MEET THE PROBATE TEAM
MARK JOHN DEAVALL * - Solicitor & Director, Head of Private Client Department
Mark qualified as a Solicitor on 1st September 2000 after gaining both a Law Degree and a Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (with Distinction) from Staffordshire University (where in 1998 Mark was awarded the Annual Prize for Outstanding Performance) and undergoing a Professional Skills Course with the College of Law in 1999.
Having previously worked for Woolliscrofts for seven years prior to 2006 (including just over two years as a Partner), following employment and Partnerships with other Legal Practices, Mark returned to work for Woolliscrofts in August 2014 – since when Mark has been appointed as a Director of this Company.
Mark has considerable experience of:-
- preparing Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney;
-dealing with Probate matters and the Estate Administration of Estates; and
- a range of Elderly Client issues, such as Applications to the Court of Protection, Deputyship and the like.
Mark is the Head of our Private Client Department and manages a team of Probate and their support staff across our 6 branch offices. Our ethos is to go above and beyond the call of duty and to help whenever and wherever we can.
RAYMOND JAMES GEORGE BASNETT * - Solicitor & Executive Director
Having qualified as a Solicitor in 1978 after gaining his Law Degree, Ray has considerable experience in Wills, Probate and Powers of Attorney. He began his training at Rees Jones Solicitors and joined Woolliscrofts Solicitors in 1982 and has practiced here since then. He became a Partner of the firm and, following the incorporation of what was originally a Partnership Practice, is now an Executive Director of Woolliscrofts Solicitors Limited.
Ray is proud to have had dealings with many long standing clients during his time with Woolliscrofts – in many cases acting for successive generations of families.
JOSEPHINE BEGG FCILEx * – Legal Executive
Josephine Begg qualified as a Chartered Legal Executive in 1992 and has specialised in probate matters since 1999. She is a full member of Solicitors for the Elderly, a national association of independent lawyers who are trained in older client law, and has trained as a Dementia Friend with Alzheimer’s Society.
LAURA WATSON – Trainee Solicitor
Laura has a degree in Film, Television and Radio Studies from Staffordshire University and has completed the Graduate Diploma in Law and the Legal Practice Course at Staffordshire University. Laura began working at Woolliscrofts back in 2007 (initially Part-Time between University studies and Full Time since 2009) commenced her Training Contract with us in September 2017. Laura will work in our Private Client, Conveyancing, Commercial Conveyancing and Family Law teams.
JULIET KNIPE – Senior Legal Secretary / Probate Assistant
Juliet has worked in the Legal Profession for 30 years. She has a Pitman Business Diploma, Pitman Typing Level 1 & 2, Pitman Audio Typing Level 1 and completed Year 1 Part 1 of the Membership Examinations of the Institute of Legal Executives. During her career Juliet has worked in the Conveyancing and Litigation Department but, having previously worked for Woolliscrofts, has exclusively worked in our Wills and Probate Department since returning to work for Woolliscrofts in 2015.
JANET SZMIDT – Legal Secretary / Probate Assistant
Janet has worked in the legal profession for over 30 years providing excellent secretarial and administrative support. Since joining Woolliscrofts in 2014 she has gained extensive knowledge of all probate matters and older client law so is able to assist clients with any queries on a day to day basis.
RHIANNON VAUGHAN – Receptionist & Legal Secretary
Rhiannon has worked in a Legal Practice since 2003. She initially worked as a Receptionist in a Criminal Law Firm, before progressing to become a Legal Secretary (dealing with Magistrates and Police Station work) and becoming an Administrative Supervisor for the Prison Law Department of that other Legal Practice where she was responsible for supervising three other members of staff. In 2012 Rhiannon joined 1st Solicitors in Stafford – initially dealing with a wide range of legal work, including Wills and Probate, Conveyancing, Personal Injury, Children Act, Divorce and Finances - but ultimately specialising in Wills & Probate and Conveyancing from January 2017 onwards.
Rhiannon, who holds an NVQ in Business Administration at Level 2, has worked for Woolliscrofts Solicitors since October 2017.
PHOEBE LYTTELTON – Legal Secretary
Phoebe joined our Probate Team as a Legal Secretary in 2018 and participates in ongoing studies to increase her knowledge and experience in this area.
KATHRYN SHAW – Legal Secretary / Receptionist
Having previously worked for Bishops Solicitors since 1996, Kathryn has worked for Woolliscrofts since Bishops merged with Woolliscrofts in 2005. Kathryn’s role includes assisting our Private Client Department with the initial Client Identification process and general secretarial support.
HAYLEY WRIGHT – Senior Receptionist
Hayley has worked for Woolliscrofts since July 2007 and her role includes assisting our Private Client Department with the initial Client Identification process, making appointments and processing Card Payments.
MICHELLE BRADLEY – Receptionist
Michelle began working for Woolliscrofts in April 2013 and her role includes assisting our Private Client Department with the initial Client Identification process, making appointments and processing Card Payments.
CLAIRE SMITH – Receptionist & Administrative Assistant
Having previously worked in reception roles on and off since 1987, Claire initially commenced her career with Woolliscrofts, as a Senior Receptionist at our Hanley branch, in September 2002, before taking a break in January 2013 to run her own business prior to returning to work for Woolliscrofts at our Alsager Branch in August 2016.
Claire has extensive experience of looking after Woolliscrofts clients both on the phone and face to face and assists our Private Client Department with the initial Client Identification process and general administrative support.
GEMMA HAMNETT – Receptionist
Gemma is the Receptionist at our Stone Branch Office. She has an English Degree from Staffordshire University. She joined Woolliscrofts in 2016 after previously working for Stoke City Football Club. Gemma’s wider role within the Company also includes her being involved with dealing with Client Identification procedures on behalf of, and providing general administrative assistance to, our Probate Department.
SARAH PEACH – Receptionist / Administrative Assistant
Sarah began work with Woolliscrofts in May 2012 and her role includes assisting our Private Client Department with the initial Client Identification process.
MATTHEW RIDGE – Apprentice Receptionist / Administrative Assistant
Matthew began work with Woolliscrofts in October 2018 and his role includes him assisting our Private Client Department with the initial Client Identification process, making appointments and processing Card Payments.