Benesch’s International Private Client Group provides holistic, multi-disciplinary legal services to wealthy, global families. Many of the clients of the International Private Client Group manage their own wealth (which can reach into the multibillions of dollars) and direct their own investments. Clients of the practice range from entrepreneurs wishing to establish a family office, to established global families managing their own wealth in the multibillions, to some of the world’s most renowned trust companies. Our clients are “global” in scale because they often have family members, assets, companies and businesses in multiple jurisdictions throughout the world. We represent clients throughout the world, including clients resident in Latin American, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Hong Kong, Southeast Asia and, of course, the United States.
The International Private Client Group taps into resources across the firm to provide families, family offices and trust companies with a wide range of legal services tailored to their unique needs. Whether advising on a large cross-border real estate or other acquisition or developing a tax-efficient global plan to transfer family wealth to future generations, the International Private Client team has the knowledge, experience and resources to represent these clients in everything they do.
Key Strengths of the International Private Client Group
Depth of knowledge. The International Private Client Group has advised on and managed a variety of very complex, global structures and its lawyers pride themselves on being able to compartmentalize and reduce the often challenging legal issues into manageable solutions for clients by delivering efficient, strategic and results-oriented solutions.
The International Private Client Practice is versatile and focuses on delivering innovative, yet practical, legal strategies and solutions.
Our lawyers understand the particular needs of our clients, especially families seeking best-in-class, sophisticated legal services. Accordingly, whether it is a complex international tax planning engagement, an IRS audit, a corporate / real estate acquisition or disposition or development and registration of intellectual property, our lawyers are geared and ready to work to satisfy our client’s unique needs.
Our lawyers work collaboratively with existing family advisers, including other legal counsel, trustees, accountants and other trusted advisers.
Representation of Families and Family Offices
The International Private Client Group represents U.S. and non-U.S.-based families and family offices, with deep experience advising these clients on their cross-border financial and personal interests involving the United States. With respect to non-U.S. families this may include family members possessing U.S. citizenship or residency, ownership of U.S.-based property (such as vacation properties, automobiles, yachts and aircraft), acquisition and disposition of U.S. businesses and real estate, establishing a U.S.-based family office or immigration to the United States. Similarly, for U.S. families, this may include acquisition and disposition of global investments (both businesses and financial assets), expatriation from the United States, ownership of global personal property and establishment of family offices and global tax structuring.
Representation of Trust Companies
In addition to representing families, individuals and family offices, our International Private Client Practice represents the financial institutions that service these groups, including some of the world’s most well-known and respected trust companies and private banks. We understand trust companies’ role as fiduciaries and their need for first-class, multidisciplinary global legal service.
Tax and Private Wealth Services
Our team routinely develops global structures designed to holistically address U.S. gift and estate tax exposure, while also mitigating global income taxes. Our experience in this area includes leveraging global tax regimes to reduce global tax burden, use of tax treaties and strategic deployment of global investment structures, managing global tax reporting, global taxation of trusts and managing global information reporting, including counseling clients on compliance with the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and Common Reporting Standards as they are adopted throughout the globe. The International Private Client team has deep experience assisting families manage, and often minimize, their obligations under newly-enacted tax reporting and information exchange regimes throughout the world.
Succession Planning and Wealth Management
Our attorneys regularly represent families in multigenerational asset transfers, income tax issues and charitable giving techniques, among numerous other areas. We offer 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 our client’s business and believe the existence of a succession plan underscores commitment to the long-term growth and success of a business. Our focus is in proactively designing and implementing a succession plan to preserve, protect and transfer assets.
Family Office Formation
When partnering with clients, our attorneys focus on understanding clients’ goals and familiarizing 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. Our client's 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.
Corporate and Direct Investing Services
Members of Benesch’s corporate and business law teams are an integral part of the International Private Client Group. Our corporate lawyers specialize in representing families and family offices in all aspects of their business and investing needs. We help our clients navigate the complex cultural, legal, tax and business challenges posed by cross-border transactions. The International Private Client team routinely assists families and family offices develop and execute direct investing plans involving all industries including real estate, hospitality, oil and gas, life sciences, technology and manufacturing.
Further, Benesch is known as a “deal shop” - we bring connectivity to the table. When desired, 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 transactions over the past few years 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 provides the family office with 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
The International Private Client Group clients are able to tap into our Real Estate & Environmental Practice Group that includes more than 30 professionals. This group is recognized throughout 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.