Firms To Watch: Personal tax, trusts and probate

At Thursfields Solicitors, head of department Ian Bond specialises in trust formation and administration, as well as wealth succession and estate planning. The group has been busy advising on numerous high-value and complex estates.
Sarah Louise Walker at Weightmans LLP is experienced in all areas of lifetime and post-death tax planning and is a full member of the Society and Trust Estate Practitioners.

Personal tax, trusts and probate in West Midlands

Lodders Solicitors LLP

The team at Lodders Solicitors LLP has an excellent reputation for its work on a wide spectrum of private client matters, including estate and tax planning for wealthy individuals. Practice head Louise Igoe deals with all aspects of estate and succession planning and is supported by Martin Green, an experienced trustee and deputy. John Rouse specialises in advising business owners, farmers and wealthy individuals on estate planning and other issues surrounding complex estate administration and personal tax planning while Sofia Tayton is noted for her experience in handling cases involving NHS care funding and for dealing with mental capacity issues. Ian Flavell has niche expertise in heritage property issues.

Practice head(s):

Louise Igoe


‘Knowledgeable and personable team of lawyers offering high quality advice – John Rouse is always a pleasure to work with and clients value his advice and expertise’.

Work highlights

    Mills & Reeve LLP

    Mills & Reeve LLP has particular strength in advising business owners and wealthy individuals and families, as well as landed estate clients on the full range of estate planning and tax structuring matters, both nationally and internationally. It is also known for its expertise in advising on the creation of family investment companies. John Grundy  leads the firm’s owner managed and family businesses team whereas Matthew Hansell  acts for some very wealthy individuals on an array of complex matters. Lucy Howard is adept at handling difficult wills and probate disputes as well as trust litigation and other matters spanning court of protection and the removal of trustees and executors.

    Other key lawyers:

    Sarah Wood


    ‘I would regard Mills & Reeve as the leading team in the Midlands – a superb group of highly trained and skilled legal advisers that provide advice of the highest standards to my clients. The training courses are particularly noteworthy and provide great insight to accountants and IFAs – and their ability to think outside the box and provide solutions for HNW and UHNW clients is second to none’.

    ‘John Grundy and Matthew Hansell are two of the very best legal advisers in the country. Sarah Wood also deserves particular praise for all the work she does for STEP and her general amazing positive attitude working with professionals and clients’.

    Work highlights

      Shakespeare Martineau LLP

      Shakespeare Martineau LLP has a well-established reputation for its work on a vast array of wealth, tax and succession planning matters for families, landed estates, entrepreneurs and business owners.  It is also adept at providing elderly client advice and helping those who have personal injury trusts. Lesley Davis  is a key figure whose areas of focus include advising on charitable trusts, CIOS, family investment companies and powers of attorney. Hannah Tait  acts for clients ranging from lottery winners to those with farming and business interests while Verity Kirby  is particularly recommended for her work with business owners, wealthy individuals and their families on their estate and succession planning.

      Practice head(s):

      Hannah Tait; Verity Kirby


      ‘The firm is able to appear friendly and approachable whilst reassuringly professional. The depth of knowledge was excellent’.

      ‘Anne Tromans and Victoria Taylor have been so supportive and reassuring throughout one of the most stressful situations in my life. Their depth of knowledge is incredible’.

      Strong in its support of charitable trusts. Clarity of explanation in tackling property matters, clear presentation of breakdown of costs in routine charity management‘.

      ‘Partner led by among others the charming and outstandingly efficient Lesley Davis, (who every private client firm in the City wishes was working with them) the full service offering of business succession, charities, trusts, wills and succession puts this firm in the top bracket‘.

      ‘Lesley Davis has an unassuming, calm manner which puts all clients at their ease. No matter what the issue she gets to the nub of what is required with speed and makes each client feel they are important to her which they are. An extremely safe pair of hands’.

      ‘Hannah Tait very helpful and patient whilst still retaining her professionalism. Trustworthy and extremely knowledgeable in this challenging subject’.

      Work highlights

        Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP

        Under the leadership of Donna Holmes , the team at Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP works with a variety of vulnerable adults on protecting their wealth structures. Other strengths include advising on compensation protection trusts, statutory wills and inheritance tax applications to the court of protection. The team has also been active in providing estate and capital tax planning advice for medium to high-net-worth families. Holmes regularly acts as a professional trustee and court deputy.

        Practice head(s):

        Donna Holmes


        ‘I think the team offers a wide range of support and expertise. Caring and friendly approach. Willingness to make helpful suggestions. Makes you feel nothing is too much trouble. Good level of expertise. Very trustworthy’.

        This team in unique in that the tax planning aspect sits alongside the firm’s social purpose. Donna Holmes has second to none expertise when it comes to tax planning for high net worth individuals who have lost or who are losing capacity’.

        ‘The team is headed by an exceptional practitioner Donna Holmes. She runs a tight ship and all team members follow her lead for professionalism, competence, knowledge, caring manner and approachable manner. Emails and calls are responded to immediately offering instruction and advice. Potential clients with complex needs, are made to feel welcome and shown due respect. I have never had a complaint from a client in relation to this practice, its partners or associates. Clients are full of praise‘.

