Personal tax, trusts and probate in West Midlands
Higgs & Sons specialises in advising individuals and families on preserving their personal and corporate wealth. The department acts for a significant number of family businesses, entrepreneurs and individuals with business interests. It works closely with its corporate department to provide fully- rounded tax and estate planning advice to owner managed businesses, directors and shareholders. Lucy Obrey leads the first-rate team, which includes Nick Moxon. Another key figure is Peter Gosling, who has specialist expertise in the wealth planning issues of high-net-worth individuals and their families. Gosling is also knowledgeable about rural issues.
‘Lucy Obrey is knowledgeable and experienced‘.
‘Peter Gosling has a calm and reassuring presence with clients, he is technically excellent and talks through issues well with clients in a way that is easily understandable by them‘.
‘David Morgan is very skilled on probate matters, technically he is excellent and he really knows his stuff‘.
- Lucy Obrey was appointed as an independent administrator in a disputed estate whereby the children and previous executors were unable to progress matters.
- Advising on the ongoing administration of the estate of a sole solicitor practitioner.
- Advised the client and her family in relation to two property transactions and other substantial estate planning matters.
- Advising the personal representatives in the complex estate of a local businessman
Lodders Solicitors LLP
Martin Green heads up the department at Lodders Solicitors LLP . The team distinguishes itself in estate and tax planning for high net worth individuals, where it demonstrates strong capabilities in the tax-efficient structuring of businesses and landholdings through the use of partnerships, LLPs and companies. It is also adept at advising clients on family office structures and on eligibility for agricultural and business property relief. Elsewhere, the team is also knowledgeable about care and capacity issues, trusts and probate, and wills and succession planning. Contentious work is another pillar of the practice. Stephen Brignull is another key member of the group.
Other key lawyers:
John Rouse; Stephen Brignull
‘John Rouse is fantastic, he is very good on agricultural property work‘.
- Acted for a client in the review of his affairs and the preparation of his will which included various issues relating to a settlement prepared by another firm which had various IHT impliactions.
- Dealt with a particularly complicated matter involving the double administration of an estate.
- Acted in the winding up of a will trust.
- Partners at the firm have been appointed as executors of the estate which includes income from a US QDOT trust.
- Acted for the land owner in the potential development of 90 acres of land with a view to maximising IHT BRP on the potential land value.
Mills & Reeve LLP provides the full range of estate planning and wealth structuring advice to business owners (particularly family businesses), wealthy individuals, families and landed estates. It is increasingly active in the creation of family investment companies, and also advises on international estate planning and wealth structuring for families with properties and businesses abroad. Matthew Hansell and John Grundy are highly regarded.
Matthew Hansell; John Grundy
Other key lawyers:
‘M&R is really well known for its work on family investment companies in particular’.
‘Matthew Hansell- he is God, so very knowledgeable‘.
‘Matthew Hansell is technically excellent‘.
‘Matthew Hansell is vastly experienced and well respected’.
‘John Grundy is technically very good with excellent client handling skills‘.
‘Sarah Wood is very helpful‘.
Acts for two of the Top 5 in the Midlands Rich List and many other notable local families.
- Conducting a comprehensive review and re-structuring of family trusts and companies, to include inter-generational planning for the family businesses.
- Co-ordination of worldwide wealth structuring to include business and personal assets and centralisation of new corporate and excluding property trust structures.
- Helping to design and put in place a compulsory saving scheme for young professional players.
- Doing all the private client work – inheritance tax mitigation, trust and company structuring, pension death benefit planning.
- Advising business owner and his family on estate planning to include the creation of a family investment company from an existing corporate structure.
Shakespeare Martineau LLP focuses on wealth and succession planning, and also trust and estate administration. Its team regularly acts as professional trustees, executors and administrators. It also advises elderly clients on capacity issues, Court of Protection matters and personal injury trusts. Clare Laird heads up the group, which counts ultra high net worth individuals (including National Lottery winners) and landed aristocrats as clients.
Other key lawyers:
Lesley Davis; Anne Tromans; Hannah Tait
‘Strength in depth and an approachable, people friendly team providing excellent and understandable advice‘.
‘It is not just the partners there is a strong back up team of associates, directors and solicitors‘.
