James Whiley


Qualifications: BSc (Chemistry and Law), Legal Prac


James specialises in estate and succession planning for ultra-high and high net worth clients. He also has experience in estate and trust disputes including cross-border succession issues and conflicts, tax planning and related advice to trust structures for Australian and UK non-residents and probate and estate administration.

James enjoys guiding his clients through the difficult process of ensuring that their estate and succession planning affairs are dealt with comprehensively and compassionately to achieve their intentions in relation to their private wealth, and/or business. He listens to his clients and considers all the issues to understand them, before creating a bespoke strategy for their needs.

James is admitted as a solicitor in New South Wales and England and Wales. Originally from the UK, James had a senior role in the leading London private client team at international law firm, Gowling WLG, advising the world's wealthiest families and the banks and offshore trustees. He then moved to Sydney in 2013 to a succession and estate planning role at PWC and then ultimately to Hall & Wilcox.

James is a full member of the Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners (STEP) and holds the TEP designation having completed the STEP Diploma examination. He is also a committee member of STEP NSW and has completed the STEP Advanced Certificate in Trust Disputes.


  • Advising families on estate and succession planning with a focus on wealth preservation, blended families and vulnerable beneficiaries.
  • Reviewing complex structures of family trusts and unit trusts, and preparing documentation to deal with succession of control.
  • Advising family businesses on tailored company constitutions, family constitutions, binding trustee resolutions and shareholder’s agreements and the preparation of documentation for existing business structures for entry of second and third generations into the business.
  • Advising on trust interpretation and trust disputes and establishing family trusts.
  • Preparing personal testamentary trust Wills, Enduring Powers of Attorney, Appointments of Enduring Guardians, Superannuation Death Benefit Nominations and updating their trust and SMSF deeds.
  • Advising on cross border succession issues and conflicts including assisting clients with UK estate and tax planning issues including in relation to UK inheritance tax and losing their UK domicile of origin.
  • Advising on estate administration and estate litigation.

Latest thinking

Private clients | 13 Jul 2020

Act now! Foreign surcharges for trusts holding NSW residential property

The NSW Government’s changes to surcharges for ‘foreign persons’ for duty and land tax are now law. These changes apply to NSW residential land held by discretionary trusts.