Firms To Watch: Private clients and non-profits

Heussen Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH's Frank Grischa Feitsch comprehensively advises families, wealthy individuals, heirs and foundations.
SKW Schwarz Rechtsanwälte's Christoph Meyer  and his team ‘does an excellent job‘ in advising foundations as well as in assisting with family law.
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Private clients and non-profits in Germany

Flick Gocke Schaumburg

Flick Gocke Schaumburg is regarded as one of the leading firms for advising private clients and the third sector. With strong expertise in tax law, the group advises on succession planning, donations, marriage contracts and divorce agreements, as well as on foundation and association activities. Instructions stem from family businesses, wealthy private individuals, charities and foundations of all kinds. Key contacts include non-profit specialist Stephan Schauhoff and tax expert Christian von Oertzen. The tax consultants Jan Bron, Andreas Söffing and Christian Kirchhain are also frequently instructed to assist with tax-related matters.

Testimonials

‘Very high level of expertise, very high availability, very good human cooperation, flexible, high level of acceptance in the market among market participants.’

‘High professional competence, high availability, flexibility, trying to find alternatives, outstanding as a person.’

‘Unique positioning in advising family businesses and their shareholders.’

‘Baßler is experienced and creative.’

‘Broad-based expertise in the private clients area. Points of contact with various customers.’

‘Dr. Christian von Oertzen is characterized by deep competence and an unexcited nature; goes down well with clients.’

POELLATH

Clients appreciate POELLATH's 'combination of know-how in the tax, inheritance and family law spheres with a strong focus on international family law'. The team advises entrepreneurial families, wealthy private individuals and foundations as well as foreign trusts and does so on the entire spectrum of relevant non-profit matters. Andreas Richter, in addition to his legal profession, also sits on the supervisory and advisory boards of family businesses and family offices, acts as an administrator and is on the board of various charitable foundations; he jointly heads the practice with foundation and non-profit specialist Katharina Gollan and Stephan Viskorf, who frequently deals with tax issues. Maximilian Haag is experienced in assisting with cross-border instructions.

Testimonials

‘Dr. Stephan Viskorf: Extraordinary level of solution orientation and creativity. High power of persuasion and strong trust also on the “opposite side”.’

‘Only a few law firms in Germany cover the combination of know-how in the areas of taxes, inheritance and family law with a strong focus on international family law. Since marriages across national borders are not uncommon, especially in entrepreneurial families, Poellath has developed a strategically valuable market position here.’

‘Dr. Viskorf is a strong analyst of complex tax situations, such as are often encountered in private clients.’

‘We have a large cross-border mandate with Maximilian Haag. He is highly professional, a quick thinker and always keeps an eye on the big picture. Clients trust him (rightly so).’

‘The responsible tax partner Dr. Maximilian Haag is extremely competent and responsive and provides concrete answers. In addition, dealing with him is very pleasant and professional.’

Work highlights

  • Comprehensive advice on the succession planning of an internationally operating UHNWI with extensive restructuring, especially with regard to existing investment structures.
  • Advice on the succession planning of a UHNWI with the bundling of the operational group of companies and the real estate group under one holding company while avoiding real estate transfer tax and purchase tax while optimizing gift tax at the same time.
  • Advice in the course of a contentious dispute between several families with international connections and a large, complex group structure with various business areas and types of assets.

Noerr

Noerr is experienced in advising family businesses, entrepreneurial families and wealthy private individuals and offers a one-stop shop for wealth, succession and foundation issues as well as corporate and tax matters and litigation. The team has particular expertise in assisting with cross-border matters and family corporate governance issues. Transaction expert Tobias Bürgers and private client specialist Wolfram Theiss jointly head the group.

Other key lawyers:

Gerald Reger; Frank Schuck

Testimonials

‘Competent.’

SZA Schilling, Zutt & Anschütz Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH

SZA Schilling, Zutt & Anschütz Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH focuses on advising entrepreneurs, wealthy private individuals and family offices on succession planning, asset management and structuring as well as on corporate, tax, matrimonial property, foundation and non-profit issues. Inheritance law specialist Stephan Scherer jointly heads the practice with Martin Feick, who is well versed in setting up non-profit organisations.

