Private client in Switzerland

Bär & Karrer Ltd.

‘Go-to firmBär & Karrer Ltd. offers ‘excellent service‘ for high-net-worth und ultra-high-net-worth individuals, their families, family offices and trusts, and is ‘able to deal very well with international clients‘. The ‘outstanding‘ team has ‘very strong capabilities both on legal and on tax matters‘ in relation to any issues a private client may face, such as domestic and cross-border wealth and succession planning, international marital agreements, international migration, customs, employment, inheritance and trust matters, including related litigation. Practice head Tina Wüstemann is ‘one of the best international lawyers in complex matrimonial arrangements‘. The ‘excellent lawyersDaniel Leu, Daniel Bader, Ruth Bloch-Riemer and Aurélie Conrad Hari are further key contacts.

Practice head(s):

Tina Wüstemann

Testimonials

‘Excellent service. Outstanding team. Always on top of the market. Bär and Karrer is the ‘go-to’ firm in Switzerland.’

‘We have been working with Tina Wüstemann, Daniel Bader and Aurélie Conrad. The team is always available and on top of all matters. We do not hesitate to contact Bär & Karrer as the go-to law firm in Switzerland.’

‘Daniel Bader is really user-friendly, commercial and a superb cross-border tax lawyer.’

‘Bär & Karrer (both Zurich and Lugano) are one of the few firms in Switzerland that join very strong capabilities both on legal and on tax matters with very good reputation and respectability. They are able to deal very well with international clients.’

‘Tina Wüstemann is very skilled with trusts and international estates. Daniel Leu is the new leading partner on the inheritance law side and is extremely responsive and knowledgeable. Very client-oriented.’

‘Tina Wüstemann, Daniel Bader and Daniel Leu are highly skilled, very experienced, excellent lawyers. Tina Wüstemann is one of the top trusts and estates litigators in Switzerland, with extensive experience in the largest and most complex international trust disputes. She has excellent judgement and strategic litigation skills. She is a delightful person to work with and I never would want her as an opponent.’

‘Daniel Bader is a top private client lawyer with deep expertise in cross-border planning. Daniel Leu is a trust litigator with whom we are working closely and are very impressed.’

Ruth Bloch-Riemer is very capable on banking and financial products.’

Lenz & Staehelin

Lenz & Staehelin fields a team of ‘first-class lawyers‘ who have ‘strong allround knowledge of private client work, in particular tax and succession matters‘. Core services relate to wealth and estate planning, re-domicilations to Switzerland as well as international inheritance advice, including related litigation. Lucien Masmejan is ‘a superb litigator, with excellent judgement and creative strategic litigation skills‘. ‘Stand-out‘ expert Heini Rüdisühli has a focus on national and international tax and succession planning and Mark Barmes is ‘one of the leading international private client lawyers in Switzerland‘ with a focus on advising foreign trustees on establishing themselves in Switzerland. The unit further includes the ‘pragmatic and thoughtfulAlexander Greter, ‘stand-out‘ lawyer Alexandra Hirt and ‘extremely talented private client and tax planning lawyerGéraldine Auberson.

Testimonials

‘Lucien Masmejan is absolutely first rate. He is very good with clients and they really feel he has their backs. Géraldine Auberson is highly effective and responsive.’

‘Lucien Masmejan’s grasp of tax law across the cantons in Switzerland is unparalleled. Aside from his clear technical skill, Lucien was a fantastic project manager. I was delighted to work with Lucien and would certainly like to do so again. I would recommend Lucien in a heartbeat.’

‘All the lawyers I have come across in the Lenz & Staehelin private client team are first class.’

‘Alexander Greter is patient, pragmatic and thoughtful.’

‘They are first rate. We place Lenz & Staehelin at the top tier of the firms with which we work regularly in Switzerland on private client matters for important clients.’

‘They are all highly skilled, very experienced, excellent lawyers. Lucien Masmejan is equally strong on contentious and non-contentious trust and private client matters, and is known as a superb corporate lawyer as well. He is a superb litigator, with excellent judgement and creative strategic litigation skills. Mark Barmes is widely recognized as one of the leading international private client lawyers in Switzerland, with an extraordinary cross-border practice of clients from around the world. He is a great pleasure to work with, very bright, creative, thoughtful, deeply experienced. Géraldine Auberson is an extremely talented private client and tax planning lawyer, deeply knowledgable, with excellent judgement.’

‘A strong allround knowledge of private client work, in particular tax and succession matters.’

‘Stand-out names are Heini Rüdisühli and associate Alexandra Hirt. They are very responsive and clear in their advice, and very pleasant to work with as part of a team.’

Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd

The ‘fantastic private client team‘ at Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd ‘stands out for the personalised service it offers to its clients‘. The service encompasses all contentious and non-contentious legal issues for families and individuals, such as estate and succession planning, private wealth and business asset structuring, family office organisation, trust administration and inheritance disputes. The unit is further experienced in the sale or acquisition of unique assets, such as art pieces, private jets and yachts. Bernard Vischer has ‘impressive multi-jurisdictional tax and estate planning knowledge‘, the ‘outstandingChristian Girod  has a focus on estate and trust disputes, as does Alexander Jolles. Caroline López Nagai is experienced in cross-border succession planning. The practice further includes Grégoire Wuest. Clients are ‘extremely impressed‘ by David Wallace Wilson and Andrea Dorjee-Good.

