Firms To Watch: Personal tax, trusts and probate

Wollens has a sizeable team across three offices in Exeter and North and South Devon, with expertise in succession planning, estate administration and agricultural relief. The practice is led by Katrina Vollentine.

Personal tax, trusts and probate in South West

Burges Salmon LLP

Burges Salmon LLP‘s expertise lies primarily within trust restructurings, often involving high value and international elements. Beatrice Puoti is an expert in tax, trusts and estate planning for both UK and non-UK residents, as well as domiciled clients. John Barnett regularly advises high-net worth individuals and banks. They lead the practice together. Catherine De Maid is noted for her international work, with a particular interest in Africa. Tim Williams is a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.

Practice head(s):

Beatrice Puoti; John Barnett

Other key lawyers:

Tom Hewitt; Catherine de Maid; Emma Heelis-Adams; Tim Williams; Ronnie Myers; Edward Hayes; Jim Aveline; Suzanna Harvey


‘Jim Aveline has been my lead contact and a most reassuring figure. He has given excellent guidance in the managing of a complex inheritance structure over many years – a great reassurance to charitable trustees.’

‘I have employed Burges Salmon over about 15 years and at all times been most grateful for their excellent advice.’

‘Burges Salmon has an excellent reputation in the area of private clients. Based on my working expercience with them, their excellent reputation is well-deserved. They are clearly capable of handling complex cross-border issues and they completely understand their private clients’ needs.’

‘I just loved working with Suzanna Harvey. She is very knowledgeable in the area of private wealth law, a great communicator and extremely approachable. My working experience with senior associate Edward Hayes was also great.’ Would recommend Burges Salmon – and in particular Suzanna Harvey – anytime.’

‘Suzanna Harvey and Edward Hayes are at all times fully informed for any phone or personal meetings; they do not string out work and they do their professional utmost to give best attention. We get on very well at all times, even when difficulties arise.’

‘John Barnett’s  advice really helps with decisionmaking, particularly in areas where the decision is not clear cut. John understands that we need advice we can act on, even if the outcome of that action is not certain.’

‘Edward Hayes has been astute about the issues, practical in his suggestions and conscientious about containing costs where possible.  He has my absolute trust alongside a deep appreciation for his legal acumen — and his graciousness.’

‘John Barnett is easy to work with and exercises good judgement when finding workable and conservative solutions to fix complex UHNW estate planning for international families. Low key and hard working. An extremely competent and reassuring execution on all matters large and small.’

Work highlights

    Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

    Charles Russell Speechlys LLP takes a multi-disciplinary approach, offering a full service tax, trusts and succession practice to its prestigious client roster. The team is led by Christopher Page, who is an expert in complex strategic and succession planning. Julia Cox strengthens the team with her deep knowledge and longstanding experience in estate planning. Henry Fea is noted for his expertise in both national and international tax and trusts matters.

    Practice head(s):

    Christopher Page

    Other key lawyers:

    Julia Cox; Henry Fea; Tabitha Collett; Harman Bains; Mary Perham

    Work highlights

    • Advised a UK resident, non-domiciled entrepreneur who wished to become non-UK resident on residence, domicile and pre-emigration tax and succession planning, including the restructuring of the international holding structure for his UK business.
    • Carried out a strategic review for a UK resident couple to prepare a succession plan for their high value rural estate and residential property portfolio and the transfer of the core estate to their chosen heir including advising on Balfour-style restructuring.
    • Advised a UK resident married couple on a pre-sale transfer into a trust of a valuable shareholding to facilitate the inter-generation transfer of wealth via an asset protective structure.

    Clarke Willmott LLP

    Clarke Willmott LLP has a comprehensive practice, advising clients on matters from tax planning and estate administration, to the drafting of wills and trusts. The practice is led by Anthony Fairweather, Carol Cummins and Emma Pope. Fairweather and Cummins are based in Bristol, whilst Pope resides in Taunton. The team’s capacity has recently been boosted by the addition of a number of members at the junior level, and it is praised for its ‘terrific combination of professionalism and friendliness.’

    Practice head(s):

    Anthony Fairweather; Carol Cummins; Emma Pope

    Other key lawyers:

    David Maddock; Elizabeth Smithers; Jane Halton; Tom Chiffers; Jacqui Lazare; Samantha Neagle; Emma Barry; Harriet Neusinger


    ‘Each member has different areas of knowledge and they are all very approachable and work interactively.’

    ‘Emma Pope has dealt with both of my parents estates/probate and has made the process as painless as possible. David Maddock has been part of the process to deal with very complex taxation/inheritance tax matters. Both come across as caring individuals.’

    ‘Jane Halton has always been ready to help family members’ individual needs. I particularly like the fact that she is more than ready to point out what steps would be best for us.’

    ‘I have found the quality of advice from Clarke Willmott to have been of the highest standard, and they tailor their discussions well to my level of knowledge.’

