Trusts, foundations and stress testing
Trusts and foundations are useful ways to hold and protect your wealth, especially when you have family members and assets located in different countries.We establish trusts and family foundations in more than 100 jurisdictions around the world. We also have expertise in using trusts in relation to Sharia law and other legal regimes that restrict the manner in which assets can be disposed.
A personal service
There is no 'one-size-fits-all' approach when it comes to the preservation of wealth. If this is something that you would like to consider, our lawyers will listen carefully to your needs and help identify your options. A trust or foundation might be most suitable if you wish to ensure that while your children can enjoy their inheritance, the assets are not split between the different family branches.We take into account where and in what form your wealth is held, as well as the citizenship/residence of the settlor/founder, trustees, other power holders, directors, administrators and intended beneficiaries. All of this enables us to provide holistic advice in the interests of preserving the wealth for the benefit of you and your family.
If and/or when it becomes clear that existing structures no longer suit your goals or when the political situation, treaties, legislation, case law, changing tax regimes or other developments indicate a need for the structure to be reviewed, we can advise on restructuring to ensure that your structures continue to reflect your needs and adapt to the world's ever-changing environments.
Building robust structuresStress testing trusts and foundations can help to preserve your family fortune, while being tax efficient, ensuring compliance with ever greater regulation and reducing the risk of future litigation.
Bringing together global expertise with specialist knowledge of political landscapes, trust structuring, wealth planning, succession disputes and governance, we stress test trusts, foundations and their related corporate structures from the planning stage onward. Our aim is to prevent or minimise difficulties and resulting exposure, with particular regard to the concerns or vulnerabilities of your family.
By understanding your goals and family values, we are able to advise on the best ways to minimise risk of unfavourable outcomes, such as attacks on the structure by fiscal authorities, government bodies, disappointed heirs and divorcing spouses. We aim to simplify and contextualise solutions and help implement unique governance structures, which ensure that your wishes are suitably embedded. We also identify and anticipate existing or potential chinks in the armour of a structure and how best to secure against and minimise unnecessary risks and exposure to potentially costly litigation or damaging political pressure in the future.
Disabled trustsDisabled trusts are created to look after a disabled person in the event that their main carers are no longer able to meet their care needs, which is an area we have extensive experience in advising families on this kind of structure. Our lawyers will discuss everything from how the trust will be administered to making it more tax-efficient and how payments from a trust might affect entitlement to state benefits.
Italian forced heirship rules
Advising a UK high net worth individual who inherited an estate with worldwide assets settled in trusts and corporate structures in relation to a claim put forward by his siblings on the basis of the Italian forced heirship rules.
Reorganization of trust structures
We advised a long term UK resident European family on the reorganization of their trust structures in light of potentially penal changes to their home tax code. Private trust companies and trusts were converted into limited liability partnerships with the general partner mimicking the control and governance mechanisms previously used in the private trust company.
European family with US connections
We advised our client, a non-domiciled UK resident and his family on a new structure that was required to be efficient from a US and UK perspective and with trusts designed to optimize tax efficiency for his children on the event of his death. Our family team also advised on a multi-jurisdictional post nuptial agreement.
Monaco based family
Our London based private client team work with clients located across Europe, including those jurisdictions where we don't have an office, but a presence and history in advising. We were able to advise this Monaco based family on their global affairs, including their trusts and other asset holding vehicles. The objective was to ensure UK tax efficiency and seamless family succession of core assets and investments.
Structuring trusts for wealthy Argentine family
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.
Venezuelan family's assets
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.
Greater China client
We assisted our client, based in China, to set up a private trust company structure to hold the shares in a company that was set to be listed in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. A complex structure was required, to take into consideration various issues including asset protection, tax, disclosure, governance and succession planning.
Multi generational South East Asia family
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.
A wealthy European family
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.
The estate of a leading British retailer
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.
The UK "non-dom" regime
"Non-doms" have returned to the political spotlight.
In our series of articles we explore what the UK "non-dom" regime is, what it may look like in the future as a result of potential political change and the alternatives regimes available across the world.
Read our short articles below to find out more.
4 October 2023 | Firm news
Withers secures victory for client in long-running property and insolvency dispute
22 July 2020 | Article
Trust Registration Service and Fifth Money Laundering Directive… are we nearly there?
3 July 2019 | Blog
Increased scrutiny over tax planning makes it necessary for clients to pursue high-quality wealth planning advice
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Families and family officesFamilies call on us when they want a firm that understands their needs – whether they are looking to pass down wealth, set up and run a family office, or make their mark through philanthropy. Find Out More
High net worth individualsWith complex interests that often span several jurisdictions, highly successful people need seamless advice. With a full-service offering across our offices around the world, we provide just that. Find Out More
Trustees, executors and fiduciariesEven the most experienced advisors will need legal support on complex matters such as cross-border tax queries or third-party claims. We can help you meet your obligations with confidence. Find Out More
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