at Royds Withy King has key experience in estate planning, trust and probate disputes, trust work, capacity matters and elder law matters. Edward Vidnes co-heads the team from its Bath office, focusing his work with clients with significant brain injuries. The 'exceptionally approachable' Mandy Casavant leads the Swindon-based team. Becky Ricards-Small left for Wilsons in summer 2020.

Practice head(s):

Edward Vidnes; Mandy Casavant

Other key lawyers:

James McNeile; Amanda Noyce


‘A quality regional practice. Their communications and innovative approach to dealing with the community they serve, given the ever-changing legal landscape, are excellent. Being multi-disciplined, they are able to give a well rounded professional service to their wide range of clients. Their uniqueness stems from the ability to put the client first and give a personalised one reference point approach. ’

‘Mandy Casavant – great listener, exceptionally approachable with a creative approach to law for the straightforward and more demanding client. She will go that extra step with the clients I have seen her work with.’

‘Very well run practice, either the main lawyer or his assistants come to resolve the problems’

‘ James McNeile is totally competent and reliable.’

‘They are efficient and provide an excellent service.’

‘James McNeile is an individual of great integrity – a highly professional adviser.’

Stone King LLP

Stone King LLP offers a wide set of private wealth services for clients, who range from high-value families to more vulnerable clients. Alison Allen heads the overall private client sphere, while Daniel Harris and Kathryn Layzell head up more specialized subteams. Harris focuses on international work as well as charity legacy work, while Layzell primarily focuses on trusts and estates. The team has a growing practice focusing on elder care services.

Practice head(s):

Alison Allen; Daniel Harris; Kathryn Layzell

Other key lawyers:

Daniel Whitworth; Andrew Mortimer


‘The team has been a willingness to collaborate with other professionals and to share best practices.’

‘Alison Allen in particular is well respected by all, and is very empathetic and in tune with her clients and their needs. She has referred a number of clients to us and we to her, and have every confidence that they will be in safe hands ’

‘Very intelligent; quick to respond; clear and concise advice; fun to work with’

‘They have skills in several disciplines which means it is very much able to draw on skills and experience from across their offices. They are accessible, friendly, efficient and above all professional. ’

‘Daniel Harris is tenacious and was willing to step up to resolve a high value matter.’

‘There is strength in depth – I know that simple cases can be dealt with by a very competent lawyer, while a more complicated client can be looked after by one of several partners. ’

‘They understand the importance of taking the blinkers off, and providing rounded advice. This includes the need to bring in other advisers. ’

‘A focus on helping older clients has meant a great depth of knowledge as well as a desire to help in many different circumstances. Its not just about technical skills, they care about their clients too.’

Thrings LLP

Leveraging its specialist areas of experience, the private wealth team at Thrings LLP provides bespoke advice to its agricultural, landed estate and international client base. It has a solid strength in providing tax advice, specialising in succession planning cross-border tax matters, and family investment trusts. Michael Westbrook heads up the practice, focusing on advising farming and landowning clients on matters including diversification and strategic land advice.

Practice head(s):

Michael Westbrook


‘We have never had to use a solicitor before, but from the moment we contacted Thrings we had excellent service. Professional and understanding. Nothing too much trouble.’

‘Thrings are a well known name in Swindon. We had no problems and they bent over backwards in helping us. We used Thrings for my late father’s probate and we were so happy – we would not use another solicitor.’

Trethowans LLP

Trethowans LLP's private client team offers wealth planning and tax advice to a range of clients from high-value individuals to average household members. This also includes a Court of Protection practice which includes serving as deputy in personal injury or clinical negligence cases. James Hammersley and Mihiri Gajraj co-head the firm across its three offices in Poole, Southampton and Salisbury. Adam Scott joined from Humphries Kirk.

Practice head(s):

Mihiri Gajraj; James Hammersley

Other key lawyers:

Adam Scott


‘High level of expert knowledge. Very quick to respond. ’

‘Mihiri Gajraj is very professional and also very approachable.’

‘A great, trustworthy and reliable team. We host online client calls jointly and have embraced new ways to work during the pandemic.’

‘They are a client focused and are keen to work with ourselves as a trusted partners ’

‘The practice is large enough to have specialisms, but not too big that you lose contact with individuals who can help. They will stand up for clients in deals and also work with them to achieve resolution.’

‘Always cooperative and willing to understand the subject as well as the interpretation and wishes of the client; patient and not ‘pushy’ – whilst giving their opinion they acknowledge the clients’ preferences.’