    ‘Emma Barry really does know her stuff, but what I particularly enjoy is the quality of the interactions. Responses are always quick – often same day. Communication is always clear, and promises to do things at a future point have always been kept.’

    ‘I dealt specifically with Jacqui Lazare who was very empathetic and understanding. I had to make some difficult decisions and she really helped me understanding the options and implications in a way that I could understand.’

    ‘Samantha Neagle is my contact person who I find truly capable, efficient, knowledgeable, and helpful… and above all, extremely friendly and patient. Would recommend her to anybody.’

    ‘From the first approach to this firm to the closing of my case, the service has been a terrific combination of professionalism and friendliness.’

    Key clients

    Various high net worth clients

    Work highlights

      Michelmores LLP

      Michelmores LLP‘s key strengths include wealth structuring; its clients include those based within the UK, in addition to those internationally based with assets around the globe. Edward Porter, based in Bristol, focuses on matters involving estate planning, powers of attorney and wills. Jennifer Ridgway splits her time between both London and Exeter; her specialisms include tax and succession issues concerning international and non-UK domiciled individuals. Sandra Brown, based in Bristol,  specialises in the protection of private wealth. Both Ridgway and Brown head the team.

      Practice head(s):

      Jennifer Ridgway; Sandra Brown

      Other key lawyers:

      Edward Porter; Holly Mieville-Hawkins


      ‘Jennifer Ridgway is a star in the making, she is hugely capable.’

      ‘I have found the team to have depth and strength.’

      ‘Sandra Brown is an exceptional operator in this field.’

      ‘Holly Mieville-Hawkins has outstanding technical expertise and is passionate about Mental Capacity work.’

      ‘Jennifer Ridgway is superb. Technically astute and fantastic with clients. Leads by example.’

      ‘The team is hugely experienced and led by an outstanding individual in Jennifer Ridgway. Absolute clarity in respect of charges is always ensured.’

      ‘Jennifer Ridgway is an outstanding private client lawyer and has an unrivalled knowledge in personal tax trusts and probate. She has an extremely personable approach and wins the confidence of new clients with ease.’

      Work highlights


        The team at TLT acts for a range of clients, including wealthy individuals, banks, entrepreneurs and shipping corporations, in addition to international clients in the USA and in Europe. The practice is led by both Patrick Wooddisse and Debbie Gale. Wooddisse specialises in tax planning and trusts, handling both domestic and international matters. Gale has long-standing experience handling matters concerning cross-border estates, trusts and elderly client law. The team was joined by legal director Claire Johnson from Geldards LLP in October 2021.

        Practice head(s):

        Patrick Wooddisse; Debbie Gale

        Other key lawyers:

        Claire Johnson; Jeremy Bourke


        ‘I have always found TLT unusually responsive and pragmatic in their private client work. They always provide clear advice that addresses the client’s needs without any fuss.’

        ‘Patrick Wooddisse – commercial, pragmatic and very easy to deal with. His technical knowledge, especially on international matters, is very strong.’

        ‘In depth legal knowledge allied to a pragmatic and commercial approach.’

        Work highlights

        • Advised entrepreneur on the setting up of a family investment company, with £5m of sale proceeds set aside for the benefit of next and successive generations.
        • Advised ultra-high net worth Australian domiciled UK resident on the establishment of a Cayman based hedge fund with tax efficient receipts of profits and long term exit strategy.
        • Advised client on a Guernsey trust structure matters, pertaining to 6 London residential properties through Guernsey, BVI and Samoan companies.

        Wiggin Osborne Fullerlove

        Wiggin Osborne Fullerlove‘s practice caters to all client needs, with expertise across the full spectrum of tax matters. Its team is well equipped to advise on issues from asset protection, estate planning and taxation, to philanthropy, investments and disputes. Tim Osborne and Paul Hunston lead the practice. Matthew Cain is an expert in structuring private wealth through trusts and companies. Rose Chamberlayne‘s specialisms include wealth preservation structures, including those offshore. Matthew Shayle is noted for his advice to non-UK domiciled individuals concerning UK taxes and succession-focused structures. Associate Genevieve Morrall joined the team from Charles Russell Speechlys LLP.

        Practice head(s):

        Tim Osborne; Paul Hunston

        Other key lawyers:

        Matthew Cain; Stephen Pallister; Matthew Shayle; Rose Chamberlayne


        ‘WOF are an excellent private client firm with deep knowledge of foreign domiciliary and insurance matters.’

        ‘Matthew Cain is an outstanding solicitor – technically excellent with a real attention to detail and commercial knowledge.’

        ‘It is hard to think of a better firm for private client work outside central London. The quality of partners is especially strong and they work together, enjoying the ability to discuss knotty problems and solve them as a team. A really impressive outfit.’

        ‘Matthew Cain – deserving of his market reputation as one of the leading tax experts of his generation. Matthew has a great client base and serves them with care and attention.’

