The Judges

Nick Ash

Nick Ash

Founder & Managing Director, W & P Legal Group

Nick is the founder and managing director of the W & P Legal group, you will know him for its main trading company Will & Probate Services. Nick is passionate about raising standards in the industry and led the SWW Professional Standards Board response to the recent CMA investigation into our sector. As well as his day job running a busy growing law firm, he has responsibility for the oversight and governance of SWW members through his role on the PSB. He has been teaching Private Client law for CILEx for the past seven years and at the College of Will Writing for two years. He is a qualified Civil and Commercial mediator, a full member of STEP, and a Fellow of both the Society of Will Writers and the Institute of Paralegals.

Karen Babington

Karen Babington

Co-founder, Collaborative Conveyancing

Karen has over 25 years’ experience in the legal, property and mortgage market. She has worked in several senior management positions which include three conveyancing panel management companies. Following the sale of Easier2move in 2010 (which Karen co-founded) to My Home Move (now Simplify), Karen took up the role of Corporate Sales Director. Karen was an owner and Director of Lawyer Checker, a company which provides risk management products to law firms. Karen also co-founded Solve Legal, now known as Today’s Media, which incorporates three leading legal publications. Solve Legal introduced the British Wills and Probate Awards in addition to the British Conveyancing Awards which are now highly regarded in the legal sector calendar. Karen is co-founder of Collaborative Conveyancing who launched their Enquiry Manager product in March 2024.

Ed Barden

Ed Barden

Head of Product, MiExact Ltd

Ed has worked in the Risk, Fraud, Compliance and Charity sectors for over 12 years, starting his career in the property risk sector with Landmark Information Group, and then going on to work closer with Financial Institutions on combating Fraud and Risk at Dun & Bradstreet. He has been working with Charities, Probate Professionals, and Financial Institutions at MiExact since the summer of 2022 through the Smee and Ford, Mortascreen and Halo products to ensure individuals are protected after they pass away, and their final wises are enacted. Ed lives in West Berkshire with his Wife and two Yorkies.

David Baskerville MBA

David Baskerville MBA

Director and Lead Consultant, Baskerville Drummond Consulting Ltd

David is the founding director of Baskerville Drummond, one of the UK’s leading IT and business consultancies for law firms. Over the past decade, it has established a stand-out reputation for its independence and integrity, with David one of the most trusted and recognisable faces in the industry. In 2011 David founded Baskerville Drummond to provide strategic advice and hands-on guidance to UK law firms. He has become the ‘go-to’ man for system selection, implementation and optimisation projects, and was an early pioneer of the ‘fractional IT director’ and ‘critical friend’ roles. David has long specialised in complex IT projects, such as mergers and demergers, and for turning-around failing practice management systems or other challenging technology situations; a growing area in the Cloud era is helping firms address or move away from poorly performing outsourced hosting or support arrangements.

Anthony Belcher

Anthony Belcher

Director General, The Society of Will Writers

Anthony Belcher is a director of The Society of Will Writers and has in his time there developed and managed relationships with its members as well as industry bodies, partners, and the public. Through the SWW, Anthony’s media background has helped breathe life into the will writing profession, in turn helping to grow and develop the SWW into the leading independent body representing estate planning professionals. Through providing access to services, training and guidance for its members and partners, as well as vital consumer advice for the public, the SWW under Anthony’s leadership continues to champion the importance of all things wills and estate planning.

Ian Bond

Ian Bond

Partner, Irwin Mitchell LLP

Ian is a partner in Irwin Mitchell’s award winning Lifetime & Estate Planning team based in the Midlands. He has previously worked as the Head of Private Client departments at both regional and national law firms. Ian deals with all aspects of private client work as well as being a member (and former Chair) of the Law Society of England & Wales’ Wills and Equity Committee and is one of the Law Society members of the HMCTS Probate Service User group. Ian is an external tutor for Central Law Training on the “Administration of Trusts” module of the STEP Diploma for England & Wales. Ian contributed five chapters to the Law Society publication “The Probate Practitioners Handbook” (9th edition) and writes articles on various private client subjects for both legal journals and non-legal publications.

