James Whiley


Qualifications: BSc (Chemistry and Law), Legal Prac


James is a Partner in the Private Clients team at Hall & Wilcox. He specialises in estate and succession planning for high and ultra-high net worth clients in Australia and internationally (UK, Europe, USA and Asia). He is experienced 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, understanding the issues that matter to them before creating a bespoke strategy to meet 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 clients team at international law firm Gowling WLG, advising the world's wealthiest families, 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. James is a ranked individual in Chambers High Net Worth 2021, 2022 and 2023 for Private Wealth Law.


  • Advising families on estate and succession planning with a focus on wealth preservation, blended families and vulnerable beneficiaries.
  • Reviewing and restructuring complex structures including family trusts and unit trusts (in Australia and overseas), and preparing documentation to deal with succession of control.
  • Advising family businesses and family offices on tailored company constitutions, family constitutions and shareholder's agreements and the preparation of documentation for existing business and wealth structures for the transition to the second and third generations.
  • Advising on cross border succession issues and conflicts including assisting clients with international estate and tax planning issues such as UK inheritance tax and US estate tax.
  • 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 estate administration and estate litigation.

Awards and recognition

Doyle's Guide to the Australian Legal Profession 2020-2023
Wills, Estates & Succession Planning Lawyers (New South Wales)
Chambers and Partners High Net Worth Guide 2021-2023
Private Wealth Law in Australia

Latest thinking

Private Clients | 16 Aug 2023

Incapacity: managing decision-making capacity

In our third instalment of this series, we look at Wills and ensuring you have 'knowledge and approval' of your Will.