        ‘Matthew Shayle – charming, personable and technically excellent. Matthew does not miss a trick.’

        ‘The team at WOF provides a fantastic level of expertise and client care, commensurate with anything you would expect in London.’

        ‘Matthew Shayle – his experience working across multiple jurisdictions makes him the obvious choice for referrals.

        ‘Genevieve Morrall is incredibly knowledgeable and has an ability to join the dots and simplify complex matters for the client to easily comprehend.’

        Work highlights

        • Represented majority shareholder of a global commodities business in its effort to obtain damages against a sovereign state.
        • Acted for well-known international life assurance group of companies in product developments for the UK market and cross border markets, tax compliance and marketing initiatives.
        • Advised Trustees and family on the transition of family wealth and businesses between generations, establishing family governance and succession structures and on UK tax implications for UK-resident family members.


        Wilsons' expertise encompasses a range of matters such as estate planning, trust litigation and private wealth disputes, as well as issues concerning the Court of Protection and capacity. Its clients include both high-net worth and ultra-high net worth individuals. The team is led by Frances Mayne, Belinda Watson and Adam Herbert. The practice is divided into specialisms, with Mayne overseeing Court of Protection matters, Watson overseeing landed estates matters and Herbert overseeing all offshore work. Partner Alison Morris left to join accountancy firm Moore Kingston Smith.

        Practice head(s):

        Francis Mayne; Belinda Watson; Adam Herbert

        Other key lawyers:

        Rupert Wilkinson; Tim Fullerlove

        Work highlights

          Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP

          Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP advises clients on both contentious and non-contentious matters, whether arising domestically or internationally. The teams’ expertise lies within landed estates, onshore and offshore trusts, philanthropy and estate administration. Mark Woodward heads the practice. He has vast experience handling matters involving trusts and trustees’ powers and duties. Christopher Kerr-Smiley‘s specialisms include trust restructuring and trust taxation. James Radcliffe is well regarded for his estate planning advice to UK domiciled and non-UK domiciled individuals.

          Practice head(s):

          Mark Woodward

          Other key lawyers:

          Christopher Kerr-Smiley; James Radcliffe; Suzy Pawsey


          ‘The firm structure, which includes a number of US offices, enables the firm to provide a breadth of knowledge and experience. Domestically, the team is first class and is my first port-of-call for any of my HNW clients.’

          ‘The team at WBD were simply impressive. Right from the start the service felt personal and the team were always on top of the brief.’

          ‘Suzy Pawsey was outstanding. A sharp mind, great attention to detail and a very personable style. A real pleasure to work with.’

          ‘Christopher Kerr-Smiley’s tax knowledge is formidable.’

          Work highlights

            Ashfords LLP

            Ashfords LLP's focus lies within succession and inheritance tax planning, estate administration and the creation and administration of trusts. Michael Alden is highly regarded for his understanding of the issues facing high-net worth clients, whose estates require complex financial, tax and succession planning. He co-leads the team with Kerry Morgan Gould and primarily oversees the private wealth department. Gould focuses on the trusts and estates department.

            Practice head(s):

            Michael Alden; Kerry Morgan-Gould

            Other key lawyers:

            Tom Biddick; Sarah Mansbridge; Jonathan Hickman


            This is a large team which offers support for clients in every aspect of private client law. There is always someone knowledgeable who will be able to handle any matter that may be presented.’

            ‘Tom Biddick – for our rural area he is outstanding when it comes to matters affecting farming families.’

            ‘Kerry Morgan-Gould – no-nonsense trust and contentious probate lawyer. Absolutely across her brief and handles everything with outstanding professionalism.’

            ‘The team were always up to speed and pressing the matter forward. When obstacles appeared they were ready to work out solutions.’

            ‘Tom Biddick has a gift for connecting with clients and explaining difficult and sensitive topics well.’

            Work highlights

              Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP

              Ellis Jones Solicitors LLP is well regarded for its extensive expertise in will writing, estate planning, estate administration and trust advice. The practice is led by Carla Brown. Her expertise lies within advising both high-net worth individuals and ultra-high net worth individuals on estate and tax planning matters. The team was strengthened during 2021 through the arrival of Chris Pemberton from Trethowans LLP and the arrival of Richard Smith from Preston Redman.

              Practice head(s):

              Carla Brown

              Other key lawyers:

              Chris Pemberton; Richard Smith; Andy Kirby; Rebecca Suthers


              ‘Ellis Jones is highly professional and efficient. I have been impressed with their breadth of support and knowledge.’

              ‘Carla Brown has been extremely helpful in some difficult times. She is very knowledgeable and efficient, managing to explain some complex issues and help us solve them.’

              ‘Carla Brown is technically great and is a very strong leader.’

              ‘The practice is very knowledgeable and of a size well placed to service clients efficiently.’

