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City from above

Personal and closely held business planning

Wealth structuring and family business planning often present complex and sometimes unexpected legal, tax and compliance issues, particularly when you’re globally mobile. We combine legal and business knowhow to solve tax and non-tax problems, and meet long-term personal and family goals.

Whether you need help with estate and tax planning, trust structuring, succession planning, wealth taxation or tax litigation, we take a proactive and creative approach to problem solving. 

Our global reach, multidisciplinary team and availability around the clock means we can support you virtually anywhere with cross-border interests and immediate needs. 

Our personal planning and family business services focus on wealth enhancement and transfer for individuals, and business succession planning. This includes traditional succession planning and all related aspects of estate, gift and income tax, trust structuring, and individual and international taxation. 

“A very high-level firm … They identified many issues in my trusts and estates matter, handled by another firm previously, and were able to redress these issues quickly to the great benefit of my family.”

Client, Chambers High Net Worth rankings – Private Wealth Law 2022

Guiding high-net-worth individuals, their families and a variety of family businesses not only requires legal, tax and business experience, but also the ability to act as family counselor and understand unique family dynamics.  

We provide a positive approach to transition planning for closely held businesses and complicated family situations. Often, our advice on educating younger family members in the handling of wealth is as valuable in securing an efficient transfer of wealth between generations as an estate planning technique that may save millions in transfer taxes.  

Estate tax planning is one of our main areas of practice. We regularly provide the full range of support services to individual and corporate fiduciaries, and we do everything possible to facilitate trust and estate settlements. We also structure trusts and family holding structures, providing a full range of tax and legal services.  

Additionally, many publicly owned corporate clients benefit from our planning services at senior- and middle-management levels. This supports valuable younger employees whose planning needs are often as acute as more highly compensated employees. 

We also provide a variety of services related to employment taxation and compensations packages for top executives of multinational companies.  

Together, our services provide an efficient and effective approach to wealth planning. 


  • In Luxembourg, we advised an entrepreneur on a major Alternative Investment Fund Manager (AIFM) company acquisition. The sellers were another branch of the family so the matter involved complex analysis, including:  

    • international tax considerations for double tax treaty tie-breaker rules;

    • mutual agreement procedure outcomes regarding the client’s future tax residence; and  

    • tax and regulatory considerations regarding the acquisition structuring of a regulated AIFM  

  • In Italy and the UK, we assisted an Italian family, the former owner of a multi-million-euro manufacturing group sold to a US multinational, on the structuring of a family trust which has a non-domiciled UK resident beneficiary. This included:  

    • double tax treaty international tax considerations regarding the trust’s tax residence;

    • direct and indirect trust taxation; and

    • taxation of trust beneficiary distributions  

  • In Italy, we assisted a family selling their leading healthcare company to a major pharmaceutical firm. We managed all private tax and wealth issues further to the liquidity event and filed a specific family reorganisation tax ruling. We proposed an innovative tax regime solution for the transfer of minority shareholdings to an existing family holding. The Italian tax authorities approved the ruling, providing significant tax savings for our client.   

  • In Italy, we assisted on various projects regarding the structuring of stock option plans and employment packages for top executives of Italian and international groups, also in the context of their relocation.   

  • In Italy, we assist a high-net-worth family with their trust and succession structure. We also assist many ultra-high-net-worth international families with complex tax residency and income tax issues associated with the transfer of residence to Italy under the ‘new resident’ tax regime (100k substitutive tax applicable on all non-Italian sourced income). 

  • We provided rapid assistance to the Ukrainian CFO of an Austrian holding with regard to his tax and family migration to Austria due to the Russian invasion. Within days, we provided an overview of the taxation and social security treatment of his salary combined with tax planning ideas in the six European countries in which the holding operates. We prepared six jurisdiction agreements and a new shares and securities asset holding structure.  

  • We have managed complex relocation processes and consequent tax and wealth planning for numerous high-net-worth individuals moving to Italy, including an internationally renowned artistic director. The Italian Revenue Agency ruled positively for our client. However, due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, our client was unable to transfer their residence to Italy by the deadline. With the client still keen to relocate, we put forward a ground-breaking case based on the OECD tax resident guidelines, and won, enabling our client to apply again for the special tax regime. 

  • Our lawyers acted as court-appointed guardians ad litem for a series of trusts where the trustees and beneficiaries wanted to form a USD500–600 million joint investment fund. Because of our legal and business experience, the parties and the court requested that we be more involved in the undertaking than would normally be required of a guardian ad litem. Accordingly, we advised all the parties and the court in establishing the fund pursuant to the provisions of the trust documents, advised the trustees and investment advisors of their rights and obligations with respect to the operation of the fund, shepherded the entire process through the courts and identified and consulted with financial advisors and other financial professionals on establishing and operating the fund. 

  • We have represented trustees of trusts serving as general partners of operating entities conducting major real estate development on a national scale, requiring counsel and advice on day-to-day business operations as well as on issues related specifically to the administration of the trusts. 

  • We have represented trustees and beneficiaries to negotiate family settlement agreements that would otherwise have become contested matters. In one case, we represented a corporate trustee when a decedent's spouse from a second marriage threatened suit. This surviving spouse wanted her claim against the trust satisfied, although the primary trust asset was a closely held business partially owned and totally operated by the children of the first marriage and the decedent's brother. We worked closely with counsel for the spouse and separate counsel for the children to retain the business and achieve a settlement among the various parties, thereby avoiding litigation which would have been severely detrimental to the business. 

  • Our lawyers have represented clients in succession planning for closely held corporations, which not only requires legal and business experience but also skill in dealing with family and personal issues. As an example, we represented a business in the transfer of equity ownership and control to the sole owner's children in an equitable manner, despite a complicated family situation involving several children who were involved in the business, spouses of other children who were involved in the business, and other children who were not involved in the business. We helped the clients establish dynasty trusts to hold voting stock for the children involved in the business and to provide non-voting stock and other assets for the children who were not involved in the business, with parity for a child's spouse who was involved in the business. This highly negotiated transaction resulted in a comfortable working arrangement for the entire family because all felt that they had been treated fairly. 

  • We represented a family in a claim against a lawyer who had allegedly been negligent in administering the estate of the family patriarch. After extensive discovery and preparation of expert opinions, the family obtained a settlement for the limits of the lawyer's professional liability coverage. We then developed a plan to make transfers to new trusts which salvaged the overall plan of the patriarch and, over the life of the trusts, will save in excess of USD40 million of generation-skipping transfer taxes. 

  • We have helped create (and continue to administer) numerous private foundations as well as many supporting organizations for clients with charitable inclinations. 

  • We assisted with a restructuring of family trusts so that the family lines without grandchildren received early distributions that were not subject to the generation-skipping transfer tax, while the family lines with grandchildren received the assets that were exempt from the generation-skipping transfer tax.  

  • We have represented a number of families to reform trusts to permit use of a ‘total return’ approach, where appropriate under state law, which has permitted trustees to make annual distributions equal to a fixed percentage of the value of the trust, rather than traditional trust accounting income. This has enabled the trusts to avoid selling highly appreciated equities in order to invest in fixed-income securities.