Estate & succession planning

"Able to provide comfort in delicate and sensitive situations". "Very pleasant advisor to work with".
-Citywealth Client review 2019

Koele Tax & Legal Perspecta specializes in the planning of both Dutch and international wealth and high-end estates. Our advice covers the full range of tax and civil law (estate law, gift law) and we work on the implementation of our solutions with a number of notaries that we believe are the best in their field.

Estate planning, succession planning and family governance

We distinguish the following stages of estate planning:

  • Wealth planning in the creative phase. This consists of putting a meaningful plan in place to grow your company, as well as a plan for foundations, trusts, or different types of corporations for your other assets. 

  • Transfer of capital inter vivos or upon death. This addresses the question of how much will be available to whom when. This varies greatly and may involve a business, intellectual property, real estate, foreign vacation home, country estate, art collection, or your freely available assets. With the corresponding smart gifts, wills, foundations, funds at home or abroad.

  • Planning after death. In more complex situations, beneficiaries actually have more autonomy to put a plan in place than they may realize.
    Read about this topic: Trusts & Trustees, Oxford University Press, 2014, Mistake in Dutch Private Clients Practice: The Autonomy of Parties Revealed

Our Private Clients are served across the spectrum because Koele Tax & Legal Perspecta specializes simultaneously in tax aspects of wealth planning and estate and gift law. Obviously, we work closely with specialist counsel in other jurisdictions that are of interest to your case.

We work with each client to understand their family, assets and objectives and explain the various ways their objectives may be accomplished. We advise clients who have international estate and succession planning issues on how to avoid pitfalls and still reach their objectives. 

Minimizing the tax burden and disputes: Asset protection

The main goal of estate planning has traditionally been to minimize the tax burden, which can be complex especially in international situations (see also Complex Estates). In our opinion, estate planning also consists of minimizing (potential) disputes and the requisite level of family governance in order to maintain wealth over more generations. Moreover, the privacy and compliance aspects of asset protection are playing an ever increasing role in estate planning.

Succession planning for a lasting legacy

We introduced the term “lasting legacy planning” to indicate that a meaningful estate planning is embedded in what you and your inner circle consider as the goal of the assembled capital in the long term: it adds the "why" to the planning. As a result, a “successful” legacy (derived from the Latin "succedere," which means follow up, come after) can also be defined in the family.

Worldwide, 70% of all capital transfers to the next generation fail, according to a series of independent studies. The goal of this type of succession planning is to create a lasting legacy by integrating values and valuables alike, so that it will be followed up by the next generation.

Estate planning, succession planning and family governance

To make this more concrete, we set the following goals for lasting legacy planning:

  1. Protect the family against poverty in the long term (at least three generations)
  2. Provide children with the possibility to grow into healthy, productive adults
  3. Promote a working, meaningful lifestyle (as Warren Buffet once said: Enough to do anything, not so much to do nothing)
  4. Minimize conflict

Tax optimization will always play an important role in estate planning, but it should not be the main reason to act. This wider perspective creates space to take new avenues, also in terms of tax optimization.

See also: Family Business and Lasting Legacy Planning, Feb/March 2015

Family governance

There are a number of reasons why families (in general as well as in the context of family business) should be interested in family governance, i.e. the organization of the management and control of the family assets before and after death. 

Family charter, foundation trust office, private foundation with private, social and/or charitable goals: they can all be used for family governance. The goal is to find the solution that fits your situation.

Family governance can be an effective means of pre-empting or assisting with the resolution of family difficulties and disharmony. It can also be a highly practical tool to organize the family and express the various assumptions, understandings, and expectations regarding the family’s wealth, business and succession planning in general and, in particular, how this will be managed, shared, applied and preserved for the future.

See also: Family business, succession and continuity

Perspicacious Perspectives for entrepreneurs, individuals and non-profits

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