        ‘Donna Holmes is by far the best deputy I have ever worked with. She is diligent, tenacious and determined in her role of looking for the best possible for my clients and they think very much of her opinion and advice‘.

        ‘The team has a high level of integrity and expertise. Donna Holmes stands out due to her integrity, expertise and client rapport’.

        Key clients


        The BW Will trust

        MC Deceased


        Estate of ML



        Estate of DCP

        Mr and Mrs P

        LT Trust Admin

        Work highlights

        • Acted as applicant for a statutory will for HS, for a will to be made against a highly contentious background of possible (and alleged) financial abuse by a neighbour who was the current primary beneficiary of her will and against all indications of her present (and past) wishes.
        • Advised husband of DCP regarding his estate planning in the context of his inheritance from his late wife’s estate to maximise inheritance tax efficiency taking account of the ability to rewrite a will to specifically gift an asset which had materially increased in value from the date of the deceased’s death.
        • Advised MA as the life tenant of an old style life interest trust when contacted by third parties to advise a remainderman had sold off their remainder interest to ensure she was aware of the legal position and reassured about her own rights, position and options.

        Harrison Clark Rickerbys

        Harrison Clark Rickerbys receives plaudits for its ‘ability to find solutions’. Shirley Rabbetts has particular expertise in advising farmers on a broad range of inheritance issues and also acts as an executor, trustee and attorney for a number of wealthy clients. Laura Banks specialises in advising business owners and is increasingly advising on the use of family investment companies to protect assets. The ‘charismaticDawn Oliver is a known name for her work on the use of private family charitable trusts. The team was pleased to add the ‘professional and calmLisa Whitehouse to its ranks from Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP.

        Practice head(s):

        Shirley Rabbetts; Laura Banks


        ‘Terrific attention to detail. A deep understanding of our family issues. Laura Banks led the team brilliantly. She is particularly dedicated and showed terrific tenacity and above all integrity in all our dealings. She really wanted to fully understand the issues so she could make the correct decisions when producing complicated family documents’.

        ‘We have worked with Lisette McDonald and Shirley Rabbets at HCR. They have broad knowledge and experience in the fields we have needed assistance with and have progressed our case satisfactorily‘.

        ‘Lisa Whitehouse is an exceptional solicitor who combines excellent academic interest and understanding with real life, practical experience and insight which she can explain in plain English‘.

        ‘Dawn Oliver – I find her responses to be fast which I find invaluable‘.

        ‘The team at HCR is both incredibly knowledgeable but at the same time is approachable and understanding’.

        ‘Lisa Whitehouse goes above and beyond for her clients and Beth King-Smith continues to be a contentious probate lawyer who is a force to be reckoned with!’.

        ‘HCR is the ‘go to’ private client practise in Worcester. I wouldn’t suggest there is any local competition within the city walls. There is a great depth of talent spanning all aspects of private client work and great consideration to wider client needs. Ultimately this leads to an overall great outcome for clients. Dawn Oliver is an expert in field, and sets the tone for the wider division. That said, there are many members of the team who offer a great service‘.

        ‘Dawn Oliver puts clients at immediate rest. When dealing with potentially sensitive issues, she conducts herself with complete tact and grace. That said, there is lots of laughter in many a joint meeting which I think is key for many private clients. Having worked with Dawn for approaching 15 years, I haven’t encountered a matter where any errors have been made, which I think is quite a rarity. Dawn manages a vast set of clients who lean on her, yet when she is in the room with them, she makes them feel they are her only client‘.


        Work highlights

          Lanyon Bowdler

          Lanyon Bowdler advises clients across Shropshire, Herefordshire and North Wales; it fields a specialist trust team that is led by Edward Rees , a lawyer skilled at advising on trusts and high-net-worth estates, powers of attorney and on complex tax planning matters. David Pugh has a broad range of experience in the preparation of wills and frequently advises on business property relief and agricultural relief trusts. Kevin Thomas is a member of STEP and has a wealth of experience in the administration of estates that have large agricultural properties and comes recommended alongside recently promoted partner Neil Davies

          Other key lawyers:

          Neil Davies; Hannah Barnes


          ‘L&B puts clients first, the lawyers are straight to the point, make sure you understand and give options if needed. They keep you up to date. Well satisfied’.

          Huge breadth of knowledge and experience in complex matters. All individuals were professional, knowledgeable and reliable in their responses‘.

          ‘Incredibly polite and efficient team. I have been impressed by the level of commitment to me as a client, in so much as the turnaround times to my questions and the level of detail provided and how that is put across to me in briefings. I have worked closely with Hannah Barnes and more recently David Pugh’.

          ‘Lanyon Bowdler’s (LB) billing is fair and transparent, especially given the practice’s extremely high quality of work. LB’s instinct for business development is excellent.  LB gives you the feeling that you are in extremely safe and competent hands, whilst being approachable’.

          David Pugh has displayed extremely high levels of proficiency in his specialist area. However, David has also gone a step further and mastered the art of translating his encyclopaedic level of knowledge into the simplest of terms to ensure clients fully understand him. Whilst referring a range of clients to David, he has exhibited superb levels of adaptability, altering his approach based on the specific needs of each client‘.