Simon Brimage FSWW

Simon Brimage FSWW

Director, Wills and Trusts UK

An independent financial adviser by profession, Simon saw that generating wealth for his clients could lead to potential IHT problems so, alongside financial services, he went into estate planning and will writing in 1997. This enabled him to provide tailor-made solutions of asset growth, within a legal framework, to protect his clients. Simon is honoured to be a Fellow of the Society of Will Writers and is Vice Chairman of the Professional Standards Board (PSB), whose role is to raise standards and improve industry practices, benefiting both consumers and advisers. Running a busy practice and being a management consultant for numerous companies, he understands what to do tactically, and how to have strategic conversations, in business. Simon’s no-nonsense approach sees to the heart of complex problems quickly, helping business owners put together strategies that complement their personal, and their family’s, estate planning needs. Simon’s wealth of experience across many business sectors, has led to him becoming a Parliamentary Adviser within the House of Lords, where he provides valuable industry and business insights across a broad range of spheres. Personal relationships and values of honesty, empathy, privacy, excellence, and social responsibility are at the heart of Wills and Trusts UK.

Sue Carter MBA

Sue Carter MBA

Strategic Consultant, Consult Sue Carter Ltd

After 40 years working in the banking and professional services sectors, I set up my own consultancy business, Consult Sue Carter Ltd, in January this year. During my banking career, I spent over 30 years advising law firms in areas including succession planning, mergers, acquisitions and disposals, coping strategies, funding solutions and balance sheet restructuring.  I have a reputation for being a serious thinker about the legal sector and its future.  Previously held a senior leadership role as UK Head of Professional Services Sector at Clydesdale Bank PLC and led a team of 28 sector experts across the UK.  In 2008, I achieved an MBA in Legal Practice Management and since 2015 have held a voluntary position as a lay Member on the Law Society of Scotland Council.  In February 2021, appointed as a Non-Executive Director at Switalskis Solicitors, where I am involved in the group’s financial management and performance, as well as wider business strategy and planning.  

Jane Cassell

Jane Cassell

Director, JC Independent Wills & Probate

Jane qualified as a solicitor over 20 years ago. Jane is on a mission to raise awareness that marriage cancels Wills. Her personal story fuels her professional purpose. Jane has been published in The Telegraph, the Law Society Gazette and The Law Society. Jane is a member of the Law Society Private Client Section.  

Holly Chantler

Holly Chantler

Head of Private Client, Morr & Co

Holly Chantler is a solicitor specialising in mental capacity law at Morr & Co LLP, where she is head of the Private Client and Court of Protection departments.  She is the author of A Practical Guide to Assessing Mental Capacity and A Practical Guide to the Court of Protection and a co-author of The Law Society’s Elderly Client Handbook and Butterworth’s Law and Finance for the Older Client.  She is a director of The Association of Lifetime Lawyers and The Professional Deputies Forum and sits on the Court of Protection Rules Committee.  She is ranked in Chambers and the Legal 500, where it has been noted “Holly Chantler is a leading practitioner and very much at the top of her field”.

Emily Deane TEP

Emily Deane TEP

Technical Counsel & Head of Government Affairs, STEP

Emily Deane TEP is Technical Counsel & Head of Government Affairs at STEP. She has practised as a private client and trust solicitor in the UK, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands specialising in all aspects of the private client industry including wills, property, tax planning, estate administration, onshore and offshore trusts and litigation. She joined STEP in 2016 to inform public policy and promote best practice in the private client industry, working with global regulators, lawmakers, and stakeholders.

Jacqueline Emmerson

Jacqueline Emmerson

Solicitor & Managing Director, Emmersons Solicitors

Jacqueline is the founding Director of Emmersons Solicitors Ltd which she founded 25 years ago. Based in the North East of England the firm represents clients nationally and internationally. Jacqueline leads a team of award winning Private Client Lawyers.

Jacqueline is immediate past President of Sunderland Law Society and in this role brought together the local university, Sunderland BID, charities and sponsors. She is the Honorary Counsel for SSAFA in Newcastle. She won the inaugural Wearside Women in Business Lifetime Achievement Award. She holds a diploma in Leadership Management.

Jacqueline lectures to charities, businesses and the financial sector in relation to the needs of elderly clients. She regularly writes articles for the press as well as being called upon for legal commentary by numerous radio stations.

Melinda Giles

Melinda Giles

Partner and Head of Private Client and Court of Protection, Giles Wilson Law Limited

Melinda is a key figure in Private Client Law, with over 25 years of specialist experience. A Founding Partner & Director at Giles Wilson Law, she heads the firm’s award-winning Private Client team in all areas of elderly client law.

You may have seen Melinda offering expert advice on The Martin Lewis Show, BBC Radio 4 Money Box Live and Sky News, or checked out her frequent appearances on local radio and podcasts.

Melinda also acts as the representative for Private Client solicitors on The Law Society Council, sits on the Wills & Equity Policy Committee, and is an Accredited Member of The Association of Lifetime Lawyers.

