Our private client services team is nationally recognised for providing clear and practical legal advice to clients in the UK and abroad. We work with a wide variety of clients including entrepreneurs, landowners, High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI), trustees and family offices, both onshore and offshore.

With one of the largest private client law teams in the UK, we have an expert pool of knowledge, helping our clients to mitigate tax, structure their affairs, preserve their property and pass it on to their successors. We have extensive experience of cross-border estate and succession planning, international tax and property structuring, and settling family disputes. We also advise global financial institutions on the provision of trust and tax planning services.

The team has gained widespread national accreditation. In 2022 we were named “Legal Team of the Year – Large Firm” at the STEP Private Client Awards, the fifth time since 2015 we have won this category, and “Employer of the Year” at the industry’s most recognised awards ceremony.

Areas of focus

We have expertise in all areas of private client law including the following:

  • Trust management – accounts, tax returns and annual compliance service.
  • Wills, trusts and estate planning – passing wealth down through trusts and alternative structures including Family Investment Companies (FICs).
  • Family law advice – divorce, separation and marital agreements.
  • Family businesses – succession planning, structures, governance and family charters.
  • Specialist probate services – administering estates often with technical inheritance or cross-border issues.
  • International tax and trust advice – including property structuring, residence and domicile issues, succession planning and immigration and visas.
  • Tax and trust advice to global financial institutions.

Our team has recently launched a new app 'ResiCheck' to help clients understand the UK’s Statutory Residence Test. ResiCheck helps clients work out whether they are tax-resident in the UK, plan future residency and keep track of UK visits. Find out more.


We are the retained advisers to many estates and rural land owners around the country. The extent of our involvement depends upon the complexity of the clients' affairs and the clients' preferences.

Drafting family charters to set out the principles on which family businesses will be run and how ownership and control will pass.

Working with single and multi-family offices for international families and advising on strategies for holding their wealth and businesses and passing them on to the next generation.

Advising non-UK resident individuals and families wishing to move to the UK on their immigration options and pre-arrival tax planning, including the creation of suitable asset holding structures.

Advising a variety of clients on the changes to the UK tax treatment of UK residential property held within offshore structures and on the available restructuring options.

Providing detailed advice and a tax opinion to an international private bank in relation to investment products being a new stream of preference shares in an offshore company to act as a wrapper for structured note and other derivative products.

Advising a major international bank on the use of purpose trust to act as security for private equity portfolio valued at $300 million.

Advising on pre and post marital agreements and asset protection.

A £55 million landed estate involving the death of a husband and wife in quick succession, heritage relief claims, re-financing and a negotiated settlement of potential claims against the estate and claims from potential beneficiaries of discretionary trusts.

Day-to-day management of a large number of private and charitable trusts including the preparation of accounts and annual tax returns as well as periodic and exit IHT returns.

Meet the team
Headshot John Barnett

John Barnett Partner

  • Head of Partnerships
  • Private Client Services
  • Tax
Jim Aveline

Jim Aveline Partner

  • Private Client Services
  • Family Offices and Family Businesses
  • Food and Farming

Suzanna Harvey Partner

  • Head of Private Wealth
  • Private Client Services
  • International Tax
Tom Hewitt

Tom Hewitt Partner

  • Private Wealth
  • Head of Estates and Land
  • Head of Food and Farming
Sarah Hoskinson 1

Sarah Hoskinson Partner

  • Family Law and Divorce
  • Private Client Services
  • Private Wealth
Alison Hawes

Alison Hawes Consultant

  • Family Law and Divorce
  • Private Client Services 
  • Food and Farming 

Catherine de Maid Partner

  • International tax and trusts
  • Head of Philanthropy
  • Succession Planning and Wills
Emma Heelis-Adams

Emma Heelis-Adams Partner

  • Private Client Services
  • International Tax
  • HNW and UHNW Individuals
Richard Handel website

Richard Handel Partner

  • Family Law and Divorce
  • Private Client Services 
  • Private Wealth
Mary Gaskins

Mary Gaskins Director

  • Family Law and Divorce
  • Private Client Services
  • Food and Farming 
Hannah Petherick

Hannah Petherick Director

  • Family Law and Divorce
  • Private Client Services 
  • Private Wealth 
Tim Williams

Tim Williams Director

  • Private Client Services
  • Food and Farming
  • Tax

What others say...

They can do pretty much anything, from international to agriculture to entrepreneur work.
Chambers HNW Guide 2020

Moving to the UK: a practical guide

Resicheck: UK tax resident app

Burges Salmon careers

We work hard to make sure Burges Salmon is a great place to work.
Find out more