Testimonials

‘Christian Girod was particularly helpful in explaining both the legal basics and the subtleties applicable to my specific situation. I found our exchanges to be particularly efficient and well-led.’

‘SW has a fantastic private client team, with high levels of technical knowledge and excellent client service. We find them extremely collegiate.’

‘Bernard Vischer is intellectually astute and commercial. Impressive multi-jurisdictional tax and estate planning knowledge.’

‘This team stands out for the personalised service it offers to its clients. They are also very knowledgeable and easy to work with.’

‘David Wilson and Christian Girod are an outstanding team. I have valued their very quick responsiveness, extremely detailed knowledge of the law, cross-jurisdictional strategic understanding and collaborative nature.’

‘We place Schellenberg Wittmer at the top tier of the firms in Switzerland. They are first rate.’

‘We have worked most closely with David Wallace Wilson and Andrea Dorjee-Good and have been extremely impressed with them. They are highly skilled, very experienced, excellent lawyers.’

Key clients

Rhone Trust

NBK Banque Privée (Suisse) SA

Work highlights

  • Acted as counsel to two co-defendants, heirs of a very large estate, in a large, complex, cross-border estate litigation.
  • Advised and represented two HNWI’s in proceedings initiated by other family members to challenge a will.

Walder Wyss Ltd.

The private client team at Walder Wyss Ltd. acts for an ‘impressive roster of clients‘ with a focus on acting for entrepreneurs from all types of business sectors as well as their families. The team advises on all personal and business aspects of clients, which includes international succession planning, including marital property law, setting up charitable foundations as well as funds and trusts, and, working in close conjunction with the labour law and real estate teams, the unit advises clients on the relocation to Switzerland and the acquisition of real estate assets. The practice is headed by ‘first classKinga Weiss and ‘outstandingPhilippe Pulfer and includes the ‘very dedicatedRobert Desax, ‘technically excellent‘ tax expert Fouad Sayegh and ‘highly talented’ international trust specialist Olivier Sigg.

Practice head(s):

Kinga Weiss; Philippe Pulfer

Testimonials

‘Philippe Pulfer is impressive and omnipresent in the Swiss private client market. Olivier Sigg and Fouad Sayegh have growing reputations in the international tax markets and an impressive roster of clients.’

‘It has some very capable individuals – Philippe Pulfer and Olivier Sigg in particular – who are leaders in the field in Switzerland. They are strong on both contentious and non-contentious private client work and understand trust and Anglo-Saxon concerns as well as Swiss issues.’

‘Superlative client care and brilliant strategic thinkers.’

‘Olivier Sigg is knowledgeable and capable, and happy to do business in both English and French. Fouad Sayegh is technically excellent when it comes to tax issues and a delight to deal with. Philippe Pulfer is well known in international circles and conversant with Anglo-Saxon trust structuring which is rare for a continental lawyer!’

‘They are a leading private client team – high-profile lawyers who are very able and user-friendly with a top notch client base.’

‘Philippe Pulfer is outstanding and is absolutely in the front rank of Swiss private client lawyers (both on the advisory and contentious sides). Kinga Weiss is first class and Olivier Sigg is excellent.’

‘Fouad Sayegh is an outstanding tax lawyer. He is very proactive and sharp when it comes to finding tax solutions for the clients.’

‘Robert Desax and his team are very dedicated and can be contacted for questions in relation with all the Swiss cantons.’

Baker McKenzie

Baker McKenzie is known for its ‘best quality‘ cross-border and multi-jurisdictional advice to individuals as well as institutional clients from the private wealth industry on legal and tax issues, in particular with regard to US, UK and Swiss regulations. The ‘excellent‘ team advises multi-generational families, family offices, trustees, financial institutions and wealth managers on the structuring of business and personal assets, inheritance taxation, estate and succession planning, and assists clients in dispute resolution where necessary. ‘World-wide leader in taxation‘ matters Marnin Michaels, the ‘highly experiencedLyubomir Georgiev and Elliott Murray jointly head the team. Gregory Walsh has a focus on advising clients on trust structures, US withholding tax and individual tax planning matters. Jacopo Crivellaro, who made partner in 2021, specialises in advising on international estate planning, in particular with an Italian connection.

Other key lawyers:

Gregory Walsh; Jacopo Crivellaro

Testimonials

‘Marnin Michaels is the top of his field, he is the go-to expert on US international tax law, his focus on both US and the interplay between the US and Israel/European countries makes him the most suited for complex US expatriate taxation matters.’

‘Very result-oriented with a holistic approach involving all impacted aspects.’

‘Excellent firm and team. Provide best quality advice. Very responsive.’

‘I mainly work with Marnin Michaels. He is a world-wide leader in taxation. Has wide knowledge in US, Swiss and International taxation. He is very responsive and his advice is of the highest quality.’

‘The team I work with are great at dealing with multijurisdictional families. They are able to advise on different jurisdictions in a timely manner and where they are not able to advise they can arrange and manage local advisors. They are always contactable for any size of query.’

‘What makes this firm unique is the international reach and network for private clients with complex international (tax) planning issues.’

