Trusts/private client in Cayman Islands

Appleby

Headed up by Carlos De Serpa Pimentel, ‘one of the most knowledgeable lawyers on the circuit with impressive experience‘, the trusts and private client practice at Appleby is retained by an impressive assortment of institutional trustees, protectors, enforcers, beneficiaries and other high-net-worth individuals, for whom it routinely handles high-value, cross-border instructions. It chiefly handles the establishment of complex foundation companies, Public Trustee v Cooper applications, large-scale trust restructuring proceedings and a variety of other contentious trusts disputes. An additional name to note is the ‘technically very strong and unflappableEsmond Brown, who was promoted to counsel in 2021 and specialises in the establishment and administration of trusts and foundations along with will and estate planning matters.

Practice head(s):

Carlos de Serpa Pimentel

Other key lawyers:

Esmond Brown; Sebastian Said

Testimonials

‘The Appleby team are technically outstanding.’

‘Carlos Pimental is one of the most knowledgeable lawyers on the circuit with impressive experience and knowledge. Esmond Brown is technically very strong and unflappable.’

‘I have worked with Appleby in Cayman on a particularly challenging trust dispute. Unlike some other lawyers in the trust and trust dispute area, the Appleby team really understood the reality of the issues for the client and were able to provide outstanding technical advice as well as really engaging in a meaningful and positive way with the client.’

‘Carlos de Serpa Pimentel is outstanding. He is extremely intelligent and knowledgeable, but combines that with a real empathy for the client and a real commitment to delivering the right result. He is really well supported by Esmond Brown who is a real class act and one to watch.’

Key clients

Cayman National Trust Co Ltd

Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce Pension Plan Trustees

R3 Cayman Foundation

Work highlights

  • Acting for Cayman National Trust Company as the Former Trustee of the Poulton Family Trust in hostile proceedings brought in the Financial Services Division of the Grand Court by the adult children of the settlor and beneficiaries who were excluded from the Trust by the Settlor and Protector of the Trust in 2016.
  • Advising the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce as trustee of the Chamber’s Pension Plan for all employees resident in the Cayman Islands, acting counsel generally to the Chamber of Commerce Pension Plan Trustees on all matters and questions arising.
  • Advised on the establishment of a new Cayman Islands foundation company, R3 Cayman Foundation; the foundation company will manage a private sector-led recovery fund to support readiness, relief and recovery efforts in the Cayman Islands in the event of a natural or man-made emergency or disaster, including the global Covid-19 pandemic.

Harneys

The private client and trusts practice at Harneys is ‘totally adept at handling the largest and complex trust litigation, including trusts in major international fraud disputes’. Doing a ‘great job at attracting work from Asia’, the group also has enviable capabilities in the non-contentious space, where it advises a range of clients – trust companies, banks, high-net-worth individuals and families – on sophisticated estate and succession planning issues as well as the establishment and restructuring of trusts governed by Cayman Islands law, including STAR trusts, private trust companies, charitable trusts and foundation companies. Henry Mander leads the team alongside Jessica Williams, who, focuses on contentious trusts and insolvency and restructuring work. Another name to note is counsel Charles Moore, who is singled out as ‘a real jewel in the private client disputes world in Cayman’.

Practice head(s):

Henry Mander; Jessica Williams

Other key lawyers:

Charles Moore

Testimonials

Charles Moore is a strong lawyer; thoughtful and insightful.’

‘The firm has great strength in private client in both Cayman and BVI. The firm has done a great job attracting work from Asia.’

‘Henry Mander and Charlie Moore are an exceptional team. Henry is brilliant and engaging and an excellent resource in Cayman. Charlie Moore is going to be a real jewel in the private client disputes world in Cayman: very good with clients, highly responsive and knowledgeable. Time spent with Charlie is time well spent.’

‘A standout team in the Cayman Islands, totally adept at handing the largest and complex trust litigation, including trusts in major international fraud disputes. ’

‘Jess Williams and Charlie Moore are both exceptional. Hard-working and approachable, they both really know their stuff.’

Harneys trusts team is supremely capable – they combine analytic and strategic skills. They combine a very strong structuring capability as well as excellent forensic talent. This means that they cover the spectrum of trusts issues and are able to create solutions for clients as well as sort out difficulties which arise.’

Henry Mander is an experienced litigator including in the trust arena.

