Covid-19 change brings challenges and Teessiders must protect their wealth

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One of Teesside’s oldest law firms has a youthful new look to it, but the message from Punch Robson’s expanding probate and wills’ department is the same as it ever was: “Allow us to protect your wealth.”

Punch Robson Solicitors has looked after the business, property and capital of Teessiders since 1877, helping to secure and cascade wealth from one generation to the next.

And although the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the landscape across the business world in many ways, Punch Robson is ready to step up again to help steer Teessiders into a new era.

Andrew Steel, who is the firm’s head of wills, probates and trusts, is the holder of the industry-leading STEP qualification, while colleague Helen Snell is also soon to complete the elite qualification, which denotes legal excellence in that field.

Also recently joining the team is Rebecca Coates, who comes from a prestigious Newcastle firm.

Rebecca has settled in quickly, adding to the team’s already considerable strength and expertise, and the firm is now impressively positioned to provide the best possible legal advice to businesses and individuals across Teesside and beyond.

Andrew said: “There’s a new look to our team and we’re excited about that because it has been quite a transition in the last couple of years. A benefit of that is the prospect of developing long-term relationships with clients and contacts for years to come.

“We have a strong background in terms of knowledge base and training and that is so important because now more than ever, people need expert financial advice when it comes to what to do to safeguard their property, money and assets.

“I joined Punch Robson just under two years ago after building a career in this area over many years.

“I learned a lot at Punch Robson from Pat Mellish who headed the department but who decided in the wake of Covid-19 that it was time for her to retire and do other things.

“And we’re finding the pandemic has had that effect on many other business people across Teesside who are taking stock of their lives and often making big, lifetime decisions.

“But it is so important at that point that they get the best possible advice.

“You can get that advice from a lot of places, but it might not always be right for your circumstances and, if it goes wrong, it can sometimes be very painful, as some have learned to their cost.

“At Punch Robson, we deal with the whole range of the business spectrum – from start-up businesses to those of real longevity – and it is always about matching up the right options to each company.

“There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach – every case is bespoke – and that’s why it is so important to know all the options out there, all the financial routes that can be taken by the client, and matching the right one to their circumstances.”

Punch Robson’s probate, wills and trust department has always had a great depth and breadth of knowledge, the decision having been made long ago to employ specialists in the field.

The department offers a full range of private client needs from powers of attorney, wills and trusts to probate and court of protection work.

While many non-solicitor firms are probate and wills only, Punch Robson has built a depth of expertise that allows it to have every legal base and avenue covered.

It also gains from having the wider Punch Robson firm to lean upon – with experienced teams in family law, company/commercial, litigation and residential conveyancing giving clients the broadest protective cover they could have.

What’s more, Punch Robson has always been passionately local.

Based in Stockton and Middlesbrough, the firm is strongly rooted in the Tees Valley. All of its staff live in the Teesside area and have worked here as well, which makes them a friendly and approachable team.

Andrew said: “The pandemic has been difficult but we have remained available for clients throughout and will continue to do so until we are able to resume normal service.

“We do see clients in a socially distanced way through telephone and video conferencing and are looking forward to getting back to normal interactions.

“In the meantime, we would advise businesses to review any existing legal documents they have in place, such as shareholder/partnership agreements, together with the individuals’ wills, as many may have been affected and in need of review.

“And for those who are embarking upon lifestyle changes – such as the sale of a business or retirement – which will also lead to greater planning through wills and trusts, we can only stress how important it is to get advice and guidance you can trust and rely upon.

“Not getting the right legal advice at crucial times can be a costly mistake.”

If that guidance applies to business affairs, it also applies to property, which is often the most valuable asset for many.

Andrew added: “Property is increasingly an important asset for families given the price rises we’ve seen over the last few decades.

“There are a number of options when it comes to properties to give families a good base going into the future.

“But that’s also why it is important to seek the best advice because the difference in outcomes can be substantial.

“That’s what we’re here for though, and we’re always happy to take a call.”

Find out more about Punch Robson and its services at punchrobson.co.uk.