‘The firm is renonwned for its friendly ‘hands on’ bedside manner with clients and its approachability’.
‘The private client team at Shakespeare Martineau is incredibly client centric and has a proactive and collaborative approach with client work‘.
‘Lesley Davis is exceptional. She gives you confidence in what she does‘.
‘Lesley Davis is very professional‘.
‘Anne Tromans- I appreciated her advice and opinions that were always given in a constructive and friendly manner‘.
‘Hannah Tait is kind and caring and seemed genuinely interested in making sure I was happy with the outcome and that all the legal paperwork was completed in the agreed timescale‘.
‘Hannah Tait is professional and customer focussed’.
Trustees of St Martin’s Trust
Diocese of Birmingham
- The team runs the day to day administration of the St Martin’s Trust and Lesley Davis acts as clerk to the trustees.
- Acts for a large landed estate, comprising over 200 acres of farmland.
- Acted on a large intestate estate, requiring a court approved variation to mitigate tax liability and advice regarding foreign assets and ongoing trust management and administration.
- Acted for a wealthy individual with significant US assets to give effect to his wishes in respect of lifetime gifts and future planning in the most tax efficient way.
- Represented a client following a substantial win on the National Lottery.
Wright Hassall LLP
Wright Hassall LLP acts for wealthy individuals and families on complex tax and succession planning matters. Working with the agricultural team, its private wealth group also advises a significant number of number of landowners, farmers, landed estates and agribusinesses on bespoke tax and estate planning, among other matters. The group is also adept at advising on family investment companies and personal investment companies. In addition, it has a dedicated estate administration team, which has specialist expertise in high-value estates. Martin Oliver and Susan Floyd are recommended.
Martin Oliver; Susan Floyd
Other key lawyers:
Eamonn Daly; Jennifer Russell
‘The team is very approachable and the advice to clients has always been communicated in a clear and understandable manner‘.
‘Everyone worked well in their speciality and was well prepared for meetings. Advice relating to matters discussed was given to me or, if necessary, sent to me quickly and any follow up questions were dealt with efficiently‘.
‘Eamonn Daly -I particularly value his friendly, approachable manner and his responsiveness‘.
‘Eamonn Daly gives you confidence that the tax arrangements he proposes are absolutely correct‘.
‘Eamonn Day is very knowledgeable and easy to work with‘.
‘Jennifer Russell has a very personal touch and explains what can be a quite confusing area of law succinctly and clearly – and never minds being asked to explain things more than once‘.
‘I have total confidence in Jennifer Russell’s advice‘.
‘Jennifer Russell is very approachable and well-informed‘.
‘Jennifer Russell’s greatest strength was that she was willing to listen. She asked probing questions and, over the course of a few weeks, we were able to think properly about what we wanted to achieve. This was then reflected in the resulting documentation‘.
Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP is best known for its work with vulnerable adults, where the scope of its team's expertise includes compensation trusts, statutory wills and Court of Protection work. It is also knowledgeable about capital tax planning, and on protection structures for families and disabled individuals. In addition, the practice frequently advises corporate, housing and third-sector clients on legacy income generation and trust entitlements. Donna Holmes heads up the team. James Hall and Sheree Green have left the firm.
Other key lawyers:
Lisa Whitehouse; Alex Elphinston
‘Anthony Collins is highly ethical, trustworthy, reliable and they always provide a high level of service. Alex Elphinston and Donna Holmes in particular‘.
‘All team members are knowledgeable and professional in their delivery of the service‘.
‘Donna Holmes is professional, competent and caring. She can only be described as an exceptional practitioner. Clients are put at ease by her calm and patient nature‘.
‘Genuine and kind team that really cares about its clients. Donna Holmes is my ‘go to’ person for anything COP. Supported by Alex Elphinston who is experienced and professional’.
- Advised on an application to court for approval of a complex property co-ownership via trust to recognise how JS’s needs were being met and how best interests could be served.
- Advising on the resolution of an old trust where there was a dispute with beneficiaries over the trust value.
- Advised on an inter-family asset restructuring to maximise family wealth and meet the needs of a family member in care.
- Advised on maximising the use of Inheritance Tax Nil Rate Bands through appropriate will structuring.
