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Taylor Wessing is one of a handful of law firms offering Private Client services on a true international basis with particular strength in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. It attracts an enviable portfolio of German and international clients seeking its expertise in a wide range of services from domestic and international succession planning to family foundations and the structuring of our clients’ (worldwide) assets.

Our clients include high net worth individuals, multinational families, privately owned businesses and family offices. And while there is no “one fits it all” solution, the key issues faced by our clients are centred around a number of common themes – namely, ensuring a smooth succession from one family generation to another, mitigating the worst effects of taxation, avoiding family disputes (through structuring and effective governance), and protecting key assets. These issues are becoming even more complex in an international context. Taylor Wessing is unique in having an international team of more than 40 dedicated private client lawyers that not only understand these key issues but are also highly experienced in the handling of matters with cross-border implications. This allows us to provide our clients with responsive, consistent and integrated advice.

Recognised as a market leader for many years, our German and international Private Client team consists of leading experts in domestic and international estates, foundations and trusts, with particular regard to multi-jurisdictional tax and inheritance issues, as well as international asset structuring. We also have specialists in domestic and international probate, family foundations or charitable organizations, contentious trusts, family and inheritance law issues. We are well aware that those issues are among the most important and sensitive business and private issues for our clients. Our partners therefore take every care to offer insightful, sensitive and professional advice to our clients.

Areas of expertise

  • Asset protection

    Asset protection has been gaining in importance as the targeted preservation of private assets against access by creditors (banks, fiscal authorities, spouse, etc.). This equally applies to both high net worth individuals and entrepreneurs. Moreover, recent legislation and jurisdiction have steadily increased the liability risks incurred by members of supervisory, advisory and management boards as well as managing directors. It is therefore of crucial importance to protect private assets against such new risks. At the same time, asset protection measures are becoming ever more complex, especially if assets are spread throughout the world or otherwise subject to external relationships. Taylor Wessing boasts a team of experienced, globally networked lawyers with in-depth expertise in the implementation of global asset protection measures.
    Our consultancy in this regard focuses on structuring that permits private assets to be shielded against entrepreneurial risks. The relevant measures include the establishment of domestic family foundations or the use of ‟marital property swings”. Another frequently applied means of structuring is a transfer of the family home.

    View all our Asset protection experts
  • Charities & philanthropy

    For many individuals and families, making a difference to lives and communities through philanthropy can be the culmination of their life’s work. A family charity can be a great opportunity to contribute to a range of good causes and can help to engage younger generations in the process of running the charity and in the work it undertakes whilst developing an understanding of family values. We advise across all aspects of charity and trust law, in particular on issues relating to the formation and governance of charities, not-for-profit organisations, social enterprises and private trusts. Our practice covers the establishment of new charities by businesses, livery companies and families and subsequent advice on all aspects of their administration, operations, taxation and dealings with the charity commissions. We also handle disputes that arise in relation to the administration of charities, including advice to charity trustees on how they should deal with disputes that the charity may have with third parties.

    View all our Charities & philanthropy experts
  • Disputes in family businesses

    Disputes between the shareholders of family-controlled businesses occur frequently and are often caused by differing personal and family interests, or by different opinions regarding business decisions. Such disputes not only strain the relationships between the shareholders but, since family members often manage the businesses, they can interfere with important business decisions. We have extensive experience in handling such conflicts and advising shareholders of family-controlled businesses on establishing suitable dispute resolution mechanisms before a conflict arises as well as in conflict situations. These include implementing alternative forms of dispute resolution such as mediation. We advise and represent family members or their businesses in out-of-court disputes as well as in court proceedings.

    View all our Disputes in family businesses experts
  • Domestic, international estates & inheritance

    We advise individuals and families on their estate planning. This begins with a thorough understanding of the individual’s/family’s objectives and goals, together with an in-depth analysis of their current asset structuring. Implementing the intended succession typically involves tax planning, structuring and drafting wills, and contracts of inheritance. In addition we advise heirs through complex inheritance and probate issues and represent them in out-of-court disputes, as well as in court proceedings.
    Today, it is common that members of a family have residences in several different countries and regions. Owning assets in different countries around the world can greatly complicate the probate and succession process. Our lawyers are proficient in international probate issues, the drafting of wills and inheritance contracts within diverse jurisdictions, and the interplay between the succession laws of involved countries. We aim, through asset protection structures, to avoid the difficulties that can arise through probate procedures in different countries.