Paige Gouldthorpe

Paige Gouldthorpe

Deputy Head of the Wills Trusts and Probate, Fosters Solicitors

Paige is Deputy Head of the Wills Trusts and Probate team at Fosters Solicitors.  Paige specialises in advising vulnerable people in the Court of Protection and all things later life planning. Having started working in the legal industry in 2012, where she discovered her passion for Wills, Trusts and Probate, Paige has become a three-time national award-winning lawyer with a passion for providing her clients with the best experience and support possible.  Paige is referred to as a “Rising Star’ in the Legal 500. Paige enjoys empowering and mentoring individuals and has been voted in the Top 100 Inspiring Women of Norfolk and is currently Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Big C Cancer Charity. At the beginning of 2024, Paige also became a Trustee of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival and Chair of the national networking group, Women in Wills.

Alex Holt

Alex Holt

Director of Business Development, The Cashroom

Alex’s background is in the legal profession and is a qualified solicitor, having been a litigation Partner at Hill Dickinson. He then founded and ran an executive search business, before joining a global outsourcing company to head up their strategic move into the legal sector. Alex joined the Cashroom in 2014 to lead the company’s Business Development. 

Tasnim Khalid

Tasnim Khalid

Founding Partner, Private Client Solicitors

Tasnim is the founding Partner of ‘Private Client Solicitors’, which is one of the largest boutique practices in the North West. Tasnim has been acting for private clients since 2005 and prides herself with offering specialist legal advice to clients from all walks of life. Tasnim has ranked highly in Chambers & Partners (HNW edition) and Legal 500. As an entrepreneur and working mother, Tasnim is keen to give back to the profession. As such, Tasnim sits on Manchester Law Society’s ‘Private Client Committee’ alongside other esteemed colleagues and acts a mentor to members of the profession.

Matthew Lagden

Matthew Lagden

CEO, Institute of Legacy Management

The professional organisation for charity staff who work in legacy administration. Our members are responsible for managing the income that is left to charities each year in supporter’s wills. This is worth approximately £3.4bn each year, and is one of the largest single sources of voluntary income for many of our members.

David Masterton

David Masterton

Chief Revenue Officer, Premier Solicitors

David has 12 year’s business leadership experience in Legal Services, predominantly in a Director / Chief Revenue Officer capacity within large Probate provider businesses. Prior to this David was an Independent Financial Advisor for 15 years. David specialises in internal & external sales & marketing management & revenue growth across all channels & types, including business development, corporate account management, pricing, product development, forecasting, budget delivery & board reporting.  David also enjoys leading/inspiring sales & operational teams. In David’s spare time, he enjoys running, gym, cooking, reading, watching all sport (especially Southampton FC), and talking about the benefits of veganism to anyone that will listen!

Barry Mattock

Barry Mattock

Group Chief Executive Officer, Property Solutions Group

Barry is a seasoned property specialist in the probate and wills, and second hand homes markets and headline sponsors of the British Wills and Probate Awards 2021 and 2022. Experienced in forming and leading businesses, Barry is passionate about providing property solutions to non-traditional markets and in building effective teams with strong technical expertise and friendly customer service. Barry is the Group Chief Executive Officer of Southey & Co, a firm specializing in working with law firms, which means he understands your requirements. As a regulated business, Southey & Co appreciates the compliance issues you face and places an emphasis on trust, transparency, and documentation throughout their processes. Always eager to learn, Barry is very much looking forward to being part of the judging panel and seeing the hard work, ideas, and problem solving of so many in the wills and probate sector.

Annam Nasir

Annam Nasir

Associate, Gateley Legal

Annam has extensive experience in the private client field. She has over 10 years experience advising clients on various Wills, Trusts and Probate disputes. She has been recognised in the Legal 500 as ‘Exceptional in dealing with complex disputes. Keen attention to detail and good knowledge of the law. Easy but confident manner with the clients, which encourages their trust’. Annam hosts regular Private Wealth Forums aimed at providing support to Will writers on the pitfalls of drafting Wills and Powers of Attorney and is also a member of ACTAPS and ConTrA.

Dave Newick

Dave Newick

CEO, Arken Group

Dave has extensive experience in transforming and supporting the legal sector with digital solutions. He is the CEO of the Arken Group, which includes Arken.legal, Footprint and Estgro and has founded and led technology firms to achieve great outcomes. Dave is passionate about the opportunities brought by combining legal expertise with digital capability and is dedicated to helping the industry transform.

