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Wills & Probate Team


Melany Rampal

I qualified as a Private Client Solicitor in 2006 with another firm in Bedford, with whom I stayed until joining Sharmans in December 2023. I completed the Common Professional Exam or Graduates Law Conversion Course at City University in London, and the Legal Practice Course (LPC) with the Inns of Court School of Law. During my LPC year, I won the Law Society Client Interviewing & Advising Competition, competing against other law students from around the country.

I am based at the Ampthill office of Sharmans and deal with all aspects of Private Client work, including the administration of estates and trusts, both where there is no inheritance tax to pay and the administration is fairly straightforward, and also those estates where there are substantial assets and care needs to be taken to ensure HMRC deadlines are met and all the appropriate inheritance tax exemptions are correctly applied for.

I also draft Wills for my clients, which again can range from basic to complicated in nature, depending on a client’s personal circumstances. Preparation of Lasting Powers of Attorney and applications for Deputyship Orders to the Court of Protection, also form part of my workload.

I like to make my clients feel at ease when they come to see me, as this is often at difficult times in their lives and can include discussing some sensitive personal and family issues.

Originating from London, I have made Bedford my home for the last 20 years, and my two children consider themselves Bedfordian! I enjoy reading novels, playing tennis and running outside of work, and in addition to spending far too much time and emotion watching Tottenham Hotspur.


Helen Williams (née Broom)

I studied History at Oxford Brookes University before converting to Law and qualified with Sharmans as a Solicitor in 2008. I became a Partner of the firm in 2020 and the head of our Private Client department in 2023.

My areas of expertise are the administration of Estates, Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration. I also specialise in the preparation of Wills, Estate planning, Tax advice, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Court of Protection matters.
Over the course of the year I generally take on approximately 160 new cases. Of these around 60 are Estate administration matters. This can involve straightforward non-taxable Estates, with assets passing to a surviving spouse, partner or children to more complex taxable matters, including the negotiation of Agricultural Property Relief and Business Property Relief. The remaining new matters I deal with are made up mainly of the drafting Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney. Both vital for Estate planning and ensuring one’s affairs can be successfully managed. Similar to the work with regard to the administration of Estates, the Wills I prepare can be relatively straightforward but can also involve complex family arrangements, second families, farming and business interests.

I am proud of the fact that much of the work I receive is through client referrals. I can confidently say that all my clients can be assured of a friendly but professional and efficient service.


Jonathan Copper

For many years I predominantly practised family and civil law. I qualified as a Fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives in 1997 and in 1999 qualified as a solicitor.

I have experience of all types of litigation including housing, commercial, dispute resolution, disputed wills and probate, insolvency and debt recovery.

I have successfully concluded a case in the Supreme Court, which clarifies the law surrounding harassment: Hayes v Willoughby.

I am a member of ACTAPS which is the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists.

My main area of practice now is contentious probate advising upon the validity of wills, claims under the Inheritance (Provision for family and dependants) Act 1975 and disputes in relation to trusts.


Marta Espiga

I completed my law degree in Madrid in 1995. I moved to the UK in 1997 and qualified as a solicitor in 2004 after passing the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test. I have worked in private practice since then, having fourteen years post qualification experience.

I joined Sharman Law in May 2016 and I am now an Associate Solicitor with the firm. I advise on all aspects of Wills, Probate, Estate Planning, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Court of Protection applications. I deal on average with one hundred and thirty cases per year. The majority of the matters I deal with is in preparing Lasting Powers of Attorney and Wills which can be straight forward or more complex including Trusts and dealing with challenging family arrangements. I deal with about 25 estates per year and some of them are taxable estates that need IHT calculations and obtaining details from experts.

I completed the STEP Diploma in Trusts and Estates (England and Wales) in November 2017 and I am a full member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP).


Farida Ahmed

I qualified as a Private Client Solicitor in October 2022 and joined Sharmans in October 2023. I completed my LLB Law Degree (Hons) at the University of Bedfordshire, and my Legal Practice Course at Anglia Ruskin, Cambridge.

I specialise in Will drafting, preparation of Lasting Powers of Attorneys, applications for Grants of Probates and Letters of Administration, estate administration and Deputyship Applications.

I am currently a Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioner (STEP) Affiliate, working my way towards full membership as a Trusts and Estates Practitioner (TEP.) I am also a trained Dementia Friend, and I am experienced in working with adults and children with special needs. I like to get involved in the local community and fundraising for different charities.

I appreciate that clients will often come to me at difficult times in their lives, and I pride myself on being professional yet personable, friendly, and sensitive. I aim to deliver high quality, bespoke legal advice with high levels of client satisfaction.

I am Bedford born and raised and outside of work, I enjoy baking, cooking, going for walks, and spending time with family and friends.