‘Marnin Michaels and Lyobomir Georgiev are highly experienced tax practitioners with a strong background in international high-net-worth work. They are our major point of contact and we have a very strong and well-established relationship. We cannot recommend them highly enough. They are our first port of call in case of complex international private client matters.’

Charles Russell Speechlys AG

Charles Russell Speechlys AG acts for high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth individuals as well as any related intermediaries, such as financial institutions and fiduciaries, and has ‘a diverse service offering for clients and families with UK, European or more international connections‘. Led by the ‘excellentMark Summers and ‘brilliantMichael Wells-Greco, the unit advises on wealth structuring, protection, governance, succession as well as family law in an international context and assists with tax planning and regularisation for a number of jurisdictions, including Switzerland, the UK and various off-shore financial centres. A further key service is advice related to complex assets, such as commercial real estate and yachts. Grégoire Uldry ‘is doing an increasing amount of work in the Middle East‘. Dharshi Wijetunga and Bruno Ledrappier are further key contacts.

Other key lawyers:

Dharshi Wijetunga; Grégoire Uldry; Bruno Ledrappier; Christophe Levet; Sirin Yüce

Testimonials

‘The team is extremely responsive, commercially-minded and has a diverse service offering for clients and families with UK, European or more international connections.’

‘Michael Wells-Greco is technically brilliant as well as being extremely discreet. Mark Summers has broad tax knowledge when advising private families with family members resident or assets located in high tax jurisdictions such as the US and the UK. Supported by the Swiss specialists within the team his advice is precise and definitive.’

‘The biggest testament that I can offer is that I continue to work with them a lot. They have a lot of very good people – both advising on Swiss law and on English law. They are particularly strong on complicated and cross-border work.’

‘Grégoire Uldry is a very solid private client partner, with a lot of experience in advising ultra-high-net-worth clients on their planning. He is doing an increasing amount of work in the Middle East.’

‘Mark Summers is highly experienced with an excellent eye for the essentials.’

‘In-depth knowledge of various legal systems, enabling keeping multi-country requirements in one country and with one partner.’

‘The individuals I work with are always readily available to assist us. I particularly like their practical approach to any issues we raise. The steps involved are clearly explained and documented in a language that most clients can understand. In addition, they are very transparent and fair with their fees, delegating where appropriate and giving time indications along the way – this is key to any relationship.’

MLL Legal

MLL Legal provides ‘top-quality service‘ and is ‘client-focused‘ when advising private clients and their families. The team, which is ‘chock full with talented layers‘, advises high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth individuals, such as entrepreneurs, heirs and investors on sensitive and personal tax and legal issues pertaining to wealth and asset structuring, protection, estate planning, family governance and philanthropy. The department is headed by Serge Calame and Patricia Guerra, whose ‘grasp of clients’ needs and understanding of complex situations is outstanding‘. Maud Udry-Alhanko focuses on relocations of international clients to Switzerland, Julie Wynne specialises in estate planning, inheritance law and philanthropy, and the ‘highly knowledgeableOliver Arter specialises in wealth planning. The unit further includes Dmitry Pentsov and Julien Tron. Annaïg Vogt  left the firm in February 2022.

Practice head(s):

Patricia Guerra; Serge Calame

Testimonials

‘Oliver Arter’s main strengths are: Very strong commitment, highly knowledgeable, very detail-oriented, but always focuses on the big picture. He offers unbiased to the point legal and business advice and he will always go the extra mile to make it a success. Oliver’s main strength a part from his exceptional knowledge is that he is an ‘entrepreneur’, taking on the client’s view and best interest at heart.’

‘MLL undoubtedly provide top-quality service owing to their high level of expertise and experience in dealing with private clients. The firm’s ability to be knowledgeable about even the most minor of details in a client’s case is a core strength. The team at MLL is sharp, responsive and very much client-focused in their approach.’

‘Patricia Guerra is my no 1 choice. Her understanding and skills never stop surprising me. Also, Serge Calame is certainly not to be forgotten.’

‘Julie Wynne is knowledgeable about the sector, with a strong professional network as well as innovative ideas and experience.’

‘A very polished and professional firm chock full of talented lawyers.’

‘Patricia Guerra is immaculate in her dealings with clients. She is empathetic, charming and kind whilst also giving hard advice and a firm steer where needed. She is always a pleasure to work with and a great team player, collating the best advisors for her clients across the spectrum.’

‘Julien Tron is clear, concise, technical, charming and prompt.’

‘Patricia Guerra; Her grasp of clients’ needs and understanding of complex situations is outstanding.’

Work highlights

  • Advised, as lead coordinator of the international team of legal advisors in five jurisdictions, a foreign national domiciled in Switzerland on a complex international estate planning involving multiple oversees trusts.
  • Advised a French national on the inheritance of a Swiss estate.
  • Appointed as main advisor for a family office for all Swiss family law advice.

