International Private Client Group

  • Holland & Knight's experienced International Private Client Group represents United States and multinational families, private and public companies and entrepreneurs. We provide legal counsel when dealing with cross-border estate planning and administration, international business and tax planning, tax controversies, and cross-border and legal trade matters.
  • To help high-net-worth clients capitalize on foreign business opportunities and prepare wealth transfer matters, we draw on our team's extensive experience representing some of the wealthiest individuals, trusts and charitable foundations in the world. We have extensive cultural familiarities, foreign language capabilities and a network of global counsel.
  • Regardless of location, our interdisciplinary firm offers skilled international representation to both foreign and domestic clients, including multinational corporations, startup companies, entrepreneurs, well-known individuals, professionals, investors and wealthy families located around the world.
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Overview

Complex international law issues regarding international taxation, business and estate planning, and probate administration require experienced legal counsel. Holland & Knight's international estate planning lawyers are well trained to handle these issues – we tap on our network of international lawyers abroad to assist when needed.

International Estate Planning and Administration

Families whose members reside in different countries are faced with additional challenges when planning for the proper administration of their assets as they are passed from one generation to the next. International estate planning and cross-border wealth transfer includes coordinating client's estate and gift tax planning in the United States and abroad, preparing wills and trusts in the United States, and coordinating with foreign counsel to prepare their foreign estate plans.

We also advise on offshore trust planning and international asset protection planning. Holland & Knight attorneys engage extensively in international probate, coordinating foreign administration and the filing of foreign estate tax returns with foreign counsel.

International Business and Tax Planning

U.S. clients depend on our advice for their foreign activities, as do foreign individuals and their companies planning investment or business activities in the United States.

Unless a foreigner becomes a U.S. income tax resident, such foreigner is subject to tax only on U.S. source income. There are complex tax laws that determine when a foreigner becomes a "tax resident" for income tax purposes, which subjects their worldwide income to U.S. income taxation. A separate but equally complex set of laws determines when a foreigner becomes a resident for estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer tax purposes ("transfer tax"). When a foreigner becomes a resident for transfer tax purposes, transfers of their worldwide assets during life are subject to taxation as is the value of their worldwide assets at death. A foreigner may become a tax resident for income tax purposes, transfer tax purposes, both taxes or neither tax regardless as to whether such foreigner has established permanent residence for immigration purposes.

If we determine tax residency has already been established, we help clients understand and resolve any non-compliance with minimal taxation, penalties and criminal exposure.

Tax issues do not occur in a vacuum. We are often called upon to assist our inbound clients with other legal and business issues such as:

  • choosing and creating the optimal legal structures for limited liability companies (LLCs) and other business entities
  • making offers to purchase real estate that become legally binding purchase contracts
  • determining legal rights and obligations contained in Letters of Intent and Asset/Stock Purchase Agreements used in connection with buying an existing business
  • formalizing legal relationships with partners and joint venturers
  • updating trusts and estate planning to provide for an unexpected death or incapacity occurring while in the U.S. and subject to domestic jurisdiction
  • coordinating with immigration counsel to avoid premature tax residency without jeopardizing the immigration process
  • domesticating or restructuring obsolete "offshore" legal structures
  • identifying pitfalls of joint ownership of assets and bank accounts
  • assisting with estate planning for elder family members who are not immigrating to the U.S.
  • planning for U.S. beneficiaries of foreign trusts and foreign beneficiaries of U.S. trusts
  • offering asset protection planning for U.S. assets and income streams

Further, our lawyers assist growing U.S. companies with expanding business operations abroad. We have extensive experience in structuring cross-border financial transactions to minimize Subpart F income and the applicability of the passive foreign investment company (PFIC) rules and to maximize foreign tax credit relief for non-U.S. activities.

Foreign Investment in U.S. Businesses or Real Estate

U.S. and foreign individuals with real estate investments in the U.S. and abroad look to Holland & Knight's private wealth attorneys to guide them in all aspects of maximizing their holdings. Our lawyers coordinate with foreign counsel regarding the purchase, structuring and taxation of real estate.

Owning U.S. real estate or businesses exposes foreigners to a variety of U.S. tax and legal issues during the acquisition, operation and ultimate disposition of the investment. The consequences of failing to plan ahead include being subject to U.S. estate taxes upon the foreigner's death, costly probate or guardianship proceedings, withholding taxes being levied when funds are repatriated from the U.S., disqualification for preferential income tax rates and inability to deduct expenses associated with the investment. Even vacation property ownership must be carefully structured to reduce tax and legal exposure. Our assistance goes beyond tax advice to cover issues of business and real property law, including the issuance of title insurance and real estate closing services.

Tax Controversies

We represent clients on all types of tax deficiencies and refund claims involving income taxes, payroll taxes, excise taxes, franchise taxes, estate and gift taxes, property taxes, sales and use taxes, and related penalties and interest.

When clients face a tax dispute, our objective is to resolve that dispute as quickly and efficiently as possible. To assist, our network of experienced tax controversy and tax litigation lawyers across the United States appears before all federal, state and local taxing authorities, courts and other administrative tribunals.

International and Cross-Border Transactions

Clients rely on our vast practical knowledge in specialized international transactions and disputes. Our extensive cultural familiarities and foreign language capabilities improve efficiency and directly benefit our clients by avoiding expensive coordination mistakes, delays and confusion that frequently frustrate commercial law firms attempting to lead transactions outside the United States. Our lawyers engage in business counseling for foreign corporations establishing a presence in the U.S., including coordinating entry into U.S. markets, trade issues, tax efficient structuring, choice of and establishment of entity, licenses to transact business, assistance with leases, employment agreements and payroll.

Among our international business practice areas are international trade, trade litigation and tax, as well as practices focused on Europe, China, Mexico and Latin America.

Immigration

Large multinational corporations to startup companies and individual clients are served by our immigration lawyers and practitioners. We represent both foreign and domestic corporate clients, including well-known entertainers and athletes, entrepreneurs, professionals, persons who possess extraordinary ability, investors and those looking to be united with family members in the U.S. As part of our representations, we also help clients address national security and law enforcement issues that occasionally arise in the course of visa applications, denials and cancellations. In addition to helping clients obtain visas for their employees or themselves, we advise businesses on compliance with federal and state employment eligibility verification procedures as well as visa-related aspects of corporate transactions.

Charitable Contributions and Planning

We provide guidance to private clients and tax-exempt organizations on a broad range of international issues. We advise domestic and international donors, including individuals, family offices and corporate clients, on the tax and non-tax issues surrounding their charitable contributions and planning. With respect to international organizations, we advise United States-based entities conducting activities outside the U.S., as well as foreign entities conducting activities in – or generating income from – the U.S., including the creation of so-called "friends of" organizations for foreign entities who want to expand their charitable fundraising efforts to the U.S.

Leading Lawyers on Your Side

The 2022 Chambers High Net Worth guide ranked Holland & Knight as Band 1 for Private Wealth Law in Florida, Massachusetts and Oregon; Private Wealth Disputes in California; and Private Aircraft in Global-wide; and Band 3 for Private Wealth Law in Texas. In addition, the 2020 Chambers High Net Worth guide named Holland & Knight the USA Private Client Team of the Year for the East Coast. The 2019 Chambers Global: The World's Leading Lawyers for Business guide named Holland & Knight among the world's leading law firms in the Global-wide International Private Client category. The guide notes that our team is "fantastic for multijurisdictional clients. They get things done quickly and partners are heavily involved. ... As far as large firms go they are as good as it gets."

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