Practice head(s):

Stephan Scherer; Martin Feick

Other key lawyers:

Robert Opris

Key clients

Gesellschafter der Voith GmbH & Co. KGaA

Gesellschafter von Freudenberg & Co.

Work highlights

  • Ongoing successor advice for the shareholders of Voith GmbH & Co. KGaA.
  • Advice in connection with succession planning for Freudenberg & Co. shareholders living in Germany and abroad, including the conclusion of marriage contracts and advice on international issues.

ADVANT Beiten

ADVANT Beiten's team was recently particularly active in assisting with the set-up of family companies and family pools as well as with donations and anticipated successions, but covers the entire range of relevant issues, including tax matters. Gerrit Ponath is a key contact for wealthy individuals and (family) businesses and jointly heads the practice with Lucas van Randenborgh, who is experienced in wealth tax optimisation.

Testimonials

‘The service at Beiten Burkhardt is excellent, extremely fast and you can get in touch with the contact person(s) at any time.’

‘The foundation law experts understand exactly the needs of foundations, and upcoming legal changes in the “industry” are pointed out at an early stage.’

‘Overall, we receive very quick and extremely professional advice on many issues, especially in foundation and tax law, but also beyond. Extremely competent knowledge is available in all areas of law.’

‘First and foremost is our main contact person, Dr. Mention should be made of Ponath, who not only has excellent knowledge of the foundation scene, but is also available at any time and always develops excellent, tailor-made solutions.’

Key clients

Dagmar Westberg Stiftung

Deutsche Bank Stiftungsverwaltung

Else Kröner-Fresenius-Stiftung

Familie Schambach-Stiftung

World Vision Stiftung / World Vision e.V.

Glasmeister Heinz Familienstiftung/Gemeinnützige Carl August Heinz Stiftung

Helga Ravenstein-Stiftung

CMS

In the succession planning and asset structuring sphere, CMS advises entrepreneurs, including startup entrepreneurs, and private individuals with a focus on governance issues and foundation solutions; the practice regularly acts in cooperation with the firm's corporate team and across locations. The two inheritance law specialists Christian Blum and Dirk Schauer jointly head the group.

Practice head(s):

Christian Blum; Dirk Schauer

Other key lawyers:

Thomas Meyer

Testimonials

‘CMS advice can be relied on in every respect. Timelines are always met. CMS thinks ahead and proactively outside the box.’

‘The close coordination between Christian Blum and Dirk Schauer is noticeable at all times and simplifies the discussion of complex issues with private clients practice. In addition, the different client focuses of the lawyers complement each other very well.’

‘The team around Christian Blum and Dr. Dirk Schauer convincing, also as a provider of a second opinion. The calm and unexcited communication at eye level is a pleasure.’

‘The practice has a high level of expertise in inheritance and executorship law. The colleagues reacted very quickly to new developments and always gave the clients prompt feedback. There was always someone available, which is a clear difference to other law firms. There were always concrete agreements and agreements, so that the clients were informed and involved at all times. A central ability is the development of target-oriented and special ideas.’

‘Dr. Thomas Meyer has great expertise in the law of inheritance and the execution of wills. He is full of ideas and is very oriented towards the needs of the client.’

Oppenhoff

Entrepreneurs, owner families and wealthy private individuals regularly instruct Oppenhoff to assist with corporate and asset succession as well as corporate, tax, non-profit and foundation issues and regularly acts across practices. Axel Wenzel heads the team which also includes Sebastian  Zeeck (commercial, corporate, insolvency and tax law), who joined from Eversheds Sutherland in February 2021. Gregor Seikel is another key contact for various succession issues and family conflicts.

Practice head(s):

Axel Wenzel

Testimonials

‘Oppenhoff is our legal one-stop shop. All of our sometimes very complex legal issues are clarified here – from tax to labor law, contract law and data protection. In-house, certain questions are immediately checked with the relevant specialist departments so that we receive coordinated advice.’

The team can be reached at any time, the feedback is quick (our questions are usually urgent). You think creatively in many directions to make our ambitious foundation projects legally possible. At the same time, working together is a lot of fun because, in addition to the concentrated expertise, we can always count on extremely friendly support.’

