I joined Balfour+Manson in 2011 and enjoy a varied role within the Private Client and Commercial teams.
Prior to this I spent several years with another large Edinburgh legal firm looking after the legal and tax affairs of high net worth families including their business interests and trusts.
My first job, after graduating with a law degree from Aberdeen University, was with an international accounting firm where I gained valuable financial and business experience, training as a Chartered Accountant and corporate tax adviser in their Glasgow office.
All of this training and experience is helpful to me in my current role advising individuals, families, trustees and business owners. Many of the issues faced by my clients are complex and my aim is always to explain the relevant legal and tax points clearly so that the client gains a good understanding of the important points and is able to make informed decisions.
I mainly deal with planning work, helping clients to assess what they have, make realistic plans for the future and to provide for their families and dependents where appropriate.
This involves ensuring they have a suitable will and power of attorney in place, understanding their family situation and their key objectives and reviewing their overall financial and tax position including income, property, pensions and investments, other savings, any business assets and any interest in trusts.
Taking time to plan for the future is more important than ever in today's busy world. Often there is an international dimension to a client's affairs and this must be taken into account.
Estate planning includes a full review of a client’s financial position to identify their own financial requirements, their potential liability to inheritance tax and any surplus assets or income. There are various tax-efficient options for investing or gifting the surplus depending on the client’s key objectives. Young people today are likely to have a long life expectancy, high property costs, high education costs and minimal support from the public purse so a family inheritance is very helpful for them.
A particular specialism is the creation and management of different types of trusts including liferent trusts, discretionary trusts, bare trusts, personal injury trusts, trusts for vulnerable beneficiaries and trusts arising under the terms of a will. It is important that trustees understand the legal nature of their appointment and the duties and responsibilities that come with it and I seek to ensure that trustees are well informed and able to take appropriate decisions. I also provide opinions on trust matters for other firms.
I head up our team of qualified accountants and tax specialists. We manage a large number of trusts including accounting and tax compliance and we also prepare charity accounts and independent examiner reports. Working with our client welfare team, we look after the legal and financial affairs of elderly and vulnerable clients under a power of attorney or guardianship order.
Our aim is always to be thorough in our investigations, to provide clear accounts that are easy to understand and to run a cost-effective service that adds value.
Please contact me if you are looking for advice on any of these matters.