          ‘I have worked with Edward Rees who is a thoroughly competent practitioner‘.

          Work highlights

          • Advised a client in relation to preparation and executed tax planning will.
          • Advised executors of several estates on their full administration.

          Meridian Private Client LLP

          Meridian Private Client LLP is ‘a very strong tax and private client practice' with a 'national and international client base’. It is particularly recommended for complex estate and tax planning work, as well as estate, trust administration advice and shareholder tax planning matters. It has four chartered tax advisers and nine of the team are full members of STEP. Jon Croxford jointly heads the team with Drummond Kerr. Natasha Smith is a highly experienced practitioner meanwhile Eamonn Daly is adept at acting for wealthy individuals and families on a variety of tax planning, wealth succession and asset protection matters.

          Practice head(s):

          Jon Croxford; Drummond Kerr


          ‘Jon Croxford is excellent. He is a real expert in his field but approachable and open. He makes complex tax planning very straightforward to understand‘.

          ‘It is a very competent team that works very well together with strong leadership, good client focus and very good considered advice. I work with numerous legal teams and I would be quick to recommend this fab team. Drummond leads from the front and will steer his team in the client’s best interest when needed I value his advice and support enormously‘.

          ‘Eamonn Daly is my ‘go to’ estate and tax planning partner. He is widely known and ranked highly by his peers at other firms, as well as by other professionals, which must be the highest endorsement. Eamonn brings a friendly but very professional approach to his technical expertise and seems to hit it off with clients immediately whilst inspiring huge confidence by his seemingly innate understanding of what is important to each client and being able to bring clarity to the most difficult areas‘.

          ‘Natasha Smith  explains complex tax matters in an approachable and understandable manner, giving practical advice on complicated concepts and matters‘.

          The team is professional in its approach for my case that covers personal tax and probate. The solicitors communicate well by email. Edward Jones is meticulous in his work and communicates clearly by email’.

          I have worked with Jennifer Morries for a number of years. She has already assisted our clients in a number of ways. She is always prepared to attend our joint meeting and is very generous with her time and expertise‘.

          Eamonn Daly, his team, colleagues and fellow partners provide a fantastic advice and professionalism normally only found at larger firms where the personal service is often lacking. The personal service is very much here at Meridian Private Client. Eamonn Daly is very good professionally whilst ensuring a personal service feel‘.

          Jennifer Morries is an excellent lawyer – knowledgeable, experienced and has the ability to explain complex scenarios to any audience. Combined with a friendly approach, I would not hesitate to refer a client to her‘.


          Work highlights

            Sydney Mitchell LLP

            At Sydney Mitchell LLP, wealth preservation and elderly client matters are a significant part of the department’s caseload, as are complex administration matters and applications to the court of protection. Under the leadership of Tracy Creed, the department frequently assists on NHS Continuing Health Care issues, routinely advising on and appearing at assessments and appeals. Shelley Collingbourne  advises clients on a wide range of private client matters.

            Practice head(s):

            Tracy Creed

            Other key lawyers:

            Shelley Collingbourne


            ‘Extremely courteous, responsive and professional. Patient and explains everything in terms that are understandable to the non legal person. Excellent value for money. Tracy Creed has been an outstanding solicitor. Her knowledge is unsurpassed and coupled with her friendly and humane approach I would not hesitate to recommend her. She has gone the extra mile‘.

            ‘Shelley Collingbourne recognised that l was able to complete a lot of the work involved and just needed assistance to calculate the inheritance tax payable. Instead of charging me to do work l could undertake she provided me with clear instructions of what was required so that her chargeable time was kept to a minimum. Shelley was always very clear and straightforward and l always felt that she was acting in a fair and honest way in my best interests‘.

            ‘I would strongly recommend Sydney Mitchell LLP to a potential client because of its reputation for providing professional services of the highest level. Shelley Collingbourne was always willing to discuss on the phone, reassuring me when I needed help (quite a lot!), explaining clearly when legal jargon got the better of me (again quite a lot)‘.

            Tracy Creed at Sydney Mitchell has been nothing but caring, kind, helpful and professional. The team is well organised’.

            ‘Tracy Creed has been helpful, caring, polite, professional and most importantly straightforward with us. It has been a delight to meet her and I would recommend her and the service she provides to any of my friends and family to use’.

            ‘Tracy Creed has specialist knowledge and a very sound knowledge of general probate, trust and tax matters. Her client care, knowledge and approachability are all hugely impressive and she has always gone above and beyond the call of duty for her clients’.

            ‘Shelley Collingbourne is helpful and knowledgeable and provides a very good overall service to clients and keeps me as financial adviser informed along the process. I would be very happy to recommend her. She is able to relate well to individuals’.

            ‘This is a very client friendly team, personable, warm and caring, as well as being very technically competent. Tracy Creed is an incredible partner leading the private client team. Her attention to detail is second to none and she is incredibly knowledgeable. Tracy recently attended a mediation with me as private client support, and I only wish I could have her with me all the time! She had information at her fingertips and has such intimate knowledge of the tax regime. This lady is smart!‘.


