Private wealth structures

For wealthy individuals, family-controlled businesses and entrepreneurs managing wealth across generations, succession planning and transferring control of assets has never been more challenging. That's why it's important to work with lawyers who not only have the highest standards of legal knowledge and expertise, but also the ability to find unique solutions tailored to your unique circumstances.

Services
Trust advisory
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The role of a modern trustee has never been more complex. Trustees must satisfy the needs and desires of their beneficiaries, manage complex assets and navigate an ever-changing legal and regulatory landscape.

We know that trustees can need assistance and advice on how best to satisfy their duties and to meet their legal and regulatory obligations. We understand and have a great deal of experience in working with trustees to get ahead of any potentially difficult situation and resolve it in a way that minimises risk and conflict.

Changes of trustee/DORAs
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Changes of trustee documents (DORA or IORAs) usually contain indemnities from the incoming trustee to the outgoing trustee which are often hotly negotiated and can be complex. A change of trustee also presents a good opportunity for the incoming trustee to undertake a due diligence exercise by reviewing the trust documents, ensuring that the previous chain of trusteeship is intact and ensuring that the outgoing trustee ratifies or rectifies any flaws in the trust or the trust documents before the trusteeship is handed over. We have considerable experience in narrowing the issues in these negotiations. We are also well versed in assisting our trustee clients in mitigating risk by spotting (sometimes very significant flaws) in trusts before they are taken on and by ratifying previous discrepancies in a commercial manner – commonly without necessitating the involvement of the court.

Charities and philanthropy
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At Collas Crill, we have established a wide range of charitable structures from local Guernsey limited by guarantee companies to large charitable foundations for some of the world's wealthiest families. Our specialist Middle Eastern team also has experience in advising regional families on the principle of Zakat.

Family limited partnerships
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Many individuals think of the traditional trust as being the best way to manage their estate planning needs and are unfamiliar with the alternatives that are available. These include foundations, private family funds, and increasingly, the family limited partnership (FLP). While initially developed offshore, the FLP was harnessed and developed offshore in the Channel Islands as a flexible investment structure and a viable alternative to the traditional trust due to its ability to transmit wealth to younger generations while allowing family heads to retain a sensible level of control. This is particularly important for clients using the FLP to transfer the family business or 'golden egg', where a loss of control is undesirable. An FLP is flexible enough to allow a very bespoke agreement to be out in place to meet the often very detailed and personalised demands of clients.

International pensions and EBTs
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We advise internationally based companies and trustees on the establishment and operation of employee incentive schemes, addressing issues such as the funding and structuring of awards as between sponsoring employer and trustee, treatment of dividend entitlements for share awards and the formulation of the beneficial class of employee benefit trusts having regard to international legal and taxation requirements.

Pensions
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We advise internationally based companies and trustees on the establishment and operation of employee incentive schemes, addressing issues such as the funding and structuring of awards as between sponsoring employer and trustee, treatment of dividend entitlements for share awards and the formulation of the beneficial class of EBTs having regard to international legal and taxation requirements.

Pensions specifically for Dubai companies
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Dubai has no specific pensions law as such but Dubai-based companies do need to plan for and fund end of service gratuity payments. Instead of a pension, local laws require companies to make a severance payment when employees leave the business This can be a significant liability to fund and can often come at the most unwelcome of times such as during an economic downturn. Companies who have failed to set money aside to meet these payments have historically been unable to afford to reduce headcount as they have not planned or budgeted for severance payments. Although it is difficult for some smaller firms to set money aside to fund their entire historic liability, it is never too late to start setting aside at least some provision for this potentially large liability. If done well, these end of service schemes can be self-funding and can also achieve a company's ESG aims by investing in very worthy causes both within the region and more widely.

Private trust companies and private trustee foundations
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Private trust companies (PTC) and private trustee foundations (PTF) are an ideal solution for clients wanting to divest themselves of ownership while still retaining a level of control. A PTC, or its most recent incarnation, the PTF, is a corporate vehicle which is used by a family in place of a professional trustee so that the family themselves can control the board of the trustee and thereby control the underlying assets.

Private wealth
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Alongside companies and wills, family trusts are still a very popular tool for estate planning and asset protection – perhaps even more so in the light of the envisaged changes to the UK non-domiciled regime. Family foundations are proving to be a popular new tool for families looking to ensure their wealth and assets are protected for future generations. We establish trusts and foundations for local and international families to preserve family businesses and ensure appropriate succession planning. We work closely with tax advisers in order to ensure that any new family trust or foundation fits with a family's overall tax position and will be a workable long term, cost efficient structure. Discretionary trusts are still the most popular but we can also advise on fixed trusts, will trusts and pension trusts.

Reporting obligations for trustees
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In a climate of increased transparency for structures, it is important for trustees to ensure that they have sufficient policies, procedures and processes in place in order to report the correct data to the correct authority at the correct time. This has been particularly challenging for some of our smaller independent trustee clients who do not have a dedicated compliance team.

Third sector - charities and NPOs
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The third sector is an umbrella term that covers a variety of different organisations with different legal structures and purposes, belonging neither to the public sector (the state) nor to the private sector (profit-making private enterprise).

As a business, we are heavily focused on supporting third sector organisations both in our local communities on local issues and also internationally.

Charities, non-profit organisations (NPOs) and voluntary organisations are increasingly required to plug the gap and perform the social and cultural functions formerly carried out by the public sector.

Read more
Third sector - Jersey
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Prior to 21 November 2014, Jersey looked to the case law of England and Wales for guidance in determining whether or not a particular purpose was a 'charitable purpose'. 

However, on that date, certain parts of the Charities (Jersey) Law 2014 came into effect, namely, the introduction of a statutory test for what is charitable (the charity test), the post of a Charity Commissioner and the establishment of a charity tribunal. 

The intent behind the law is to give confidence in Jersey as a centre for the good governance of public charities and for charitable and philanthropic activity generally.

Click here to read more about Jersey charity legislation.

Our Jersey charities team is led by Kellyann Ozouf. Please do not hesitate to contact Kellyann at any time.

Third sector - Guernsey
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In April 2022 the legal landscape for charities and NPOs in Guernsey changed with the introduction of The Charities etc. (Guernsey and Alderney) Ordinance 2021 (Ordinance) and The Charities etc. (Amendments, Exemptions, Governance and Specified Amount) Regulations, 2022 (Regulations).

This brought welcome clarity to the definition of charitable purposes into Guernsey law and also introduced various formalities for the setting up and running of charities and non-profit organisations (NPOs) in Guernsey.

If you are looking to establish a charity/NPO in Guernsey, the process is very straightforward.  We can advise you on which structures are available (trust/foundation/LBG) and the merits of each. We can also assist you in establishing your new charity/NPO either using our standard documentation or we can prepare something more bespoke for you.

Our Guernsey charities team is led by Angela Calnan. Please don't hesitate to contact Angela at any time.

For further information on the law please read this article.