              ‘Carla Brown in particular stands out as an excellent lawyer. I never hesitate to recommend her to my private clients. Carla is able to act with impartiality and is not afraid to say what needs saying, even in tricky family situations.’

              ‘Ellis Jones are very responsive, professional and available at most times.’

              ‘Carla Brown is very knowledgeable and professional. London city lawyer advice at a local level. Carla is also challenging in a positive way to clients.’

              Key clients

              Very successful self-made business man with international business and his wife

              Connected estates and trust

              Estate and trust administration/Multi-generational estate planning

              Wealthy gentleman in early 90’s

              Vulnerable lady in her mid 80’s

              Couple in 60’s, one of whom is a trustee of a family trust

              Estate planning and trust advice and administration for wealthy couple

              Transfer of numerous family trusts

              Work highlights

              • Advised successful self-made business man with international business and his wife on holistic, local legal services for them, their children and their international companies.
              • Advised client on estate administration involving complex farm site, sale to a developer, associated trusts and estate and tax planning.

              Foot Anstey

              Foot Anstey has an extensive array of expertise, with an emphasis on its tax planning, succession and probate offerings. Its clients vary from banks and trustees to wealthy individuals. The team is headed by Anna Parker. Her experience surpasses 14 years; she specialises in international and domestic tax law and often advises clients on tax issues relating to interests in Europe.

              Practice head(s):

              Anna Parker

              Other key lawyers:

              Michelle Seddon; Lisa Weekes; Robert Marshall; Jos Style; Shaun Thomas; Gabrielle Medland

              Work highlights

                Harrison Clark Rickerbys

                Harrison Clark Rickerbys pays particular attention to elderly and vulnerable clients, utilising its expertise in personal injury trusts, financial administration, asset protection and health and welfare. Clients also include those seeking advice pertaining to private wealth law. Tom Murphy-Kirkhope is noted for his expertise in wills, tax planning and estate administration. Alex Taylor leads the practice.

                Practice head(s):

                Alex Taylor

                Other key lawyers:

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


                ‘The team I dealt with have the depth of knowledge to ably manage the issues that are important to the client, take you through the range of options and potential pitfalls, and lead you to a successful outcome.’

                ‘In every respect, HCR has a diverse work place and demonstrate the importance of diversity in a warm and happy working environment. Billing was as expected.

                ‘Tom Murphy-Kirkhope has a strong depth of knowledge, he was very structured in delivery, so the advice was easily comprehensible. He is a warm, skilled professional, who more than met our expectations.’

                ‘Phillipa Bruce-Kerr always offers well considered advice in a timely manner.’

                ‘Quality of the work done has been excellent and timeliness of service have been good.’

                ‘Phillipa Bruce-Kerr is not only a very competent private client solicitor, she is a very caring individual who shows deep concern for her clients’ welfare and she has a good knowledge and awareness of various issues which are relevant to clients in later life.’

                Work highlights

                  Stephens Scown LLP

                  Stephens Scown LLP ’s practice has three pillars of focus; trusts, elder client services and landed estates. Its trust advice covers tax planning, UK and offshore advice and trust creation. Its elder client service focuses on the care sector, with expertise in matters concerning the Court of Protection.  Its landed estates portfolio includes significant Cornwall based clients. Philip Reed and Ian Newcombe co-lead the practice. 

                  Practice head(s):

                  Philip Reed; Ian Newcombe

                  Other key lawyers:

                  Graham Murdoch; Tamsin Hills


                  ‘Very knowledgeable.’

                  ‘Standouts are Phil Reed and Ian Newcombe.’

                  Work highlights

                    Thrings LLP

                    Thrings LLP takes a multi-disciplinary approach to matters, often utilising its farming and agricultural team within its landed estate portfolio work. The team is also well equipped to advise on international tax structuring, as well as on inheritance and trust disputes. The team is led by Michael Westbrook who has particular expertise advising farmers, landowners and family business owners. Associate Holly Algar joined the team from Trethowans LLP in January 2022.

                    Practice head(s):

                    Michael Westbrook

                    Other key lawyers:

                    Penelope Munro; Gavin Smith


                    ‘ I have found them to be diligent, conscientious and very efficient in dealing with all matters involving Trusts and Trust tax reporting. I would not hesitate in recommending them to potential clients.’

                    Work highlights


                      VWV's specialisms include estate and trust administration, personal injury trusts and legacy protection. It also has niche expertise in matters arising from lottery winners who have received sums surpassing £1m. The team is led by both Leila Goodarzi and Michelle Rose. Goodarzi specialises in tax structuring; she is also a member of the Probate Section of the Law Society.

                      Practice head(s):

                      Michelle Rose; Leila Goodarzi


                      ‘They have an ability to get straight to the issue and offer excellent and practical solutions. They offer advice you can trust and cut through all the legal paraphernalia with ease.’

                      ‘They are so incredibly skilled but exceptionally sensitive to each situation presented. They demonstrated complete empathy and understanding to our unique situation.’