- Advising a farming family on utilising trust structures to tax effectively organise assets to enable farming to continue and all children to receive an appropriate inheritance.
DWF undertakes the full gamut of private capital work. Its team acts for business owners and entrepreneurs, as well as high net worth families with substantial UK assets. Tax planning and asset protection remain a major focus of the practice; much of the work involves multimillion pound estates. In addition, the team has extensive experience of handling complex probates which have significant tax issues. Team head Roger Williams is well regarded for his expertise in trust structuring and powers of attorneys, among other areas.
- Acting as the trustee for a number of discretionary trusts for a wealthy married couple.
- Acting in the estate of a wealthy former professional.
- Acting in the estate of a non-resident with substantial offshore assets.
- Assisting in providing advice on the administration of the estate of a deceased widow.
- Acting in the estate of a deceased partner in a firm.
FBC Manby Bowdler LLP
FBC Manby Bowdler LLP, whose practice is led by Julie Burn, undertakes community care, Court of Protection and contentious probate work. It is also strong in assisting business owners and farmers with complex inheritance tax planning and business succession issues. The team is increasingly sought out to advise on the benefits of family trusts for protecting family businesses, and also the protection of family wealth in the aftermath of divorce.
‘Julie Burn is responsive, approachable, extremely knowledgeable, reassuring and fair’.
Gateley Plc's team excels in advising on the use of lifetime trusts in pre-sale business sale strategies, as well as the establishment of family investment companies. It is also adept at providing multi-generational advice to wealthy clients by way of wills and lifetime trusts. The group, which is led by Catriona Attride, is also experienced in administering complex UK-based and multijurisdictional estates, and acting as professional deputy in complex and high-value cases.
- Advising client on issues arising out of the current structure of a family investment company and proposals for restructuring.
- Advising on a high value complex claim by the widow of her late husband’s estate and on settlements created during lifetime.
- Advising the trustees of a large healthcare trust to include updating the scheme rules and trust deed and delivering regular training on compliance issues and their responsibilities and obligations.
- Advising clients on their wealth structuring following the sale of a business and implementing a lifetime family trust and family investment company.
- Advising the trustees of a land pooling trust on the establishment of a trust entity to manage the receipts and payment obligations of various land developers’ Section 106 payments to include relevant legal and tax advice.
Lanyon Bowdler's team has significant experience of advising on trusts, estate/tax planning and administration, as well as powers of attorney and contentious trust matters. The Court of Protection team, which acts for clients across the UK, is a core part of the private client department and advises on a wide range of complex property and affairs cases. It advises various clients, ranging from high net worth individuals and new parents to elderly and vulnerable people. Giles Scott is a key contact.
Other key lawyers:
Edward Rees; Neil Davies
‘Efficiency was evident in keeping us informed of progress and explaining the reason for any delays‘.
‘Lanyon Bowdler creates, for even the smallest client, a feeling of security and total help which sets them apart from any competitor‘.
‘The team is genuinely caring, approachable and efficient‘.
‘Edward Rees – we were impressed by his depth of knowledge and the clarity of his explanations. We were able to ask all the questions we wished without time pressure and our questions were answered with reasoned explanations‘.
‘Neil Davies is exceptional in that his knowledge of minutiae, as it fits our case, and his ability to communicate with us in detail is outstanding and rapid in every respect‘.
‘Neil Davies is very helpful‘.
Julia Maureen Thomas
- Acted for a client on the administration of an estate valued at £640,000.
- Acted for a client on the administration of an estate worth £680,000and also in relation to the preparation & execution of a new will for the client.
- Acted for a child with cerebral palsy on the management of multimillion pound award.
- Acted for a client with learning difficulties in connection with suspected financial abuse and contested deputyship proceedings.
- Acted for 13 year old girl with severe brain injury in connection with the management of multimillion pound award, including property adaptation.
Sydney Mitchell LLP's team has a wealth of experience of a wide range of private client matters, such as advice on succession planning for individuals and families (including small to medium-sized business owners). It has also recently had a significant increase in mandates from elderly clients, for whom the scope of the work includes advice on continuing health care (assessments and appeals), care placement and care funding. Tracy Creed leads the team.
‘What a great team! ‘.