            Work highlights

            • Advising on 3 estates and 6 interlinked trusts previously dealt with by another solicitors practice. Approximately £3m of assets in total.
            • Advising on a matter where the deceased died of natural causes and appointed his son as executor. The estate remained unadministered. The widow BTIM sought advice to have the son removed from his role so she could finalise the administration.
            • Advising on a very complex matter involving two estates, one inter-vivos trust and one trust created under a deed of variation. All the tax positions were interlinked and two of the four children of the two deceased parents had also died.

            Wright Hassall LLP

            Tracy Ashby heads the practice at Wright Hassall LLP which advises high-net-worth individuals and their families on an array of complex tax matters. In, addition it often works closely with its contentious probate team and its tax litigation department. The practice advises many business owners and private company shareholders and frequently helps vulnerable and elderly clients too, also demonstrating particular strength in the rural sector as well. Susan Floyd is especially recommended for her trusts work.

            Practice head(s):

            Tracy Ashby

            Other key lawyers:

            Susan Floyd; Rachael Kell


            ‘Very professional company with high levels of expertise in complex estate planning. Very good client communication and service levels. Communication with clients and being available to discuss and explain with clarity are key qualities of Rachael Kell and Susan Floyd’.

            ‘We work regularly with the private client team and have done for many years. The lawyers are efficient and highly responsive and provide an excellent level of customer service’.

            Work highlights

              Aaron & Partners LLP

              The ‘extremely personableLynda Richards  heads the practice at Shrewsbury-based Aaron & Partners LLP; it advises individuals and trustees on all aspects of tax, trust, estate and succession planning. Richards, a full member of STEP, also has particular expertise in advising business owners, landowners and high-net-worth individuals and also advises on the creation and administration of charities. Chester-based Clive Pointon  is another leading member of the department.


              ‘Highly professional and supportive team, whilst maintaining the personal touch. Lynda has provided a valuable service for my clients. Thorough expertise and great empathy. Confident in referring my valuable clients, knowing they will be will be receiving high quality advice‘.

              ‘Time is taken to create relationships from all partners Lynda Richards is excellent. Exceptionally professional. Clear documented definition of work to be undertaken and costs enabling discussion and agreement of changes prior to the commencement of work‘.

              ‘Lynda Richards was above and beyond our high expectations in her professionalism, understanding of our requirements, her approachability and her willingness to explain and ensure our wills and associated documentation achieved the outcomes we required‘.

              ‘Aaron and Partners dealt with very sensitive and complex matters, at a time of heightened complexity (during Covid-19 pandemic), with unrivalled care and understanding. All touch points with the organisation demonstrated the utmost support, flexibility and attention to detail. The situation needed a highly professional but gentle touch and this is what shone through’.

              ‘Lynda Richards was able to quickly grasp the issues and was able to give best advice throughout the quite lengthy undertakings. The issues at hand were of a very sensitive family nature and Lynda’s diplomacy, tact and understanding made the world of difference. Nothing was too much trouble to Lynda and this resulted in matters progressing as productively as possible for all parties. Lynda Richards came highly recommended to me’.

              ‘Lynda Richards greeted us with a warm smile and in an extremely affable manner. She made us feel very welcome and soon had us feeling comfortable and relaxed. This was not always our experience in other similar establishments. My wife and I were extremely impressed with Lynda’s ability to answer our questions off the cuff whether they were of a financial or legal nature. She provided detailed explanations of the various options available to us and gave us confidence that the decisions we took were soundly based. Her explanations in layman’s terms of the various trusts available to us and their implications were particularly impressive’.

              ‘I have been impressed with the ethos of the firm, the team work and the prompt attention to requests. I believe they aspire to creating enduring relationships with clients with a focus on tailored advice appropriate in each circumstance. This certainly makes the client feel valued and provides a sense that value for money is a key consideration too. Importantly I feel that the relationship formed with a particular partner is backed up by the firm. Support from reception staff and associates has been excellent’.

              ‘Lynda Richards gets to the heart of the matter and concentrates on the crucial elements in a very targeted way. This builds trust and confidence in the advice received‘.




              Work highlights

                Band Hatton Button LLP

                Band Hatton Button LLP has a strong reputation for its work on all aspects of wealth protection and inheritance planning for individuals and their families. It also advises on issues under the court of protection, in addition to the creation and administration of trusts and post death tax planning. Practice head Michelle Gavin advises high-net-worth individuals on various issues and is a fully qualified member of STEP and a fully-accredited member of Solicitors for the Elderly.

                Practice head(s):

                Michelle Gavin

                Other key lawyers:

                Charlotte Macalister



                ‘Friendly and effective. Michelle Gavin’.

                ‘The team has an abundance of experience and knowledge in this area and is a well respected team in the local community. The partners and staff provide excellent customer service and are very collaborative in terms of tax planning‘.

                The team is very friendly and open and is easily contactable. Charlotte McAllister is particularly approachable and efficient in addressing and dealing with trust matters’.

                ‘The team at Band Hatton Button is headed up by a very competent Michelle Gavin. Always friendly and helpful’.

