Private Wealth

Rothley Law was created in June 2023 with a clear vision to be the first and only national dedicated private client practice in the country. Our goal is to be there for you every step of the way, no matter where you are and where life takes you.

Our Private Wealth team works seamlessly with our highly regarded Court of Protection and Disputed Wills & Trusts teams to provide a fully client focused service, covering all aspects of succession planning and associated aspects of law.

Our approach

Whether you require advice on estate planning (including Family Investment and Personal Investment Companies), Wills, the creation and administration of Trusts, or Powers of Attorney, we’re here for you and your family.

Our Private Wealth advisors have proven expertise in providing bespoke succession planning advice for individuals, families, and businesses across generations. We appreciate that each situation is unique, so we tailor our solutions to match your precise needs. We take the time to understand your particular circumstances to best help you manage, grow, protect, and pass on your wealth.

When it comes to the protection of wealth, our Private Wealth team are acutely aware that your complex needs require not only a high standard of commercial acumen and sensitivity, but also the proficiency to deliver specialist legal advice in a client-centric, clear, and concise manner.

Client commitment

We work hard to build lasting client relationships and will work closely with your network of other trusted advisors to ensure a joined up, tailored service that meets your individual needs regarding the robust and reliable protection of assets.

It is increasingly common for our high-net-worth clients to have cross-jurisdictional needs which often encompass multiple homes or business interests throughout the UK and abroad. Our Private Wealth team have the experience and contacts to ensure that wherever you are and whatever your assets comprise, we can ensure that you receive the best possible advice from both a domestic and foreign jurisdiction perspective.

We offer a wide range of services, including – but not limited to – those listed below.

If you are unable to find what you’re looking for here, please get in touch and our team will advise on the best way forward and how we may be able to help.

Tax planning and advice is a key part of our Private Wealth practice, and we cover all aspects of UK taxation for individuals, Trusts, and related asset-holding structures.

Tax isn’t just an inevitable part of life; it is often also relevant at the time of death. Clarity is essential, particularly when dealing with complex tax rules. We aim to give you simple, practical solutions, and to communicate even the most complex advice clearly and in a way that is easy to understand and follow.

Throughout your life there will be numerous key events that require tax planning advice, such as investing in a business, selling an asset, or relocating to or from the UK. Minimising your personal tax liability requires regular review and clear personal tax planning strategies for yourself and your family.

Areas we can help with include:

  • Making, varying, and winding up family Trusts of all kinds: discretionary Trusts, life interest Trusts, protective Trusts, and Trusts for vulnerable persons
  • Advice on the use of Trusts and other structures
  • Advice in relation to residence and domicile tax issues
  • Advice in relation to tax for a married couple and their children – how to save tax and establish tax beneficial lifetimes structures and estate management
  • Advice in relation to using children/bringing children into a family business
  • Retirement and long-term tax strategies for individuals, families, and their companies
  • Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax planning
  • Advising on Family Investment Companies as an alternative to Trusts

Everyone’s circumstances are unique, so we tailor the advice, support, and service we provide to suit your specific needs. Off-the-shelf solutions and schemes are not for us, we create bespoke solutions to resolve your tax, inheritance, and succession issues.

For more information, please contact us on 0330 016 9200 or email us at 

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Good succession planning is crucial for both families and businesses to ensure smooth transitions and continuity across generations. For family-owned businesses, it’s about more than transferring ownership, it’s about passing down values, culture, and expertise. The process often starts with open communication among family members to not only identify future leaders, but also make sure their values and plans align with the vision of the business. It’s essentially creating a roadmap for passing down your legacy to the next generation and putting your business in the best possible place to thrive even when you hand over the reins.

Our Private Wealth team understands that succession planning goes beyond wealth transfer; it’s about preserving legacies and ensuring that the business continues to thrive for generations to come. Our experienced legal team specialises in crafting bespoke solutions that combine legal expertise with your unique familial and business aspirations.

Succession planning is not a one-off event, but an ongoing journey, and our Private Wealth team is committed to accompanying you every step of the way.

For more information, please contact us on 0330 016 9200 or email us at 

Legislative change in recent years has created a tougher environment for individuals who wish to use Trusts to make tax-efficient gifts to family. Individuals seeking to remove substantial wealth from their estates, while retaining an element of control over that wealth, may wish to explore using company structures to hold and grow their wealth in a tax-efficient manner.

What is a Family Investment Company (FIC)?