Niederer Kraft Frey AG

Niederer Kraft Frey AG advises private clients, many of whom are Swiss-domiciled high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth individuals as well as celebrities from the sports world, on estate, wealth and succession planning, asset protection, tax issues regarding investments and undertakings, foundations and philanthropy matters as well as any issues they may face in their daily lives, such as acquisition of real estate and art, the setting up of legal structures and the employment of staff. The team is further experienced in matrimonial property law and is noted for its divorce law practice. Catherine Grun Meyer provides brilliant advice‘ and heads the practice together with Thomas Graf, ‘an eminent and experienced tax lawyer‘. The ‘extremely hard-workingDaniel Antognini and Thomas Hochstrasser, an ‘extremely versatile lawyer‘ whom ‘you can really rely upon‘, assist clients with inheritance and estate matters as well as representation in disputes.

Testimonials

‘Strong tax and estate planning reputation and knowledge. Practical and insightful in terms of solutions/approaches to complex problems.’

‘Thomas Graf is an eminent and experienced tax lawyer, with a good understanding of cross-border/multi-jurisdictional matters. Catherine Grun Meyer is a collaborative and experienced international estate planning lawyer.’

‘I am extremely satisfied with their work and the outcomes we’ve received in court. Highly professional, efficient and savvy, the team I work with is an amazing counsel, “companion” and guide through all the challenges: spot-on analysis combined with practical, seamless case management and transparent, proactive communication.’

‘Catherine Grun Meyer: Excellent legal expertise, brilliant and extremely quick yet thought-through analysis, presence and convincing line of reasoning in front of court. Very professional yet personable, impressive communication and case management skills, savvy staffing, but always in control. Takes ownership of case and consistently ensures client feel being well-represented/ -covered. #

‘Daniel Antognini: excellent litigation specialist – detailed analysis in combination with in-depth case understanding, assessing case holistically and preparing the respective arguments in structured and punctuated manner. Proactive communicator, extremely hard-working and very responsive.

‘I am particularly impressed by Thomas Hochstrasser. Thomas is an extremely versatile lawyer with excellent expertise in numerous legal areas. He is very responsive, a legal expert which you can really rely upon. If you have him at your side, you are in good hands. I can highly recommend him.’

‘One of THE well-established players in the Swiss market.’

‘I would like to especially mention Catherine Grun Meyer, a private client expert working in the team. She is very smart, easy to work with and provides brilliant advice.’

Pestalozzi

Pestalozzi is well known for representing high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth individuals and their families in disputes in addition to advising private banks in regard to individual clients and wealth structuring. The services also include inheritance and estate planning, execution of wills, tax planning advice, trust and foundation structuring and advice regarding private equity transactions. Thomas Rohner ‘is brilliant with clients and has a comprehensive understanding of the law‘, in particular regarding his focus areas: the litigious aspects of inheritance, trust, succession and estate law. Oliver Widmer has a focus on advising high-net-worth individuals on banking, finance and capital markets matters and litigation and arbitration specialist Christophe Emonet is adept at representing clients in international banking and commercial disputes and investigations. Michael Lips and Andrea Rohrer-Lippuner are further key contacts.

Testimonials

‘Christophe Emonet has extensive experience in the business world. His advice and his strategy are very useful to us.’

‘Oliver Widmer is always available to provide very useful and concise advise corresponding to our needs. His attentiveness and willingness to support us is very much appreciated.’

‘Excellent and hugely knowledgeable.’

‘Thomas Rohner is brilliant with clients and has a comprehensive understanding of the law. A real star!’

‘A hard-working, diligent and knowledgeable team. They live and breathe cases for their clients.’

‘Christophe Emonet is a highly experienced and knowledgeable lawyer. He is a hands-on partner, who is invested in his clients’ cases.’

‘The Pestalozzi firm’s strength is in the quality of the services they offer their clients. They have a deep expertise in this field, speak and write English with ease and their practice is set up in such a way that there is always someone in the office to respond to our questions and handle our work.’

‘Thomas Rohner’s work is outstanding in every way: he is highly professional and knowledgeable about his area of expertise; he is articulate verbally and in written form; he is easy to understand, possesses a keen and practical sense on problem solving; he is unfailingly responsive, and he is interested in his clients and caring of their welfare and interests.’

Key clients

Bank IHAG

Bank Maerki Baumann

Bank Reichmuth

Bank Rothschild

Bank Vontobel

Banque Cantonale de Genève

CERN, European Organization for Nuclear Research

Cofra Holding AG

Credit Agricole

Deutsche Bank Private Banking

Fahad Al-Rajaan

Fleming Family & Partners (Suisse) AG

Hauck und Auhäuser

Julius Baer

Maerki Baumann & CO

Marcuard

Merrill Lynch Trust Services

Porsche family

Private Clients Partner

Société Générale

Stonehage (Zürich) AG

Zulauf Family

Work highlights

  • Advised Fahad Al-Rajaan in worldwide investigations regarding transactions worth $80bn.
  • Supported CEO and the co-owner of a global media group to protect the position in a private investment involving a loan of €245bn borrowed from one of Switzerland’s leading listed banks.

Bratschi Ltd

Bratschi Ltd is particularly known for advising private clients on matters relating to trusts, foundations and structured assets as well as on estate and succession planning, where the team cooperates closely with the inheritance law department of the firm, and assists with any related litigation. Practice head Ingmar Snijders requently acts as foundation member, trustee, protector and director to trusts and foundations, including charitable foundations. New arrival in March 2021, Michael Suter, has a focus on inheritance law and has experience as a board member of family owned companies. Clients appreciate the ‘superb personal‘, ‘first class services‘.

