For any family, agreeing a shared purpose is often the first piece of the puzzlePublished on 09 Jul 2020
2 minutes with Nigel Beadsworth, Head of Stonehage Fleming Law
Rather than competing with other law firms, we believe our offering is complementary. A major part of our role is to provide general counsel services to families and their structures, helping identify the big picture issues, and highlighting risks and opportunities. We bring our many years of collective wisdom and experience to the table, to ensure the right questions are asked and that the right advice is sourced and implemented correctly.
Agreeing a purpose for family wealth is often the first piece of the puzzle. To do our job properly we must understand the family, their objectives, attitudes to risk and lifestyle needs. From their point of view, the family needs to arrive at a common view about where they want to go and how they want to get there. Once we understand their goals, we can better discuss structuring and tax solutions to achieve those goals.
Tax remains a challenge for globally mobile clients, but it shouldn’t dictate their choices. The starting point is getting to grips with different legal regimes, understanding the complexities of how they interact with each other and finding a path that seeks to simplify the situation. Families intending to relocate for tax reasons should first consider their lifestyle needs, whether they want to spend time in a certain jurisdiction and what compromises they are willing to make. In an increasingly transparent world, being able to demonstrate substance is key.
Demanding disclosure requirements are a slow but sure trend. There is a growing number of reporting regimes globally – CRS, FATCA, DAC6– which aim to understand how wealthy, internationally mobile families and companies hold their assets so they can eventually be taxed more efficiently. In order to do so, governments need more information and are cooperating to implement standardised regimes and share information.
Our clients want to pay a fair share of tax, but when it comes to disclosure, they have good reasons to preserve their privacy. We understand that families are concerned about the wider impact disclosure may have and work with them to create a framework to ensure they are fully compliant while not unnecessarily exposed.
Each family has unique circumstances, though there are often common themes. They have problems that need to be resolved and require support on how to tackle them. For many, it is the first time they address certain issues. Clients come to us for peace of mind and the knowledge that we have done this before and we can do it again.
Nigel is a Partner of the Stonehage Fleming Group. He is an English Solicitor and Head of Legal Practice at Stonehage Fleming Law Limited. He joined the Group in 2011 from the Wealth Management department at Baker & McKenzie and has particular expertise in international trust and personal tax planning. Nigel qualified as a solicitor in 1999 and is also a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners and the Association of Taxation Technicians.