Personal tax, trusts and probate in Wales

Hugh James

Led by the 'personable and highly intelligentMatthew EvansHugh James' private wealth group is appreciated for its ability 'to relate with great sensitivity on a human level to very personal matters, while also giving very clear and measured advice'. The team's longstanding expertise in the space and the resources with which it is able to devote to matters in the area, enable it to provide discrete sub-specialisms, including a volume wills service which is led by the 'solutions-drivenGareth Wisdom. Praised for her 'excellent technical knowledge', Eleanor Evans provides 'strong leadership' on behalf of institutional clients in relation to trusts and estates administration. The private client offering is rounded out by the 'tough, smart and charmingRoman Kubiak, who leads on the contentious probate and trusts front, and the 'highly effectiveElizabeth Webbe, who provides 'creative solutions' to high-net-worth-individuals (including those holding assets worldwide) on their trusts, estate and tax planning.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Evans

Other key lawyers:

Roman Kubiak; Eleanor Evans; Gareth Wisdom; Alun Jones; Elizabeth Webbe; Andrew Jones; Sarah Bolt

Testimonials

‘Hugh James’ team is commercial and understands the needs of clients.’

To my mind what is unique to the practice is the ability to relate with great sensitivity on a human level to very personal matters, while also giving very clear and measured advice that solves problems at times of heightened emotion.’

‘Approachable team of individuals are easy to deal with and have a straightforward non-jargon way of dealing with matters. The more junior members of the team seem to benefit from strong leadership and guidance.’

‘Eleanor Evans stands out due to her excellent technical knowledge, her pragmatism and strong leadership skills.’

‘The solution-driven Gareth Wisdom has first-class knowledge of the B2B wills market.’

‘Matthew Evans is very personable and highly intelligent. He promotes practical steps that, when coupled with his experience, result in real strategic advantage being gained.’

Roman Kubiak is tough, smart and charming.’

‘ The highly effective Elizabeth Webbe provides creative solutions to unusual problems.’

Key clients

Macmillan Cancer Support

Work highlights

  • Acting for the executor of the deceased’s will in the completion of IHT papers to HMRC for a non-domicile individual; liaising with lawyers in Malawi regarding a purported marriage and the implications for our application for a grant of probate.
  • Acting for the Representative Body of the Church in Wales as beneficiary of an estate.
  • Acting on behalf of a high street bank’s trust corporation in relation to the administration of two linked high-value trusts.

Blake Morgan LLP

'Always very professional and knowledgeable', Blake Morgan LLP's team is a 'safe pair of hands' for private clients, including many high-net-worth individuals, on their wealth planning requirements. Team head Lisa Davies provides 'insightful and clear advice' on high-value estate administration and estate planning, often involving cross-border assets. 'Professional and conscientious' senior associate Nicky Sherrard displays a 'personal touch', which reassures clients going through the often difficult and emotional probate process.

Practice head(s):

Lisa Davies

Other key lawyers:

Nicky Sherrard; Ben Coulson

Testimonials

‘Conscientious and prepared to go the extra mile. Good communication – they kept us informed.’

‘The team is always very professional and knowledgeable.’

‘Lisa Davies is a fearsome advocate for our clients, and provides insightful and clear advice.’

‘Nicky Sherrard ably guided me and my eldest brother through the probate process following the death of our mother. She helped us to manage the expectations of our three siblings, and it was a great comfort to us to know that matters were being dealt with by Nicky.’

Nicky is professional and conscientious, and has a personal touch so important in this area of work.’

Geldards LLP

Led from Cardiff by the 'professional and business-focused' Claire Johnson and also able to draw upon significant resources from the firm's Midlands and London offices, Geldards LLP is well-positioned to provide a very comprehensive offering across the gamut of private client services. Praised for its 'joined-up thinking', the team's willingness and ability to collaborate with complementary practice groups, including family, charities and corporate, ensures that is able to deliver effective strategies for individuals, families and business owners around cascading and protecting wealth through the generations and addressing their philanthropic goals. As well as her conventional trust and administration expertise, Anne Taylor has a niche in relation to compensation protection and court of protection work.