Practice head(s):

Ingmar Snijders

Other key lawyers:

Michael Suter

Testimonials

‘The private client team is headed by Ingmar Snijders, who is a great one point-of-entry for a complete range within the practice. He is very responsive and very dedicated to serve the needs of the client in a pragmatic, hands-on but diligent way. Ingmar has a huge network they actually use, which is very helpful when a trusted external foreign person/firm is needed to assist the Swiss Bratschi team.’

‘Bratschi Ltd’s private client practice provide superb personal service.’

‘Reliable and discreet. They make sure they understand your business, they are approachable any time for help and advice. They work with you on problems and help to solve them.’

‘Bratschi Ltd is a long-established firm based in Switzerland, who provide a broad range of legal services in Switzerland. They’re dedicated to their clients and go out of their way to provide a personal and professional service. They’re responsive, highly knowledgeable and professional. They’re determined to achieve the client’s objects and form a tight-knit team, putting the client’s needs first.’

‘Ingmar Snijders: flexible and good mind with up-to-date knowledge of the law and business. Very experienced and a good knowledge of the law and practice in various other countries, which is indispensable for international matters and invaluable in working out cost-effective strategies.’

‘The private clients team has high technical expertise, but also the capacity to manage the practical issues arising from the daily management of high-net-worth individuals. The relocation process as well as the immigration procedures are within the perimeter of the team’s expertise.’

‘The team has a great position in the market and provides first class services in private clients.’

‘Ingmar Snijders: Very knowledgeable of trust law and very pleasant to work with. Ingmar is always available and provides efficient and creative service.

CMS

CMS is particularly renowned for its matrimonial property, estate and succession planning practice as well as its practice in related disputes, including trust litigation. The team provides ‘comprehensive advice of extremely high quality‘ on matters such as post-nuptial agreements, succession instruments and tax structuring all while having ‘a very personal way of dealing with clients‘. Tobias Somary, who heads the Zurich team, is ‘excellent in inheritance law‘ and has an ‘ability to relate to clients‘ that ‘is second to none‘. Pierre Ducret leads the Geneva office and specialises in litigation and arbitration matters as well as inheritance law.

Practice head(s):

Tobias Somary; Pierre Ducret

Testimonials

‘Tobias Somary (CMS Zurich) is an excellent private clients lawyer. He has high competence in inheritance law, is a dealmaker and also excellent with people. Sarah Busca Bonvin (CMS Geneva) is an excellent tax advisor. She is also very good with clients.’

‘Despite being in a large firm, they have a very personal way of dealing with clients.’

‘Tobias Somary is a star on the Zurich estate planning scene.’

‘They provide comprehensive advice of extremely high quality. I particularly value their practical approach and responsiveness. They work with their clients to find a solution that will work for them in the long-term. They are truly international in their outlook – they have a wide awareness of the law outside Switzerland and how it interacts with the Swiss affairs of their clients.’

‘Tobias Somary and his team are excellent in inheritance law. They have in-depth knowledge, and are able to advise on complex cross-border cases.’

‘Tobias Somary is a first class advisor.’

‘Tobias Somary is outstanding and gives clear advice. There are very few lawyers who are able to give a recommendation with such clarity which is based on combination of technical expertise and practical experience. His ability to relate to clients is second to none. Tobias is ably assisted by Louise Lutz Sciamanna who is equally impressive and if she continues on the same path as Tobias will be a go-to person as well. Very impressive.’

FBT Attorneys-at-Law

FBT Attorneys-at-Law ‘offers a very personalised service‘ to high-net-worth individuals, their families, family offices and trusts as well as financial intermediaries and financial institutions with respect to private individuals. Core services relate to relocation of individuals, estate planning and wealth preservation, structuring of trusts and foundations, advice regarding family businesses and succession planning, execution of wills and estate administration as well as assistance with the setting up of wealth management businesses. The team further assists with related litigation and arbitration, such as inheritance, asset management and trust disputes. Michel Abt, Jean-Luc Bochatay, Pascale Cano and Frédérique Bensahel are the practice heads with specialisms in tax, patrimonial family law and private banking matters.

Testimonials

‘The banking and finance team is staffed with specialist lawyers dedicated to banking and finance regulations and contracts with an excellent knowledge of the international environment. Moreover, FBT offers a very personalised service (as this is well known in the market).’

‘Each lawyer with whom we have had the opportunity to work is bright, knowledgeable and available. All have an extremely good knowledge of the banking & finance and asset management regulations. They really understand the asset management industry.’

‘Pragmatic and practical approach to client problem-solving based on solid legal knowledge, particularly in banking and financial transactions, including regulatory issues regarding international financial information exchange and anti-money laundering legislation.’

‘Ability to achieve results for clients and a network of close contacts with Swiss regulatory authorities which facilitates successful outcomes. In particular Jean-Luc Bochatay and Frédérique Bensahel.’

Work highlights

  • In the context of estate planning, advice to a family, whose members are domiciled in several countries, that owns protected real estate (historical monuments) in France; several tens of millions euros at stake.
  • Advice to a strategic minority shareholder in a group active in distribution of goods on the future devolution of his estate with children he had with two different wives and said children opposing notably to choose the matrimonial regime of separation of property, stakes in excess of €100m.
  • Providing estate planning advice to a family who owns, via a trust, an international group in the field of fossil energy, paying particular attention to the matrimonial regime of certain members and risks in the event of divorce or death, stakes of several hundred million euros.

