Disputes should be avoided and resolved when they can't be. Koele Tax & Legal Perspecta is good at both. Whether your dispute is with the tax authorities (Tax Disputes) or about your wealth (Wealth Disputes).
Are you having, or do you expect to have, problems with the tax authorities? As highly experienced and Harvard trained negotiators, we weigh the risks against all of the parties' interests: yours, the tax authorities', and those of previously involved advisors. We then make a realistic assessment of the likelihood that the negotiations will be successful. For tougher disputes, we use hypothetical scenarios to find a common ground that is acceptable to both parties; the dispute is then resolved amicably by taking a third avenue, taking into account both parties' interests.
The purpose of a negotiation is to enhance trust between the parties, to reduce interference on the line. In case of hardball conflicts, it is required to create a level playing field in order to be able to (continue to) negotiate; with sufficient creativity, there are ample possibilities to do so.
Litigation is a way to resolve disputes, where a third party (the Court) is asked to appraise the relevant facts and ultimately to resolve the conflict by a decision. Many people are reluctant to litigate, since it would take years and is very costly. However, this is not always the case: not seldom the initiative to litigate is required to create new dynamics, in order to resolve the conflict during the litigation. In many cases, therefore, a litigation does not have to be pursued until 'the end' if at least it is brought before the Court in a well prepared way.
IF you have lost a case before a lower Court and you do not know whether it makes sense to appeal, we welcome you to ask for a second opinion for litigation advice. If we do not consider your case a promising one, we certainly will refrain from advising positively. In many cases however, our creative approach and litigation strategy enable us to shed new light on deadlocked cases and set them in motion again.
In our 30 years experience, we still have a track record of 100% cases won, if not settled along the way. This is contingent on a very critical view on the chances for success and in order to keep this track record, we will never 'litigate in order to litigate'. Also, we focus in litigation often to settle the case and restore the relationship when the time is right.
If a case is really principled or relates to a pure legal question, it may be useful to appeal until the Supreme Court. That may result in beautiful landmark decisions. Supreme Court 26 October 2007, BNB 208/122 is such a principled landmark decision on the Dutch tax interpretation of a US trust that we have initiated. When we decide to appeal to the Supreme Court, we liaise with lawyers that specialize only in cassation and trial law in order to achieve the best results.
As wealthy families grow, cross borders and their situation becomes more complex, their need to avoid disputes and find amicable solutions to impending disputes increases. We have gained extensive experience in the areas of foundations, trusts, gifts, and complex estates in both Dutch and international contexts.
Read more: Negotiation, Mediation, Conciliation
We look at impending disputes about complex (international) estates and wealth structures in a wider context in order to find solutions that prevent the conflict from escalating. We also take a look at the tax aspects, where both parties often share the same interests and solutions can occasionally be found.
For complex or international legal wealth disputes, we initiate the proceedings and manage the case as a team together with a specialist trial lawyer. This way of working is similar to the Anglo-Saxon tradition where barristers focus solely on courtroom advocacy and litigation. This combination of knowledge and experience provides for an efficient trial strategy without losing sight of the underlying source of the dispute.
Fortunately, there are lawyers who have never embraced the tournament model and instead focus on results and interests rather than battles and positions.
Shareholder Foundations of Enterprises: the North European style of securing family businesses for the long term In this article, Ineke Koele explores together with Rasmus Feldthusen from the University of Kopenhagen, how and why the traditional business succession system within family businesses needs to be reconsidered.
Enlarging Space for International Philanthropy Following up on her analysis on the topic in her doctoral dissertation, Dr.
Dutch foundations - ANBI or not ANBI With Brexit on the agenda, there is increased attention for the use of charitable organizations in the Netherlands.
Tax issues of public interest generosity In the annual book 2016/2017 of 'De Dikke Blauwe' in relation to Philanthropy, Major Donors and Social Enterprises, Ineke Koele has written an analysis (in Dutch) of the tax issues of public interest generosity.
Quote interview Family Wars As a specialist on Tax and Wealth Disputes, Ineke Koele has been interviewed by Sander Schimmelpenninck for the November issue of 'Quote' on Family Wars.
The Dutch Private Foundation in comparison with trusts: for the same purpose but rather different Trusts & Trustees, Oxford University Press, February 2016, p. 140-145. The Dutch Private Foundation provides an alternative paradigm for sustainable asset protection purposes.
Family Business Lasting Legacy Planning On Family Businesses and succcesful transitions to the NextGen through Lasting Legacy planning, Philanthropy Impact issue 7 2015
Mistake in Dutch Private Clients practice: the autonomy of parties revealed On the meaning of 'Mistake' in the Dutch estate planning practice in comparison with the Anglo American practice, Trusts & Trustees, July 2014
The Dutch Private Foundation: a robust but flexible tool in dynastic structuring The Dutch private foundation is a robust and flexible tool for managing private wealth.
International Charitable Giving Oxford University Press, 2012, author Chapter: the Netherlands