Bradford 01274 350 800
Leeds 0113 849 4000
Huddersfield 01484 915 000

Duncan Watson


Contact details

Direct Line 0113 849 4067


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Duncan helps landowners, business owners, individuals and families with significant private wealth to plan for succession and inheritance in a measured and tax efficient manner.

He advises on complex trust arrangements for landed families and estates, trustees, business owners, and beneficiaries, and has acted for a number of large family trusts holding substantial assets.  Duncan has also acted for farmers and agricultural landowners, and much of his work includes a focus on capital gains tax and inheritance tax planning.

Work highlights include:

  • An application to the High Court under the Variation of Trusts Act 1958 to vary a trust holding a substantial landed estate so as to extend the trust’s lifetime, thereby allowing for significant tax planning to take place.
  • Varying a large trust governed by the Settled Land Act 1925 to create tax planning opportunities for a family, which in the end saved over £1 million in inheritance tax.
  • Working with litigation colleagues to advise a principal beneficiary of a significant estate (incorporating a country estate and heritage assets in the north of England, as well as various property interests in London). A dispute had arisen between beneficiaries and there were complex issues to resolve in respect of the substantial amount of inheritance tax due.

In addition, Duncan advises on the creation and administration of charities, and acts as a trustee of a community charity in Yorkshire.

Despite the complexity of some of his work, Duncan is able to make the law understandable and accessible to clients, and gives pragmatic advice designed to solve problems in a practical manner. Duncan empowers clients to make informed decisions that fit with their family circumstances, and that are in the long-term interests of their family.

He is a full member of STEP (the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners), and has had written work published in legal journals and legal industry literature.

"Duncan's detailed knowledge of the subject, combined with your candid and accessible style, resonated strongly here. Further to which, your focus on client outcomes and your non-target driven approach was well received too." Bertie Dannatt at Ruffer