Holland & Knight's Family Office Services Group is dedicated to the preservation of assets built by wealthy families and multigenerational businesses. To advise our clients, we draw on practitioners from a broad range of practice areas within the firm and also work with a client's other financial professionals, including wealth managers, accountants and insurance experts. Holland & Knight's diversified practice ensures that a full range of needs can be anticipated and coordinated under the leadership of our most experienced partners.
Benefits of a Structured Family Office
Family offices are privately owned entities established by wealthy families to manage their wealth, plan for their families' financial future, engage in investment opportunities and provide other services to family members. Family offices can be formally structured or operated informally. In recent years, many families of wealth have come to realize the numerous benefits of establishing a structured family office, including:
- enhanced control
- privacy and customization of their asset allocation
- wealth and risk management
- overall legacy plan
Holland & Knight routinely represents family offices, their executives and family principals in a wide variety of complex matters. Our family office clients, who are in the U.S. and abroad, range from families with several hundred million dollars of investable assets to families with several billion dollars of investable assets spread globally across numerous asset classes.
Our Family Office Services Group serves the many needs of family offices, including private equity, hedge funds, mergers and acquisitions, domestic and international tax, trusts and estates, investment management, regulatory, compliance, risk management, corporate governance, securities, finance, real estate, labor and employment, intellectual property and litigation, among other areas.
Drawing on the deep experience of our Private Wealth Services Group and extensive representation of both institutional investors and high-net-worth individuals and families, we are well-versed in handling issues such as formation and structuring of single family offices, sophisticated tax planning, wealth transfer strategies, liability mitigation, risk management and highly customized structuring of investments.
Preserving and Protecting Family Wealth
As part of our Private Wealth Services practice, the attorneys in our Family Office Services Group develop techniques aimed at preserving and protecting clients’ wealth from potential liability and in promoting transparent and conflict-free transition among generations in closely held businesses. We customize plans for family members, giving consideration to business impact, tax liabilities and personal risks as well as insurance coverage, asset holdings and philanthropy.
High-net-worth individuals also turn to Holland & Knight for our experience with sophisticated trust, administrative and estate planning. We employ varied strategies to successfully protect and transfer wealth to family members and/or charities including:
- business succession planning
- family limited partnerships
- flexible dynasty trusts
- irrevocable life insurance trusts
- grantor retained annuity trusts
- asset protection trusts established in both domestic and foreign jurisdictions
- comprehensive private business and corporate services
- prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements
Family offices face the same complexity and regulatory requirements as other small investment companies. As such, Holland & Knight provides a complete suite of services aimed at ensuring the proper management of the firm from an administrative standpoint.
Our group works with families to form the entity, develop the documentation for its capital structure and governance, and suggest best practices for day-to-day management. We have extensive experience in employment and labor relations, providing counsel on benefits administration, executive contracts and compensation, confidentiality agreements and dispute resolution. Crafting agreements between family members, such as family constitutions, and succession planning are focal points of our practice.
Holland & Knight represents a multitude of closely held businesses, providing counsel on complex shareholder and operating agreements. This often enables those who most contribute to the welfare and betterment of the family to be rewarded appropriately in the form of buy-outs and preferred status while still providing security to the family members who choose different paths.
Trust and Estate Planning and Administration
With the strong backing of the nation's largest and most credentialed Private Wealth Services practice, we assist clients in all facets of trust and estate-related matters, including domestic and international trust and estate planning; advising on setting up not-for-profit organizations and foundations created by individuals, families or their companies; advising on making large charitable donations, legacies or gifts; premarital and post-nuptial agreements; asset protection; and business succession planning.
Corporate and M&A
Holland & Knight regularly counsels clients in connection with establishing U.S. business operations and business partnerships as well as company and asset sales, acquisitions and financings, including debt and equity investments in portfolio companies and advice in connection with portfolio company IPOs and related stock sales.
Private Equity and Hedge Funds
We have substantial experience with client allocations to third-party fund managers, including performing manager due diligence; negotiation and preparation of side letters; negotiation of prime brokerage agreements, ISDAs and futures account agreements; and negotiation and documentation of separately managed accounts, single investor funds and special classes of funds. Our Family Office Services Group leverages the knowledge of more than 300 attorneys in the firm's Business Section, including members of our Fund Formation Team and Private Equity, Investment Management, Venture Capital and Private Investment Funds practices.
