Law expert scoops industry recognition

A Morecambe lawyer has bolstered her specialist Wills and probate expertise after securing a prestigious industry qualification.

KrisKristina Smithtina Smith (pictured), who is partner at Victoria Street-based Birchall Blackburn Law, has obtained the Diploma in Trusts and Estates from the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) after passing a rigorous assessment process.

The internationally recognised qualification means that the 30-year-old, who lives in Lytham St Annes, is now fully STEP accredited and is well-placed to advise Birchall Blackburn Law’s clients on all aspects of the administration, taxation and accounting of trusts and estates.

To gain the accreditation, Kristina went through a thorough two-year-long process comprising distance learning and workshops, before completing four exams. It demonstrates her commitment to client care and expertise in family planning matters.

Kristina is now one of just two solicitors in the Morecambe area to hold the qualification.

Kristina said: “The STEP qualification is notoriously difficult to secure, so I’m thrilled to have obtained the diploma.

“Completing the qualification has enabled me to extend my knowledge on the financial complexities surrounding estates and trusts, including tax planning, inheritance, capital gains tax and trust planning.”

Cathy MacCracken, private client partner at Birchall Blackburn Law, added: “The STEP qualification is the hallmark of quality for private client lawyers. Gaining this accreditation allows Kristina to fully understand our clients’ needs in what is a niche and complex area of the law.

“Kristina has become a trusted advisor to many of our older clients and their families.”

Kristina has been with Birchall Blackburn Law for 15 years, having originally joined as an office clerk before completing her training contract with the firm in 2009. She is also a member of Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE).

A further three members of Birchall Blackburn Law’s private client team are also training to become STEP accredited, with Michelle Corlett, Sarah McIntyre and Rebecca Minto all passing the first of four exams needed to complete the process.