Practice head(s):

Claire Johnson 

Other key lawyers:

Anne Taylor; Gill Crouch; Laura Ikin

Testimonials

‘Very much a team department with a variety of experience. They collaborate really well with other professions and are very amenable to organising joint meetings with clients – which leads to “joined up thinking” and better outcomes for clients.’

‘The team’s biggest strengths has to be its professionalism, knowledge and communication skills. I’ve dealt with the team for a considerable number of years now and have never found them anything less than perfect to deal with.’

‘The team is efficient, courteous and knowledgeable and reply to all queries in a timely manner.’

‘Claire Johnson is excellent at explaining the complex in understandable descriptions, thereby allowing the clients to buy into the reasons they are taking actions.’

‘Claire Johnson is both extremely friendly and approachable but also professional and business focused.’

Howells Solicitors

Private client work is a cornerstone practice area for Howells Solicitors and with nine fee-earners of varying levels of seniority, including three partners, the team is able to effectively resource a broad mix of work, running the gamut from fairly routine probate and wills drafting through to complex wealth planning and estate administration. Sarah Cash has an excellent track record assisting high-net-worth individuals on their trusts and estate work, including on behalf of land owners and individuals with substantial business interests.  Team head Laith Khatib regularly assists wealthy local families on their wills and wealth preservation/succession planning requirements, which he does so through the prism of his broader contentious probate expertise - enabling him to provide effective risk management advice, as well as to represent clients on any subsequent contentious matters.

Practice head(s):

Laith Khatib

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Cash

Hutchinson Thomas

'Extremely approachable, dedicated and forward thinking', the two-partner team at Hutchinson Thomas has an excellent reputation among local clients and financial advisors as a result of its ability to provide 'solution-oriented' advice across the spectrum of wills and probate work. 'Wonderfully precise and forensic in her analysis of the issues, while retaining a personal touch', Swansea-based team head Louise Williams has an excellent reputation, as does Rhian Williams, who provides 'emotive and supportive advice' to clients from the firm's Neath headquarters.

Practice head(s):

Louise Williams

Other key lawyers:

Rhian Williams

Testimonials

An extremely approachable, dedicated and forward thinking team.’

 ‘They are always polite and courteous and will explain everything without jargon’.

‘The team – which is hugely experienced – provides a comprehensive legal service that meets the needs of its clients.’

‘Louise Williams is exceptionally knowledgeable, professional and courteous. You know that when you deal with her you are dealing with a consummate professional who will be able to help, no matter what the issue is.’

‘Rhian Williams puts people at ease immediately, has a very approachable manner and an ability to explain sometimes quite complex issues in a simple way.’

Rhian Williams provides emotive and supportive advice.’

Rhian Williams is a very well mannered and immaculately presented individual, both intelligent and astute, that genuinely cares about her clients and treats them with humanity, dignity and compassion.’

JCP Solicitors

'Very much part of the local community', JCP Solicitors provides 'responsive and client-focused' advice to private clients from its Swansea headquarters and its growing number of offices across south, east and west Wales, including Cowbridge, Caerphilly and Carmarthen. Chris Shaw oversees the firm's overarching private client offering and is himself best-known for his capabilities in relation to estate administration, as well as lifetime wealth management concerns, including tax planning for many local high-net-worth individuals and business owners. Welsh speaker Arwel Davies 'is well-trusted by clients from a range of backgrounds' throughout Pembrokeshire, who are  appreciative of his 'professional manner and willingness to go the extra mile', on their wills and probate matters. As well as conventional private client work, under the guidance of professional deputy Lynne Morgan, the firm's Court of Protection team provides 'caring, efficient and effective' advice to clients who lack the capacity to manage their own affairs.