                ‘Michelle Gavin is a ‘hands on’ solicitor with a wealth of experience in wills, trusts and PLAs and I would have every confidence in recommending her. She has acted on behalf of a number of my clients’.

                ‘Highly skilled staff who are personable and easy to deal with. Michelle Gavin in particular is outstanding. She strikes the perfect balance of being technically excellent, highly organised but also approachable and empathetic’.

                ‘The probate team at Band Hatton Button is knowledgeable and clearly explains the advice it gives with pros and cons of decisions to be made. Michelle Gavin always acts promptly when new cases or situations are presented to her. She responds quickly in a professional and friendly manner‘.

                ‘We mainly deal just with one partner, Michelle Gavin who heads up the wills and probates team. The lawyers are very proactive, efficient, responsive and knowledgeable. They have published articles on many subjects which they are able to provide as a resource bank to answer questions that come up, but will provide specific advice as well’.


                Work highlights

                  FBC Manby Bowdler LLP

                  FBC Manby Bowdler LLP acts for numerous business owners and farmers, frequently advising on complex IHT planning and on business succession issues. Wolverhampton-based Kim Carr is a member of STEP and often acts as a joint court of protection deputy on many matters alongside Julie Burn. Shrewsbury-based Graham Fuller also plays a pivotal role in the department and covers a broad range of matters.

                  Practice head(s):

                  Kim Carr; Graham Fuller


                  ‘Sara Simson and her team were extremely knowledgeable, friendly and efficient. Everything was explained thoroughly and nothing was too much trouble’.

                  ‘The ability to provide specialist advice at partner level. The partner that dealt with our powers of attorney, provided very clear advice as to what we were entering into. Our powers of attorney were drawn up by Sara Simson and we could not have asked for a more pleasant person who explained everything in a very clear manner’.

                  ‘Sara Simson is the only on I have had dealings with. She is friendly, knowledgeable and co-operative, and has always performed her duties extremely satisfactorily’

                  ‘I have worked with Graham Fuller on several matters concerning trusts and estates. He is technically very strong and also has a clear view of the client’s objectives and how best to achieve them strategically. He is always very pleasant to deal with’.

                  ‘Conscientious and driven , especially Christina Polychronakis with whom we have worked on numerous projects. A response out of hours and on Saturday is not unknown’.

                  A very knowledgeable team that provides expert advice and at a fair cost. Communication is excellent and work gets completed in a timely manner. Nothing is too much trouble’.

                  ‘The practice is of sufficient size to be represented by partners and staff with a variety of excellent and complimentary skills. They are efficient, professional and polite, always replying in a timely manner‘.

                  Work highlights

                    Higgs LLP

                    With Lucy Obrey at the helm, Higgs LLP‘s ‘experienced and technically proficient’ team receives plaudits for its ‘strong client engagement and empathy and for its clear and concise advice’. Other senior members of the well-established team include Nick Moxon who is a Court of Protection appointed panel deputy and panel guardian for Birmingham and the Black Country. In addition, Peter Gosling  acts for many high-net-worth individuals, often with owner-managed businesses and agricultural interests.

                    Practice head(s):

                    Lucy Obrey


                    ‘Strong technically with a ‘good bedside manner’. The lawyers possess the ability to call in other members of a wider team in order to get the job done. Lucy Obrey and Sarah Potter are technically strong and care about the client’s needs whilst having the ability to offer practical solutions‘.

                    ‘Lucy Obrey brings a vast amount of knowledge and experience. Above all her way of dealing with individual clients is exceptionally good. She can take very complicated matters and communicate so that no matter the knowledge and experience the clients can understand the what and why’.

                    ‘The team is all warm and friendly and works together well, whilst also being extremely knowledgeable about private client law, including personal tax, trusts and probate. Excellent collaboration between different areas of expertise within the firm. Peter Gosling and David Morgan‘.

                    ‘A down to earth approach with highly skilled individuals that understand the importance of connecting with clients and providing advice in a clear and easy to understand manner. Peter Gosling, Lucy Obrey and Nick Moxon are regular contacts and they each provide great advice to my clients. Feedback from clients has only ever been really positive. A great team led by Lucy’.

                    ‘Michelle Weaver- very hardworking and personable’.

                    ‘Sarah Nineham has been excellent, she quickly grasped what it was that we required and set about making it happen in a timely and friendly manner’.

                    Higgs brings together a very broad range of skill sets which gives potential clients a one stop offering. It helps to know that different departments can ensure no duplication and no conflicting advice‘.

                    Personal service tailored to suit individual needs. Peter Gosling in particular has become the ‘go to’ person as he has an in-depth understanding of family history and requirements‘.

                    Work highlights

                      Mander Hadley Solicitors

                      Mander Hadley Solicitors attracts a regular flow of instructions on inheritance tax planning matters, as well as on probate and trust issues. New head of department Rachel Gadsden is adept at advising on diverse issues such as lasting powers of attorney and also frequently advises on care fee planning issues. Other strengths lie in advising on  appeals of continuing health care decisions. David Webb is also among the leading members of the team.

