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Bircham Dyson Bell strengthens private wealth team


London law firm Bircham Dyson Bell (BDB) has appointed Elizabeth Neale as head of its private wealth department in succession to Helen Ratcliffe, who has stepped down from the role after five and a half years. 

Other recent changes include the appointment of Matt Braithwaite as partner, Simon Weil, formerly a partner in the charities team, returning to the department to support the firm’s international offering and the appointment of Geoff Kertesz as head of the firm’s wills and trusts disputes team.
Former head of department Ratcliffe will work alongside Simon Weil in extending the firm’s international practice. Ratcliffe specialises in advising private individuals and trusts on their tax, trust and regulatory affairs, with clients from all of the major offshore centres, as well as Europe, the Far East, the Middle East and the US. She works closely with Geoff Kertesz on matters with a contentious aspect or a difficult history.
Recently promoted partner Braithwaite strengthens the international practice further; he specialises in advising on international tax planning and offshore trusts and wealth holding structures. Before joining Bircham Dyson Bell, he trained and practiced with a leading national law firm before moving to the private client department of an accountancy firm where he focused on tax planning both for UK domiciled and non-UK domiciled individuals.
Weil’s practice encompasses a wide-range of private wealth matters – from philanthropy, tax planning and trusts to the resolution of potentially contentious issues resulting from wills, trusts and co-ownership of property. His client base includes high net worth individuals based both in the UK and overseas and charities. He will continue to advise his charity clients and to work closely with the firm’s charities team.
Neale, now head of the department, has been with Bircham Dyson Bell since 1998 and is a private client lawyer whose practice encompasses tax, probate, trusts and estate planning for both domestic and international clients. She has particular expertise advising on complex probates, especially those involving overseas assets. 
Neale says: “I am pleased to be succeeding Helen as head of the private wealth department. Simon’s return to the department to work alongside Helen, Matt and the other partners will underpin the strength of our capabilities in advising our growing international client base at a challenging time.
“I am also delighted that we have been shortlisted for the STEP Private Client Awards: Private Client Legal Team of the Year (midsize firm). Being shortlisted for another prestigious award is a reflection of Helen’s leadership and her commitment to strengthening and growing the practice over the last five years.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my term as head of the private wealth department and wish Liz every success for the future. I am looking forward to working with the team in the further development of our successful international practice.”

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