International tax planning

We provide comprehensive advice on how you can structure your assets to ensure tax efficiency and the long term protection of assets for your family. We are particularly used to dealing with situations where there are cross-border issues.

A sound strategy brings a number of benefits including:-

  • Asset protection for family members with reduced risk of disputes
  • A structure for children to develop and succeed
  • Stability for the family business
  • Tax efficiency

How we can help you

In order to create the succession planning structure that best suits your family, we have a number of tools and building blocks available, and it is necessary to decide which of these can be used to meet your objectives given the various legal and tax considerations.


Even where a more sophisticated structure is used, it is usually important that all family members have wills which deal with personally owned assets in an appropriate manner.

Trusts / foundations / nominees

A structure such as a trust, foundation or nomineeship gives custody of assets to a neutral third party who must hold them for the benefit of the family. It is this feature of these succession planning structures which gives rise to many of the benefits mentioned above.

Partnerships / shareholder agreements / bespoke corporate constitutions

If a trust or foundation is not appropriate for some or all of the assets, whether for tax reasons or otherwise, then it is also possible to use partnership arrangements, shareholder agreements and carefully drafted articles of association to make a distinction between those who have control and those who have beneficial ownership.

VISTA Trusts / STAR Trusts / Purpose trusts

There are special types of trust which are particularly suitable for holding business assets, such as VISTA Trusts in the British Virgin Islands and Cayman STAR Trusts. These may include an obligation for the third party owner to ensure that the assets continue to be developed as a family business (rather than being liquidated, for example). In these trusts and other types of trust you can retain controls over the business and over other important decisions.

Letter of wishes

A letter of wishes can be used to give guidance to those administering the structure about how they should look to benefit the family members.

Checks and balances

With structures such as trusts and foundations it is possible to include an office holder, such as a "protector", who is able to monitor the activity of the third party owner.

Private trust company

The third party owner can be an entity created by you, so that family members can act as directors of the owner and between them decide on the management of the structure. In the case of a trust this is known as a private trust company.

Family constitution

Your whole family can be asked to participate in producing a family constitution which will set out common ideas on how the family assets should be managed and may be formally linked to the level of involvement which family members can have in the business or the level of benefits they may receive.

Additional information