Family Office and Private Trust Companies

Family Office Representation

Family Offices are an important conduit between family members and BakerHostetler’s Private Wealth lawyers. We understand that one of the principal functions of a Family Office is to promote efficiencies with outside service providers, and we believe this is best achieved through a collaborative effort. For example, a Family Office may be better suited to carry out certain necessary functions such as financial analysis, tax return preparation, insurance monitoring, and other administrative matters, all of which provide an important foundation for legal counsel to provide creative and effective advice. Our Private Wealth lawyers also serve as the gateway to the full array of legal specialties BakerHostetler brings to bear. Understanding the role of a Family Office has allowed us to maintain meaningful and longstanding relationships with the managers of our Family Office clients.

We often help our clients set up the proper structure and ownership of their Family Offices. Clients rely on our securities law experience to work within the new “Family Office” exception under the federal Investment Advisers Act. Likewise, for those families who manage their own investments through partnerships or limited liability companies, we advise on how to comply with the many facets of the Investment Company Act of 1940, the Securities Act of 1933, and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. We have also worked with Family Offices to develop template estate planning documents tailored specifically to a family’s unique values, and traditions. This not only creates long-term efficiencies, but it also provides a platform for unified family estate planning principles which can be applied throughout many generations, regardless of family geography.

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Private Trust Companies

In recent years, many families have formed their own Private Trust Company (PTC) to install a permanent, family-controlled entity as Trustee of family trusts. A PTC can be structured as a stand-alone entity, or it can be incorporated into the structure of a Family Office. We advise clients on choosing the most favorable state of formation, assist in developing creative ownership structures that meet family objectives, and provide ongoing counsel regarding the operation of a PTC.

We have been a thought-leader in the PTC area for decades. Our Private Wealth lawyers formed one of the first PTCs in the State of Wyoming many years ago and we have obtained several private letter rulings from the IRS regarding the income, estate, and generation-skipping tax consequences of forming a PTC. We also obtained a cutting-edge ruling just prior to the IRS moratorium on issuing further IRS rulings.

We work with local counsel in several states, including Wyoming, Nevada, South Dakota, Delaware, and others, to provide efficient representation of PTCs in those states. Our understanding of the PTC laws in different states allows for sophisticated trust planning, often resulting in a change to the state situs of trusts for the purpose of increased administrative flexibility.

Family Office/Private Trust Company Team

Due to the unique issues involved with Family Offices and PTCs, and our firm’s longstanding work in this area, we have a team of lawyers who provide these specific services. Our Family Office/PTC team includes not only Private Wealth attorneys, but also experienced attorneys in securities law, corporate law, and partnership taxation.


  • “Best Law Firms” 2014: National Tier 1 Ranking in the area of Trusts & Estates Law from U.S. News – Best Lawyers®.
    • Regional Tier 1 rankings were earned in Trusts & Estates Law in Cleveland, Colorado, Columbus and Washington, DC.
  • The Best Lawyers in America© 2014: Twelve partners were selected by their peers for inclusion in various private wealth-related fields.

Key Contacts


In The Blogs

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Estate Planning Considerations for Millennials
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I am a millennial. I grew up in the age of the Internet, computers, and text messaging. I had my first cell phone in late elementary school, where I mastered the game of Snake on a one-inch square screen. My generation then progressed past...
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Effective for all federal estate tax returns filed on or after June 1, 2015, federal estate tax closing letters will be issued only upon request. The process for making a request: Timing – no earlier than four months after the date of...
BakerHostetler Recognized as “Law Firm of the Year” in Trusts & Estates Law by U.S. News – Best Lawyers® 2016 “Best Law Firms”
November 9, 2015
BakerHostetler was named “Law Firm of the Year” in Trusts & Estates Law in U.S. News – Best Lawyers® 2016 “Best Law Firms” list. In addition, 16 of the firm’s practice areas received national Tier 1 rankings, earning 36 national rankings...
Retirement Planning Strategies under the Scrutiny of the Federal Fisc
August 26, 2015
President Obama’s proposed budget for 2016 shows that some retirement planning strategies have drawn the attention of the Federal government and may be subject to future legislative limitations. The President’s proposed budget suggests...
IRS Plans to Further Restrict Family Business Valuation Discounts
August 21, 2015
IRS regulations anticipated for release as early as this September may further restrict valuation discounts. The exact scope of the regulations is unknown, but the regulations will likely make it more difficult for taxpayers to discount...