Ogier

Praised for its ‘truly global outlook and enormous trusts experience‘,  the ‘heavy-hitting‘ private wealth and trust advisory team at Ogier handles a mix of contentious and non-contentious matters, with a particular emphasis on complex cross-border work. ‘Excellent communicatorAnthony Partridge , who leads the group alongside Rachael Reynolds QC (who is a ‘go-to for contentious trust and insolvency work‘), primarily advises high-net-worth individuals on estate planning work, including issues of domicile, multiple wills and probate. The department also has extensive experience in the formation and structuring of STAR trusts, charitable and non- charitable purpose trusts, private trust companies, VISTA trusts and foundation companies. Other names to note are Jennifer Fox  and counsel Deborah Barker-Roye, both of whom place an emphasis on contentious trusts and estate mandates.

Testimonials

‘Understanding of foreign trust issues as they tie to Cayman law. Very responsive.’

‘Anthony Partridge has been an absolute pleasure and responsive individual – clients immediately find him trustworthy.’

‘Ogier helps lead the way for private client work in Cayman. They have a truly global outlook and enormous trusts experience which they bring to bear on their work. ’

‘Rachael Reynolds QC is an exceptional lawyer – always top of the list for Cayman trust matters.’

‘Anthony Partridge is an excellent communicator and responds promptly. Very high level of client service.’

A heavy-hitting team doing some of the best contentious trust work on the island‘.

Rachael Reynolds QC is a fantastic communicator, technically good and a go-to for contentious trust and insolvency work.’

The Ogier Cayman trusts and private client team has a deservedly highly respected global reputation and is clearly top of their game.’

Key clients

Stingray

Work highlights

  • Acted for an incapacitated primary beneficiary through her court-appointed Guardian for a stay of parallel Cayman Proceedings on grounds of Forum Non-Conveniens in complex issues never before fully argued in the Cayman courts.

Walkers

Fusing ‘leading trust and estate advice with expertise in other disciplines such as capital markets, compliance and fintech‘, Walkers‘ private capital and trusts group routinely assists institutional trustees, ultra-high-net-worth private clients and large family offices and businesses. On the non-contentious side, the key contact is David Pytches, who handles the full gamut of matters concerning the preservation, investment and passing on of private capital. He and his team are particularly active in the formation, administration and restructuring of trusts and foundations, private trust companies and charitable and philanthropic ventures, as well as complex will and succession planning mandates. Cited as a ‘stand-out in the team’, Shelley White  takes the lead on a large proportion of contentious trust matters, including unit trust disputes, litigation with enforcers, contested applications for Beddoe relief and contentious probate matters. The ‘very responsiveMonique Bhullar, Clive Thomas, senior counsel Lucy Diggle and banking and finance specialist Philip Paschalides are other key practitioners.

Testimonials

The Walkers team is the only one in the market, that I’m aware of, which combines leading trust and estate advice with expertise in other disciplines such as capital markets, compliance and fintech. Superb.’

The key selling points of the Walkers trust team are the depth of knowledge and experience in this area of the law, and the unfailing ability to combine technical ability with a sharp appreciation of the client’s commercial drivers. It is a winning combination.’

Shelley White is a stand-out in the team. She is thorough, responsive, unafraid to challenge others to think harder, and supportive of her clients and her team. Advice is always partner-led, but I have also had positive experiences with Lucy Diggle.’

The team is strong in numbers, technical knowledge and strong pragmatic advice. They work very closely together.’

Lucy Diggle and Shelley White have been particularly helpful on a recent contentious matter getting to the heart of the matter very quickly. Monique Bhullar is always very responsive to any requests for informal or formal advice.’

Key clients

Butterfield Trust

CIBC

Genesis Trust

Intertrust

Rawlinson & Hunter

Zedra

Grant Thornton, Saad Investments Company Limited (In Official Liquidation)

Bessemer Trust Company (Cayman) Limited

Saffery Champness

Work highlights

  • Successfully negotiated a confidential settlement for the plaintiff, the JOLs of 9 Saad Entities, in a long-running, high-value fraud case.
  • Acting for the Plaintiffs in major cross-border trust litigation against a Liechtenstein trustee seeking to set aside or amend the settlement, both on grounds of mistake and under Israeli matrimonial law.

Bedell Cristin

Overseen by Andrew Miller, who is singled out as a ‘powerhouse in Cayman’ who is ‘heavily involved in working with the Cayman Government and with STEP locally in relation to the laws and legislation’, Bedell Cristin’s international private client offering blends BVI and Cayman advice. It has a particularly strong reputation for advising on complex international wealth structuring issues, whether for high-net-worth individuals or financial institutions. International trust foundations, private holding company issues, succession planning and probate work and immigration and residency issues are among the pillars of the practice. In June 2021, the department welcomed managing associate Fraser Allister, whose practice also encompasses advice on the private wealth dimensions of regulatory frameworks such as anti-money laundering, beneficial ownership and economic substance mandates. Also skilled in trusts and estates matters at the managing associate level is Daniel Altneu .