‘The team at Trethowans are really personable and their strengths are twofold – firstly, they demonstrate professionalism, and secondly, they are a relationship business, rather than transactional.’

Trowers & Hamlins LLP

The private wealth team at Trowers & Hamlins LLP offers expertise managing work with trusts, wills, probate administration and tax. It provides personal wealth planning advice for families with key business interests, including succession planning, as well as for large landowners and farmers. Helen Honeyball leads the firm's South West department from its Exeter office.

Practice head(s):

Helen Honeyball; Jonathan Kropman


Wansbroughs , which is based in Devizes, provides specialist advice on a variety of private client matters, with an emphasis on tax planning, trust administration, and court of protection work. The team's client base has a focus on high-net-worth individuals, including landed estates, dynastic families and members of the peerage. Experienced tax specialist Alan Ciechan leads the team, which also includes the well-regarded Anna Wensley Stock. Emily Anderson was promoted to partner in May 2020.

Practice head(s):

Alan Ciechan

Other key lawyers:

Anna Wensley Stock; Kathryn Smith Cowap; Jennifer Vooght; Emily Anderson


‘This firm is a safe place to recommend clients who need actual advice as opposed to the completion of legal forms. I am very comfortable referring clients to them and am kept informed in the progress of work so that together we can provide a fully joined up service to our mutual clients.’

‘The main difference is always the people, specifically Anna Wensley Stock and her team. Anna and her team are always approachable and focus on client needs first. The team is highly knowledgeable and keeps itself up to date with the changes in legal practice.’

‘We have worked with Wansbroughs for many years as a firm and over that time the team have been consistently friendly and very good to work with as a professional partner. Their willingness makes them stand out. They have a wealth of knowledge and all departments seem to be the best in their field, their advice is second to none.’

‘An excellent group of people – well versed in the law, approachable, professional and I always feel very comfortable in recommending my clients to use Wansbroughs. I like to think that as fellow professional, but in the tax/accountancy field, we can together offer our mutual clients the best possible advice.’

‘Professional and approachable and all very knowledgeable in their respective fields.

‘A good local company with an excellent reputation. They have a wide range of experts in all legal areas to cater for my client’s needs. It is a ‘welcoming environment’ for clients who are usually very nervous with all things legal.’

‘I have worked with Anna Wensley Stock for a couple of years now. She continues to provide a first-class service to my clients, in a clear and straightforward way. She knows when to listen and when to talk, a rare ability these days! I will continue to recommend Anna to all my clients for their wills, IHT planning and trust needs.’

‘Contactable, personable, friendly, efficient, reliable and extremely knowledgeable about subject area. Happy to work with other professionals to provide best service for private clients’

Willans LLP

Cheltenham-based Willans LLP offers its clientele a full range of private wealth advice, with a particular emphasis on succession and tax planning for businesspeople. It also has a strong offering for elderly and vulnerable persons, an area in which practice head Simon Cook specialises. It also offers specialist advice to clients with multi-jurisdictional cases.

Practice head(s):

Simon Cook


‘We were delighted to find that Willans were efficient, knowledgeable, helpful and very effective. All organisations are judged on the quality of their people as well as the way the business appears to be run. Willans put personal contact as a priority and were able to back up this pre-requisite with a well-oiled administration. ’

‘Our contact was with Simon Cook, the partner responsible for wills, trusts and probate. Our wills were drawn up during the tail end of a lockdown and Simon respected the resulting difficulties by visiting us at our home and arranging to be accompanied when signatures needed witnessing on both wills and LPAs. All matters pertaining to the Wills, IHT, CGT and LPAs were addressed in a thoroughly professional and pleasant way.’

‘It is local yet large enough to cover major legal areas. The service is personal and timely and even during lockdowns it has been possible to feel a connection with partners who are attentive.’

‘Simon Cook was attentive and professional and I was impressed by the way he listened and worked hard to understand my requirements. He did not rush decision making when I felt I needed more time to reflect and he always came back with options when I was not quite satisfied. He clearly felt pleasure when the Will was eventually signed off.’

‘Good leadership, robust and reassuring advice’

‘Very helpful, thorough and understanding. Exceptionally competent’

‘We have worked with Willans for many years and trust them to get the job done in an efficient way.’

