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Estate planning solicitors

Tax and estate planning to protect your wealth for future generations

Effective succession planning is a delicate balancing act involving both personal legacy and tax efficiency. Technical legal advice is therefore essential to achieving the very best outcome, but so too is wise counsel. And that’s what Clarke Willmott has been building a reputation for, for over a century.

Our private wealth clients include individuals and families, landowners, businesses owners, entrepreneurs and others with interests in the UK and internationally. They trust our understanding of the law – and our expertise in putting it to work on their behalf.

Our Private Client team is not only one of the UK’s largest and most experienced, but also one of the most personable. We give time and attention to every client, getting to know your individual situation in all its complexity as well as your personal priorities.

How our private wealth and estate planning solicitors can help

Our private client team is partner-led and has years of experience in devising tax-efficient strategies that are carefully tailored to each client’s unique circumstances, family dynamics and personal objectives.

We can ensure that the transfer of wealth from generation to generation is effective, tax efficient and focussed on protecting long-term family prosperity. Our comprehensive range of advice and services include:

Succession and estate planning

There’s a lot more to effective succession planning than simply making or updating your Will. When thinking about the future, it’s also vital to consider the present.

Having the right structures in place can ensure your estate delivers maximum benefit to your children, grandchildren and any other beneficiaries – taking into account the needs of first and second families, where appropriate and protecting those who are vulnerable.

International estate planning

We can help you plan for the inheritance of global wealth, ensuring that the process is effective, tax efficient and focused on maximising benefit for future generations. This includes determining the optimum method for holding and transferring foreign assets and business succession planning involving overseas interests.

UK tax planning

We advise on all aspects of UK taxation including capital gains, income and inheritance tax planning, as well as tax matters relating to commercial and property transactions – including disposal of land and property assets.

Here are just a few examples of what we can do:

  • Support family businesses with effective tax structuring
  • Maximise your agricultural property relief (APR), business property relief (BPR) or entrepreneurs’ relief
  • Planning for the impact of taxation on your estate and stopping the cascade of taxation for future generations
  • Unlock the tax advantages of any charitable and philanthropic giving
  • Preventing multiple taxation when you inherit funds from a loved one
  • Advise you on any specific HMRC enquiries and on overall tax compliance
  • Prepare income tax returns for individuals, trusts and estates

We also offer post-death tax planning, should your beneficiaries ever need us.

International tax planning

Those with assets and investments in different countries, as well as ex-pats, non-doms, and foreign nationals living in the UK are all affected by international tax law. This brings different regimes, regulations, and cultural issues into play.

Taking advantage of all potential opportunities for tax efficiency while remaining legally compliant is both complicated and time-consuming, which is where our in-depth technical knowledge comes into its own.

Our team includes chartered tax advisers and members of the STEP with specialist cross-border qualifications who can advise you on bespoke tax strategies and manage them on your behalf, including:

  • The tax and inheritance regimes you will be subject to and how to resolve any conflicts
  • Tax structuring, including the use of trusts and their treatment in other countries
  • The implications of the EU Succession Regulation (Brussels IV)
  • Tax compliance, double taxation and reliefs
  • Preparing all necessary UK income tax returns.

Ultimately, we can ensure you don’t pay more tax than you need to while also remaining compliant with all relevant UK regulations.

Complex, cross border and specialist Wills

We specialise in drafting Wills for clients with considerable wealth and those with complex family situations. We can also advise on lasting powers of attorney and Living Wills.

Our private client solicitors have considerable expertise in advising on high-value international Wills and estates and preparing Wills to protect overseas assets, including forced heirship considerations, spousal rights, testamentary freedom, conflicts of law and the creation of local Wills to cover assets held in a specific jurisdiction.

We can also advise on lasting powers of attorney and Living Wills across borders. As well as wills trusts (acting as professional trustees when required), foreign probate matters, and on re-sealing grants for assets held in commonwealth countries.

Creating and managing trusts

We are highly experienced in creating and managing onshore trusts, and advising on offshore trusts and their use in estate planning and commercial contexts. This includes advice on the creation and administration of trusts for recipients of personal injury compensation.

In addition, we can advise on alternatives to trust structures both in the UK and abroad, such as family investment companies and family limited partnerships, where they might prove beneficial.

International asset protection

We can advise you on how best to protect your global assets, including the impact of UK reporting of assets located in a different country.

We can also advise you on retaining control of assets in cross-border divorce settlements or family disputes, as well as managing the financial affairs of elderly and vulnerable family members in other countries.

Family business succession planning

We have considerable experience in advising families on business succession planning and are adept in making the process as collaborative and stress-free as possible.

We recognise the specific challenges and priorities family businesses may encounter, depending on age and stage. For example, first generation businesses may need more hands-on guidance, while fourth generation businesses may benefit from a wider perspective.

All situations are unique and we are able to calibrate accordingly, making use of our expertise in the following areas:

  • Tax efficient structures
  • Retirement and family succession
  • Exit and sale planning
  • Family business agreements

Our aim is always to work with you and your other professional advisers to provide the most appropriate solutions – for you, your family and your business.

Farms, landed estates and rural businesses

Thought and foresight are vital qualities when passing on your assets to the next generation. This is one of the areas in which Clarke Willmott excels.

Our private client solicitors have a well-established reputation for supporting farmers, landowners and their families with insightful estate and succession planning.

We can advise on all aspects of wealth management, from overall tax efficiency (including the use of trusts) to specific legal aspects, such as maximising Stamp Duty relief and compliance with Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings (ATED).

We’ll always work closely with you and your financial advisers, accountants, agents or business consultants to protect the needs of all family members.

Why choose Clarke Willmott for tax and estate planning?

  • Breadth of experience and depth of knowledge
    • We have been advising individuals and their families for over one hundred years and our national Private Client team is now one of the UK’s largest
  • More than solicitors
    • Our partner-led team includes certified accountants and chartered tax advisers and members of STEP (the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners)
  • A wealth of expertise to draw upon
    • We can easily tap into the skills of our land and property, commercial law and family law, and Court of Protection experts to ensure your succession plans are fully integrated
  • International expertise without the city price tag
    • We can offer sound advice on internationally held assets and on cross-border legal matters
    • Thanks to our regional office structure, we can provide the highest calibre legal expertise at a very reasonable price
  • A genuinely bespoke service

Our service is responsive and highly personalised. We’ll work closely with you and your other professional advisors to deliver the kind of advice and perspective that can makes a real difference.

Contact a specialist succession and estate planning solicitor

For expert advice on any aspect of tax, estate and succession planning, please contact our specialist team of private client solicitors on 0800 652 8025 or contact us online. We work with clients around the world from our offices in Bristol, Cardiff, Manchester, Southampton, Taunton, London and Birmingham.

Your key contacts

Carol Cummins


Carol enjoys long term relationships with her clients and likes to get to know the families well so that she can help them at each key step in life with a focus on protecting the family wealth from erosion by tax and outside claims so it remains in the family for future generations.
View profile for Carol Cummins >

Paul Davies


Paul is a Partner and head of the private capital team in Clarke Willmott’s Manchester office. Paul specialises in estate planning, Wills, & trusts for clients with complex family and finance arrangements.
View profile for Paul Davies >

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