Securities and Investment-Related Services
Holland & Knight provides counsel on a wide range of investment opportunities. We represent family offices on matters concerning federal and state securities laws, private securities offerings, investment advisory services, state filings and related registrations. On complex investments such as private equity deals, hedge funds and private placements, we review the offering and guide family offices on achieving the most advantageous position from a legal and tax perspective. Within the family, Holland & Knight creates private trust companies, credit arrangements and business agreements among family members.
Regulatory and Compliance
We advise clients on various regulatory matters, including SEC, CFTC and state registration, de-registration and reporting requirements and exemptions; regulatory advice regarding interest rate and currency swaps and various hedging transactions; and preparation and filing of ownership reports under the Exchange Act, including Forms 3, 4 and 5 and Schedules 13D and 13G.
Real Estate Investment and Management
With nearly 250 attorneys, the firm’s extensive Real Estate practice offers distinct benefits to family offices active in both the residential and commercial real estate markets. Our representation covers the full range of real estate transactions on the investment side as well as the ongoing maintenance of existing properties. This includes the following:
- formation of ownership structures, such as partnerships and LLCs
- property acquisition
- development and construction
- leasing and property sales
- ongoing operation of real estate assets
Litigation and Dispute Resolution
Holland & Knight's Family Office Services attorneys work in conjunction with the firm's 400-plus litigation attorneys – including members of our Trusts, Estates and Fiduciary Dispute Resolution Team – to avoid and resolve disputes. However, if resolution is unattainable, we vigorously represent clients on personal and commercial litigation.
With respect to such litigation, the firm has vast experience in resolving disputes among family members and on behalf of commercial enterprises. We represent parties in all aspects of disputes, including:
- trusts and estates
- business and contract litigation
- employment litigation
- real estate and land title
- intellectual property
Employment and Employee Benefits
We assist clients in all of their employment and employee benefits needs, including drafting employment agreements and equity incentive agreements for senior management and their portfolio companies as well as separation agreements; equity ownership buy-outs; and cause and good reason terminations. In the context of family offices, this advice can be particularly important, not only with respect to family office professionals but also to household and personal staff of family principals.
Holland & Knight counsels clients on state, federal and international tax issues, including providing advice regarding the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and U.S. disclosure requirements, and tax optimization. Additionally, our Family Office Services Group provides tax controversy representation before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and state and local tax authorities.
Special Asset Strategies
The firm offers a variety of services for wealthy families with unique investment interests. For example, our attorneys have experience in art law and provide representation to art collectors, galleries, museums, private auction houses, charitable organizations and art market professionals on all legal and regulatory issues associated with fine art, antiques, jewelry and collectibles. Our Intellectual Property Group provides guidance on investments related to technology, publications, entertainment, sports teams and unique ventures, including contracts, licensing and royalties. Many family offices are interested in acquiring distressed assets in or out of bankruptcy. Our Bankruptcy, Restructuring and Creditors' Rights Group can advise family offices as to such opportunities.
Supporting Philanthropic Activities
Holland & Knight offers guidance on the establishment of charitable foundations, both public and private. We work with family members on the creation of the foundation, its governance and best practices. Our attorneys work with family offices on grant-making activities, asset management issues and compliance with tax regulations.
Additional Service Offerings
A family office may offer a wide range of services that go beyond investment management, including the purchase and management of homes, planes, art, yachts and other personal investments, as well as the employment of staff and caregivers to help with the family’s specific requirements. As a full-service international law firm, Holland & Knight has the deep resources to provide comprehensive assistance to a family office in managing their endeavors and administrative needs efficiently and effectively. We are committed to the long-term safeguarding of our clients' comprehensive interests – no matter what area of the law or business or family issues are involved.
Our Family Office Services lawyers bolster the general counsel representation provided by our Private Wealth Services Group. Our dedication to proactively anticipating our clients' needs and providing the highest level of responsive service gives clients the confidence that their family heritage and assets will be protected and preserved for generations.