                      Practice head(s):

                      Rachel Gadsden

                      Other key lawyers:

                      David Webb; Caroline Dobson


                      ‘The team provides a professional and satisfactory service in relation to probate matters. The individuals I have dealt with have been helpful and approachable giving clear explanations and advice when I have raised any issues’.

                      ‘The lawyers have been very professional and caring whilst helping me with POA and the wills and probate. My family has dealt with them for over 40 years. It is the only practice that we use‘.

                      ‘Mander Hadley completed the application for me to become my father’s legal deputy because of his dementia. They completed all the forms relating to the Court of Protection keeping me informed at each stage of the applications‘.

                      ‘The lawyers understand their customers and have empathy with them as when we ask for their expertise when dealing with probate for example they understand what a difficult time this is for their clients. In comparison to other firms I have dealt with I have found them more responsive and they are a very friendly team that put you at ease, also very professional too, the perfect balance‘.

                      ‘Caroline Dobson has been dealing with my late mother’s estate and she couldn’t have been more responsive, helpful and professional’.

                      ‘Caroline Dpbson was so kind and understanding and outlined the procedure of obtaining probate, leaving me feeling at ease on how probate would proceed, which is so very important when you are faced with so much sadness on the death of a loved one. If I had any queries, Caroline would reply by return. Throughout the whole matter I felt so reassured by how Caroline explained the procedure of obtaining probate to me’.

                      ‘The team was amazing. Good communication skills. I was very impressed with the analytical skills and research skills. The lawyers were fantastic with great qualities, thinking outside the box. The solicitor displayed a great deal of creativity in problem solving’.


                      Work highlights

                      • Acting as deputy for a client in long term care where the client was prevented by the care home from receiving certain visitors; challenging the care home as being in breach of the DOLs Order and having the ban reversed.
                      • The deceased’s will benefited his daughter who was also appointed as executor and the will is being challenged by the deceased’s cohabitee. Advising the daughter and negotiating a settlement to include an award of discretionary pension benefits.
                      • Acting in the preparation of a will involving sensible provision for the testator’s widow by his second marriage while preserving all the wealth created by his manufacturing company over many years for the benefit of his children by his first marriage. A strong desire to exclude the testator’s step children.

                      MFG Solicitors LLP

                      The team at MFG Solicitors LLP continues to be busy advising on an array of personal tax, trusts and probate matters. Under the leadership of Giles Scott, it frequently advises on estate administration, trust management issues, court of protection matters as well as general elderly care issues and care funding. Scott is an accredited member of the Society of Trusts and Estate Professionals. Gary Priest  is a known name for his inheritance tax and capital gains tax planning advice and comes recommended alongside Valerie Robinson.

                      Practice head(s):

                      Giles Scott


                      ‘Very approachable and precise with solutions and recommendations. Extremely accommodating and understanding of the client’s needs’.

                      The partners, particularly Mr Gary Priest, have been uniformly first class. Their advice is excellent and their approach is both professional and friendly, delivered in terms that a layman can understand and with no legalese jargon’.

                      ‘It’s like a well oiled wheel and they get things done quickly. Can’t fault them. Gary Priest – provides high level of attention to detail. He has always given an excellent service for myself and my clients. Over the years that we have been using MFG Gary has never done anything incorrect or ever got anything wrong, it’s always spot on‘.

                      ‘Gary also goes over and above what you would expect his role to do. He helps with technical queries and answers so well in a way that it’s easy to understand even complex trusts. He’s always happy to help and explain things as well as offer assistance to my clients directly if they need it. Thank you, Gary‘.

                      ‘The lawyers have always been professional, approachable and diligent in their work and communication with us. Janna Vigar – she was well informed and a pleasure to work with’.

                      The people I have worked with show first-class knowledge of the problem in hand. Excellent service and very personable. I have worked with Thomas Evans who has been excellent‘.

                      Work highlights

                        Pickerings Solicitors

                        Emma Harrison heads the department at Pickerings Solicitors, praised as ‘extremely professional, it leaves no stone unturned’. Lucy Cooling is a member of STEP and the SFE and regularly advises individuals on inheritance tax and capital gains tax matters, estate planning and the preservation of wealth through will and trust arrangements. Marie Tisdale holds a STEP diploma and has particular expertise in dealing with agricultural estates.

                        Practice head(s):

                        Emma Harrison

                        Other key lawyers:

                        Lucy Cooling; Marie Tisdale


                        ‘Emma Harrison has brought both skill and compassion to help us with some complex and significant legal issues we have been facing’.

                        ‘I strongly believe that the firm’s greatest strength is its client-focus. From the first call to the ongoing relationship with our solicitor, we are always treated with warmth, sincerity and prompt replies to all queries. In addition the staff uses its expertise to make relevant and supportive suggestions about the best course of action’.

                        ‘I would like to mention and praise Emma Harrison for her work, her support and her enthusiasm for her role. Nothing has ever been a problem for her and she has been there for us in times of calm as well as emotional upset. Her professional, positive attitude has been consistent over the years that we have known her and the support and advice we have received has always been timely, relevant and appropriate. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her and her team to others’.

