The Trusts and Estates team covers the Exeter, Taunton, Tiverton, Bristol and London offices and the non-contentious aspect spans across Wills, Probate and estate administration, Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs), estate management and beyond.
I am currently in the Tiverton office, whose Trusts team contains seven fee earners (including myself) and five support staff. Being in a smaller team, it really has a family atmosphere and everyone has been welcoming and supportive from day one. I have also spent several days working in the larger Exeter team, who have also been brilliant.
Work in the Trusts and Estates team affords a deeper dive into the lives of our clients, something that I have found incredibly interesting and rewarding. The levels of client contact are excellent, and when meeting them I am able to become invested in their stories and ambitions. The nature of the work means you are interacting with clients far more than other professionals, and this informs the type of service required.
You are acting for people with varying levels of legal understanding. You are acting for people in their personal capacity; their finances, their health, their livelihoods. You are acting for people who may be vulnerable or going through sensitive or difficult times, such as bereavements or illness. Our clients want to be looked after. So if you’re a people person, this is the team for you.
With the turnover of work being greater than more corporate matters, I have been able to get involved in lots of different matters, many from start to finish. While supporting my Partner and senior fee earners in more complex work, I have also been given the responsibility to take the lead and manage a number of my own files; drafting Wills, preparing LPAs and applications for Probate. There is plenty of drafting involved, which is definitely helping me hone that legal skill.
One particular thing about private client work is the ample opportunity for the unexpected! I’ve driven down back-end-of-beyond country lanes to visit clients. I’ve had to stand and watch someone’s dinner on their hob while they spoke with a colleague. But I’ve also had to have some very emotional conversations with people enduring some traumatic circumstances. All of these unique and sometimes challenging experiences have really added colour to my time in this seat.
I can’t rate the team highly enough, and feel I have developed tremendously during my time here.