‘Throughout the current Covid restrictions, the team at Willans LLP have been accessible. They implemented an approach using technology which enabled both clients and advisers alike to have access to advice and support. ’

‘Simon Cook has a very pragmatic style. His management with his team is collaborative and hands on. The individual members of the team accept responsibility for the cases they are dealing with but can and do easily help each other to meet the collective goals.’

Frettens LLP

Frettens LLP offers a full set of private wealth services to its client base, which primarily comprises pre-retirement local business owners, the elderly, and local charities. It has also been expanding its elder law, including local authority care funding advice. Lee Young and Heather Varley lead the team.

Practice head(s):

Lee Young; Heather Varley


‘Frettens have grasped what customers want and require from a law firm. The team is stable, experienced and yet friendly and approachable. They work with clients in a sensible and pragmatic way, adhering to necessary regulations in a professional manner but at the same time not being overly pedantic. They remember that the client is king and quote fixed fees for work, which is what clients want when paying for professional services. ’

‘As head of the team, Lee Young sets the tone that is reflected throughout the department. He is very experienced, both as a solicitor but also in trust taxation, and his technical knowledge is first class. Yet he explains matters to clients in a clear, simple manner and doesn’t create unnecessary complication. I feel he is on the side of my clients and looks after their best interests. ’

‘The team includes highly skilled individuals with a wide range of qualifications – legal, tax and multi-disciplinary. Speed of response is exceptional given that the advice is highly innovative and tailored to the client’

‘There is an attention to detail and positive ethos that permeates the team. Lee Young, in particular, exudes professionalism and sets the standard for his team. Taking the advice back to basics and building it around the client, he uses his specialist tax knowledge to create bespoke solutions that really work’

‘Frettens operate all the current and up to date ensigning documentation which no doubt makes business activity far more practical and efficient when communicating.’

‘Lee Young always responds to any query/enquiry efficiently and effectively his knowledge in all matters is thorough and he explains matters in clear and understandable terms. Lee is approachable and courteous. ’

‘Frettens are a really excellent provincial firm. The diversity of the team is strong with a very even balance of male and female partners; this is replicated across the associate and solicitor bands as well.’

GA Solicitors

With a strong focus on the Cornwall and West Devon markets, the Plymouth based GA Solicitors offers a full suite of private client services. The team has a particular strength in succession planning. Jonathan Hall leads the team, specialising in estate planning and administration, and mental capacity law.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Hall

Other key lawyers:

Catherine Bailey, Matthew Rose


‘Many legal firms struggle to give good service, but GA never fail in this area.’

‘Matthew Rose is our main go-to; his knowledge and manner with clients are exceptional.’

‘We consider GA to be one of the premier firms of solicitors in the Plymouth area. They share our values of striving to deliver first-class customer service at a competitive price. GA Solicitors are an excellent firm who we would not hesitate to recommend to our clients.’

‘Catherine Bailey and Matthew Rose re both very personable people who are a pleasure to work with. They always offer sound advice in a way that is understandable to our clients at what is inevitably a very difficult time for them. They always deal with any enquiries promptly and keep us and our clients updated as matters progress.’

GL Law

The private client team at GL Law offers asset structuring and protection services for a variety of clients. In addition to will drafting, estate planning, trust formation and probate, the team drafts lasting powers of attorney and has a solid care practice as well. Head of private client and long term care Heledd Wyn leads the team from Bristol.

Practice head(s):

Heledd Wyn


‘Friendly staff who are always willing to help. Good, well-meaning advice.’

‘Heledd Wyn is an excellent solicitor – she is always willing to provide help and advice in a friendly and efficient manner.’

‘The GL team have that rare combination of excellent legal knowledge, plus an extremely personable approach. The whole operation is highly professional and also authentic.’

‘I have worked with a number of lawyers at the firm and have been impressed by them all.’

Goughs Solicitors

The team at Goughs Solicitors offers a full range of private client services, emphasising its strength in private wealth matters. Emma Taylor and Phillip Bolton lead the team from Devizes and Corsham respectively. Taylor focuses on complex estate planning and administration while Bolton focuses on private wealth.

Practice head(s):

Emma Taylor; Phillip Bolton

Other key lawyers:

Dawn Moir


‘Dawn Moir has always been most helpful with the advice she has given us. She is always very prompt in response to letters and emails and has been encouraging when we have had to wait for others to respond to answers which were beyond her control.’

‘Aside from being legally sound, they are conscientious and go the extra mile for clients, particularly during recent times. Emotional intelligence appears to be high throughout the team.’