                        ‘I believe Emma Harrison has always strived to be the best advisor to her clients I have found her to be most helpful very approachable and keen to deliver great service’.

                        ‘The team is strong & capable & also deals with matters promptly & thoroughly. One of the top teams in the Midlands. Lucy Cooling has acted for me on a number of matters over the past few years & has always dealt with matters competently, promptly & to my satisfaction. As I am a former head of Private Client teams in large firms, I know an excellent practitioner when I deal with one & Lucy certainly is one!’.

                        ‘I cannot speak highly enough of Lucy Cooling. She assisted me on in the utmost professional way, making astute and correct suggestions in respect of my own personal circumstances. Not only did she deliver what I required, she went above and beyond in terms of the professional client relationship by ensuring that a preconceived idea I had regards what I needed was investigated thoroughly and a far better solution found. She is a credit to her profession and the firm’.

                        ‘This practice succeeds in providing a highly personal service tailored to individual client needs, which is what most larger firms promise, but fail, to provide. At the same time the lawyers also succeed in offering the expertise that one might expect from a firm ten times its size. It has attracted some excellent individuals from larger firms‘.

                        ‘One key partner who provides exceptional service is Emma Harrison. Whilst many solicitors “sell” the idea of a personal and personable service – Emma succeeds where many of her peers fail. Emma’s clients see her as a trusted friend as well as an exceptionally knowledgeable legal representative’.

                        Work highlights

                          The Wilkes Partnership

                          The private client department at The Wilkes Partnership is jointly led by Andrew Hasnip and Ellie Holland. Hasnip has a busy workload of trust, complex inheritance tax planning and estate work while Holland has a particular focus on estate planning for high-net-worth individuals and often works alongside its corporate team to assist owner managed businesses with inter-generational planning. Ann-Marie Aston  has a wealth of experience in acting for incapacitated clients as a professional deputy and has served on the deputyship panel of the Office of the Public Guardian.

                          Practice head(s):

                          Andrew Hasnip; Ellie Holland


                          ‘I was lucky to be introduced to Philip Harrison, whom I cannot praise enough for his outstanding work. On a personal level he is a pleasure to work with: any e-mail is answered the same day and any information is summarised in writing; on a professional level he is very impressive: precise in his analyses with a broad knowledge of the law. I can say from experience, Philip Harrison is an outstanding professional in his field’.

                          ‘Sophie Fenn explained, jargon free, what needed to happen and why, associated costs, timelines etc., Always responding very quickly to emails/telephone calls etc..  Everything was dealt with so professionally and sensitively. If you will excuse the oxymoron, the whole bad experience was made good by working with her and her team, it was worth every penny’.

                          ‘It has an honest and genuine personal approach. The lawyers listen. They do not just see a financial transaction – they  believe in the person first and what is best for them’.

                          ‘I like Ann-Marie Aston – her approach to clients really is empowering and understanding. And I note clients return the compliment, only ever wishing sometimes to deal with her.  She works in collaboration and partnership with the client, never putting profit over that of what they need. The advice is professional, and knowledge base is outstanding’.

                          ‘I have worked on two Court of Protection matters for the firm. I have limited knowledge of the firm, but my experience on these occasions was very positive. The cases were well prepared and my instructions covered the important aspects of the case, which was helpful for my own preparation‘.

                          ‘Ann-Marie Aston was very pragmatic and realistic in handling the case and seeking to achieve the best result for her client in difficult circumstances. It was evident that client’s expectations had been well managed and my difficult advice was not a surprise. The case preparation had been very good, which made by task easier’.

                          Work highlights


                            VWV advises on the full gamut of private client matters, working with wealthy clients from a range of backgrounds such as business owners, farming families, politicians, private banks and charities. In Birmingham, Rachael Armstrong  ‘goes the extra mile for clients’ and is adept at advising high-net-worth clients on inheritance tax, succession planning and estate administration.


                            ‘Rachael Armstrong – an exceptional lawyer. A high level of knowledge and experience, coupled with a great ‘bedside manner and her work with clients is brilliant’.

                            ‘The VWV team prides itself on outstanding client care and service. The lawyers are consistently sensitive to the needs of clients and explain complex matters in a clear, concise and practical way. They are particularly prompt in dealing with referrals and have always had great feedback from clients‘.

                            ‘VWV is certainly one of the best private client teams in the Midlands offering very strong technical knowledge with an excellent client experience. The team is led by the superb Rachael Armstrong, a powerhouse in the private client world. She develops an incredibly strong relationship with her clients and is able therefore to give the best possible advice‘.

                            The team provides a comprehensive range of services across non contentious and contentious advice. The Birmingham team, led by Rachael Armstrong, is very personable and friendly, providing real world advice‘.

                            ‘Rachael Armstrong in Birmingham stands out for her personable approach which belies her subject knowledge; she takes an holistic view and a very down to earth approach. Asking what if questions quickly gets to the nub of an issue’.

                            ‘Approachable, thoroughly professional, up to the minute team. Care and support for individuals in the firm was evident. Rachael Armstrong was careful and considerate in her approach to our will making. She was able to empathize with a difficult and developing situation with genuine responses and also show humour when appropriate’.