                      ‘Friendly, efficient service. Good communication in a professional but personal way.’

                      Work highlights

                      • Represented client before the Court of Appeal as a result of on-going dispute between beneficiaries and advised on the administering of an estate.
                      • Advised charity clients on legacy protection and on disputed legacies.
                      • Advised client on options of setting up of high value trusts, ongoing trust administration and associated tax advice.


                      Wansbroughs‘ specialities include tax planning, trust administration and advice on inheritance tax saving reliefs. Clients include high-net worth individuals, business owners and vulnerable individuals. The practice is led by Alan Ciechan. He has over 40 years’ experience in private client work, with focus in tax efficient structures, formation of trusts and advice on administration of estates involving complex assets.

                      Practice head(s):

                      Alan Ciechan

                      Other key lawyers:

                      Anna Wensley Stock; Kathryn Smith Cowap; Thomas Britten


                      ‘An excellent team of people, all very knowledgeable and professional, and the service I obtain is always prompt and reliable.’

                      ‘You never feel hurried or that to are ‘on the clock’. They all take time to listen and understand your needs.’

                      ‘Top people, good advice, timely service.’

                      ‘Wansbroughs is a long established firm of lawyers able to recruit exceptional personnel and provide a complete range of legal services.’

                      ‘Alan Ciechan has exceptional knowledge and experience.’

                      ‘The private client team at Wansbroughs are approachable, cohesive and knowledgeable. They respond promptly, provide sufficient cover in colleagues’ absence and communicate clearly and efficiently with their clients and advisers.’

                      ‘Wansbroughs have been highly professional, and very responsive. They never leave a message or question unanswered.’

                      ‘Wansbroughs were efficient and professional from start to finish. They met our every need and made a difficult situation much easier to deal with. Their billing was transparent and fair and their customer service was impeccable.’

                      Work highlights

                        Blanchards Bailey LLP

                        Blanchards Bailey LLP places particular focus on estate planning matters, particularly those pertaining to inheritance tax. Its mental capacity and Court of Protection work is also an area of expertise. Jerome Dodge heads the practice. Other key names include senior associate Emma Needham and associate Catherine Roberts.

                        Practice head(s):

                        Jerome Dodge

                        Other key lawyers:

                        Catherine Roberts; Sophie Lawrence


                        ‘Sophie Lawrence – I feel she works with me as part of the team. I appreciate the fact that she problem solves with me, contributing her professional expertise to come up with the best approach or solution.’

                        ‘The partners and principal personnel are stable and consistent. This makes Blanchards the ideal advisor.’

                        ‘Their fees for these services are modest in comparison to other firms and always good value.’

                        ‘Catherine Roberts made a difficult scenario very straightforward and she achieved a very well structured inheritance tax result.’

                        ‘I cannot imagine receiving such a personal and consistent service from another firm of solicitors.’

                        ‘The practice have a very good team of people, covering the full range of services you would hope for in a local company.’

                        ‘I think a key strength is the ‘personal touch’. You feel the individuals are very concerned to do their best for you.’

                        ‘A modern firm, who provide clear advice on processes and timescales involved. The team are polite and offer clarity in their dealings. We have always been able to speak to someone by telephone or had a response to enquiries by email.’

                        Work highlights

                        • Advised on estate planning for clients with £20m of agricultural and business assets.
                        • Advised client on an opportunity to save £140,000 of Inheritance Tax.
                        • Acted as a Court of Protection Deputy in a highly complex and specialist matter.

                        BPE Solicitors LLP

                        BPE Solicitors LLP advises clients on matters from inheritance tax planning and powers of attorney to declarations of trust and charitable trusts. Peter Tyrrell and Jessica Beddows lead the practice. Tyrell’s expertise includes high value probate work. Beddows specialises in the financial affairs of elderly and vulnerable clients.

                        Practice head(s):

                        Peter Tyrrell; Jessica Beddows

                        Other key lawyers:

                        Natalie Cottrell; John Pengilley; Shanade Smith


                        ‘Peter Tyrrell – very communicative and describes everything in layman’s terms with a good sense of humor. He gets on with the job quickly.’

                        ‘All the team are helpful, knowledgeable, have access to where each case is in terms of progress, documents issued etc. Billing is fair and clearly laid out beforehand.’

                        ‘Peter Tyrrell is approachable, communicative and superbly efficient. Very rare, in my experience of solicitors.’

                        ‘Their approach is informal and they make you feel at ease while you are with them. The speed of work is exceptional with them consistently giving you feedback during the work process.’

                        ‘Very integrated corporate and personal services.’

                        ‘Their strength is in line with our own, in so far, as they try first to understand clients’ circumstances and goals closely and don’t simply leap to solution.’

                        ‘Strong vision, client focus and clarity of purpose.’