‘I have worked with Philip Bolton for the past number of years and he strikes me as the ultimate professional whom you’d have no hesitations referring your best clients to.’

‘From my experience, the team at Goughs have always been, and continue to be, exceptionally approachable and more user-friendly than many other firms of solicitors that I have dealt with over the years. The team at Goughs are also very capable individuals, many of whom are highly skilled in their field and as a result, I am always more than happy to recommend any prospective clients to them.’

‘I hold Phillip Bolton in the highest regard due to his excellent knowledge and expertise in his particular area. He is always more than happy to help with any new enquiries that I might refer to him and feedback from clients whom I have referred to him is always excellent.’

‘What stands out for me is their professionalism overall. They are compassionate and polite and understanding under any circumstance. Clients are treated fairly and equally whatever the circumstance and the respect shown is particularly good in my opinion.’


With offices in Bournemouth and Poole, Laceys provides a full range of private client services to its clients. Kate Mansfield and Natasha Cross lead the practice, focusing on family clients and complex estate administration respectively.

Practice head(s):

Kate Mansfield; Natasha Cross


‘Kate Mansfield is exceptional: knowledgeable, pragmatic, non-judgemental, very approachable. I have been so pleased with her assistance.’

‘During the difficult Covid times and the complexity of the circumstances surrounding the matters, I can only be extremely complimentary about the department.’

‘Kate Mansfield was always available to discuss any and all enquiries.’

‘The team work as a team – they collaborate. I have every confidence that I can explain what I require to Kate Mansfield and she will either deal with it or pass to the appropriate member of the team. They have coped extremely well with changing conditions due to Covid-19 and there was no delay in her communication or execution of matters when dealing with probate for me last year.’

‘Every team worker I have dealt with has been reliable, efficient, professional and shown empathy when required. Kate Mansfield is truly exceptional and I feel I can turn to her for any legal matter.’

‘Kate Mansfield has an enviable reputation locally in her field of work. ’

‘Laceys offer a comprehensive legal service with solicitors with expertise in all the relevant areas. Laceys were also familiar with working with professionals in other areas of expertise to enable a seamless service. The solicitors at Laceys were straightforward in their approach, gave clear and focused advice and were efficient in their case management. It was reassuring to know that practical advice was available promptly and at reasonable cost. It made a matter with its complications far less stressful and I am very grateful for that.’

Work highlights

  • Advised executors of a large estate on claiming non-domiciliary status for the deceased to mitigate the payment of IHT.

Mogers Drewett LLP

Mogers Drewett LLP delivers a 'comprehensive and cost-effective service' including estate administration, wealth planning, elder law and powers of attorney, trusts, and bespoke business planning. The team is known for its work for rural and agricultural clients. Practice head David Hill focuses on cases involving complex estates with cross-border elements.

Practice head(s):

David Hill

Other key lawyers:

Cara Burr


‘I have always found them to be open and transparent, totally trustworthy and they have always treated us with the utmost respect. It has always been a pleasure to have them look after our interest and we have had total trust in them. It is very easy to contact them and from the reception to the partners they always make you feel welcome.’

‘David Hill’s wise counsel, friendly and very professional personality has always been very evident.’

‘This firm is a well-established practice in the West of England. The range of its work is wide and is particularly strong in the areas of rural and agricultural matters. It delivers a most comprehensive and cost-effective service.’

‘David Hill brings an empathetic manner to his client dealings supported by a full understanding of the law.’

Work highlights

    Porter Dodson LLP

    Porter Dodson LLP offers clients a full range of long-term tax and succession planning advice from its eight offices in somerset and Devon. It also has a team dedicated to care home funding. Kate James heads the team, working primarily with agricultural and landed estate clients.

    Practice head(s):

    Kate James

    Other key lawyers:

    Robyn Greenway


    ‘I regularly recommend Kate James for wills and private client work. She is excellent with all types of clients, very responsive and happy to help at all times. ’

    ‘Robyn Greenway is dynamic and leaves no stone unturned as she seeks to achieve a fair outcome for her clients in terms of achieving health and social care packages that meet their needs. She is a very welcome breath of fresh air who stands out from typical private client lawyers because of her commitment to and skill in applying public law principles to the facts of her clients’ cases’

    ‘They are a very friendly and approachable team, conscientious and willing to go the extra mile to ensure that they provide a full and valuable service. They have pooled their trust files to create a central team that is extremely focused on administering what can often become neglected.’