                            ‘I have only dealt with Rachael Armstrong at VWV who at all times has been very clear with explaining all matters, prompt in her replies to questions and totally professional. I have found VWV to be very proactive and clear in all matters’.

                            ‘Rachael Armstrong stands out as exceptional. What makes this team unique is its personal approach to clients. Everyone says that they are customer focused but the VWV team in the Midlands really cares and they build real connections with people. They help them beyond their legal services. It is lovely to see that they can combine a good commercial service with lovely relatable personal care’.

                            Work highlights

                              Alsters Kelley Solicitors Ltd

                              Neil Raiseborough heads the department at Alsters Kelley Solicitors Ltd which deals mainly with complex wills, estates, trust and tax planning matters, acting mostly for high-net-worth individuals. Raiseborough also frequently advises clients on protective trusts and regularly works for clients with children who have learning or physical disabilities.

                              Practice head(s):

                              Neil Raiseborough


                              ‘ Neil Raiseborough has shown an in-depth knowledge of the subjects and has a skill in empathising with clients, often in unhappy circumstances. The work has been carried out in a timely and efficient manner’.

                              ‘The advice we have received has been sympathetic and friendly and, we believe, competent. We have dealt mainly with Mr Neil Raiseborough. He has been supportive, understanding and relaxed and dealt sympathetically with the various complexities involved. He has been friendly and helpful without being pushy’.

                              ‘A very efficient practice. Neil Raiseborough was very knowledgeable, always responsive and we felt we were in a very safe pair of hands. Any points we didn’t understand he was always on hand to explain in simple terms. He kept an eye on all aspects of our affairs to make sure they kept progressing’.

                              The team acts as a team and appears well coordinated, and covers professionally for one another. Neil Raiseborough listens, explores angles, reflects and then gives his opinions and advice succinctly. He is accessible, personable and responds quickly. I judge his advice to be well considered and balanced, calling out the benefits, risks and probable consequences. Someone I trust and respect’.

                              ‘Alsters Kelley gives you confidence and trust that you are being advised as an individual with a personal service. They are willing to co-operate with other professionals such as accountants and financial advisers’.

                              ‘Neil Raiseborough always happy to assist with our clients requiring help and advice in respect of wills, probate, estate work and our clients always confirm their satisfaction. He is professional but very personal and completes work efficiently. My personal professional dealings have always been excellent’.

                              Work highlights

                                Brethertons LLP

                                Brethertons LLP acts on high-value wills and estate matters as well as trusts creation and administration, court of protection issues, powers of attorney and deputyship administration. Linda Jones leads the department with support from Emma Stewart and Sarah Horton, a member of STEP. Clients are predominantly wealthy individuals with personal and business assets, agriculturalists and clients with life-changing serious injuries.

                                Practice head(s):

                                Linda Jones


                                ‘Annabel Burchett has been outstanding – efficient, thoughtful, experienced, overall – a joy to work with’.

                                ‘The practice whilst large still gives the impression and indeed has the empathy of a family solicitors’ practice. I would bring to your attention Lindsay Gutteridge who is blessed with a business attitude, a sympathetic ear and a sense of humour often needed in these circumstances. In cricket terms, a good all rounder’.

                                Work highlights

                                  George Green LLP

                                  George Green LLP advises on the full gamut of private client matters for its predominantly local business owner and manager client base. Head of department, Claire Pottinger, is a full member of STEP and a fully accredited member of the Solicitors for the Elderly and a dementia friend. Newly-promoted partner Louise Axford has a particular interest in the administration of trusts and estates.

                                  Practice head(s):

                                  Claire Pottinger

                                  Other key lawyers:

                                  Louise Axford


                                  ‘Here you have a firm in the middle of the Black Country which provides a level of knowledge which you would normally expect to be only available in one of our big cities’.

                                  ‘ I normally work with Claire Pottinger who has an exceptional degree of knowledge and relates to clients easily’.

                                  Work highlights

                                    GHP Legal

                                    GHP Legal has a broad practice that frequently advises on matters such as LPAs, tax planning, complex estate administration, as well as court of protection and long-term care matters. Under the leadership of Victoria Wilson, who is based in Oswestry, the team is well-placed to advise high-net-worth individuals. Wilson is also skilled at advising on capital gains tax issues and the preparation of trust deeds.

                                    Practice head(s):

                                    Victoria Wilson


                                    ‘All professional at all times. Treats you with respect and dignity at a very difficult time’.

                                    Work highlights

                                      Talbot & Co

                                      Talbot & Co receives a regular stream of work from high-net-worth clients who are often based in London and the Home Counties and are seeking advice on wills, trusts and tax planning. Tom Bramall oversees the team, working on a variety of complex contentious and non-contentious taxation and trusts matters, in addition to wills and probate.

                                      Practice head(s):

                                      Tom Bramall

                                      Work highlights

                                      • Advised an entrepreneur in connection with tax planning on a substantial sale of business including on the creation of trust vehicles.
                                      • Advised  a farmer in litigation against him in connection with his extensive agricultural land and business interests.
                                      • Advised an individual in connection with a complex proprietary estoppel claim against her father’s estate.