James Ward

Partner and Head of Department

Private Client

"James Ward brings a certain dynamism, mixing quality advice with a commercial sense”

Legal 500 UK 2021

James heads the Private Client team at Kingsley Napley and is tasked with overseeing the continued development of the private client offering for both existing and new clients of the firm.

His objective is for the Private Client team to offer the highest quality legal, practical and commercial private client advice for both domestic and international families and individuals.

He has extensive experience advising families and individuals on wealth protection and tax mitigation. This covers the drafting of Wills to best suit a client’s financial and family requirements, advice on gifting to support the next generation and to mitigate tax,  the setting up of trusts to protect assets and provide long term financial benefit and the efficient and speedy administration of estates.

Often his clients will have international connections; whether they own overseas property or have recently arrived or invested in the UK, or are long term residents who are still non-UK domiciled. He specialises in giving advice on UK tax for these international clients or working closely with accountants on key areas such as UK inheritance tax and UK capital gains tax.

A key focus is the advising of overseas clients purchasing UK property and how such property should be owned in the most tax efficient way.

James has a broad client base covering people just across the road or located on the other side of the world. He is just as comfortable dealing with the private affairs of a CEO of a multinational business or person in the public eye as he is dealing with a vulnerable elderly client with tricky family dynamics.

In general, clients praise his straightforward explanations and clear communication alongside a friendly manner.

Professional societies and memberships

  • The Law Society
  • The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP)


press coverage

James is interviewed and quoted  frequently in the national press.  Some of the more recent articles that James has written, or in which he has been quoted, include: 


What clients and directories say

"James is very knowledgeable and very experienced, and he's good at using his experience to identify the main issues a client needs to consider," an interviewee he's also very commercial in his approach, as he considers the client's broader requirements to ensure that his advice is appropriate, rather than focusing on answering the specific question posed to him."

Chambers High Net Worth Guide 2021

James Ward is noted for his professionalism, knowledge and friendly manner."

Legal 500 2017



James is very knowledgeable and very experienced, and he's good at using his experience to identify the main issues a client needs to consider," 

Chambers High Net Worth Guide 2021

James Ward brings a certain dynamism, mixing quality advice with a commercial sense”

Legal 500 UK 2021

James Ward has the rare ability to deal with sensitive individual issues in a professional and empathetic way. His outstanding and clear communication skills make easy work of complex issues”

Legal 500 UK 2021

James Ward is a highly committed, knowledgeable and experienced private client solicitor. Always providing considered guidance on trust, personal tax and probate matters, James ensures his clients are front and centre and receive the best possible service at the highest levels”

Legal 500 UK 2021


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Insight from James

View all


Kingsley Napley unveils the ‘Inheritance Tax Premier League’ (ITPL)

James Ward joins Kingsley Napley as Head of Private Client

Kingsley Napley's Private Client team recognised by Spears' High Net Worth and Legal 500 2022

Press release: Kingsley Napley announces a new partner hire into the Private Client team

Six key takeaways from people in private wealth – James Ward quoted in ePrivateClient and thewealthnet

A wealth tax for the UK? James Ward quoted in Solicitors Journal, Accountancy Daily, Professional Advisor and more

Kingsley Napley named a top law firm in the eprivateclient 2020 rankings

Couples can now leave up to £1,000,000 inheritance tax free to their children.

Demand for wills is soaring in the coronavirus crisis - Private client team quoted in This is Money

UK MPs press for inheritance tax overhaul - James Ward comments in International Investment

Private Client supports Plant a Tree campaign

James Ward answers a question in Moneywise on setting up a trust for grandchildren to avoid IHT

Tax Journal: One minute with... James Ward, head of the private client team at Kingsley Napley

James Ward answers a question in This is Money on how to protect your assets from your children's spouses

Inheritance tax: what does the future hold? - James Ward comments in The Financial Times

Kingsley Napley named a top law firm in the eprivateclient rankings

James Ward writes for Spear's Magazine

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