“We are friendly and approachable,” says Katie Gillam, Partner and Head of our Private Client team. “We deal with any questions efficiently and clients will always speak with somebody who knows about their case and can help them.”
Katie Gillam joined CooperBurnett in 2008 and became a Partner in 2013. She is supported by Senior Associate Sarah Strong, who has been with the firm for four years. The team also more recently welcomed Associate Solicitor Katie Hancock. The team is supported by two Private Client secretaries, Fiona Drawbridge, who has more than 20 years’ experience with CooperBurnett, and Lynne Johnson, who joined more than 10 years ago.
“We are proud to have this experience within the department and we know that clients appreciate it too,” says Katie Gillam.
The Private Client team supports clients in a variety of ways, including with the preparation of Wills, probate, lasting powers of attorney (LPAs) and deputyship applications to the Court of Protection, where a relative has lost the capacity to manage their own affairs. Our experienced team was one of the first to be awarded the Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme accreditation by The Law Society.
The extensive experience we offer within our team means we are able to provide tailored advice to our private clients in all aspects of their personal affairs. We work with clients at every stage of their life, through good times and bad, helping them buy their first home, providing specialist tax planning, preparing Wills and supporting them through family issues.
Katie Gillam continues: “Very often families will approach us because we’ve supported their relatives in the past. Only recently, somebody contacted us to say their Mother, a client of ours had died, and said ‘Mum would be really pleased that we are using you to sort out her affairs’. I guess it’s a lot to do with trust and building relationships.”
That is particularly true when it comes to applying for probate, as Katie Hancock explains: “Many clients have enough to deal with emotionally at that time, without the paperwork and procedures which probate brings. It’s nice to tell somebody not to worry and to hand over all the paperwork for us to deal with. It takes some of the pressure away at a difficult time.”
Adds Sarah Strong: “I’d agree that our personal approach is particularly important when one considers that many of our clients are talking to us because they are going through a difficult time, such as the death of a loved one.”
In addition to referrals from friends and families, the team has also built close relationships with other local fee earners, including accountancy firms and IFAs, who refer work to the team. This is bolstered by networking locally too, primarily with West Kent Chamber of Commerce and Industry.