Inheritance, estate and gift taxes

Withers advises many of the world’s most successful families on how to pass their wealth to future generations.

Perhaps you are a US-UK couple looking to plan your estate, which includes assets in both jurisdictions. Perhaps you are not resident in the UK but are facing a double tax bill on an inheritance there. Perhaps you are UK resident and domiciled, but wish to make lifetime gifts to members of your family.

Whether your wealth is based entirely in your country of origin or is spread widely around the world, we can assist with inheritance tax planning. We use flexible trusts, family limited partnerships and limited liability companies to ensure that wealth passes to the intended beneficiaries, and the government does not take more than its fair share.

Our international reach means that we are frequently asked to assist with cross-border cases where assets may be taxed twice. We also advise when penalties have been incurred, as in one case when we advised the widow of a British man whose otherwise English estate included a holiday home in the US. The estate administrators had not realised that US estate tax and UK inheritance tax would need to be paid on the property. A missed filing deadline led to our client facing penalties at a personally difficult time, however we were able to resolve the matter with the IRS, avoiding cashflow and administrative problems.

‘We’re best-placed globally to project-manage out of different offices in a time-sensitive way,’ says Chris King, a special counsel in our London probate team. ‘We bring together the entire picture to make sure the immediate succession processes work from a tax perspective.’

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Recognition

Ranked in Band 1 for private client for the last 16 years

Ranked in top tier for personal tax, trust and probate

UK top 25 private client law firm 2017

Leading firm for private wealth

Leading firm - Tier 2 for tax and trust in Singapore

Leading firm - Band 1 for private client in Hong Kong

Wealth Management - Law Firm of the Year 2017

Meet the team

How the team can help

Track record

An estate executor

Withers has extensive experience and knowledge of inheritance tax issues around the world. This means that we are often called to step in when problems arise. One executor of a will came to us when he wanted to take action against his late spouse's solicitor. We were able successfully to argue that the solicitor had failed to effectively advise about US tax liabilities on the spouse's worldwide assets during the making of her UK will.

US citizen buying UK property

Buying property in a different country can be more complicated between some jurisdictions and in particular for a US buyer in the UK. Our integrated US team in London working with our UK tax and property teams were able to assist our US client to buy the UK residential property, utilizing debt finance from his US trust structure. It was important to get the interplay between US and UK estate taxes right for him in light of him also becoming a UK tax resident, so we have advised on his broader estate planning too.

Brazilian family

Aided a Brazilian family with significant US commercial real estate holdings to restructure the ownership of this property to avoid US estate tax. Also devised arrangements for Brazilian residents to create legitimate structures that are protected from Brazilian taxation, permit efficient repatriation of capital to Brazil when needed and ensure optimal flexibility and family control to respond to changing needs and tax laws in the future.

Chilean businessman

Represented a prominent Chilean businessman to secure and sustain his assets for his US-born descendants by allowing him to avoid US estate tax and reduce his Chilean property tax payments using usufruct transactions.

Cross border wills

Advising a number of clients who are domiciled in India and Pakistan on the structure of their wills to maximize the possibility of tax treaties with the UK applying on death. This can protect UK assets from charges to UK inheritance tax notwithstanding the clients being UK deemed domiciled through long term residence.

Post death tax planning

Following the unexpected death of the principal of a large trading business, post death tax planning to maximize inheritance tax reliefs, both on death and on the death of the surviving spouse in due course. This has involved complicated tax, trust and corporate issues to avoid significant tax charges on the restructure and a number of clearance applications with HMRC.<br />

Executors of multi-jurisdictional estate

Advised the Executors of a complex multi-jurisdictional estate on its administration and securing Business Property Relief from inheritance tax on private family company shares.

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