Practice head(s):

Chris Shaw

Other key lawyers:

Lynne Morgan; Mike Downey; Arwel Davies; Ian Fudge; Helen Cradick; Beverley Bowen; Sean Boucher; Sophie Davies; Allison Kent; Joanne Fenoulhet

Testimonials

‘The whole team is friendly, experienced and qualified. They are able to see the whole picture and have the clients needs at the centre of everything they do.’

‘In my experience, the team communicate well together in dealing with some complex situations relating to its clients.’

‘A firm which is very much part of the local community offering a wide range of client services.’

‘This team is unique in the way it is extremely client focused. Nothing is too much trouble for them and they are always willing.’

‘I have worked with the private client arm of JCP for the past ten years, particularly their Court of Protection team. The team is caring, efficient and effective. Not only do they seem to make difficult decision making look natural, they have the ability to explain those decisions clearly to vulnerable clients, who do not necessarily want to agree with that conclusion.’

Arwel Davies is well-trusted by clients from a range of backgrounds.’

‘Lynne Morgan is an exceptional human being. A mother-figure to some, friend and confidant to most, Lynne’s ability to talk and listen to people means that the respect she shows to others is reflected back on her by her clients.’

Douglas-Jones Mercer

With five fee-earners focused on private client work, Douglas-Jones Mercer has the strength in depth to handle a broad range of work, from simple wills and power of attorney drafting, through to more complex lifetime planning and estate administration matters. Although his own practice is reflective of the eclectic nature of the firm's work in the area, team head Jonathan Powell  has developed a particular specialism advising on succession planning for corporate clients.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Powell

Other key lawyers:

Rebecca Laugharne; Jonathan Cudd

NewLaw Solicitors

Securing a significant flow of work from the firm's personal injury department and also regularly receiving referrals from case management companies and other law firms, NewLaw Solicitors is particularly skilled at managing the financial affairs of individuals who have lost capacity due to catastrophic injuries or medical negligence. 'Technically excellent' team head Katie-Anne Edwards  and the 'approachable and supportiveRobert Thomas both have an 'excellent understanding of the underlying health conditions' of these clients, enabling them to provide an empathetic and tailored service in their role as professional deputies. Although these Court of Protection-related instructions continue to inform a significant amount of the work handled by the private client group, it also regularly handles probate and wills work, including a large volume of work for members of the BMA and the Royal College of Nursing.

Practice head(s):

Katie-Anne Edwards

Other key lawyers:

Robert Thomas; Daniel Price

Testimonials

‘Total commitment to the client coupled with specialist knowledge of serious injury work.’

‘Fantastic team to work with, who put their clients at the heart of all that they do.’

‘The team offers clients practical solutions in a cost effective manner, whilst identifying issues clients may face and where additional advice may be required. They particularly excel in complex estates and Court of Protection matters.’

‘The team is very knowledgeable and approachable and always willing to help.’

‘Robert Thomas is approachable and supportive.’

‘Katie Edwards is excellent both technically and in her interpersonal skills.’

Key clients

British Medical Association

Royal College of Nursing

Affinion Probate

Farewill Ltd

Work highlights

  • Provision of volume wills advice to members of the BMA during the Covid-19 outbreak following unprecedented demand given their front line status.
  • Provision of volume wills advice to membership of the Royal College of Nursing during the Covid-19 outbreak following unprecedented demand given their front line status.

Berry Smith

Although it is relatively small in comparison to some of its peers, Berry Smith's three-strong team is underpinned by a very effective IT and case management system, as well as working in a 'very joined up' way with other complementary practices within the firm, should the need arise. Team head Chris Beames  has 'huge experience' across a range of wills, estate planning and administration matters (including in his role as Deputy for vulnerable individuals) and is appreciated by clients for his empathy and ability to 'explain things in a way that is clear and intelligible'.

Practice head(s):

Chris Beames

Other key lawyers:

Georgia Evans

Testimonials

‘I know that whatever questions I pose, or whatever client I refer to them, they have someone of great experience and knowledge who can help. Most importantly, they are always welcoming and warm.’

‘The exceptional Chris Beames has huge experience, is empathetic and able to explain things in a way that is clear and intelligible.’