A FIC is a UK-resident private company (usually limited) that invests rather than trades. There is no restriction upon the asset classes in which the FIC invests, commonly equity portfolios are used, but FICs can hold other assets including property.


A FIC will usually be set up with a founder share, usually held by the investing individual (the Donor). Family members and other intended beneficiaries will be added as shareholders. Different classes of shares can be issued to enable flexibility around payment of dividends, and redeemable preference shares can be created to enable extraction of capital with minimal tax implications. It is possible to include a Trust as a shareholder to offer optimum flexibility.

The Donor will generally wish to retain control of the company, and thus control of the wealth invested, and any dividends paid. The company documentation can be drafted to ensure shares cannot be sold outside of the family. It is possible to create a large director’s loan account giving the Donor the ability to withdraw funds in later years possibly without tax implications.

Key benefits

One of the main advantages of a FIC are the Inheritance Tax (IHT) benefits. Any increase in the value of the investments held within a FIC are likely to arise outside of the estate of the Donor. Additional shares can be transferred at a later date to a family member or to a Trust, reducing the value of the Donor’s shareholding, and the IHT liability for their estate.

Shareholders only pay tax on profits to the extent that the FIC pays out the income. If the profits are retained and reinvested in the FIC for the longer-term benefit of the family, this arrangement can be extremely tax efficient.

Other points to consider

A FIC is extremely useful if an individual has a large sum of cash available to invest. If you wish to divest yourself of other assets, particularly those which may qualify for IHT reliefs (such as qualifying business or agricultural property), a Trust may still be a more suitable vehicle. There will be taxation implications of transferring assets other than cash into a company or into a Trust and careful consideration is essential before proceeding.

On the death of a shareholder, the value of their shares will be considered as part of their estate and will attract IHT. The value of the shares held may be low or negligible if they have restricted rights.

The Donor may wish to consider creating an unlimited private company, which may reduce the filing obligations. This will reduce the protection that a limited company provides, but this may have little impact if the plans are to use an investment portfolio and does allow accounts to be maintained privately.

There are many variations on estate planning strategies, and creation of a FIC is an area where careful consideration of specialist advice is necessary. Our Private Wealth team will work closely with you to understand your objectives and advise on the most suitable structure for you.

For more information, please contact us on 0330 016 9200 or email us at 

When you lose someone close to you – whether they’re a family member or beloved friend – the grief is often overwhelming. But in the midst of this there are legal formalities that need to be dealt with as soon as possible.

Leaving your affairs in order can help take away some of the stress for your loved ones at a difficult time, which is why we strongly advise that everyone over the age of 18 should make a Will and ensure that it is kept up-to-date so that it always reflects the changes in circumstances that life inevitably brings.

If you die without leaving a valid Will, then the rules of intestacy would apply. These rules set out who would administer your estate and who would benefit. For example:

  • Your surviving spouse or civil partner would potentially only receive a portion of the estate
  • A cohabiting partner would not receive anything, regardless of how long your relationship had lasted
  • Your children would inherit automatically at age 18 regardless of the sums involved and their current situation
  • An estranged sibling, cousin, or another family member who you would not wish to benefit could end up as the main beneficiary

The intestacy provisions are complex and can make the administration of an estate complicated, expensive, and drawn out if an investigation is required to establish who would legally benefit.

A Will is a legal document that comes into effect on your death. Making a Will means that you can decide who will look after your affairs after your death. It also means that you decide who will (and will not) benefit from your estate. Having a Will can help speed up the administration process and reduce administration costs. It also means that you can make provision for an unmarried partner (who would not inherit if you died intestate), help preserve assets which would otherwise be used for care home fees, ensure that your funeral wishes are carried out, reduce Inheritance Tax paid by your beneficiaries, and look after the needs of minor children.

If you have made a Will, you should review it regularly to make sure it reflects your current circumstances and wishes.

Major life events – such as those listed below – may mean that it’s time to update your existing Will.

Getting married – A marriage or civil partnership automatically cancels a pre-existing Will (unless that Will specifies that it has been made “in contemplation” of that marriage or civil partnership). If this has not been specified, your existing Will will be treated as having been cancelled, and the rules of intestacy – which may not reflect your wishes and intentions – will apply to your estate.

Cohabitation – Unmarried partners do not benefit at all under the rules of intestacy. If you are in a relationship with a person to whom you are not married or in a civil partnership with, and you want them to benefit from your estate after your death in any way, you will need to make a Will to provide for this.