                        Work highlights

                          Lester Aldridge LLP

                          The practice at Lester Aldridge LLP is split into three core teams; those being UK private client, UK tax and trusts and international private client. The practice is collectively led by Kurt Lee , Richard Fairbairn and Oliver Phipps. New arrivals include senior associate Precious Igbokwe from Taylor Rose MW in August 2021.

                          Practice head(s):

                          Kurt Lee; Richard Fairbairn; Oliver Phipps

                          Other key lawyers:

                          Parisa Jones; Precious Igbokwe


                          ‘Oliver Phipps has a good experience of international matters and who able to adapt to the specificities of the other legal systems.’

                          ‘The team is particularly strong in respect of their cross-border expertise and provide a high standard of service and value compared with firms offering similar services.’

                          ‘Oliver Phipps has an ability to explain complex areas of law in easy to understand and easy to digest way. He demonstrates an in-depth knowledge of his subject areas and provides pragmatic and practical solutions to complex scenarios.’

                          ‘Parisa Jones has good technical knowledge and a pleasant, professional manner.’

                          Work highlights

                            RWK Goodman

                            RWK Goodman‘s practice comprises of sub-teams to offer a comprehensive service. Its teams include wills and probate, estate planning, the elderly and incapacitated, trust accounting and administration, as well as contentious trusts and probate. Both Edward Vidnes and Mandy Casavant lead the practice. Vidnes operates from the Bath office; Casavant splits her time between Swindon and Marlborough.

                            Practice head(s):

                            Edward Vidnes; Mandy Casavant

                            Other key lawyers:

                            James McNeile; Amanda Noyce; Anna Casey-Woodward; Mythili Bonham


                            ‘Excellent grasp and communication of the complexities of estate planning.’

                            ‘James McNeile – sensible advice and clear communication of complex issues..’

                            ‘Anna Casey-Woodward was brilliant; she kept us informed throughout the probate process & was always happy to answer any questions we had. The company have a very valuable member of staff.’

                            ‘The firm consistently provide high calibre staff in all areas. I’ve always found them to be relatable, clear and helpful.’

                            Work highlights

                              Stone King LLP

                              Stone King LLP has an array of specialist expertise, including international and cross-border succession and probate advice, estate planning, care funding, UK and foreign will drafting and private family trust management. Kathryn Layzell, an expert in older client care, leads the practice.

                              Practice head(s):

                              Kathryn Layzell

                              Other key lawyers:

                              Alison Allen; Daniel Harris; Andrew Mortimer; Kerry Rogers; Charlotte Macdonald


                              ‘I have always found the team to be helpful, caring and knowledgeable. I never have hesitation in recommending them to people that need advice.’

                              ‘Alison Allen is a consummate professional and very knowledgeable. She is excellent with clients with a gentle and caring manner.’

                              Kathryn Layzell is also excellent with clients and maintains the careful caring approach of the team as a whole.’

                              ‘Very empathetic and experienced in dealing with trust and tax matters.’

                              ‘Andrew Mortimer is very empathetic and experienced in dealing with trust and tax matters.’

                              Work highlights

                                Trethowans LLP

                                Trethowans LLP advises clients across a broad range of matters, including those pertaining to succession planning for business owners, capital tax planning for farmers and inheritance tax planning for high-net worth individuals. Mihiri Gajraj leads the practice, whose expertise includes inter-generational planning for business owners and farmers.

                                Practice head(s):

                                Mihiri Gajraj

                                Other key lawyers:

                                Adam Scott


                                ‘Personal service and a culture to care for the client.’

                                ‘Depth of knowledge; Friendly professional service.’

                                ‘Very approachable. Always happy to give initial advice to my clients before proceeding to fee paying business. Feels like a personal service with the resources of a larger firm.’

                                ‘The practice is forward thinking and is constantly looking to arrange client focused events which support their pressing needs.’

                                ‘It is very clear that the team at Trethowans are friendly and welcoming, and most of all very knowledgeable about their chosen areas of law.’

                                ‘Adam Scott is always available for legal support in a timely fashion with vast knowledge of his subject area, all of which is passed on to clients in a very friendly and down to earth manner.’

                                Work highlights

                                  Trowers & Hamlins LLP

                                  The practice at Trowers & Hamlins LLP is led by both Helen Honeyball and Jonathan Kropman. Honeyball has extensive experience advising clients on succession and estate planning. Kropman advises domestic and international high-net worth individuals. Disputes specialist Charisse Crawford joined the firm's Exeter office from Stephens Scown LLP in early 2022.

                                  Practice head(s):

                                  Helen Honeyball; Jonathan Kropman

                                  Other key lawyers:

                                  Frank Cook; Amanda Rainford; Sophie Critchley


                                  ‘Their record of service to me and my family on legal issues across the board has always been first class.’

                                  ‘Amanda Rainford and Sophie Critchley are both very helpful and friendly, and with clear advice and excellent knowledge of their special area of work. I appreciate the attention they give to my business and also their persistence in following up issues – I doubt I could ask for better service.’