‘Tracy Creed is very thorough‘.
- Advised on the administration of an estate with a mixture of beneficiaries, some of whom were chargeable and some were not chargeable to IHT.
- Prepared a submission for an appeal against an ‘ineligible’ decision for Continuing Healthcare.
- Advised on a complex estate and a deed of variation.
- Advised on a complex estate where poor advice had been given from previous firm of solicitors and accountants.
- Advising on an application for business property relief in an estate (Holiday let).
Ansons is particularly known for its expertise in handling agricultural estates and complex probate matters for farmers. Its team has extensive experience of the full range of private client matters, including estate administration, inheritance tax mitigation and will drafting. It also advises on lasting powers of attorney and applications to the Court of Protection. Associate director Adam Penn is a key contact.
Band Hatton Button LLP
Band Hatton Button LLP advises on all aspects of wealth protection and inheritance planning for individuals and their families. Michelle Gavin leads the team, which advises on wills, estate planning, asset protection, powers of attorney and Court of Protection matters. It also advises on the creation and administration of trusts, and also post-death tax planning.
‘Michelle Gavin has an exceptional attitude and eye for detail. She creates a very welcoming atmosphere within the company, personally takes ownership and thinks through each situation prior to the event making sure everything runs smoothly‘.
‘Michelle Gavin is very thorough’.
‘The team has strong local connections‘.
- Advised a couple on capital gains tax planning matters in relation to their second home.
- Made a successful application to HM Revenue and Customs resulting in significant inheritance tax saving for the estate.
- Advised the trustees of a Nil Rate Band Discretionary Will Trust on the most tax efficient way to withdraw a bond from this trust and avoid an inheritance tax charge on the first 10 year anniversary.
- Advising a widow on estate planning of lifetime gifts to children of various residential properties and business interests.
- Estate planning to protect husband’s half share of the family home to preserve as much as possible for their only son but also make sure that his (dependant) wife who has dementia was financially ok.
Harrison Clark Rickerbys
Dawn Oliver leads the team at Harrison Clark Rickerbys, which advises on all aspects of wills and estate planning, primarily for wealthy clients. Oliver is increasingly advising on the use of private family charitable trusts to mitigate inheritance tax. Shirley Rabbetts has niche expertise in advising farmers on a broad range of inheritance issues. Beth King-Smith joined from Higgs & Sons.
Mander Hadley Solicitors
Mander Hadley Solicitors demonstrates strong capabilities acting for elderly clients, particularly in relation to estate planning and inheritance tax. It also handles age-related mental capacity issues, and advises on lasting powers of attorney. In addition, its team has experience of acting as deputies appointed by the Court of Protection where a person lacks mental capacity to manage their own affairs. David Webb leads the group.
Other key lawyers:
‘Professional in all aspects with a friendly touch which inspires trust and confidence. Clear information regarding process and cost both were provided verbally and supported by documentation‘.
‘The team always provides a very person centred approach to all its work‘.
‘David Webb is the ultimate professional, working quickly and thoroughly on everything I have presented, yet he has shown great care and compassion, together with much sympathy‘.
‘David Webb is passionate about his work, his clients and the professionals he works alongside. His customers are people who are important to him‘.
‘David Webb and Andriy Buniak are approachable and down to earth. Their expertise and knowledge of the subject matter is always excellent‘.
- Represented a client in a local authority application to the Court of Protection in a dispute relating to the client’s mental capacity.
- Advised the client on matters pertaining to the revocation of her Lasting Powers of Attorney and the future management of her financial affairs.
- Represented client in an appeal against decision not to provide CHC funding for care.
- Drafted a will with a discretionary trust.
- Drafted a will with a property trust.
Valerie Robinson leads the practice at MFG Solicitors LLP, which provides a full-service to individuals and trusts. The group has extensive expertise in wills, powers of attorney and trust and estate administration. It also advises clients on providing for disabled beneficiaries, as well on high net worth cases involving agricultural and business property. Elderly client issues - including community care matters - are another area of strength.
Pinsent Masons LLP’s focus is on trusts in a commercial context. The team acts for insurance companies, banks, pension providers and government agencies on all types of trusts that are used in commercial transactions, such as funeral trusts and insolvency customer monies trusts. It also has considerable strength in tax-specific trusts, particularly those that are linked to employment and reward structures. Chris Thomas is a key contact.