‘A very broad team with excellent specialist lawyers – the interdisciplinary work works excellently. Excellent public image.’

‘Dr. Axel Wenzel: Excellent specialist lawyer, excellent communication skills, high emotional intelligence, very confident in his charisma and leadership; extremely customer-centric and goal-oriented.’

‘What we like about Oppenhoff and what makes working together particularly pleasant for us is that we only have a few contacts who are familiar to us. We only notice very little of the very qualified in-house network and internal work processes, but we always receive immediate feedback on our concerns and clear and reliable processing of our issues.’

‘Dr. Gregor Seikel has been providing us with excellent support for many years and has earned our complete trust. He is always accessible and available for us. All concerns are processed and settled by him in cooperation with his team in a professional and solution-oriented manner. Working with him is a real added value for us.’

‘Very approachable team of highly professional individuals who show a very pronounced openness to new things and do not act in deadlocked thought patterns and processes.’

‘The friendly, relaxed, but also highly professional nature of the individuals is convincing across the board. You feel perfectly looked after and know you have a reliable partner at your side who keeps calm and an overview even in serious crises.’

Key clients

Alfred Landecker Foudation

JAB Family Office

Familie Reimann

Sebastian Vettel

Adventana Foundation

UBS Switzerland AG

Work highlights

  • Holistic legal support for the Alfred Landecker Foundation in innovative non-profit projects.
  • Comprehensive advice to one of the richest families in Germany and Europe, especially in corporate law, inheritance law and family law.
  • Comprehensive advice to a non-profit corporation on the realignment of the corporate structure.

Taylor Wessing

Taylor Wessing has 'a very high legal standard for multinational and highly complex contracts in the  family and inheritance law sphere '. The team assists with matters related to companies, land, art and real estate and advises on a broad spectrum of asset structures; these increasingly entail cross-border aspects, for which the team is well equipped due to its close cross-locational cooperation. Axel Godron is also experienced in international succession planning. He jointly heads the practice with transaction specialist Martin Kraus.

Practice head(s):

Axel Godron; Martin Kraus

Testimonials

‘The team is resilient, highly trained, competent and friendly in communication.’

‘The problems to be solved are presented in the overall context, alternative solutions are shown with advantages and disadvantages. After the decision has been made, feedback is given on the further course of the matter , ie the customer is always informed about the status.’

‘The practiced full-service approach with a central contact person who also handles special issues either himself or in close cooperation with an internal specialist is very advantageous.’

‘Very high legal level in multinational and highly complex contract designs in the area of family and inheritance law. Very high willingness to comply with the wishes of the client. Very high practical orientation (= “Can the contract also be lived?”). Very high empathic and communication skills; team strength; high level of experience in family and inheritance law, which is only rarely available in other large law firms.’

Winheller Rechtsanwälte

In addition to traditional topics such as non-profit law, asset structures and tax issues, clients – including non-profit organisations and wealthy individuals – also turn to Winheller Rechtsanwälte for advice on cryptocurrencies. Johannes Fein jointly leads the team with tax law expert Lars-Olaf Leskovar, who joined the firm in May 2020 from GvW Graf von Westphalen. Boris Piekarek and Thomas Dehesselles are other key contacts for foundations and private clients.

Testimonials

‘Overall, very good team spirit and very committed. The law firm demonstrates long-term and constant social responsibility through extensive volunteer work in the non-profit sector.’

‘All lawyers are technically extremely competent and can impart knowledge to the target group. In general, all employees are committed, the cooperation is excellent and very constructive. Very high level of service.’

‘Competence and reliability have always met our expectations.’

Key clients

ADAC Berlin-Brandenburg e.V.

Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat Deutschland KdöR

Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)

Deutsche Bauchemie e.V.

Deutsche Herzstiftung e.V.

Deutsche Stiftung für Engagement und Ehrenamt

DMSB – Deutscher Motor Sport Bund e.V.

Dr. Jürgen und Irmgard Ulderup Stiftung

Stiftung Knochenmark- und Stammzellspende Deutschland (SKD)

Technologiestiftung Berlin

VAUNET – Verband Privater Medien e.V.

