Chairperson | Geneva
We have represented successful individuals and families for over 125 years.Today, we are the only global law firm dedicated to the personal and private capital needs of high-net-worth individuals and families.
Our clients have achieved success in many fields, from senior executives to multi-generational families, to owners, managers and investors in private capital and some of the world's wealthiest people. In Europe, we have represented 66% of The Sunday Times top 100 Rich List and over 25% of The Forbes 400 List of the Wealthiest Americans; in Asia we act for 35% of the Hong Kong Forbes Rich List.
We act not just as private client lawyers but trusted advisers, looking to build strong relationships with yourself and other professionals advising you. This is one of the reasons we are proud to have been asked to represent families down the generations.
When our client was diagnosed with an aggressive form of early onset dementia, he was forced to retire earlier than he or his family had expected and planned for. Leaving his job overseas and relocating to the UK brought about greater difficulties. We assisted his children as their father's attorney in resolving a complex retirement and permanent health insurance package with his employers. We also made an application to the Court of Protection for its approval of the package.
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.
A typical case involved co-ordinating multi-jurisdictional succession and probate processes in a large international estate that had a global spread of beneficiaries with individual tax and asset allocation requirements. We successfully defended a challenge by HMRC to the deceased's domicile status, dealt with the presentation of a complex double tax treaty claim relating to immediate estate and Inheritance taxes, advised on the management of cross jurisdictional income and capital gains tax exposure during the administration period and on conflicts of laws issues impacting on the burden of tax liabilities, generally.
A team in Milan and London delivered the first successful application for non-dom status in Italy to a client and his family.
Creating multiple trusts, and private trust company arrangements to govern them, for a billionaire Mexican family to ensure compliance, confidentiality and efficiency in the management of their non-Mexican assets.
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.
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.
Advised clients with cross-border interests in relation to the construction of private trust company structures, which effectively allowed for family business succession planning, cost reduction and greater control over certain trust decisions and tax minimization in the jurisdiction of domicile and internationally.
Advised on the restructuring of a Colombian family's offshore assets in connection with Colombian tax reform.
Advised a Colombian family on the surrender of their US passports in order to come into compliance with their US tax and reporting obligations and thereby cease to be subject to US compliance in a highly tax efficient manner.
Advised major financial institutions in and outside of Mexico on the use of sophisticated tax compliant investment structures for their private clients to deal with ongoing developments in Mexican and international tax compliance regimes.
Advised on the creation of a long term governance and succession planning structure for one of the wealthiest families in Argentina in order to ensure family control of the business across generations, educate younger generation family members on governance responsibilities and protect the value of the holdings.
Represented a wealthy Argentine family to structure trusts for both their personal and business interests. Our planning allowed this family to minimize domestic wealth tax, ensure compliance with US tax regulations, form a voting trust for the family business and facilitate commercial lending transactions.
Creating US revocable and irrevocable trusts for the US children of Peruvian parents to enable the children to benefit from their parents' Peruvian wealth without causing US estate taxation and optimal income taxation.
Advised on the sale of assets in Venezuela and global residency, immigration and planning needs for a Venezuelan family needing to temporarily or permanently leave their country.
Acted for a Venezuelan family concerned about security and control of the family's assets now and for future generations. This resulted in a comprehensive restructuring of their worldwide assets, including the reorganization of existing trusts and creation of a flexible set of arrangements for the migration of trusts to separate jurisdictions for different beneficiaries.
Our client is a prominent Canadian entrepreneur with US ties, who we have advised for over a decade. Amongst an array of legal services, this has included coordinating her worldwide succession planning structure and advising on postnuptial co-ordination for her second marriage to protect her substantial global business interests.
We advised a wealthy a Kazakh family and set up a wealth planning structure designed to tax efficiently fund family members residing in the UK.
Our client, a company based in the Channel Islands, was the owner of a significant property in London, for which we had been advising them on a long-running planning dispute to transform the site, which had been decommissioned as a hospital. When a decision was made to in fact sell the property, it was anticipated there would be significant liability to capital gains tax on the basis that it would be treated as a residential property. By detailed analysis of the legislation we were able to advise that the property should not be subject to tax on sale.
The trustees wished to transfer the business of opening the Palace to the public, to a new charity that would allow for the maximization of revenue through gift aid receipts and increased access to grants. Our cross-departmental team put together an innovative structure that allowed the often competing obligations and requirements of the Charity Commission, HMRC and the Palace to be met and the charity opened for business in 2017.
We advised our client, who was formerly living in the UK, in his relocation to Italy under the new Italian resident non-domiciled regime, which he has been authorized status of. This was the first green light issued from the Italian tax authorities on the newly-introduced regime, made possible by our cross border team in Milan and London.
We advised the manager of an international football club to negotiate a very complex scenario around the taxation of image rights, where the negotiating parties had very different backgrounds and interests and rules between the UK and their European country of residence varied greatly. Our multilingual team in the UK were able to liaise with the team in his home country to provide a seamless solution. Image rights are a classic area where one needs to understand both sides of the common law/civil law equation, which few firms could have provided.
We were instructed by this family, consisting of several members spanning two generations, in relation to setting up a private trust company structure (PTC). The PTC acts as a trustee of a master trust to hold the family office, family business and family investment entity. The beneficiaries of the master trust were a series of "feeder" trusts established for the benefit of each of the family members and their respective families together with a number of charitable entities. In addition, we advised the family on establishing a sophisticated governance structure, including a family council and family constitution.
Assisting and advising this family based in Taiwan with extensive business interests and assets in multiple jurisdictions. Advice includes a multi-disciplinary team covering succession planning, immigration and cross-border investment.
We worked with a South American family with significant business interests when they chose to liquidate holdings in a multi-billion dollar business outside their home country. The family wanted to diversify their exposure and explore more sophisticated investment opportunities. We advised on the creation of a holding structure for their investments and helped them to establish a family office, based in New York, to advise it.
A European family asked us to create an overarching trust structure to hold their commercial interests in the UK, Greece, Cyprus, Singapore and elsewhere. Resident in Monaco and London, the family needed the structure to operate as an estate plan, enabling wealth to be passed between generations. This was all done in conjunction with a family constitution governing the management of their wealth.
Our Singapore office helped a wealthy Asian family to design and implement a wealth-holding structure that would segregate assets of different classes. Our clients hoped to rationalise a disparate set of holding structures, protect their assets and implement some effective family governance, and we were able to meet all their objectives.
A married couple who held shares in a US company came to us after coming into considerable wealth when it was sold. We helped them to handle the complex tax obligation arising from the windfall and advised on how to protect their privacy. We also discussed routes to philanthropic giving, an area that they were keen to explore and one in which Withers has considerable experience.
We assisted in the probate and estate administration of a member of the family behind a successful British retail business. The deceased was UK resident ‘non dom’, but with arguable common law domicile, and survived by a spouse, children and grandchildren. He held assets globally, some within a complex web of lifetime trusts, and had made wills in different jurisdictions. We managed the difficult domicile claim, co-ordinated probate applications globally and balanced the dynastic plan for the business.
When he became engaged to a Swiss citizen, the son of a high-profile UK businessman asked us to help him obtain a British Passport and expatriate from the US. We were also asked to draft a prenuptial agreement. Timing was of the essence but as a global, full-service firm we created a team of immigration, family and private client lawyers to meet tight deadlines.
We represented the son and heir of a well-known American painter in cases arising out of a major art fraud worth an estimated $100 million. Our client had been among numerous victims of a Manhattan dealer who had committed the deceit to fund his extravagant lifestyle.
15 February 2023 | event
25 January 2023 | article
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