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Family Offices and Independent Sponsors

Benesch has a long history of helping families make and manage investments, plan income tax and estate strategies, and preserve the transfer of wealth from one generation to the next. We offer legal services designed to help wealthy families and business owners set up and manage family offices, pooled investment structures, private trust structures and foundations. Our background and substantial activity in the M&A arena helps us to assist clients in making informed investments and tax decisions designed to preserve and expand their family’s wealth. We are currently representing several multibillion dollar family offices in a variety of transactions across the country.

Our Family Office Practice Group is comprised attorneys from a variety of disciplines from across the firm – private equity, mergers and acquisitions, real estate, risk management, estate planning, capital raising, fund formation and tax planning, among others. Our multidisciplinary team provide a full array of services to fit the legal needs of family offices. We partner with our family office clients to source deals, sell deals and provide added value in terms of cost containment, retention and pricing strategies.

Family Office Formation

When partnering with clients, our attorneys dig in to understand clients’ goals and familiarize ourselves with the specifics so that we can offer the most astute advice. For those looking to establish a family office, we initially help determine the best framework and structure. Family office formation and staffing starts with our advisors acquiring a detailed understanding of each family’s short- and long-term goals. Your investment objectives, risk profiles, investment horizons, philanthropic goals and succession concerns are all part of the picture.

We work with families to form the entity, develop the documentation for its capital structure and governance, and suggest best practices for day-to-day management. We provide legal advice on employment and labor relations, providing counsel on benefits administration, executive contracts and compensation, confidentiality agreements and dispute resolution. Crafting agreements between family members, such as family constitutions, and succession planning are focal points of our practice.

Transaction and Investment Counseling

Benesch is known as a “deal shop” - we bring connectivity to the table. We link investors to sources of deal flow, capital to smart deals, and deals to management teams. When we see a relationship that we think will work harmoniously for two parties, we introduce them to each other. Over the years, our attorneys have represented investors who formed or invested in funds such as buyout, venture, mezzanine, distressed business, hedge, real estate, secondary, hybrids and fund of funds. Our successful track record in these transactions is directly translatable to family offices that want to invest.

We counsel clients in all aspects of transactions, including diligence, negotiation, and documentation. Benesch has completed hundreds of purchase, sale and joint venture deals and our attorneys thoroughly understand the importance of moving the process forward. Each transaction has a pace to it that must be maintained to preserve the momentum of negotiations and get a deal closed.

As we all know, family offices have taken the lead in many instances in leaving a blind pool investment and either relying on their own team to find the right investment or relying on independent sponsors. We understand that dynamic very well. And we also understand the terms that a family office should be negotiating with an independent sponsor that brings the office an attractive target.

Our family office representation also includes legal counsel on matters concerning federal and state securities laws, private securities offerings, investment advisory services, state filings and related registrations. Within the family, we are able to advise on creation of private trust companies, credit arrangements and business agreements among family members.

Real Estate Strategy and Management

Benesch’s family office clients are able to tap into a Real Estate & Environmental Practice Group that includes more than 30 professionals. We are recognized throughout the Midwest and the country as a top advisor to buyers, sellers, developers, business owners, landlords, tenants, lenders and borrowers. Our services span the scope of real estate activity, from structuring complex deals to advising clients on daily portfolio management. Our family office representation includes real estate transactions on the investment side, as well as the ongoing maintenance of existing properties, including property acquisition, development, construction project management, leasing, property sales and ongoing operation of real estate assets

Tax

Benesch’s tax attorneys help family offices in constructing comprehensive plans to address income sources and tax implications, as well as to mitigate tax burdens. If tax controversies should arise, we are able to represent family offices before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and state and local tax authorities. We make sure that record-keeping is thorough and all parts of the family office are tax compliant.

Succession Planning and Wealth Management

Our attorneys regularly represent families in multigenerational asset transfer, income tax issues and charitable giving techniques, among numerous other areas. Benesch offers planning services that integrate our clients’ business interests, family estate planning goals, strategic tax needs and retirement plan objectives. We view succession planning as an investment in the future of the client’s business and believe the existence of a succession plan underscores commitment to a business’s long-term growth. Our focus is in proactively designing and implementing a succession plan to preserve, protect and transfer assets.