Practice head(s):

Andrew Miller

Other key lawyers:

Fraser Allister; Daniel Altneu

Testimonials

‘Close-knit team, very responsive, excellent technical ability and client service. I would highly recommend. They have expertise in dealing with complex international family/trust matters and they were involved with our Cayman Court Blessing and conducted this excellently.’

‘Andrew Miller is a powerhouse in Cayman and well respected internationally. Heavily involved in working with the Cayman Government and with STEP locally in relation to the laws and legislation.’

Fraser Allister and Daniel Altneu provided excellent client service and knew their stuff and are great people to work with.’

‘Andrew Miller is very responsive. He is a safe pair of hands and it is a pleasure to work with him.’

A key team to watch as they grow carefully but quickly; they have attracted some key talents.’

Andrew Miller is one of the most prominent and well-respected lawyers in the sector internationally; he is pragmatic, client first, highly commercial and ready to cross into related sectors such as investment structures. He has an excellent grasp of all of the areas that his clients seek support in. Fraser Allister is one of very few experienced and commercial lawyers in the sector – one to watch as he has just joined the team.’

The Bedell team is able to cover off the whole spectrum of services that trustees and ultra-high net worth individuals need. From trust, family office, private funds, immigration services.’

Andrew Miller’s experience, knowledge and contacts are comparable to any lawyer in Cayman.’

Carey Olsen

As ‘undoubtedly one of the strongest private client firms in Cayman', Carey Olsen handles contentious and non-contentious private client matters. Instructed by a variety of high-net-worth individuals, families and trustees, the team is led by Bernadette Carey , who ‘clearly demonstrates her expertise whilst being incredibly pleasant to deal with’, standing out for her knowledge of wealth structuring and estate planning matters, probate issues, trust litigation and estate litigation, among other types of cross-border private client disputes. Principally focused on mandates concerning the establishment and administration of trusts and trust structures, counsel Graham Stoute  is commended for ‘an academic’s depth of understanding of trusts and the private client world’. Elsewhere, fellow counsel Chris Duncan ’s practice emphasises trust restructurings.

Practice head(s):

Bernadette Carey

Other key lawyers:

Chris Duncan ; Graham Stoute 

Testimonials

‘The team is incredibly responsive, personable and easy to approach. They are proactive in engaging with clients and community stakeholders, with a focus on building relationships and a high level of trust. They are active members of the corporate community, working toward the betterment of the industry and the jurisdiction. They are well respected for their expertise and competence.’

‘Bernadette Carey clearly demonstrates her expertise whilst being incredibly pleasant to deal with and approachable. Her genuine enthusiasm for her work and client service is evident. She is tireless in her client service delivery, collaboration with colleagues and civic involvement. She is a leader in the research and thought leadership/opinion papers she produces.’

‘Very professional. Very technical. Cost conscious. Deliver on time. Communicate well.’

‘Reliable. Technical. Good communication. Pleasure to deal with. Personable.’

‘They are a highly regarded international brand building a team of exceptional private client lawyers. They are very user-friendly and knowledgeable. The firm has made top drawer lateral hires.’

‘Bernadette Carey and Graham Stoute are both exceptional in very different ways giving the team a diverse strength. Bernadette is very clever, good in court and excellent with clients. She has a great practical grasp on her subject matter. Graham has an exceptional academic mind and an academic’s depth of understanding of trusts and the private client world; his understanding of Caribbean law and history generally is extraordinary and perhaps unmatched.’

‘Carey Olsen is undoubtedly one of the strongest Private Client firms in Cayman.’

‘Bernadette Carey is outstanding.’

Conyers

Benefitting from a rise in instructions from Latin America, Conyers advises high-net-worth individuals and families, trustees and private trust companies on a mixture of non-contentious and contentious work. Family trust structures,  inter-generational asset transfers, estate administration work, private trust company formations and regulatory issues are among the key areas of strength for the team, which is led by Robert Lindley, who has corresponding expertise in trust disputes, including trust restructuring applications, Beddoe applications and breach of trust claims. At the associate level, the ‘technically very strongWesley O’Brien is the practitioner to note.

Practice head(s):

Robert Lindley

Other key lawyers:

Wesley O’Brien

Testimonials

The team has strong interpersonal skills and is very approachable for clients. For private client work, this is important.’

I like the approachability of Wes O’Brien and Robert Lindley and they are always happy to accept calls and to offer informal advice.’

The practical element of the advice is the refreshing change to other firms we have used in the past in the Cayman Islands. Conyers have been able to quickly understand the facts and issue advice accordingly in an efficient manner and in line with agreed time horizons.’

