Family office services

For more than 100 years, successive generations of Partners and leaders have steered Hall & Wilcox through times of crisis and prosperity. Through careful custodianship and a sense of legacy, our firm has grown to be a thriving pre-eminent, independent national commercial law firm.

Throughout our history, Hall & Wilcox has supported generations of Australian family owned businesses through all stages of their lifecycle, from ‘start up’ to ‘scale down’ and the inevitable challenges that arise along the way. During this time we have worked successfully and side-by-side with some of Australia’s most successful entrepreneurs, substantial family owned businesses and high-wealth family groups.

Family owned private business and high-wealth families are a core client focus at Hall & Wilcox. Our Partners and lawyers are preeminent advisers and experts in the legal issues that are faced by family business owners and the custodians of family wealth.

A number of our Partners and senior leaders hold board or advisory roles with family offices and, as such, are attuned to the complexities of navigating family dynamics and commonly-controlled wealth and assets. Moreover, we have close relationships and a network of advisors outside of Australia who we work with regularly, to ensure a seamless client experience can be provided when legal issues arise offshore.

How we can help

Future Focused Families is Hall & Wilcox’s family office service offering, providing ‘bespoke’ legal and commercial solutions to multi-generational family groups and privately owned business across all stages of the family office lifecycle.

Forming a new family office

We regularly collaborate with our family group and privately owned business clients to co-design a family office strategy which:

  • is tailor made and responsive to their short, medium and long-term objectives (based on our ‘menu’ of legal services);
  • can be actioned within a defined time-frame while, at the same time, capable of being adapted and ‘scaled’ as the family’s requirements change over time; and
  • involves and connects with any existing accounting, financial and philanthropy advisors the family has a relationship with.

Our approach has three phases:

  • Phase 1: facilitate and intermediate a ‘family dialogue’, involving family members, advisors and other relevant stakeholders, with a view to raising to the surface family goals, challenges, opportunities and threats and addressing strategies to respond to each.
  • Phase 2: prepare a Future Focused Family action plan, which outlines short, medium and long-term objectives and service needs, documents and other deliverables, with detailed costing (including fixed fees, where appropriate).
  • Phase 3: appoint a Hall & Wilcox ‘project manager’ to oversee and drive the implementation of all aspects of the engagement and be the single point of contact for the family’s legal requirements or co-ordination of work between different advisors.
Servicing existing family offices

Drawing on Hall & Wilcox’s cross-practice resources and depth in all areas of commercial law, through Future Focused Families we can offer family offices the following ‘menu’ of legal services.

Importantly, our objective is to offer family offices a fully integrated service and to work in collaboration, not in competition, with incumbent accounting, financial and philanthropy advisors.

Family Office - Future-focused families Infographic

Our experience

Inter-generational wealth transition plan

Advising on and facilitating an inter-generational wealth transition plan for a high-wealth family with substantial Australian and European property holdings, including:

  • Streamlining a complex family group structure of over 45 companies and trusts.
  • Reorganising the ownership structure of high-value European real property assets to facilitate future succession planning.
  • Negotiating and drafting a ‘Family Control Deed’ and ‘Family Constitution’ to facilitate inter-generational control and management of family wealth.
  • Succession documents and asset protection advice for all family members.
Bespoke family business succession planning

Preparing bespoke family business succession planning documents to provide a high-wealth family group with a pathway in the event of death or incapacity to ensure the financial security of the family through continued success of the business.

The patriarch of the family operated the long standing logistics and distribution business, supported by a number of key employees. The family involved a number of complex personal relationships across three generations and a group structure of more than 50 trusts and companies.

Streamline group structure and implement governance

Streamlining the existing group structure of a high-wealth family with diverse business and investments interests, establishing a new family business entity, clarifying the roles of various family members and developing a comprehensive family governance agreement to confirm control and operation now and for future generations.

In these engagements we work closely and collaboratively with existing accounting and investment advisers to deliver seamless outcomes for the client.

Family group reorganisation

Assisting a high-wealth family, based in France but with a key family member resident in Australia, with the re-organisation of its Australian business operating structures. This included the implementation of a complex cross-border share buyback transaction and provision of asset protection and succession planning advice to the Australian resident family member.

This included the implementation of a complex cross-border share buyback transaction and provision of asset protection and succession planning advice to the Australian resident family member.

Key contacts

Emma Woolley

Partner & Head of Family Office Advisory

Emma has extensive experience advising clients in estate planning/administration, succession, trust structures and disputes.

Frank Hinoporos the Hall & Wilcox Tax team. He advises on direct taxes, international structuring and taxation disputes.