                                  Work highlights

                                    Willans LLP

                                    Willans LLP has a sizeable team whose expertise includes trust establishment and administration, probate and trust dispute advice and Court of Protection work. The team is headed by Simon Cook. He has a track record of experience advising high-net worth clients as well as elderly clients.

                                    Practice head(s):

                                    Simon Cook

                                    Other key lawyers:

                                    Hannah Wall; Rachel Sudgen; Tom O’Riordan


                                    ‘Simon Cook is an exceptional wills and trusts solicitor. He is very knowledgeable and uses his network to provide broader financial planning and other support when needed.’

                                    ‘They understand client needs and applies excellent legal advice.’

                                    ‘Willans have a very approachable team – friendly, straight talking, but make the time to make sure that clients understand the issues and feel reassured.’

                                    ‘Simon Cook  – he is very efficient and brings in those junior to him when necessary.’

                                    ‘The team are made up of extremely personable people who are both knowledgeable and approachable. They are efficient with the work that they produce.’

                                    ‘All the members of the team are friendly and knowledgeable and willing to go the extra mile for the client.’

                                    ‘Well managed team with diverse and relevant experience. Good use of technology, but retains the personal touch.’

                                    ‘Simon Cook is widely experienced in all aspects of Private Client and Trust work. He combines a professional approach with a friendly manner which clients like.’

                                    Work highlights

                                      Frettens LLP

                                      Frettens LLP's specialties includes will writing, powers of attorney, tax compliance and Court of Protection cases. The practice is led by Lee Young and Heather Varley.

                                      Practice head(s):

                                      Lee Young; Heather Varley


                                      ‘The team make the complex appear simple. They approach things in a thoughtful way without unnecessary complication.’

                                      ‘Lee Young leads the team and it is clear he is a well respected partner whose team follow his lead. Lee is very well qualified, highly experienced but also pragmatic.’

                                      ‘Accessibility is key and the team at Frettens provide easy access, friendliness and reliability.’

                                      ‘Lee Young has a very personable and supportive approach which transfers to the ‘Frettens team.’

                                      ‘It’s the breadth of specialism available within the practice that really makes them stand out. The whole of the Frettens team seem to have the ability to connect with clients as people first and contractually very much second.’

                                      ‘Lee Young is a brilliant, compassionate lawyer. His strong sense of empathy and gentle manner when being assertive on a legal point means that he is able to provide the right guidance on to what are often emotional clients dealing with difficult issues.’

                                      ‘I have always found the team to be professional, friendly and understanding when it comes to dealing with my vulnerable clients.’

                                      ‘Lee Young is personable, patient, and kind as well as being highly knowledgeable in his field.’

                                      Work highlights

                                        Shakespeare Martineau LLP

                                        GL Law, which recently merged with Shakespeare Martineau LLP, advises clients on matters from high-net-worth estate planning and trusts and estate administration, to Court of Protection work and elderly and vulnerable client service work. Heledd Wyn leads the team.

                                        Practice head(s):

                                        Heledd Wyn

                                        Other key lawyers:

                                        Ben Coulson


                                        ‘Heledd Wyn is bright, innovative and cares deeply, not just about her clients but the wider issues of long term care.’

                                        ‘The team is very active in the local market, highlighting areas of concern for private client financial planning and a particular strength is in elderly care and estate planning.’

                                        ‘Heledd Wynn is very approachable and inspires confidence in her clients and colleagues alike. She campaigns to highlight concerns among practitioners around future financial planning.’

                                        ‘Strong private client team, especially in regards to elderly care and financial planning. The team is super friendly and accessible.’

                                        ‘Heledd Wyn is a smart lawyer with in depth knowledge of her field. She is friendly and approachable.’

                                        ‘An extremely professional, friendly and helpful team.’

                                        ‘An excellent specialist team very well respected in the wider later life field.’

                                        ‘Expertise, great service, very approachable, reliable, and a good team.’

                                        Goughs Solicitors

                                        Areas of expertise at Goughs Solicitors include wealth preservation, succession planning and tax mitigation. Emma Taylor and Phillip Bolton lead the practice together. Associate Alexine Moran joined the team from Davey Law.

                                        Practice head(s):

                                        Emma Taylor; Phillip Bolton

                                        Other key lawyers:

                                        Dawn Moir; Alexine Moran; Trish Watkins


                                        ‘Goughs gives outstanding customer satisfaction. They are very approachable, reliable, courteous and informed. I would recommend Goughs to anyone.’

                                        ‘Client orientated; they ensure the client is well informed with easy to read documents.’

                                        ‘Personable – the client always comes first.’

                                        Work highlights


                                          Laceys places particular focus on advising elderly clients and families. Its practice is supported by accountants to advise on complex company tax structures. The practice is led by Kate Mansfield and Natasha Cross.