Dylan O'Brien

Dylan O'Brien

Founder, BePrepared

Dylan O’Brien is the Founder of BePrepared. BePrepared is the global industry leader in providing estate planners a secure, firm-branded digital vault to confidentially store access to clients’ phones, computers, email accounts and other digital assets for release after death.  Prior to founding BePrepared, Dylan operated numerous companies in the legal, sales and technological space.

Clive Ponder FIMMM. TEP

Clive Ponder FIMMM. TEP

Director, CTT Group

Clive is the founder of CTT Group, a leading multi-disciplinary support system for the UK’s Professional Adviser community. With two decades of expertise, CTT Group has developed a forward-thinking approach to will writing, employing bespoke software to provide an unrivalled service to clients. Clive has worked in the Will Writing sector for more than two decades, after a very successful career as a mining engineer. In this time, he has become a full member (TEP) of STEP, the leading international association for Wills, Trusts, and Estate practitioners, as well as being appointed to the Leaders Council of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Clive is also the founder and owner of the following companies: Countrywide Tax and Trust Corporation Ltd, CTT Accountancy, CTT Private Client and CTT Law, an SRA Regulated firm and strategic partner to CTT Group.

Lisa Summerton

Lisa Summerton

Business Consultant, Lisa Summerton Consultancy

Lisa is a seasoned business consultant with over three decades of experience in the legal sector. She began her career as a conveyancer, a role she excelled in for more than 12 years. Following this, Lisa transitioned into the legal services industry, collaborating with technology firms, case management providers, and insurance companies. Her comprehensive knowledge of the legal property sector, coupled with her unique industry insights, allows her to anticipate and guide the future development of the profession. Lisa’s holistic approach ensures a well-rounded and forward-thinking perspective in her consultancy work.

Aleks Tomczyk

Aleks Tomczyk

Co-Founder and Managing Director, Exizent

Aleks is the Co-Founder and MD at Exizent. Exizent is a business on a mission to improve the experience of bereavement for everyone involved. This includes providing highly usable browser-based software for practitioners to manage estate administration from end-to-end. Aleks is an experienced and energetic business executive with a strong track record of successful business innovation through technology in several sectors. Prior to Exizent, Aleks was an independent consultant advising on growth and technology. Before this he was Founder and CEO at Arum, a specialist technology advisory and transformation business with a software development arm. Aleks is a member of the LawScotTech Advisory Board, FinTech Scotland Cluster Management Board and, as a business angel, an investor in early-stage businesses with growth potential. He lives in Edinburgh with his wife, three children and crazy springer spaniel.

Chris Whittington

Chris Whittington

Business & Relationship Development Manager, ZEDRA Group

After a successful career in training and management, Chris joined the Legal Services industry in 2014. He began as a Probate Consultant for Co-op Legal Services, helping individuals during distressing times. In 2017, he moved to Kings Court Trust, supporting Will writers and estate planners with probate needs. Chris built a strong reputation in the estate planning community, forging valuable relationships.

In 2021, Chris joined ZEDRA, focusing on integrating and promoting its Probate service. Recognising the need for better learning opportunities for Will writers, he created the Do More. Achieve More Estate Planning Group, offering technical, personal development, and product-based sessions. He also launched the monthly partner newsletter, The A to ZEDRA. Chris’s efforts earned him a nomination for the 2022 Industry Champion award at the BWAPs, though he remains humble, driven by his passion for helping people, he is also on the Advisory Board for the BEST Foundation and a Trustee for Charity helping children with disabilities.

Trevor Worth

Trevor Worth

CEO & Founder, Portcullis Legals

With over 36 years experience in the legal services profession after creating the business as a 22 year old, Trevor specialises in Inheritance and Succession Planning, bringing the expertise needed to protect clients and their families. He holds his Masters (MBA) from the University of Exeter and continues to guest lecture on innovation and entrepreneurship at several universities and he sits on the Advisory Board of the University of Essex Business School and Marjon University. 

Trevor has also sat on the Advisory Panel of the Legal Services Board in London and was elected as the Chair of The BEST Foundation in 2022. He also provides consultancy services to a number of law and financial services firms. Trevor is qualified to the worldwide gold standard for Trust and Estate Practitioners with full STEP qualifications and is seen as a legal innovator. He actively supports local causes and charities in our community, in addition to investing in and mentoring young entrepreneurs. 

In January 2019 Trevor introduced the 4 Day Week to Portcullis and by increasing salaries at the same time, became the first company in the world to do so. One newspaper labelled him “The Best Boss Ever!” and he continues to provide advice and consultancy services on flexible working to businesses of all size.