Family Offices

The goal of any family office is the preservation of the family’s legacy. At Foley, we can assist you in building a family office to protect, manage, and grow your wealth across generations. Whether the founder is still engaged, or your family is transitioning to the next generation, you will receive legal services tailored to ensure the success and longevity of your family enterprise.

Each family has unique needs, circumstances, history, and goals. Family offices are also as different as the families they serve. Some families have purpose-built entities with a separate mission and a dedicated staff. Others handle matters on an as-needed basis through the CFO or other staff of an operating family business. Still others rely on outside attorneys, accountants, and investment advisors.

Whatever the right solution and form for your family, Foley’s experienced Family Offices Team can help you and will be attuned to your specific needs and perspectives.

We provide counsel in the following key legal areas:

Foley Family Offices Capabilities 

Value We Deliver:

  • Comprehensive legal solutions that are family-based and client-focused.
  • Experience in structuring family offices and family investment pools to meet specific family needs
  • Strategies to minimize estate and gift taxes on wealth transfer
  • Support with complex estate planning, income tax planning, and philanthropy goals
  • Client-focused work to develop family involvement and governance for a family office
  • Experience working with and helping develop family office leadership
  • Assistance to families for investment manager searches and development of investment policy statements
  • Service as independent trustees or directors of family entities
  • Support of FOLEY Private Office (an in-house trust accounting system)
  • Practical solutions without needless complexity
  • Value-added pricing and proactive communication
  • Capabilities of full-service law firm with 1,100 attorneys in offices across the United States

Core Areas of Counsel

  • Formation and Structuring of Family Investment Vehicles
  • Due Diligence and Review of Third-Party Investments
  • Family Office Governance/Family Dynamics
  • Cybersecurity
  • Employee Benefits/Employment Law
  • Estate Tax Minimization Strategies
  • Succession Planning
  • Insurance Matters
  • Estate and Trust Administration
  • Offshore Investment Structuring and Reporting
  • Private Trust Companies
  • Philanthropic Planning
  • Service as Fiduciary
  • Aircraft Operations and Administration
  • Income Tax Planning and Optimization of Income Tax Structures
  • Compliance with 1940 Investment Adviser Act
  • Recruitment and Selection of Investment Managers
  • Distribution Policies
  • Family Employment Policies
  • International Tax Compliance
  • Operating Companies

Representative Experience

  • Design family governance structures for recreational assets shared by multiple branches and generations of families
  • Conduct a private course for family members stepping into leadership roles in a family business on basic dynamics of the business, issues relating to typical transactions for the business, and governance approaches. 
  • Design a portfolio ownership structure for multi-generational family business, optimizing income tax, estate tax control, and liability constraints while implementing a management structure for growth of family wealth and management of risk. 
  • Ensure appropriate design of and representation for pre-nuptial agreements and transmutation agreements, incorporating business concerns along with family law issues.
  • Manage business side of divorce of high-net worth individuals with interests in privately held businesses. 
  • Oversee arrangements for family charitable goals, including display of art collections
  • Designed and implemented the use of a series of private investment funds so that each family member or trustee may make separate investment allocations while enjoying the benefits and economies of scale of larger investments. Utilized a carried interest structure to maximize the tax efficiency of funding the family office through resources available by Foley Private Office; ran full investment manager selection for families after a liquidity event
  • Worked with multiple family offices to manage the administration of shares in a five-generation family business with a complex shareholder agreement
  • Advised a family office in all aspects of hiring a new CEO, including assistance in developing a strategic plan and new position description, screening and soliciting candidates, coordinating and planning for family-centered interviews, negotiation of pay package, employment contract (including confidentiality provisions), and developing an onboarding process
  • Working with the CEO of a family office to develop a six-part complete beneficiary education series focused on investment management (diversification, types of investments, and costs), legal roles of trustees and beneficiaries, and charitable stewardship to build feelings of family involvement and ownership. Education will culminate in the adoption of a new investment policy statement and an investment manager review
  • Provided due diligence of private equity and real estate investments to confirm terms of investment, provide support to investment committees/trustees in making complex, illiquid investments, and negotiate investment terms and investment side-cars
  • Worked with family office and other advisers to counsel on a $100 million charitable gift to fund a facility in conjunction with the sale of a sports team. We regularly advise high-net-worth individuals entering into philanthropic pledges and grant agreements for the naming rights of buildings, schools, and campuses and developing customized strategies to maximize the tax benefit of the gift.
  • Successfully resolved an IRS challenge to an income tax deduction for a multimillion-dollar contribution to a public policy organization. Also advised clients on strategies to avoid public disclosure of contributions
  • Working with other advisers, developed a charitable lead trust strategy for a client to save millions in estate tax. A Foley attorney continues to serve as trustee and assists family trustees in implementing the strategy
  • Designed and implemented installment sales to facilitate cross-generational transfers of stock of privately held businesses to successive generations, including the implementation of the transfer of stock of a privately held company with a value in excess of $1.0 billion
  • Put in place an incentive compensation structure for the senior executives of the family office, to share in the benefits of the family’s investment performance. Crafted a structure to facilitate co-investment by members of a family office with the family’s investments