Getting divorced – A divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership (once it has been formally confirmed by the court) can have a major impact on your Will. It will cancel any gift to your spouse or civil partner, and if they have been appointed as an Executor and Trustee this will also be cancelled. If you have separated from your spouse or civil partner but have not yet legally completed the divorce or dissolution, you may wish to amend your Will so that they do not benefit should you die whilst proceedings are in progress. Once a divorce or dissolution, and any financial arrangements, are finalised, we would recommend that you review your Will to make sure that it reflects your current situation and wishes for the future.

Becoming a parent – If you are a parent, or are due to become one, you should amend your Will to make sure your child or children will be looked after in the event of your death. Provision should be made to determine how they will be provided for financially whilst they are under the age of 18 and into their early adult years, and to appoint guardians to look after them until they reach the age of 18. You can decide when and how they become solely responsible for their inheritance and in what circumstances, ensuring that they do not receive too much too soon.

High value estate – A properly constructed Will can minimise Inheritance Tax liabilities in the event of your death and assist with and utilise planning opportunities for future generations. Guided by your wishes, we can advise you on suitable structures to minimise tax liabilities while still providing for your family in the manner intended.

Owning a business – You will need to make provision for what happens to your interest in a business on death. This may include the business being wound up or sold. We would recommend a review of your Partnership Agreement, Company Memorandum and Articles of Association, Shareholder Agreements, and any other relevant company documentation to ensure that these do not conflict with your Will.

For more information, please contact us on 0330 016 9200 or email us at 

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A Power of Attorney is a legal document by which one person (the Donor) gives another person or persons (the Attorneys) power to act on their behalf and in their name in respect of their affairs.

Lasting Powers of Attorney

From 1 October 2007, a Donor can make a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).

There are two types of LPA:

  • A Property and Financial Affairs LPA – by which you give your Attorneys the authority to deal with your property and finances
  • A Health and Welfare LPA – by which you give your Attorneys authority to make welfare and health care decisions on your behalf (this LPA can only be used if you lack mental capacity to make these decisions yourself)

All LPAs must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before they can be used.

It’s impossible to predict what lies ahead and when you might need LPAs, and the more complex your affairs are, the more important it is to consider them and have them in place ahead of time. If you are aged over 18, you should give serious consideration to making Powers of Attorney.

Sadly, mental incapacity can occur overnight, for example because of a stroke, resulting in the need for a Health and Welfare LPA. An LPA for financial affairs may be required because of physical incapacity, for instance because of an accident or illness, which prevents you from handling your own financial affairs.

Arranging LPAs now can save a lot of time, trouble, and expense in the future, as it means avoiding the necessity for an application to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order in the event of mental incapacity.

An LPA allows you to set out your personal wishes regarding what you want to happen should your abilities deteriorate, but allows you to continue making your own decisions whilst you still have capacity.

See our guide of things to consider when making a Lasting Power of Attorney – link here

Enduring Powers of Attorney

Until 1 October 2007 it was possible to create an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) which allowed Attorneys to be appointed to manage the financial affairs of the Donor. This has a big advantage, in that even if the Donor lost capacity, the EPA can continue to be used.

Unless it includes a clause to the contrary, an EPA can be used by Attorneys whilst the Donor has capacity to manage their own affairs. An EPA does not usually need to be registered to be used, but it needs to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian if the Attorneys believe the Donor is or is becoming mentally incapable of managing their affairs.

Although it is not possible to create new EPAs, existing ones can still be used providing they still reflect the wishes of the Donor. If the Donor wishes to update their Attorneys, and retains capacity, they will need to replace their old EPA with a new Lasting Power of Attorney for financial decisions.

If the EPA still reflects the Donor’s wishes, they may wish to consider making a Health and Care LPA to complement this.

Our Private Wealth team can review your EPA and check it is still fit for purpose, we can also assist your Attorneys with registering the EPA.

Ordinary or General Powers of Attorney

These can be put in place by a Donor who is going on holiday and wants a nominated individual to be able to sign paperwork in relation to a specific event, such as a property sale, whilst they are away.

These may also be used for a Donor who is unwell and needs assistance with their affairs straight away to cover the period whilst their LPA for financial decisions is being registered.

The value of these Powers of Attorney is limited, and they are usually in place only for a specific or limited period. One major consideration with these Powers of Attorney is that if the Donor loses mental capacity while it is active, it is automatically cancelled just when it could be most needed.

What next?

Getting your personal affairs in order may seem a daunting task, and none of us want to dwell on a time when we might not be able to make our own decisions, but if you act now, you can make things simpler and plan confidently for the future.