- Advice to a mining company on a trust structure in relation to a compensation fund.
- Advising a major insurer on the development of an online trusts product for use with insurance policies and bonds to be held in trust.
- Advice to a major bank on the rectification of a complex trust error.
- Advice on mitigation of risks associated with the holding of acontaminated site in Germany, as executor .
Aaron & Partners LLP advises high net worth individuals on complex tax and succession issues, both locally and throughout the UK. Newly promoted partner Lynda Richards is known for her work on taxable estate issues and capital tax planning. She also advises on the creation and administration of charitable trusts, and heads up the Shrewsbury offering.
Clive Pointon (Chester)
Other key lawyers:
‘Lynda Richards is extremely personable and shows high levels of empathy when dealing with what can be a sensitive and difficult subject for clients. She has exceptional technical knowledge.’
Alsters Kelley LLP
Alsters Kelley LLP's private client practice is strongly represented throughout its four offices. Led by Neil Raiseborough, the team provides tax planning and will drafting advice, and also assists clients with the creation of trusts. Raiseborough regularly advises on protective trusts and is particularly experienced in acting for clients who have children with learning or physical disabilities. He also acts as a deputy and attorney for numerous longstanding clients of the firm.
Baches Solicitors LLP
Baches Solicitors LLP's varied portfolio of private client mandates ranges from wills, trusts and probate matters to inheritance tax planning and court of protection work. Led by Gursharan Bunger, the team also assists elderly clients with powers of attorney and advises on nursing home fees.
- Advising on a complex probate application .
- Managing a trust for over 30 years.
- Advising on a matter where there were complexities in trying to deal with the sale of the property in deceased husband’s name and wife has lost capacity.
- Advised on a will that was made in India fraudulently by the sister of the deceased although deceased had a wife at the time – it is being contested and was contested in India and once resolved the team can deal with the estate.
- Dealing witth a case where an affidavit was required to prove copy Will.
Brethertons LLP has a strong track record of administering high-value estates with cross-border elements, as well as advising on disputed estates and estates involving negotiations with the HMRC for business or agricultural property relief. Clients include elderly and vulnerable individuals, and also high net worth clients. Newly promoted partner Daniel Boyle and Linda Jones are recommended.
Daniel Boyle; Linda Jones
Clarke Willmott LLP provides the full range of private wealth services, including advice on wills, tax planning, administration of estates, powers of attorney, Court of Protection and elderly client work. Erica Burt-Moore is experienced in lifetime tax planning for business owners and those in the process of selling a business. She also advises on trust structures to maximise inheritance tax relief, as well as on the administration of estates involving the winding up of businesses and large property portfolios.
‘The expertise that we receive from Erica Burt-Moore is second to none and allows us to make decisions. She has a calm and measured approach that assists when she has to get buy in from the trustees of our company‘.
- Acting as professional trustee in a £5m trust.
- Providing high-net -worth tax planning advice.
- Advising on a complex high value estate
- Advising on various complex probates.
At Emms Gilmore Liberson, Terry Cooper has extensive expertise in inheritance tax and capital gains tax law, as well as the creation and restructuring of trusts and the administration of estates. In addition, Cooper personally acts as an executor and trustee in a number of matters.
‘Terry Cooper is a highly experienced lawyer with deep technical skills and extensive commercial experience‘.
‘Terry Cooper is a very capable private client practitioner who delivers a great service in a friendly, but professional manner‘.
‘The team is small and led by Terry Cooper, who clients warm to. He is particularly good with those clients who are new to their wealth and need a layman’s terms type of approach – he is technically excellent‘.
George Green LLP, whose team primarily acts for local business owners/managers, generates a wide range of mandates. The work includes the administration of estates, wills, powers of attorney and Court of Protection matters. Led by practice head Claire Pottinger, the team also advises on the setting up and administration of trusts, including pilot trusts for insurance and death benefit planning.
GHP Legal acts for several generations of many families on the implementation of tax-efficient financial arrangements, with the advice to clients being aimed at both protecting them during their lifetimes and also enabling them to pass on their wealth to beneficiaries. The team also acts for executors ranging in size from smaller intestacies to those worth several millions. It also acts as professional executors for many clients. Victoria Wilson is the department head.
