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 structures

Stress 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.

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20 February 2020 - Video

International trusts: how can you protect them?

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2021 Chambers High Net Worth, top ranked for private wealth disputes (Band 1)

Finalist for STEP Philanthropy Team of the Year 2020

Finalist: Contentious Trusts and Estates Team of the Year (large firm) (2020)

Leading firm - Private wealth law in the USA

Leading firm - Private wealth law in the USA

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

Leading firm for private wealth

Ranked in top tier for personal tax, trust and probate

UK top 25 private client law firm 2017

Wealth Management - Law Firm of the Year 2017

Leading firm - Band 1 for private client law in Singapore

Leading firm - Tier 2 for tax and trust in Singapore

Leading firm - Band 1 for private client in Hong Kong

Managing political risk

We are in uncertain times – politically, economically and personally. While there are many challenges, we can help individuals and businesses take practical steps to reduce their exposure.

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How we can help

Meet the team

Track record

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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