For wealthy families, the establishment of a family office can be a powerful tool to grow their wealth, manage their investments, serve the needs of individual family members and preserve legacies across generations. Family offices – and the services they provide – are as unique as the families they serve, requiring the support of a legal team with the experience and flexibility to create a customized approach in addressing the needs of the family.
The Family Office services team at McDonald Hopkins includes attorneys with years of experience working both in and with family offices, serving as a one-stop shop for clients who seek to navigate the challenges and benefits of these unique businesses.
Our attorneys work with family offices of all sizes, from newly established offices with one or two professionals to those with a large team and have served families for generations. No matter where your family office sits on the spectrum, our team is equipped with the skills, knowledge, and experience to supplement the service providers in your office and to create frameworks that will preserve your family’s legacy for generations to come.
We place a premium on cultivating long-lasting relationships with our clients, which allows us to take a hands-on approach in guiding them through decisions large and small. Whether your family office requires assistance with day-to-day legal needs or a long-term growth strategy, our attorneys will leverage their creative problem-solving skills to help you protect your interests, pursue your goals, and close critical transactions.
For families in need of general business counseling, whether for a core business that the family has grown over generations or a new portfolio of companies that the family has invested in, we marshal the full resources of our firm—including more than 150 attorneys and professionals across multiple disciplines—to create bespoke solutions that align with their objectives. Our attorneys counsel family offices both on their internal operations and in connection with the family’s investments. We have extensive experience advising private equity and venture capital firms as well as individually sponsors in mergers and acquisitions, private placements, and commercial finance transactions. We also help out clients facing business challenges or looking for opportunities in distressed markets through strategic advisory and restructuring services, focusing on creditors’ rights and equity holder representation.
Estate Planning and Probate
A core function of many family offices involves family and business succession planning, to ensure the efficient transfer of wealth as well as the values of the family through generations. Our estate planning team works with family office clients on strategies to manage and pass on their wealth through tax-efficient strategies. We help our clients to pursue and support their most important values through charitable gift planning and family foundation counseling. Our probate and trust administration attorneys help family offices to ensure that the family goals are appropriately managed for posterity and that the family remains protected. When disputes arise, we stand ready to defend our clients’ interests, relying on our proven litigation skills to attain optimal outcomes with minimal disruption to the family business.
Income Tax Planning
Wealthy families often rely on their family office for strategic income tax planning for individual family members, commonly-owned businesses and family investments. McDonald Hopkins tax attorneys work with in-house tax professionals at family offices or serve as an outside tax function for many of our family office clients, whether advising on business transactions or helping navigate disputes with the IRS and state taxing authorities.
Family offices must be strategic when implementing tax planning. Drawing on our considerable knowledge of all areas of federal, state, and local taxation, we develop comprehensive solutions that ensure our clients minimize potential burdens while reaping the greatest benefits.
We bring both our transactional savvy and our wide-ranging legal experience to bear when assisting family offices with virtually any real estate project, from residential to commercial, industrial, and multifamily. In the face of market volatility and an ever-changing legislative landscape, our team provides clear-eyed assessments and realistic solutions that bring our clients closer toward their long-term goals. Our areas of focus include ownership structures, investments, acquisitions, financing, and lease and project development, as well as distressed properties, workouts, and foreclosures.
Data Privacy and Cybersecurity
We understand that one of the most important roles of a family office is protecting the privacy of the family and guarding the information about the family that they maintain in service of the family’s needs. Our attorneys help our family office clients address this need through negotiating and implementing contractual non-disclosure agreements with employees, vendors and others who access that information in service of the family. We also help our family office clients protect themselves from outside threats by working with our nationally-recognized cybersecurity team.
Our attorneys have substantial experience advising family office clients on rapidly changing state, federal, international, and industry privacy and breach notification laws. The moment a client notifies us that an incident has taken place, we get to work developing a response plan that allows them to act quickly, thoroughly, and effectively. We also assist with creating proactive, 360-degree approaches to data privacy and cybersecurity to minimize risk, mitigate potential costs, and establish compliance with varied laws and standards.
Labor and Employment
Because family offices must abide by the same local, federal, and state labor and employment laws as any private company, we draw on our deep well of expertise in the field to generate airtight plans for compliance. Our team advises and represents clients in every facet of management-labor relations, including benefit administration, contracts, compensation, confidentiality agreements, and dispute resolution. We also conduct on- and off-site training and education programs to support and reinforce compliance strategies.
Disputes are liable to surface in any commercial enterprise, but the presence of family dynamics can make them even more sensitive. Family offices facing the prospect of litigation—or those already embroiled in it—rely on our deep bench of litigators to chart a smooth path to resolution. Whether in trial, arbitration, mediation, or appellate court, we work tirelessly to defend your interests and prevent collateral damage to your family office. Our directors and officers litigation team frequently works with professional liability insurers to defend against claims, focusing on avoiding costly battles by facilitating a timely settlement. In addition, our firm is often retained to stop individuals involved in fraud and defalcation, drawing on state-of-the-art capabilities in forensic accounting and technology to stop our clients’ adversaries in their tracks. We are also well-versed in the full spectrum of litigation finance issues.