                                          Practice head(s):

                                          Kate Mansfield; Natasha Cross

                                          Other key lawyers:

                                          Matthew Crampton; Alix Wigley


                                          ‘Kate Mansfield has been invaluable in her advice and knowledge.’

                                          ‘Commitment, communication and invaluable advice.’

                                          ‘Matthew Crampton is efficient, thoughtful and offers practical guidance through assorted legal processes.’

                                          ‘Kate Mansfield is calm and efficient but empathetic and supportive. She is very reliable and responds promptly to queries.’

                                          ‘Welcoming and helpful team of legal advisors.’

                                          ‘Firm is efficient and the interpersonal skills of the team are very good. They navigated us through a difficult family time with patience and sensitivity.’

                                          ‘Exceptional communication and commitment to working together as a team to support and execute our requirements.’

                                          ‘Kate Mansfield is very knowledgeable and quick to understand the clients needs whilst taking the time to care for her clients.’

                                          Work highlights

                                          • Advised on a Court of Protection Application for removal of a trustee.
                                          • Advised on an estate including two trusts.
                                          • Assisted a physically disabled client regarding the construction of her late father’s Will.

                                          Mogers Drewett LLP

                                          The practice at Mogers Drewett LLP is led by Rebecca Beresford; her specialisms include trust advice and administration. The team was joined by senior associate Sarah Clacker from Seddons Law in January 2022.

                                          Practice head(s):

                                          Rebecca Beresford

                                          Other key lawyers:

                                          David Hill; Rory McFarlane; Anne-Marie Worth; Emma Coate; Cara Burr; Kat King; Hannah Welbourne


                                          ‘Rebecca Beresford and Rory McFarlane have an innate ability to listen, understand and advise on a wide range of issues and circumstances, and are able to work in tandem with third parties as needed to achieve the best outcome for the client.’

                                          ‘A wide range of knowledge and specialisms with a can-do attitude.’

                                          ‘We have found them to be efficient, helpful and very pro-active in dealing with anything which has arisen.’

                                          ‘Rory McFarlane – excellent client skills, extremely communicative. Stands head and shoulders above other solicitors I have worked with in respect of private client.’

                                          ‘It is a friendly partnership which cares about its clients and always finds the answers. There is no need to look elsewhere.’

                                          ‘The practice is highly efficient and supportive in handling difficult family issues and arrangements.’

                                          ‘They show huge empathy and understanding. They are professional and knowledgeable in their areas of expertise.’

                                          ‘Mogers Drewett has truly managed to find a ‘sweet spot’, being a firm that is able to draw on a wide range of expertise across the business while at the same time giving the level of service that you might expect from a more local business.’

                                          Work highlights

                                            Porter Dodson LLP

                                            Porter Dodson LLP has specialist advice in care home funding; its expertise here includes negotiations with local authorities when overseeing trust assets. The practice is led by Sharon Collier.

                                            Practice head(s):

                                            Sharon Collier

                                            Other key lawyers:

                                            Kate James; Ian Sankey; Sarah Stone; Tom Mottram; Clare Sanderson


                                            ‘Depth in terms of number of personnel and but also the knowledge and experience these individuals have.’

                                            ‘Sharon Collier is articulate and communicates well with clients.’

                                            ‘I was impressed by the quick response and positive attitude to help.’

                                            ‘Tom Mottram was always helpful and provided feedback throughout the process.’

                                            Work highlights

                                              Steele Raymond LLP

                                              Steele Raymond LLP advises across the full spectrum of tax, trust and wills matters. The team oversees tax compliance, trust management and power of attorney issues. Sue Adams heads the team.

                                              Practice head(s):

                                              Sue Adams

                                              Other key lawyers:

                                              John Andrews; Melanie Wilkins; Harriet Dormer


                                              ‘Sue Adams leads a really exceptional private client team at Steele Raymond. They always deliver exceptional advice and are at all times professional and courteous.’

                                              ‘Sue Adams is the best private client lawyer in Dorset in my opinion. She is extremely experienced and also has tax qualifications to lean on so can cover all bases.’


                                              Work highlights

                                                Tozers Solicitors LLP

                                                Tozers Solicitors LLP's practice is led by Grainne Staunton , an expert in inheritance tax and succession planning. Key names in the team include Rachael Morley, who was recently promoted to partner, senior associate Sue Halfyard and associate Jayne Bertie.

                                                Practice head(s):

                                                Gráinne Staunton

                                                Other key lawyers:

                                                Rachael Morley; Sue Halfyard


                                                ‘Very approachable and knowledgeable.’

                                                ‘I was always updated as to where we were in the process.’

                                                ‘Fees were very reasonable.’

                                                ‘A caring and hard working team that really listen to their client’s needs.’

                                                ‘Gráinne Staunton explains complex matters clearly and succinctly. She is very pragmatic and finds practical solutions to her client’s problems.’

                                                Work highlights