Personal tax, trusts and probate in Wales

Hugh James

At Hugh James, the ‘technically astute and commercially awareMatthew Evans heads up the firm’s overarching private wealth group which has the strength-in-depth to handle a significant range and volume of work in the space and is noted for its ‘professionalism, empathy and fantastic approach to their clients’. Eleanor Evans is ‘approachable and friendly‘ and spearheads the firm’s thriving trusts and estates administration sub group which continues to grow its client base and includes a raft of institutional clients, including high street banks. Gareth Wisdom also handles probate work although he is principally focused on developing the firm’s volume will writing service, and in this regard he has successfully secured some notable mandates for a number of high street and private banks. The ‘knowledgeable, hardworking and tough’ Roman Kubiak provides clients with a market-leading contentious probate offering which transcends geographical borders and includes a considerable flow of work form outside of Wales. Senior associate Austin Gill  is ‘efficient, resourceful and compassionate’ and has a particular focus on helping clients structure lifetime gifts in an IHT efficient manner.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Evans

Testimonials

Consistently excellent, significant clients and considerable experience.’

A highly and deservedly reputed private client team, who back up the reputation with professionalism, empathy and a fantastic approach to their clients.’

The team is approachable and friendly, and put their clients at ease, guiding them through a difficult time, as many people do not have prior experience of the probate process.’

Matthew Evans is an excellent lawyer, who is easy to work with and always on the ball.’

Matthew Evans and Eleanor Evans in particular have created a level of approachability and professionalism that is second to none in the sector.’

Roman Kubiak is well known in the industry as knowledgeable, hard working and tough.’

Austin Gill was extremely helpful, efficient, resourceful and compassionate towards our family throughout the whole process.’

Key clients

High Street Bank Trust Corporation

 

Work highlights

  • Acting for the executor of an estate valued at £5.4m including five properties, three of which were buy-to-let and overseas assets.
  • Acting for the executor of an estate that was reportable to HMRC for IHT purposes.
  • Acting for High Street Bank Trust Corporation in relation to the administration of two linked trusts, one of which is high value.

Blake Morgan LLP

Acting on its own, as well as frequently alongside other practitioners in England, Blake Morgan LLP's small Cardiff-based team, which is led by Lisa Davies, punches above its weight and regularly handles complex work relating to estate administration and lifetime planning. Davies often leverages her fluent Italian speaking skills for British citizens with issues in Italy  as well as advising Italian citizens resident in the UK in respect of their estate planning issues. Senior associate Nicky Sherrard is well-versed at providing tax efficient succession planning advice as well as in the context of estate administration, and is noted for compassionate and sympathetic approach to work in the space.

Practice head(s):

Lisa Davies

Other key lawyers:

Nicky Sherrard

Testimonials

They have a good breadth of knowledge in the area.’

The team provides clear advice on technical matters for short and long term inheritance planning.’

Nicky Sherrard has always shown me compassion, and has been a trusted advisor who I felt I could always turn to for advice when needed.’

Work highlights

    Geldards LLP

    Despite the setback of the departure of former team head Claire Johnson to Bristol-based firm TLT, Geldards LLP‘s private client team still has a strong presence in the market for individuals, families and business owners across the myriad of their wealth preservation and succession needs where it is also effectively able to leverage the expertise of practitioners from its broader corporate, family and charities teams. Senior associates Anne Taylor and Gillian Crouch co-head the wealth planning and probate/trust administration sub-groups, respectively, with Taylor noted for ability to ‘communicate effectively with new clients who are sometimes going through a difficult emotional period’. The arrival in February 2021 of vastly experienced wills and probate specialist Anne George from Swansea-based firm Graham Evans & Partners in a consultancy capacity also strengthens the firm’s credentials, adding further geographical bandwidth to the firm’s offering.

    Practice head(s):

    Anne Taylor  (wealth planning) ; Gillian Crouch (probate and trust administration)

    Testimonials

    The responsive, personable and approachable team has great in-depth knowledge.’

    Anne Taylor is an absolutely fantastic practitioner who understands how to communicate effectively with new clients who are sometimes going through a difficult emotional period.’

    Gillian Crouch has an excellent relationship with clients, speaking in a language that they understand.’