Fischer Ramp Buchmann

Fischer Ramp Buchmann is ‘Switzerland’s only pure-play private client boutique law firm with an international focus‘ and as such has a focus on acting for high-net-worth individuals and their families on matters pertaining to complex and cross-border tax planning as well as estate, succession, pension and social security planning. The unit has particular specialisms at the intersection of civil law and common law issues as well as real estate and philanthropy matters relevant to private clients. Michael Fischer has ‘seriously impressive‘ knowledge of international tax matters, Samuel Ramp is ‘a competent straight-forward negotiator‘ and the ‘skilled tax professionalMarc Buchmann gives ‘highly appreciated‘ advice regarding ‘high-net-worth individual relocations‘.

Testimonials

‘Samuel Ramp is a competent straight-forward negotiator.’

‘The firm is young and entrepreneurial. It carries no legacy baggage that many Swiss law firms do and really understands cross-border tax work.’

‘Michael Fischer is superb.’

‘The partner I work most closely with is Michael Fischer. Not only is he a charming individual and always ready to assist, his legal knowledge is seriously impressive and he is really good with clients – they genuinely warm to him. He is proactive and responsive – exactly what you need in a lawyer in another jurisdiction – and they are not all like that believe me!’

‘Switzerland’s only pure-play private client boutique law firm with an international focus. All the partners are double qualified as attorneys at law as well as certified tax experts. The firm excels in complex cross-border matters, covering both legal and tax aspects of their clients’ multi-jurisdictional projects and issues. Fischer Ramp Buchmann has unique know-how on international trust and estate law and how respective Anglo-Saxon principles and regulations may be reflected in a Swiss law environment.’

‘Marc Buchmann is a flexible and responsive skilled tax professional. Marc’s input was highly appreciated.’

‘It is a very warm and welcoming professional team at FRP. I appreciate the personal and caring spirit of the team, which is seldom to be found with other firms. Over all Fischer Ramp Buchmann offers Magic Circle level services delivered with boutique dedication.’

‘Marc Buchmann is a brilliant tax lawyer who has complex knowledge about international tax law, as well as Swiss income tax and wealth taxation aspects.’

Work highlights

  • Advised an ultra-high-net-worth family on their £1bn succession.
  • Advised a UK national and resident ultra-high-net-worth-individual (£750 m+) on a relocation to Switzerland and on cross-border tax structuring.
  • Advised a Portuguese ultra-high-net-worth family (€500m) on the restructuring of their industrial group and on setting up a Swiss holding structure.

Homburger

Homburger has a ‘highly reputable full-service private clients‘ practice that assists high-net-worth individuals, such as entrepreneurs, with cross-border issues relating to estate planning, matrimonial law, tax structuring and trusts as well as the resolution of related disputes. ‘Highly responsive, very helpful, and extremely knowledgeableClaudia Suter heads the practice and has a focus on, among others, estate planning, succession and inheritance matters. Gabrielle Nater-Bass specialises in wealth protection structures and ‘combines intelligence and smartness with a very high degree of engagement and dedication‘. Litigation and arbitration specialist Stefanie Pfisterer made partner in 2021.

Practice head(s):

Claudia Suter 

Testimonials

‘The team has very strong relationships with a number of Swiss trustees, who value their detailed knowledge of how trustees operate. They are excellent at coordinating large, multi-jurisdictional projects, on which they provide the Swiss advice and bring in other experts, as needed.’

‘Claudia Suter is a pleasure to work with. She is highly responsive, very helpful, and extremely knowledgeable. Her comments and questions always show that she has an excellent understanding of the underlying issues, even when they are non-Swiss issues.’

‘Homburger is a leading Swiss law firm with high-quality partners and associates.’

‘Highly reputable full-service private clients firm.’

‘Claudia Suter is super engaged, professional and a very nice person.’

‘Creative, fast, they always find a solution for the problem, very well-connected.’

‘Gabrielle Nater-Bass is exceptionally committed to pursue her client’s interests. She also has a perceptive understanding of complex legal matters. She combines intelligence and smartness with a very high degree of engagement and dedication.’

Work highlights

  • Advised a UHNWI as international lead counsel on pre-marital arrangements and asset protection related to an estate of more than $9bn.
  • Advised a UHNWI as international lead counsel on cross-border succession planning and asset protection with a matter value of up to $2bn.
  • Represented a UHNWI in an international dispute regarding her divorce worth $1.5bn.

Staiger Attorneys at Law Ltd

Staiger Attorneys at Law Ltd provides advice on all aspects of private client matters, including wealth, estate and succession planning as well as matrimonial law, family law and charitable foundations. Georgia Fotiou is an ‘ideal business partner for private clients‘ who has ‘strong skills and exceptional knowledge in her field‘, especially in relation to advice on international wealth and estate structures as well as fiduciary services. The ‘technically strong and creativeMichael Hamm is ‘simply very good‘, in particular when it comes to inheritance law. Andreas von Erlach has a focus on advising entrepreneurs on wealth and succession planning.

