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Jonathan Godwin-Austen

Work 020 7412 0050
Hunters incorporating May, May & Merrimans

Work Department

Private client, tax, trusts and estate planning.


Head of the Private Client Department jointly with Alexandra Sarkis. He is a Partner with over 20 years’ experience in tax and estate planning for UK/non-UK individuals and trusts. He advises a broad range of private clients (including high-net-worth individuals, trustees, charities, family estates, private banks and “family offices”), specialising in trust, estate and tax law, on the preservation, management, enhancement and devolution of their capital wealth.  


Trained Withers; Qualified 1991; Partner, Hunters, 1997 to date.
Articles in ‘Trusts and Estates Law Journal’, ‘Investors Chronicle’, ‘Private Client Business’ and ‘Charity World’; video for Television Education Network; public seminar lectures on wide variety of tax, trust and estate planning issues.


Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP); Agricultural Law Association; Law Society Private Client Section; City of Westminster and Holborn Law Society; Solicitors for the Elderly.


Charterhouse School; St Andrews University (1985 MA Hons); Guildford College of Law.


Shooting, skiing, tennis, Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

London: Private client

Agriculture and estates

Within: Agriculture and estates

At Hunters incorporating May, May & Merrimans Peter Robinson  and James Vernor-Miles  are key contacts. The team advises on a wide range of contentious and non-contentious agricultural and landed estates matters and acts for approximately 90 estates stretching from Cornwall to Scotland. These estates range in size from houses with amenity land to large landed estates of several thousands of hectares often with diverse interests such as tenanted farms, residential units, commercial operations as well as renewable energy and historic rights. Highlights included advising a landowning family in Suffolk on a conditional agreement for the sale of a site for development. On this matter there was a separate overage agreement and the sale was also complicated by the fact that it was a joint sale by the firm’s client and another adjoining landowner. The team co-ordinated the drafting and negotiation of the documents between the firm’s client and the co-seller and the buyer. The ‘extremely able and thoroughJonathan Godwin-Austen  advises a broad range of landowners and specialises in trust, estate and tax law in addition to the preservation, management, enhancement and devolution of capital wealth.

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Personal tax, trusts and probate

Within: Leading individuals

Jonathan Godwin-Austen - Hunters incorporating May, May & Merrimans

Within: Personal tax, trusts and probate

Hunters incorporating May, May & Merrimans ‘brings to its work a very personally tailored approach. It has a reputation for complete technical competence and fair dealing’. The practice is led by the ‘very experienced’ Alexandra Sarkis, who ‘handles what can be delicate family issues arising out of a trust and its complexity with great skill and tact’. Sarkis along with Julia Richards  ‘both take the time to really get under the skin of their very different clients and their needs and then tailor their approach accordingly. They provide clear advice and are excellent communicators whilst also being tough negotiators’. Jonathan Godwin-Austen  is ‘extremely able and thorough’. The ‘diligent and helpfulRobert Wright  is ‘never too busy to pick up the phone or answer an email’. The ‘charming, knowledgeable and efficientMatthew Yates is ‘highly recommended for anyone wanting top quality assistance in this field’. Newly promoted partner is the ‘simply exceptional’  Molly Wills  who provides an ‘exemplary service’. The ‘first-class’ team acts for an impressive array of high-profile clients, from celebrities to titled individuals with a mix of domestic and international work.

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