Ensuring that you have LPAs drawn up and that you have been advised by professionals who are focused on your best interests, will have practical financial benefits in the long run, and will give you peace of mind.

Our Private Wealth team can provide legal advice that ensures your LPAs reflect your wishes, together with additional services that aim to support your family, aid financial planning in your estate, enhance your life and secure your retirement.

Please contact us for further advice on Powers of Attorney or email us at 

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When someone dies, Personal Representatives (Executors or Administrators) are responsible for collecting in the estate’s assets, paying liabilities and expenses, reporting (where required) to HM Revenue and Customs, preparing estate accounts, and distributing the estate in accordance with the terms of the Will or the intestacy provisions where there is no Will. In many cases, a Grant of Probate (or Grant of Letters of Administration where there is no Will), will need to be obtained from the Probate Registry so that the assets can be dealt with. A Grant is always required where someone dies without a Will.

We have a highly experienced Private Wealth team at Rothley Law who can simplify and guide the Personal Representatives through the estate administration process, which can be long and daunting, and to make sure that they fulfil their duties and responsibilities.

Our Private Wealth team can be as involved as our clients would like us to be; whether that is dealing with the full administration of the estate, limited to preparing the Grant application, or providing ad hoc advice as and when required.

Our expert team specialises in complex estate matters. This includes (but is by no means limited to) estates liable to pay inheritance tax, estates with a trust element (either lifetime trusts or a trust established under the Will), foreign assets, farming assets, business assets, and strained family relationships.

We work closely with other professionals to ensure that the estate administration process is as smooth as possible, including accountants, financial advisors, stockbrokers and solicitors in other jurisdictions.

We have put together some frequently asked questions below, but if you have any further questions or would like to find out how we can help you with the administration of an estate, then please contact our Private Wealth team on 0330 016 9200.

Frequently asked questions

I am named as an Executor in a Will, what should I do?

We have prepared a checklist of steps that Personal Representatives need to take when administering an estate. This includes steps to be taken immediately, and others that are taken during the course of the administration. You may also find our summary of duties and responsibilities helpful, and this can be found here.

You will need to decide whether or not you wish to instruct a solicitor to assist you with the administration of the estate. If you would like to speak to our Private Wealth team to find out how they can help, then please contact us on 0330 016 9200.

I am named as an Executor, do I have to take on the role? 

No. Just because you have been appointed as an Executor, does not mean that you need to act, although you still need to take some action if you do decide to step down from the role.

In summary, when appointed as an Executor, the options for you are:-

  • Act as Executor
  • Reserve power as Executor which means that any other persons named as Executors will act without you but, if you need to in the future, you can still step in and obtain a Grant
  • Renounce as Executor which means that you will not act as Executor and you will not usually be entitled to step in at a later date. Note that you cannot have ‘intermeddled’ (taken any meaningful steps) in the estate administration if you wish to renounce
  • Appoint an Attorney to act as Executor on your behalf. They will deal with the estate as your Attorney, signing any papers and making decisions in relation to the estate on your behalf. If there are no other Executors, it may be possible for the Partners in Rothley Law to act as Attorney.

Executorship is a big responsibility (please click here for our summary of duties and responsibilities), however our Private Wealth team aim to take away as much stress as possible to ensure that an Executor fulfils their duties.

A friend or family member has died without a Will, what should I do?

When someone dies without a Will, they will have died ‘intestate’. This means that the person(s) entitled to the estate is set out in law under the intestacy provisions.

Regardless of the value of the estate, if there is no Will, a Grant of Letters of Administration needs to be obtained from the Probate Registry. There is an order of entitlement set out in law as to who can take out the Letters of Administration and become an Administrator (Personal Representative), responsible for dealing with the estate.

To discuss entitlement to take out the Letters of Administration, or if you know that you are entitled and would like our assistance with the estate, please get in touch with a member of our Private Wealth team on  0330 016 9200 and we will be happy to help.

You may find our checklist of steps that a Personal Representative needs to take when dealing with an estate helpful, as well as our summary of duties and responsibilities.

I am a beneficiary of a Will and I want to redirect my inheritance to someone else, can you help?

Absolutely. In addition to advising Personal Representatives, our Private Wealth team is also able to advise beneficiaries who wish to gift part or all of their inheritance to one or more individuals, or set up a Trust to receive it. Please do get in touch with us on  0330 016 9200 and we will be happy to discuss this further with you.

How much is it going to cost for Rothley Law to deal with the estate administration?