‘Georgia Evans is clearly very knowledgeable and proactive.’ 

Harding Evans LLP

The 'personable and approachable' five-strong team at Newport-based firm Harding Evans LLP provides a 'genuinely caring service' to local individuals (as well as in the context of referrals from financial advisors and accountants) on wills and probate work, including matters involving the administration of complex estates. 'Extremely knowledgeable' team head Laura Selby displays 'excellent technical knowledge' and the 'ability to explain things in a very clear, concise and straightforward manner'. 

Practice head(s):

Laura Selby

Other key lawyers:

Afonwy Howell-Pryce

Testimonials

‘This practice has an extremely wide and diverse client base capable of providing a large menu of professional services.’

‘The team is extremely personable and approachable. Legal services can be daunting for clients and the team at Harding Evans is friendly, professional and extremely efficient.’

‘They give a personal and genuinely caring service.’

‘Laura Selby’s knowledge was very impressive and her professionalism was very evident throughout several consultations.’

‘Laura Selby provided very sound advice, she was efficient and very pleasant to deal with.’

‘Laura Selby is extremely knowledgeable, experienced, approachable and always available to help with solving issues that arise for clients.’

‘Laura Selby is very patient, efficient and professional. She has excellent technical knowledge with the ability to explain things in a very clear, concise and straightforward manner to her clients.’

Work highlights

  • Preparing a will for former professional Wales international rugby union player Adam Rhys Jones.

Harrison Clark Rickerbys

Led by the 'very knowledgeable' David King  from the firm's Wye Valley office and also aided by 'empathetic and highly committed' Welsh speaking Cardiff-based associate Nerys Thomas, HCR Hewitsons provides 'high-quality' advice to private clients based in south Wales, as well as on the England and Wales borders. The scope of the work is broad, running the gamut from fairly commoditised will writing and Power of Attorney mandates, through to the complex estate planning for high-net-worth individuals involving significant assets held overseas.

Practice head(s):

David King

Other key lawyers:

Nerys Thomas

Testimonials

‘The private client team delivers high-quality work in a timely fashion.’

‘From the outset we have been made to feel valued and quickly developed a high confidence in their work and confidentiality. All issues have been dealt with in a timely manner. The clarity of charges and billing was also excellent.’

‘Nerys Thomas was highly personable and showed a genuine interest in our case.’

‘Nerys Thomas is able to explain the legal technicalities in plain English and extract the client’s wishes, even for scenarios that they had not thought of.’

‘Nerys Thomas displays high levels of professional integrity, empathy and commitment to meeting cient needs.’

David King is very knowledgeable and oversees the team very effectively.’

Red Kite Law LLP

Led from the firm's Carmarthen-based headquarters by Mathew Bowen and aided by many specialists (including legal executives and legal advisors) spread across the firm's growing number of high street offices throughout south west Wales, Red Kite Law LLP provides a 'very professional, efficient and courteous' service to private clients across a wide range of wills, trusts and probate matters. Many of the firm's clients are from an agricultural background and Bowen is particularly well-placed to advise these in light of his own farming heritage.

Practice head(s):

Mathew Bowen

Testimonials

The team is very courteous and efficient.’

Work highlights

  • Acted for the executors of an estate with an Irish will.
  • Acted for the executors of an estate valued at £700,000 involving a claim for agricultural relief for IHT purposes.
  • Acted for the executors of an estate worth £2.2m, advice which involved business property relief issues.

Wendy Hopkins Family Law Practice

Led by associate Catrin GriffithsWendy Hopkins Family Law Practice's practice provides 'professional and approachable' advice across a wide range of wills and probate matters, both directly for clients, as well as through referrals from charities, IFAs and solicitors. Herself a fluent Welsh speaker, Griffiths has a strong reputation among south Wales-based clients and is noted for her expertise at elder law and Court of Protection matters.

Practice head(s):

Catrin Griffiths

Testimonials

‘The team is approachable and professional.’