Our award winning Private Client Team deal with some of the most vulnerable clients who are looking to better manage their estates in the later years of their life and preparing to pass on their wealth to family and friends.
Kelly Richardson, a newly qualified solicitor, discusses why she wanted to work in this field of law, the types of clients she often deals with and additional qualifications she is pursuing to enhance her career prospects.
Why did you choose to work in the Private Client team?
I joined Swinburne Maddison in 2010, in the third year of my law degree, working as a secretary in the team. I was therefore lucky enough to get a taste for the type of work and clients involved in Private Client law. Five years later I started my training contract, qualifying as a solicitor in 2017.
It was the personal side that appealed to me. I enjoy working with clients; getting to know them to understand their needs and wishes. It’s rewarding to work closely with individuals to achieve an outcome that is tailored to suit their and their family’s needs. I also enjoy the variety of work, from drafting straightforward Wills to dealing with the administration of high value estates.
The Private Client team are a great team to work with. Each member of the team has a unique breadth of knowledge and experience and we have a great working relationship, working closely to support each other to achieve the best results for our clients.
What type of work do you do?
I undertake a range of private client matters from lifetime planning involving Wills, Trusts and Lasting Powers of Attorney to the administration of estates following a death. This includes advice and support in relation to obtaining the Grant, drawing down estate assets, distributing the estate and attending to other formalities such as income tax and inheritance tax.
I also advise and assist in relation to applications to the Court of Protection for Deputyship Orders and Statutory Wills when a person lacks the mental capacity to manage their own affairs.
Describe the type of clients you deal with?
I work with a wide range of clients, from individuals with low value estates and straightforward affairs to high net worth individuals such as landowners and business owners with complex affairs.
What is involved during Will Aid month?
Will Aid is a fundraising campaign which runs throughout the month of November every year involving nine of the UK’s leading charities - ActionAid, Age UK, British Red Caross, Christian Aid, NSPCC, Save the Children, Sightsavers, SCIAF (Scotland) and Trocaire (N. Ireland). The firm has participated in the campaign for many years now by waiving our fee for drawing up a basic Will in return for clients making a donation to Will Aid. The suggested minimum donations are £95 for a single basic Will and £150 for mirror Wills.
The Private Client team are always happy to continue to provide our support to this valuable and rewarding scheme. It enables us to donate our time and skills in return for a donation from clients to Will Aid, raising valuable funds for the charities that are used to transform the lives of people in the UK and around the world, whilst also promoting the importance of having a professionally prepared Will.
What has been your career highlight so far?
My career highlight so far would have to be the Private Client team winning ‘Private Client Team of the Year’ at the Northern Law Awards 2018. We were shortlisted against some of the top teams in the region and to win was an amazing achievement. We were praised by the judges for our strong team ethic, investment in staff training and development and our determination to ensure that every matter we deal with is handled with the utmost care and attention, irrespective of value. It was great to be recognised for what we do and I feel very proud of the team.
You are looking to begin your STEP qualification. Please can you tell us more about it?
STEP (Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners) is an additional qualification relating specifically to estate and tax planning. Once examinations have been passed successfully, I will be entitled to use the designation TEP which will demonstrate that I have specialist expertise in private client law. Three members of our team are already STEP qualified so it would be great to follow in their footsteps.
Finally, what advice would you give to a young law student?
Try to get as much experience as you can through work experience and vacation schemes – this will not only enable to you to get a flavour for different areas of law to help you decide what interests you most and what you are most suited to, but it also helps you to network and make a good impression on potential future employers.