    Anne George was not only extremely very professional in all our dealings but added to that a great empathy and sensitivity at a time when we were still acutely feeling our loss.’

    Laura Ikin is professional, personable and technically competent.’

    Work highlights

      Howells Solicitors

      Howells Solicitors has a strong reputation across South Wales in the private client space and regularly receives referrals from financial advisers/law firms, as well as internally from the firm’s growing personal injury offering. The scope of the work is broad and includes wealth preservation advice, will writing and probate administration, with the later receiving a boost by the acquisition of a will bank from two law firms in the region. Team head Sarah Cash has vast experience in the area, particularly in the context of complex trusts and estate work.  As well as contentious probate expertise, Laith Khatib also regularly acts for wealthy families in their estate planning, through the preparation of complex wills and lifetime trusts.

      Practice head(s):

      Sarah Cash

      Other key lawyers:

      Laith Khatib; Hayley Rees-Jones

      Work highlights

        JCP Solicitors

        With more than 25 fee-earners spread across the firm's South Wales network of offices that are active in the field of private client work, JCP Solicitors has the strength-in-depth to resource a wide range and volume of work in the space from a contentious and non-contentious perspective. Chris Shaw is the overarching head of the lifetime planning offering that has witnessed considerable growth in recent years, following local law firm acquisitions and a subsequent growth in the firm's will bank. As well as handling fairly commoditised and routine will writing and probate administration matters, the firm has also gained a strong following among sports people and musicians in relation to their tax planning and wealth management. Another core strength is firm's Court of Protection offering, where professional deputy Lynne Morgan  regularly looks after the finances of individuals who have suffered traumatic brain injuries and is noted for her 'compassion, sympathy and understanding'. The team is rounded out by the 'knowledgeable and thoughtful' Richard Howells, who excels at handling contentious probate matters.

        Practice head(s):

        Chris Shaw

        Testimonials

        JCP have put together like minded legal experts into a team that deliver exceptional cost-effective advice.’

        The team is very professional, provides an excellent service to clients and the work is completed in a timely manner.’

        Lynne Morgan is one of the most effective professional Deputies I have ever met. She has the ability to build respectful working relationships with even the most challenging of clients.’

        Lynne Morgan has demonstrated exceptional knowledge in the difficulties brain injury survivors have on a daily basis and how this impacts on their lives. She demonstrates a great deal of compassion, sympathy and understanding whenever she has contact with her clients and this is clearly appreciated by them.’

        Beverley Bowen is exceptional.’

        Richard Howells is knowledgeable and thoughful.’

        Work highlights

          Douglas-Jones Mercer

          The 'professional, approachable and proactive' five-strong team at Swansea-based firm Douglas-Jones Mercer handles a range of private client work, running the gamut from will writing and the administration of estates, through to the drafting of complex trusts and succession planning. 'Extremely knowledgeable' team head Jonathan Powell exemplifies the eclectic nature of the work the firm handles and has developed a particular specialism advising on succession planning for corporate clients.

          Practice head(s):

          Jonathan Powell

          Other key lawyers:

          Rebecca Laugharne; Jonathan Cudd

          Testimonials

          The team is very professional, approachable and proactive.’

          A great team that is always available and willing to go above and beyond.’

          Jonathan Powell stands out for his friendly and understanding approach.’

          Jonathan Powell – extremely knowledgeable, great communicator and always available to deal with queries efficiently. Highly recommended for all round technical support and service.’

          Work highlights

            Harding Evans LLP

            With a well-established offering in Newport and a growing presence in Cardiff, Harding Evans LLP's 'friendly and approachable' team leverages strong relationships with IFAs and other referrers, as well as with local private clients, ensuring that it receives a significant volume of wills and estate adminitration instructions. As well as her regular private client work, 'very trustworthy and approachable' team head Laura Selby also regularly handles Court of Protection work where her 'natural ability to show empathy, understanding and compassion' are valued traits.

            Practice head(s):

            Laura Selby

            Other key lawyers:

            Afonwy Howell-Pryce

            Testimonials

            All of the staff are friendly, approachable and offer an outstanding service.’

            ‘Strong on private client work including deed of variations, court of protection and Will and LPA’s.

            Laura Selby is a well presented individual who relays the technical jargon to us and clients in a very clear and concise manner. Her skills and technical knowledge is delivered in a very calm manner.’