Practice head(s):

Georgia Fotiou; Michael Hamm

Other key lawyers:

Andreas von Erlach

Testimonials

‘Staiger has a highly skilled and well trained team with significant experience in all fields that concern private clients. They have a holistic approach towards the clients and a strong network internationally that enables them to obtain advice on various matters that international clients have.’

‘Georgia Fotiou is a well-respected and serious professional with whom I have cooperated on several occasions. She has good work ethics, a strong academic background and working experience, a direct approach to the client and at the same time strong skills and exceptional knowledge in her field, which makes her the ideal business partner for private clients.’

‘I very much appreciate working with the team. They are technically strong, flexible and deliver speedy input.’

‘Michael Hamm is very senior, technically strong and creative – simply very good.’

Key clients

Nesinco Group Ltd.

Andritz Soutec Ltd.

L.A.M. – Les Arts Mécaniques SA

New Energy Horizons Ltd.

Private Capital Partners Ltd.

CARUS Foundation

Work highlights

  • Advised the family trust (owners) of Les Arts Mécaniques SA (LAM), a Swiss-based Holding Company with several subsidiaries in Europe, the US and Asia, on a restructuring program for the group.
  • Advised a family trust as international lead counsel on restructuring their international musical instrument business.
  • Advised a HNW family as international lead counsel on the administration and division of an multi-jurisdictional estate.

Bonnard Lawson

Bonnard Lawson fields a team of practitioners that work exclusively on private client matters and have a focus on multi-generational and cross-border issues – a ‘real strength of the firm‘. Among the core areas of expertise are succession, estate, tax, trust, family governance and residency advice aimed at the preservation and protection of client wealth. To this end, wills and testamentary dispositions, trusts, family foundations and life insurance policies are frequently used as tools. ‘Very reputable attorneyYves Bonnard, the ‘solution-orientedStéphane Lagonico and ‘very sharp lawyerGuillaume Grisel are the practice heads.

Testimonials

‘The private client practice of Bonnard Lawson has an exceptionally high reputation in Switzerland and abroad. The team have first-hand knowledge of the needs of high-net-worth individuals and pursue the interests of their clients with particular foresight. The service is always tailor-made. The real strength of the firm lies in these cross-border matters.’

‘When it comes to cross-border mandates, Guillaume Grisel is very sophisticated. Truly a very sharp lawyer, able to make things happen quickly and smoothly. His solutions are continuously oriented towards our requirements while he always has a strategic view, knowing what comes next. The cooperation with him is a real delight.’

‘In addition to its international scope, the firm covers absolutely all areas of private client services, offering advice of the highest quality. The responsiveness of its team is also a key quality of Bonnard Lawson.’

‘Yves Bonnard: trustworthy, reliable, Yves is really efficient and client-oriented. He immediately grasps the legal implications of the case. He has a deep expertise in cross-border matters and is able to address really complex issues. Yves dedicates his practice to servicing private clients and is a very reputable attorney. I would highly recommend him.’

‘Stéphane Lagonico understood quickly and accurately our problems, gave excellent guidance and provided efficient support. He has been particularly solution-oriented and very available. We felt a strong sense of duty towards us and a willingness to go the extra mile.’

‘Bonnard Lawson offers state of the art service and advice for private clients. In-depth knowledge of their core activity based on decades of experience designing financial plans for wealthy families.’

‘Yves Bonnard has been a reference lawyer for private clients. His empathy, compounded with his in-depth analytical ability, long track record of performance and service, his ethics and principled behavior easily explain his clients’ great loyalty. It has always been a pleasure working with him and his associates.’

‘Internationality is the key point in Bonnard Lawson’s outstanding private client practice. Bonnard Lawson has a unique market position compared to other Swiss law firms in the field of private clients when it comes to handling complicated multigenerational cross-border mandates.’

Key clients

Fondation en faveur de l’art chorégraphique (Prix de Lausanne)

Kellerhals Carrard

Kellerhals Carrard acts for a variety of private clients, including Swiss-domiciled ultra-high-net-worth individuals and entrepreneurs, as well as private Swiss banks and family offices. Specialisms of the unit are inheritance disputes, matrimonial property law, the structuring of trusts and family offices as well as tax and estate planning. The key practitioners are the ‘incredibly impressiveAnnette Spycher, ‘top expertIngrid Iselin, Thomas Hentz, Nicolas Gillard, Giovanni Stucchi and Peter Schatz.

Other key lawyers:

Sabine Wyss; Nicolas Hoffmann

Testimonials

‘I was very impressed by the efficiency with which the team worked. They produced high-quality documents under time pressure.’

‘Annette Spycher is an extremely intelligent lawyer and was incredibly impressive when it came to her attention to detail and her grasp of Swiss law across the cantons, as well as her language skills. I would not hesitate to recommend Annette.’

‘The entire team is very service-oriented and responsive. It is always a pleasure to work with Kellerhals Carrard!’

‘We were well impressed by their knowledge in the field.’

‘I worked with Annette Spycher and was positively impressed by her ability to quickly understand the issues we were dealing with. She was very capable, practical, and efficient.’

‘The team is very responsive and skilled.’

