Chairperson | Geneva
The total number of high net worth individuals continues to grow at the significant rate of around 5% per year, with 15.4 million HNWIs around the world (based on Capgemini's definition of an HNWI as an individual with US$1 million in wealth to invest).Features of this HNWI population are shifting too, as Asia overtakes North America as the location of the largest amount of HNWI wealth.
We represent many of the world’s top art collectors, museums and institutions. Our long history enables us to offer advice on everything from structuring transactions to challenging fraud.Aviation and marine
Buying a yacht or private jet should be a pleasure, not a headache. Our global team can cover all the technical aspects of each transaction, as well as the tax treatment of luxury assets.Commercial litigation
Our highly skilled commercial litigators assist with complex, multi-jurisdictional cases of all kinds. Whether acting for an investor, business or brand, our creative approach gets results.Estate planning, wills and succession
Whether you wish to protect family assets, navigate cross-border tax issues or benefit a good cause, our private client lawyers will discuss your priorities, advise on options and put a plan in place.
Families 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.Divorce and family
At difficult moments in life, you need the best advice available. As one of the largest and most experienced teams of family and divorce lawyers in the world, we’re here to help you through.Immigration
Whether you are an individual, a family or an employer, our lawyers know each country’s systems and speak the local language, helping you to navigate through what can be opaque processes.Private client
As a firm built around the needs of individuals and families, we offer an exceptional service to private clients. Wherever you are, and whatever you need, our lawyers are here to help.
Our lawyers have experience with all kinds of property transactions. Whether you’re a business building a global presence, or an individual looking to acquire a new home, we’re here to help.Tax
With a team of more than 150 specialist tax lawyers, who are qualified in jurisdictions around the world, we are perfectly placed to handle even the most complex, cross-border tax issues.Media and reputation
The publication of private or inaccurate information can seriously damage reputations. Should the worst happen, our media law team will quickly advise on how to mitigate any potential impact.Philanthropy
There is no single approach to philanthropy; what’s key is that your giving has the biggest impact possible. Whichever way you choose to donate, our team can advise on what is most effective.
We acted for high net worth individuals in the purchase of private aircraft, a used Bombardier Global 5000 and of a new Gulfstream G550. We also advised in the acquisition of a villa in Thailand by share purchase and the sale of a villa in Thailand by share sale.
Negotiating and implementing a settlement agreement between heirs, based both in the UK and in Italy, for a high net worth individual in the context of a succession whereby Italian forced heirship rules applied.
We worked alongside Brazilian counsel to advise a client on the FATCA and CRS reporting requirements applicable to their complex succession structure for his offshore assets. These included a private trust company, trusts, companies and other entities, a private investment fund and multiple investment accounts, and involved the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, Switzerland and the US. The advice also needed to take into account the client's plans to relocate his family from Brazil to London, and possibly thereafter to New York City.
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.
Represented an art collector who purchased what was represented to be a painting by a well-known American painter, but which was revealed to be one of many forged paintings in a major art forgery scandal. In a similar case, Withers London acted for a collector against an auction house when he discovered that they had been selling numerous paintings by the same forger.
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.
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.
Our client based in North Asia, and with assets over US$1b across Asia and the UK, was concerned about his succession planning, particularly in regards to the impact of this on a child of the family with a disability. We worked with him to navigate the legal issues involved across those multiple jurisdictions and to create a plan that always had the needs of the family at the forefront.
We advised a high net worth individual in connection with obtaining a USD$150 million line of credit from a major US bank, secured by museum quality works of art.
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.
Withers was called on to act for a well-known managing partner of an international investment firm when his reputation was under threat. Our robust approach to reputation management prevented the filing of false statements in a form U-5 (Uniform Termination Notice for Securities Industry Registration) that would have had a detrimental effect on his future career and earnings.
As a firm, we are best known for helping globally successful individuals to protect their interests internationally - in this recent matter we helped secure water-tight contracts for two C-suite directors as they relocated from the United States to the United Kingdom, while our transatlantic team reviewed their changed tax circumstances.
3 February 2023 | article
18 July 2022 | firm news
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