            Laura Selby is very trustworthy, approachable and my clients have all commented on her knowledge and efficiency in dealing with their requests. In meetings with clients Laura is calm, quiet and has a lot of empathy. She is able to apply a “joined up” thinking approach as financial services and estate practitioners work does cross over.’

            Laura Selby’s excellent communication skills and natural ability to show empathy, understanding and compassion are very valued.’

            Afonwy Howell-Pryce was very approachable and understanding when it came to explaining how everything worked in relation to a complex probate case.’

            Afonwy Howell-Pryce is easy to work with and a good communicator. Afonwy is courteous and helpful when responding to enquiries.’

            Work highlights

            • Advising executors in connection with a £2m estate, dealing with HMRC as to business property relief and lifetime gifts.
            • Advising and preparing wills for a couple with a child who has a disability which would affect his mental capacity to manage their estate/his inheritance.
            • Instructed by lay executors to administer an estate in excess of £1m, comprising of bank accounts, portfolios and AIM shares.

            NewLaw Solicitors

            The 'client-focused' team at NewLaw Solicitors handles a wide range of private client work running the gamut from will writing and Power of Attorney drafting, through to estate planning. The firm's probate service continues to flourish and its effective use of a streamline internal case management system ensures that it provides a very cost effective service including on Grant of Probate only services. Another core are of strength is the firm's ability to look after the affairs and finances of the incapacitated as a result of its 'very experienced' Court of Protection team which is 'sympathetic to the needs of their clients and families'. Herself a Professional Deputy, team head Katie-Anne Edwards regularly handles Court of Protection work, as well as broader private client work where she is recognised as being 'very strong technically' across a range of tax and estate planning matters.

            Practice head(s):

            Katie-Anne Edwards

            Testimonials

            The team is very strong technically on trusts.’

            ‘The team is client focused and always considers what is in the client’s best interests throughout their work.’

            The Court of Protection team is very experienced in this area of work, sympathetic to the needs of their clients and families, understanding of the needs of the litigation solicitor and very efficient in what they do.’

            Katie Edwards is technically very strong.’

            Daniel Price is very good technically on Wills and Lasting Power of Attorneys.’

            Arianne Maharg has a professional but caring demeanour. She never failed to respond to my emails on the day I sent them and despite dealing with two estates which were complicated at times she completed everything to my satisfaction.’

            Key clients

            Farewill Ltd

            Affinion Probate

            Royal College of Nursing

            Carers Trust

            Work highlights

            • Handles probate/estate referral work for online wills/probate provider Farewill Ltd.
            • Provides all the Wills (to include estate planning), Trusts and Probate advice under an outsource contract to Royal College of Nursing membership.
            • Referred Affinion Probate’s grant only fast track and full probate cases to the firm.

            Berry Smith

            Berry Smith's team head Chris Beames has a strong reputation across a range of wills, estate planning and administration matters. Beames also handles Court of Protection work and acts as a Deputy for vulnerable individuals and their families.

            Practice head(s):

            Chris Beames

            Other key lawyers:

            Georgia Evans

            Work highlights

              RDP Law

              At Newport-based firm RDP Law, 'efficient and very knowledgeable' team head Sioned Thomas regularly advises agriculture/rural clients on succession planning and estate administration. Thomas' Welsh language skills are also beneficial to elderly and vulnerable clients who often prefer to converse in their first language.

              Practice head(s):

              Sioned Thomas

              Other key lawyers:

              Katie Kenealy

              Testimonials

              The team is dedicated to providing an excellent service.’

              Sioned Thomas is efficient and very knowledgeable.’

              Work highlights

                Wendy Hopkins Family Law Practice

                At Wendy Hopkins Family Law Practice, team head Catrin Griffiths  is ‘technically strong, approachable and professional’ and regularly receives referrals (from law firms and IFAs) and direct client instructions, across the spectrum of wills and probate matters. As part of this expertise, Griffiths handles Court of Protection work and has a specialism in elder law.

                Practice head(s):

                Catrin Griffiths

                Testimonials

                The team has a very strong reputation for family law and private client and have always dealt professionally and competently with clients I have referred to them.’

                Catrin Griffiths is technically strong, approachable and professional.’

                Work highlights