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  • Fast, efficient and brilliant standout lawyer' David Cooney, who is 'technically impeccable
    Legal 500
  • David Cooney regularly acts for high net worth families, private banks and trustees on wealth management matters. His practice focuses on international trust law and he is recognised as "a popular choice for clients.
    Chambers and Partners
  • David Cooney is a superstar. He is very polished, extremely practical, always well-prepared and thorough. He has a brilliant tax mind.
    Legal 500
  • David's excellent, he's probably the best trust lawyer of his generation in the Cayman Islands. He is very commercial, very knowledgeable, very responsive, very thorough, a pleasure to work with. He's just very, very good.
    Chambers & Partners High Net Worth Guide, 2018

David joined Collas Crill's Guernsey office in early 2020 and is a partner in the International Private Client and Trusts team. David specialises in the establishment of complicated wealth planning structures, spanning multiple jurisdictions. David is qualified and regularly advises in relation to the laws of the Cayman Islands, BVI and Guernsey*. Immediately prior to joining Collas Crill's Guernsey office, David spent four years in the Zurich office of an international private client firm.

David's private client practice involves a broad range of commercial and private trust matters, including in connection with the establishment and administration of investment funds structured as unit trusts, pension trusts and employee benefit trusts. David frequently advises family offices, charitable organisations, trustees and high net worth individuals on complex trust structures for wealth and estate planning, as well as the use of private trust companies, foundations (under both Cayman and Guernsey laws) and STAR and VISTA Trusts (under Cayman and BVI laws).

David's recent experience includes:

  • advising on regulatory matters in connection with the establishment and regulation of investment management entities;
  • Advising on all aspects of Mutual Fund regulation, including where trustees were setting up and/or investing in Mutual Funds;
  • advising an ultra-high net worth client on his use of a Cayman Islands STAR Trust for philanthropic purposes;
  • assisting a Swiss-based trustee with an exit from two difficult trusteeships;
  • advising a trustee of a multi-billion-dollar trust structure on the take-on of the trusteeship from the outgoing trustee and general advice subsequent to that take-on;
  • Establishment of a structure consisting of 3 PTCs, 8 STAR Trusts and 8 underlying holding companies for the purpose of allowing a client to expand his oil exploration business into 8 South and Central American countries;
  • the establishment of a large new structure for a UK resident settlor, which involved dealing with the termination of four existing structures in order to fund the new structure.
"I work with a lot of trustees and families and my focus is on explaining complicated things in a way that is easy to understand. Just because something is technical does not mean that it needs to be explained in technical terms."

David has also developed a significant amount of expertise in the economic substance laws of a number of offshore jurisdictions, which were introduced at the start of 2019. He regularly advises entities on their classification under these laws and compliance with their obligations. He has also provided advice to trust companies on the bulk classification of their entities as well as jurisdictional comparisons of these new rules.

David is a member of the Society for Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and is also currently a member of the STEP Zurich Council. He has previously served on the STEP Council in England and the Cayman Islands, as well as on the STEP Technical Sub-Committee, in the Cayman Islands.

*Admitted in:
England & Wales
Cayman Islands
British Virgin Islands

Qualifications:
Bachelor of Laws, Lancaster University, UK
UK Chartered Tax Advisor
Full STEP member
STEP Advanced Certificate in UK Tax for International Clients

My services
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.

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Family Trusts & Foundations
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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-dom 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.

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Private Client
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As global legislation, regulation and taxation constantly change and become more complex, it has never been more important to make long-term plans to secure your future, the future of your family or your business. We cut through the legal jargon to provide clear, practical advice when you most need it and anticipate the challenges you are likely to face so that you can rest assured you and your family are in safe hands at every step of the way.

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Trustee Duties
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The duties of a trustee plays in managing the trust assets and dealing with beneficiaries not only vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but are dictated by trust agreement and its nuances, the type of trust and its specific purpose. Advising on trustee duties is a rapidly growing area given the increasingly complex legal and regulatory framework to which trustees must adhere. Importantly, trustees are becoming increasingly aware of the advantages of acting early and seeking advice on their duties – particularly in situations of potential conflict or stress. Trustees are also making more use of the courts in asking for directions or in having "momentous decisions" blessed.

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Trustee Risk & Regulatory Management
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Developments, consolidations and regulation have means that effective risk management and mitigation has never been more important. Our advice is not a ‘one size fits all’ solution, but rather is based on an individual company’s specific business model. By building a partnership with you we add value by providing to trustees with a range of regulatory advice, administration support, products and services within a dedicated team approach, precedent development and on-going education and industry updates. Together with our multi-disciplinary risk and regulatory team, we advise on anti money laundering laws and the regulation of trust companies and can assist in the creation and improvement of straightforward operating procedures, including checklists, designed in conjunction with the needs of a trustee to ensure that all members of staff, no matter what their experience, can provide consistent and accurate back office services.

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Trusts & Fiduciary
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We work closely with trust and fiduciary businesses and their clients to build strong relationships based on trust, confidence and a deep understanding of their priorities and needs. We have an extensive range of experience in terms of particular products or service lines, including pensions and Shariah, and many of the team have worked in the other international off and onshore jurisdictions prominent in the world of wealth management. We have associated skills in dispute resolution, risk and regulatory, and image protection. We ensure that thought has been given to the composition of the team on every piece of work we do, and use our mix of skill and experience effectively.

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Wills & Estate Planning
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Planning for the future is something that people often don't like to think about however it is one of the most important things that you should do during your lifetime. Whether you need simple Wills put in place or more complex estate structuring, our experienced and approachable team can help you organise and plan your affairs for the immediate and longer term future. We work hard to guide you through any issues of concern to ensure that you reach a position where you feel reassured that you are clear as to what will happen to your assets, and the ones you leave behind, in the future.

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My news and insights
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