Family Offices and Family-Owned Businesses
Most businesses have a general counsel who advises on routine legal matters, oversees outside counsel on more complex work, and coordinates with management to create opportunity while limiting risk. Wealthy families have many of the same issues as businesses, with the added complexities of family politics, succession and other planning issues. Every family business owner also ultimately faces the same decision—whether to keep the business’s ownership and operation in the family, sell all or part of it to outsiders or liquidate the business.
Jim will become a partner in the investment, wealth accumulation and preservation process, working with the family’s other advisors to help clients take advantage of effective tax, investment and personal planning strategies and provide family leadership with a level of comfort knowing that one primary conflict-free legal advisor is protecting them at all times. As an experienced business lawyer, Jim can also evaluate business, real estate and complex investment opportunities from a different perspective than other family advisors.
As general counsel to a family office or family-owned business, Jim will:
- Get to know family members and understand the goals and motivations of the family and its members, and use this knowledge in spotting issues and opportunities, giving advice, planning transactions and taking other initiatives.
- Review and advise on current investment and management structures, planning and succession opportunities and operation and management of the family office.
- Provide comprehensive legal services within the framework of the client’s business and personal life.
- Review and advise on transactions or initiatives so that they meet legal requirements and do not transgress into areas that could damage the family’s reputation or financial interest.
- Help to coordinate between various advisors including tax, estate planning, financial, accounting, insurance (risk management) and outside transactional lawyers.
- Advise on entity location and formation with a focus on tax reduction or avoidance, risk reduction and isolation of liability.
- Advise on entity selection from the full range of options including partnerships, limited liability companies, S corporations, C corporations, holding companies, trusts, IBCs, sociedades anónimas, foundations and even publicly-traded companies under family control. Advice on entity formation typically focuses on flexible operating systems that allow for future change and growth, capital raising, and potential disposition (whether by sale, gift, initial public offering or otherwise).
- Help to facilitate family meetings to discuss inter-generational estate, tax and investment planning.
- Advise on legal compliance, including with terms of trusts
- Provide a different perspective than other family advisors in advising on establishing and investing in hedge funds, private equity, tenancy-in-common and other private-investment vehicles.