Please click here for our Probate Pricing information which will give you an indication of our costs. However, for a more accurate quote, please contact our Private Wealth team on  0330 016 9200 or email us at

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What is a Trust?

In simple terms, a Trust is a legal arrangement where you give cash, property, or investments (the Trust Fund) to someone else so that they can look after them (the Trustees) for the benefit of a third person (the Beneficiaries).

Why make a Trust?

The main reason for creating a Trust is to protect assets rather than giving them outright to a Beneficiary or Beneficiaries. Trusts are very versatile and can accommodate complicated situations, allowing for the flexible management and distribution of the Trust Fund for many years.

Any assets you transfer to a Trust will also fall out of your estate for tax purposes (if you survive the period of seven years from the date you create the Trust).

A Trust may be set up under a Will or during lifetime.

Please be aware that setting up a Trust may trigger tax liabilities and that there are tax thresholds that apply to Trusts, which need to be carefully considered. As such, it is strongly advised that you seek proper legal advice before creating a Trust.

Types of Trusts

There are various types of Trust – the most commonly used structures are outlined below.

Discretionary Trusts

A Discretionary Trust gives Trustees the power to decide how much Beneficiaries receive from a Trust and when they receive it. All capital and income are distributed completely at their discretion. This provides flexibility and the Trust Fund can be protected if circumstances change for any reason.

Interest in Possession Trusts

Commonly referred to as IIP Trusts. An IIP Trust is one where at least one Beneficiary (usually referred to as a Life Tenant) has the right to receive the income generated by the Trust Fund or the right to enjoy the Trust Fund in another way, for example, to live in a property owned by the Trustees rent free.

An IIP can give the interest in possession to a Beneficiary for a fixed period or more commonly for the rest of the Beneficiary’s life. In this case the IIP would come to an end on the Beneficiary’s death and the capital of the Trust will then pass to another Beneficiary or Beneficiaries.

Bare Trusts

A Bare Trust is the simplest Trust arrangement where the Trustees hold the Trust Fund for the Beneficiaries until they request that the assets are passed to them. Bare Trusts are often used to pass assets on to young people and the Trustees will look after them until the Beneficiaries reach the age of 18 years.

Trust Administration

The Trustees are responsible for owning and managing the assets held in the Trust (the Trust Fund) and they must adhere to the terms of the Trust Deed when administering the Trust.

The Trust Deed will set out, for example:

  • Who the Beneficiaries are
  • Why the funds are being held
  • What the funds can be used for
  • The powers of the Trustees

As a Trustee, you must make sure you understand the terms of the Trust and what type of Trust you are dealing with. Trustees have, at all times, a duty of care to protect the Trust Fund for the Beneficiaries and a fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of the Beneficiaries.

In addition to this, as a Trustee, you will be required to ensure that all tax liabilities of the Trust are met. This could be Income Tax for income earner, Capital Gains Tax on assets sold and Inheritance Tax charges that are levied at different key times during the lifetime of the Trust.

Whilst the following list is not exhaustive, generally, the administration of a Trust involves:

  • Registering the Trust with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
  • Keeping accurate records and accounts of the Trust’s income and expenses
  • Investing or using the Trust Fund according to the wishes of the person that set the Trust up (the Settlor) and in the best interests of the Beneficiaries
  • Distributing the income or capital of the Trust to the beneficiaries as specified in the Trust Deed or the law
  • Complying with any legal obligations and reporting requirements, for example, preparing Trust Accounts and/or a Tax Return

You should always seek specialist advice regarding the creation of a Trust to ensure that it is best suited to your needs and purpose.

For more information, please contact our Private Wealth team on 0330 016 9200 or email us at 

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I really rate Sarah Cairns, she’s a good lawyer and doesn’t need to be loudest in the room.

Approachable and knowledgeable with respect to estate planning.

Chambers and Partners 2022


Sarah Cairns is a powerhouse of the team, she is the linchpin of the team and is a shining example for junior colleagues. She is always generous with her time, takes the time to put clients at ease and can cut through complex legal problems whilst making it look easy!

Chambers and Partners 2024


Melissa Maple articulates complex legal matters in a clear and concise manner and in plain English and has a relaxed demeanour and puts her clients at ease. Her considered approach helps clients understand the issues facing them and she makes them visualise matters.

Chambers and Partners 2021





Charlotte Dunn is very knowledgeable, able to deal with complex matters and puts clients at ease.

She is the ideal person for any such work because she always has an answer or knows how to look for it.

Chambers and Partners 2024

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