    ‘Kate James is a fantastic partner, very engaged with her staff and clients, always wanting to raise up and support those who work for her. It is clear that her team love her and a happy workforce relates outwardly to clients too.’

    ‘Efficient and honest – they put clients at ease’

    ‘The team have a depth of knowledge and experience which is exceptional but more importantly, they explain complex matters to clients in a simple and straightforward way ensuring that the client fully understands what is being discussed and the purpose behind it.’

    ‘Very responsive.’

    Steele Raymond LLP

    Steele Raymond LLP's team advise on a full range of tax matters, as well as trust, estate administration, and Court of Protection matters. The 'exceptional' Sue Adams leads the practice from Bournemouth, focusing on work with international clients.

    Practice head(s):

    Sue Adams

    Other key lawyers:

    John Andrews


    ‘Great personal service, a ‘can do’ attitude with a truly caring approach every step of the way’

    ‘They have a holistic approach to clients and a strong client care ethic, as well as a broad range of technical expertise. ’

    ‘The Steele Raymond private client team has strength in depth.’

    ‘Sue Adams leads the team extremely capably. Sue is exceptional.’

    ‘The whole team have tax qualifications and can therefore offer a joined-up approach to private client instructions. ’

    ‘Quality comprehensive advice and in-depth knowledge of the subject matter. Cost-effective.’

    Tozers Solicitors LLP

    The wealth management team at Tozers Solicitors LLP offers a full array of tax, trust and probate services to its local and national client base. The team has a particular strength working with farming clients as well as owners of holiday parks. Grainne Staunton heads the team.

    Practice head(s):

    Grainne Staunton


    ‘At what is a difficult time in your life, the probate team has been very approachable and easy to talk to – they have given me complete confidence that I and my family are in very good hands and that all matters will be carried out correctly and as quickly as possible.’

    ‘Excellent communication and good management of expectations. Good timing of responses with detailed options always given with appropriate explanation.’

    ‘Great expertise, local understanding, and positive and engaging attitude. ’

    ‘The staff offer very personal service while remaining professional. Everything was explained clearly at what was a very difficult time. The staff are friendly and polite. ’

    ‘I feel the solicitor I am dealing with takes a genuine interest in my case and is always available for a chat if needed, I feel completely at ease talking to her. I would definitely recommend Tozers. ’

    ‘I found the team to be very helpful and informative. Even though many of them were working from home I was always kept in the picture of what was happening through the whole process and what the next steps were. Any correspondence I had was dealt with efficiently and effectively.’

    ‘My contact was very supportive and kept me informed through the whole process of probate and was more than willing to help when I received communications from other agencies relating to my mother’s death. She was professional at all times but also approachable. I would have no hesitation in using the firm’s resources in any future bereavement.’

    Wards Solicitors LLP

    Wards Solicitors LLP offers clients a full set of personal tax, trust and probate services, with particular strength in elder client services. It also has strong expertise in Court of Protection and trust matters. Jenny Pierce leads the practice, focusing on advising vulnerable and elderly clients.

    Practice head(s):

    Jenny Pierce

    Other key lawyers:

    Rebecca Parkman; Tom Scoffham; Andrew Wareham


    ‘Wards Solicitors were very helpful and supportive during my case.’

    ‘Excellent wills and estate team. Willing to do business by phone, emails, and message.’

    ‘Very friendly and willing to spend time with their customers. Willing to explain in layman terms so the customer understands.’

    ‘I am very satisfied with how everything has been handled during such a difficult period.’

    ‘Everything has been handled very professionally. Communication and up to date information on progress has been excellent. Billing and fee structure has been very transparent. I would have no hesitation in recommending Tom Scoffham.’

    ‘I have been involved with several firms in both my personal and professional life and it strikes me that Wards have achieved an excellent balance between the personal service of smaller firms and the depth of resources provided by the larger ones.’

    ‘I was very impressed with the service I received from Andrew Wareham. He was very engaged and helpful, answered my emails promptly, and gave very good advice which I was grateful for. He was able to mitigate my fears when it came to a problem with probate, which I found invaluable. From my personal experience I would rate this practice as excellent.’

    ‘The team is extremely knowledgeable and experienced and have handled my very complex case with diligence and perseverance. It has also been an efficient collaboration with myself, my accountant and with other colleagues at Wards. They have also been diligent and where necessary have provided support and pragmatism.’