1. FSV Mainz 05 e.V.

Work highlights

  • Advising the 1. FSV Mainz 05 eV on procedural issues in connection with elections.
  • Advising the German Volunteer Foundation on all aspects of their training and support programs.
  • Support for the ADAC Berlin-Brandenburg eV in conducting the virtual general meeting.

dtb rechtsanwälte

dtb Rechtsanwälte has expertise in advising artists, art collectors, auction houses and museums on foundation, non-profit, art and inheritance law. The group impresses with 'very good market knowledge and longstanding experience'. Bertold Schmidt-Thomé is an experienced contact for entrepreneurs and their heirs, founders as well as for foundations. Pascal Decker complements the advice offering with experience in press and trademark law.

Testimonials

‘Professional yet warm climate. Everyone seems to care about the client, and you have easy access to everyone with questions, whether the lawyer or the office worker who is responsible for billing. Clients also feel that they are in good hands as human beings.’

‘Berthold Schmidt-Thomé works unconventionally and is extremely efficient. Above all, however, he understands what we want to do with our foundation and thinks his way into its structures. The willingness to work on an urgent question while on vacation surprised me and made me even happier.’

‘Highly specialized art experts, very good knowledge of the market, many years of experience.’

‘Berthold Schmidt-Thomé: qualification as an art historian is a unique selling point, very good knowledge of the market, excellent networking in the art market.’

Key clients

Berlinische Galerie

The Feuerle Collection

Welti-Furrer Fine Art AG

Work highlights

  • Ongoing pre-court advice and representation in conflict cases for a gallery in Berlin.
  • Comprehensive advice to The Feuerle Collection on all activities related to Germany.
  • Advice on inheritance and art law for Welti-Furrer Fine Art AG.

Kantenwein Zimmermann Spatscheck & Partner

Kantenwein Zimmermann Spatscheck & Partner focuses on inheritance tax planning, corporate succession and the structuring of family offices and is also well versed in assisting with matters pertaining to foundation law and non-profit organisations; the client base includes family businesses, wealthy private individuals and foundations. Annett Kuhli-Spatscheck has special expertise at the interfaces of corporate and tax law as well as succession advice and dispute resolution. Of counsel Thomas Kanteenwein is an experienced advisor to high-net-worth individuals on charitable activities.

Practice head(s):

Annett Kuhli-Spatscheck

Testimonials

‘Dr. Thomas Kanteenwein: Strategist and excellent mediator.

‘The law firm handles the needs of a charitable foundation for us. The work is done extremely correctly, always on schedule and on budget. Documents are created immediately. The handling is very friendly and cooperative. Rooms are always made available. The professional competence fully meets the requirements.’

‘We appreciate Annett Kuhli-Spatscheck very much.’

Work highlights

  • Succession advice as well as legal and tax advice for a specially founded family office for an entrepreneur and shareholder.
  • Advising a family business on restructuring, in particular due to the initiation of company succession, as well as tax and civil law advice on a change of shareholder with a volume of around €450 million.
  • Advising a wealthy private individual on legal and tax issues including succession and tax structure.

Rittershaus

Rittershaus advises on corporate and asset succession and the establishment of foundations. In the context of family law, the team is instructed by international private individuals and family businesses to assist with divorces and the execution of wills, as well as with issues that require the team's dispute resolution skills. Werner Born and Michael Kühn head the practice.

Practice head(s):

Werner Born; Michael Kühn

Other key lawyers:

Pawel Blusz

Key clients

Europapark

Vision-Group, Mannheim

Work highlights

  • Representing a private individual in a family dispute with numerous corporate law court cases against the children from the first marriage.
  • Advice to the Europapark on the structuring of other foundations related to other countries.
  • Advising the Vision Group on the establishment of a new tax-optimized holding structure for real estate acquisitions in the commercial and asset management sectors, including a successor concept.

Rödl & Partner

Led by tax expert Elke Volland, Rödl & Partner advises entrepreneurs, shareholders and private individuals on various foundation, tax and succession issues.

Practice head(s):

Elke Volland

Other key lawyers:

Christian Rödl