A day in the life of an advisory team trainee

18 October, 2017

In this week’s trainee solicitor blog, the team caught up with Lydia Dent. Lydia’s second seat was with the advisory (private client) team. Read on to find out more.

Starting the day

8.40am: I arrive at work and make a cup of coffee before reviewing my emails and highlighting any urgent jobs on my to-do list.

9.00am: Last week I drafted a Will containing a nil rate band discretionary trust and prepared a detailed letter of wishes to the trustees. This reflected the client’s wishes as to how the trust should be used. I sent the draft documents to the client to review. The client has emailed me some questions about the technicalities of the trust and how it works in practice. I draft a response and send it to my supervisor to approve.  

9.30am: My supervisor asks me to attend a meeting with her to act as the second witness to a Will signing. It is a short meeting as the client has already approved a draft of the Will which was posted to him last week and he is happy to sign. Afterwards, I prepare a quick attendance note to record the Will signing.

An advisory role

10.00am: I undertake some research on principal private residence (“PPR”) relief for capital gains tax purposes. The associate who is supervising me is advising a client who owns several additional buildings situated around their main home. They have asked me to investigate whether the ancillary buildings might qualify for PPR relief as part of the dwelling house, or whether they might be within the permitted area for PPR relief.

11.00am: One of the advisory partners is meeting a married couple who are high net worth individuals with assets in five countries. The partner has been instructed to prepare new Wills and to provide tax planning advice. In advance of the meeting, I prepare an agenda setting out key points to discuss, such as each clients’ domiciles. My role at the meeting is to take a note. I will prepare a detailed attendance note when I am back at my desk. This will set out the clients’ current position, their assets and the advice given. I will also send the note to the clients for their records.

A learning lunch

1.00pm: Our office is in the centre of Tunbridge Wells so I pop into town to stretch my legs and buy lunch. I return to the office to attend a webinar on lasting powers of attorney and deputyship matters. We often advise clients on lasting powers of attorney and also act as financial attorney for a number of clients. It is therefore imperative that we are well-informed and aware of all legal developments. 

2.00pm: I previously assisted in drafting instructions to Counsel for an opinion. This dealt with high value assets in a long standing trust which is reaching the end of its perpetuity period. We have now received Counsel’s opinion which I review with the partner supervising my work. Following our discussion, the partner asks me to prepare a recommendation to the trustees. This is a challenging but mentally stimulating task as there are complicated tax implications to consider and understand. I then assess the options and form my recommendation.

End of the month treats!

4.30pm: Today is a ‘Prosecco Friday’. The advisory team have prosecco on the last Friday of each month so I help to set up before enjoying a glass of fizz while chatting to colleagues.

5.30pm: I finalise my time recording for the day, update my to-do list for next week and leave the office ready to enjoy the weekend.