- Acting for the trustees who wish to retire and appoint new trustees in their place, one trustee lacks the mental capacity to retire and appoint.
- Acting in the administration of the estate of a lady who, during her lifetime had made several staged gifts into trust to mitigate her IHT liability.
Emma Harrison leads the team at Pickerings Solicitors, whose wide-ranging expertise includes the setting up and administering of trusts and probate issues. The practice also covers lasting powers of attorney and Court of Protection work, as well as advice to elderly clients on nursing home issues, care home fees, care packages and appeals.
‘Emma Harrison is doing good work and is doing it well‘.
- Providing intestacy advice to the niece of a deceased with a significant estate and no will in place.
- Advising on a trust which had been set up by another organisation and had significant flaws and complications.
- Advice on the matter of disregard of property for the purposes of means assessment upon entry into residential care.
- Advising on and managing the property and financial affairs for a donor.
- Working with other professional advisers to provide estate planning advice to a widow which included significant planning around capital gains tax and inheritance tax.
Talbot & Co
Talbot & Co has a longstanding track record advising generations of significant families on all types of private client issues. Its team advises on trust administration, personal tax (including tax planning) and general wealth management. Tom Bramall is the head of the practice, which generates mandates from clients based locally and nationally.
- Advised high -net-worth individuals with private art collection on tax planning, wills and philanthropy.
- Advised on a complex trust administration.
- Advised on complex will preparations for a high-net-worth individual.
- Advising the administrator in a High Court compromise.
- Acting for the trustees in negotiating options for the development of land.
The Wilkes Partnership covers all areas of private client work, including wills, estate administration (taxable and non-taxable), inheritance tax planning, trust creation and administration. It also regularly advises on powers of attorney, Court of Protection and community care issues. Birmingham-based Andrew Hasnip has a steady work flow of trust, complex inheritance tax planning and estate work. Ellie Holland in Solihull has extensive experience of inheritance tax issues faced by private individuals, and also assists with lifetime planning and post-death matters.
Ellie Holland; Andrew Hasnip
Thomas Guise Solicitors
Thomas Guise Solicitors, which is highly regarded in the care sector, has a wealth of experience of advising clients on issues such as inheritance tax, care home fees and on potential claims against the estate. It also handles deputyship applications. Amanda Oakes is a key figure.
Other key lawyers:
‘Amanda Oakes is very knowledgeable about all aspects of probate law. She clearly explained things‘.
‘We felt that our dealings were important to Amanda Oakes and found her very professional throughout and very approachable‘.
‘Nicola Thomas – honesty, integrity and professionalism are her main traits. She provides a service that is second to none‘.
VWV advises on all areas of the law relating to estates, tax planning and trusts. Its team is adept at handling a broad range of private client matters, such as those involving business assets, agricultural assets, family businesses and cross-border assets. It is also active in Court of Protection work. Rachael Armstrong is experienced in inheritance tax planning, the creation and administration of trusts, drafting powers of attorney and deputyship applications.
Other key lawyers:
‘VWV is proactive and is armed with very knowledgeable professionals who are at the top of their game and can assist whatever the situation, a field of experts you can rely on‘.
‘The private client team is very capable and has an understanding of how clients lives work‘.
‘Rachael Armstrong is very proficient at what she does, is brilliant at relaying complex issues and legal jargon into layman terms. Rachael can think on her feet fast, her responses have always been thorough‘.
‘Both Rachael Armstrong and Jennifer Morries explain complex areas easily. Working with both of them is a pleasure and they give clients confidence in the advice given‘.
‘We have been impressed in particular with Rachael Armstrong and Jennifer Morries’ communication skills and attention to detail. They deliver effective solutions’.
‘Rachael Armstrong is the model of efficiency‘.
- Provided client A with advice in respect of the sale proceeds of her company and the loss of Business Property Relief and the Creation of a Discretionary Trust prior to the sale of the company
- Advising on a high-value contentious estate administration.
- Advising on the creation of a family trust.
- Dealing with complex will instructions from a vulnerable client.
- Dealing with a complex estate and trust administration.