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 services 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.

Recognition

  • BTI Client Service 30: BakerHostetler advanced 19 positions to #9 (2016)
  • “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

Blog

In The Blogs

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WealthDirector
Tax Season Is in Full Swing: Beware of the W-2 Spear Phishing Scam
January 27, 2017
By Patrick H. Haggerty Editor’s Note: This blog post is a joint submission with BakerHostetler’s Data Privacy Monitor blog. Last year we saw an unprecedented number of companies of all sizes fall victim to a W-2 spear phishing scam. The...
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WealthDirector
Same-Sex Spouses Authorized to Recalculate Transfer Tax Treatment of Prior Gifts and Bequests
January 20, 2017
The IRS recently issued Notice 2017-15 to provide same-sex spouses relief to recalculate the federal estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax treatment of gifts and bequests made before the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was...
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WealthDirector
The Impending Death of the Stretch IRA?
November 10, 2016
It can, at times, seem like a fool’s errand to focus too closely on specific provisions contained in proposed legislation. As any casual observer of Congress can attest, committee proposals frequently die unenacted or undergo significant...
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WealthDirector
IRS Revenue Procedure Confirms IRS Will Respect QTIP Elections When Portability Elections Also Made
By Amanda K. Tate
October 24, 2016
The IRS resolved an important issue when it issued Revenue Procedure 2016-49, effective September 27, 2016, clarifying that the IRS would not disregard qualified terminable interest property (QTIP) elections for estates that also made a...
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WealthDirector
IRS Regulations Clarify Definition of Spouse for Federal Tax Purposes in Light of Obergefell v. Hodges
By Amanda K. Tate
October 18, 2016
The IRS has issued final regulations clarifying the definitions of “spouse,” “husband,” “wife,” and “husband and wife” for federal tax purposes. The final regulations now define “spouse,” “husband” and “wife” as any individual lawfully...
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