Robert Lindley is very knowledgeable in Cayman trust matters, easy to work with either by senior company management or by more junior employees, all of which praise his advice and guidance. Similar to Robert, Wesley O’Brien is proactive in trying to provide practical guidance.’

Robert and Wes have worked on some of our more contentious situations, going beyond the usual legal advice into helping navigate some challenging family dynamics.’

Robert Lindley is very experienced and provides exceptional all-round advice. We have found he has come out with very creative solutions not just on legal advice, but also managing family disputes. Wes O’Brien is technically very strong.’

Robert Lindley is commercially minded and a sensible safe pair of hands.’

Work highlights

  • Acting for the settlor/beneficiary of a Cayman Islands trust in relation to foreign divorce proceedings and potential attacks on the trust and its assets.
  • Advising an insurance company on the establishment of a Cayman Islands trust to hold healthcare insurance policies for policyholders based in the LATAM region.
  • Advising a Forbes-listed family on the establishment of private trust companies and Cayman Foundation Companies to act as trustee and protector of Bermuda law trusts which hold valuable assets.

Maples Group

Led from London by Ray Davern following the late 2020 retirement of Morven McMillan, the trusts and private client team at Maples Group advises large financial institutions, high-net-worth individuals, families, charities and other trust companies on Cayman private wealth structures. ‘Skilled lawyer‘ and of counsel Maxine Bodden excels in the establishment and administration of Cayman trusts, namely unit trusts, pension and employee benefit trusts, and charitable trusts. Adam Huckle , who was promoted to of counsel in January 2021, provides key support on the contentious side, regularly assisting the trustees and beneficiaries of local trusts on contentious applications to the domestic courts. In November 2020, Colin McKie QC also retired.

Practice head(s):

Ray Davern

Other key lawyers:

Maxine Bodden; Adam Huckle 

Testimonials

‘Maples Group in the Cayman Islands is a very professional service provider: they provide profound though practical advice and are highly available. They have been our to-go adviser for the last 6 years.’

‘Maxine Bodden provides hands-on advice, has a broad perspective on the client’s needs, and is a skilled lawyer and adviser.’

Great time of response and availability. Excellent capability to adapt to client’s requests and needs.’

Maxine Bodden has great knowledge and sensibility on private client practice.’

Key clients

United MileagePlus

Collas Crill

Headed up by the Guernsey-based David Cooney  since the November 2020 departure of Tom Mylott, Collas Crill’s international trust and private client department has a proven track record in handling the full gamut of contentious and non-contentious matters. Instructed by a wide range of institutional trustees, family offices, high-net-worth individuals, trustees, settlors, beneficiaries and protectors, the department excels in the foundation of STAR Trust and foundation companies, cross-border wealth structuring matters, and complex trust litigation. Locally in Cayman, counsel Andrew Peedom and senior associate Sally Peedom play key supporting roles.

Practice head(s):

David Cooney 

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Peedom; Sally Peedom

Testimonials

‘My contact at Collas Crill is David Cooney, a Cayman qualified lawyer located in their Guernsey office. David is a first-rate practitioner: he is highly technical, responsive, and client friendly. He is definitely my “go-to” Cayman lawyer for private client trust matters.’

‘The team is one of very few that can deliver Cayman Islands law advice in the European time zone. It provides very practical and commercially orientated advice that is notable by being decisive and conclusive, not fence sitting. The quality and service delivery are outstanding and they work well with counsel in other firms.’

‘David Cooney is an exceptional Cayman Islands-qualified lawyer in trusts and wealth structuring. He stands out against the competition based in the Cayman Islands because of his superior commercial understanding and delivery of practical, succinct advice and solutions. He represents great value for clients and is a pleasure to instruct on Cayman matters, he delivers swiftly and communicates well.’

Their team showed tremendous experience in dealing with the Trust’s representatives and reach a suitable agreement for the client, by dealing with the Trust.

Andrew and Sally Peedom are highly responsive and willing to jump in at a moment’s notice. Their follow up is remarkable! They have a lot of experience dealing with trust-related matters, we liked that both Sally and Andrew are quite approachable and easy to get on with.’

This is a team dedicated to client services.’

Sally Peedom always gives timely advice tailored to client needs.’

Work highlights

  • Acting for a variety of ultra high net-worth clients on their use of Cayman Islands Foundation Companies for philanthropic purposes.
  • Representing a Cayman trustee seeking to restructure a large dynastic family trust in the creation two new Cayman trusts for different branches of the family.
  • Acting on an ongoing basis for a technology company on its development and ensuing restructuring of a global employee stock option regime, which is carried out through various trust structures.