    View all our Domestic, international estates & inheritance experts
  • Estate disputes

    We provide expert and sensitive advice to heirs, legatees, executors and those family members, who are entitled to a compulsory share, to resolve estate disputes. Such disputes are invariably complex and sometimes painful for those involved. Wherever possible our approach is to diffuse conflicts at an early stage. If this is not possible subsequent court proceedings are handled with the aim of protecting clients from the unexpected and achieving the best possible outcome.

    View all our Estate disputes experts
  • Executorships & advice of executors

    Executors are key to securing an efficient succession. To fulfil the tasks, duties and responsibilities of an executor requires deep insight into the family sphere as well as a certain level of understanding of the estate and its implications. We are trusted executors over the estates of our clients and also control commercial investments as executors. On behalf of heirs, we also advise in relation to all matters of executorships including proceedings against executors. We frequently advise executors in the fulfilment of their duties, in most cases in relation to international estates, together with our international colleagues.

    View all our Executorships & advice of executors experts
  • Family law issues (e.g. domestic and international marriage contracts)

    We offer our high net worth individual clients comprehensive, holistic advice including support in family matters, with a focus on the particularities of marriages with an entrepreneurial or international bias. We boast longstanding experience in the preparation and negotiation of marriage contracts and in the tax-optimised structuring of assets owned by spouses. Thanks to the size of our law firm and our global network, we are able to involve colleagues from other jurisdictions, where required, in order to design a marriage contract so that legal certainty is guaranteed in all jurisdictions that are relevant to the concrete case. In cases of separation and divorce, we specialise in assisting the spouses in the development of financially reasonable solutions, preferably by mutual agreement, taking into account the applicable tax legislation, and in laying down the results in an agreement on the legal consequences of divorce. Where required, we will of course also represent the interests of our clients in court. We boast special expertise in complex business valuations in the context of the distribution of marital property and in determining the income of entrepreneurs and self-employed persons in order to clarify maintenance matters.

    View all our Family law issues (e.g. domestic and international marriage contracts) experts
  • Family offices

    We are experienced in establishing and maintaining private and family offices and assisting with management issues for private clients. We advise single and multi-family offices in relation to their corporate structure and entire set up, as well as anchor adviser for all legal and tax matters for which the family offices are entrusted by their clients. Our services include day-to-day corporate advice, succession planning, asset protection and tax structures. The family offices we regularly advise are mostly run by international clients, but we do also work with offices with strong ties into one home jurisdiction.

    View all our Family offices experts
  • Private wealth transactions

    Our cross-departmental Private Wealth team offers a unique and integrated service for the ultra-wealthy who need expert and joined-up advice on their personal wealth structures, tax planning, commercial investments, family governance, reputation management issues and property matters.
    We advise on the structuring of investment transactions including asset protection, risk mitigation and succession planning. Both residency and tax consequences play a major role in the structuring and allocation of investments. The structures are reviewed at regular intervals in order to meet all compliance requirements. We have also developed considerable expertise in advising on sharia’ compliant structures for our clients. Our Private Wealth clients include:

    • Wealthy families and family offices
    • Wealthy investors expanding their operations, particularly when looking at new jurisdictions
    • Entrepreneurs
    • Venture capital providers
    • Owners and principals of private equity houses, hedge funds and other financial service companies
    • Property investors
    View all our Private wealth transactions experts
  • Succession in family businesses

    Succession issues in family-controlled and family-owned businesses and shareholdings raise complex estate planning issues. The owner will not only need to consider family interests but, just as important, the interests of the company and its employees when planning his/her succession.
    A smooth transition from present ownership and possibly management to the new owner(s) and managers is obviously important to the continued success of the business. We take care to ensure that all facets of this complex process are addressed, including tax planning and asset protection issues.

    View all our Succession in family businesses experts

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