‘Ingrid Iselin is the leader of the team in inheritance law, she is one of the still rare Certified Specialists SBA Inheritance Law in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. Moreover she is one of the nine top experts chosen by Switzerland’s Federal Office of Justice for the reform of the country’s inheritance law.’

LALIVE

LALIVE has a strong focus on dispute resolution and advises high- and ultra-high-net-worth individuals, families, family offices, trusts and fiduciary holding companies in particular relation to the litigation of private client matters. The ‘prompt, responsive and knowledgeable‘ team represents clients in litigation and arbitration proceedings regarding disputed inheritances, matrimonial proceedings and divorces as well as trust and banking and financial services litigation. The key practitioners are the ‘very experiencedAlexander Troller, the ‘stellarWerner Jahnel, the ‘stand-outSandrine Giroud and Simone Nadelhofer.

Other key lawyers:

Marion Binder

Testimonials

‘Troller, Alexander: very experienced in developing creative solutions to create win/win‘s instead of wasting time and energy in useless confrontations. Very pleasant personality and highly responsive.’

‘I had a stellar experience with partner Werner Jahnel and his team in the Zurich office of Lalive. The service we received was outstanding and commensurate with Lalive’s reputation as one of Switzerland’s premier firms. Werner Jahnel is technically excellent with regard to Swiss inheritance law. Lalive are unafraid of representing the individual client against the Swiss banking establishment.’

‘Werner Jahnel: very smart; quick turnarounds; and has good contacts. He has a lovely ‘bedside manner’ (i.e. great empathy) with clients, which warmed our hearts and gave us hope. He always made himself available when we needed to speak to him and was very engaged with our case.’

‘Werner Jahnel turned out to be a godsend and saviour in more ways than one.’

‘Throughout our engagement Werner Jahnel together with the entirety of his team, from receptionist through to associates, have conducted themselves with the utmost professionalism; conscientious, reliable, consistent, courteous, unwearied and most importantly they delivered thorough and diligent legal counsel.’

‘They are prompt, responsive and knowledgeable, and always keen to assist.’

‘Sandrine Giroud is a stand-out star in my opinion. She is thoughtful, insightful, and has a very thorough knowledge of the law. She is always eager to assist and very prompt. Werner Jahnel is also excellent. He not only has the law at his fingertips, but is an absolute pleasure to work with. I imagine that he is popular with clients and opponents alike, exactly what a family lawyer should be.’

Work highlights

  • Represented an UHNWI and related entities in one of the largest art fraud cases, involving representation in Swiss civil and criminal proceedings as a result of alleged fraud related to artwork transactions exceeding $1bn involving several jurisdictions.
  • Advised a HNWI domiciled in Switzerland in relation to inheritance and asset structuring issues involving conducting a compatibility assessment of complex and successive trust structures with Swiss heirship rules, identifying and finding assets in Europe and Africa and subsequently drafting the wills.
  • Advised an heiress on a complex cross-border litigious succession over real estate and other assets worth CHF40m located in Switzerland, Europe and North Africa.

MME Legal | Tax | Compliance

MME Legal | Tax | Compliance acts for a range of private clients as well as for financial institutions in relation to their private client issues and is particularly adept at advising on cross-border estate, tax and inheritance planning, family business and succession matters as well as financial aspects of matrimonial law. The ‘very competent‘ team has a further specialism in advising on real estate issues, including construction, for private individuals. ‘Excellent private clients lawyerBalz Hoesly, Christoph Nater, Alexandra Geiger and Walter Frei are the practice heads.

Testimonials

‘Balz Hösly is an excellent private clients lawyer with in-depth knowledge of inheritance law. He is a strategic thinker.’

‘Very efficient and fast.’

‘I appreciate how efficient and professional the team is. It performs to a high level with a wonderful friendly manner.’

‘My lawyer, Balz Hösly, stood out by all the aspects of the work hid undertook for me. He is a brilliant and knowledgable negotiator and mediator. I am delighted with the outcome.’

‘Very competent staff, always available, perfect collaboration even during lockdown. And our case ended successfully.’

‘Just always had a very good feeling, very competent advice.’

‘The team has above-average knowledge of complex international relations and handles all requests extremely quickly and accurately. In addition, the team is organised in such a way that the client can always reach someone from the team by phone without having to wait forever in a queue.’

‘Alexandra Geiger is one of the absolute best inheritance law specialists in Switzerland. Her knowledge of inheritance law and her ability to maintain an overview even in exceptionally complex circumstances is unparalleled.’

Key clients

Foundation Bullens Heimann & Friends

Private Bank Rahn+Bodmer Co.

Foundation Hatt-Bucher

Foundation Frieda Locher-Hofmann

Swiss Ministry of Justice

Work highlights

  • Advised several customers of Zurich private bank Rahn+Bodmer Co. on personal economic and real estate matters and their estate planning.
  • Advising the Frieda Locher Hofmann Foundation on all legal matters, including regulatory matters.
  • Advised a community of heirs of a former UHNWI client (IL) on several contracts of succession and the will, with assets worth CHF120m, including twelve properties and a company that holds a portfolio of real estate and various bankable assets.

Wenger Plattner

Wenger Plattner advises sports celebrities, high-net-worth individuals and entrepreneurs on their private client issues, with focus areas being tax, estate and succession planning as well as the establishing of charitable foundations and the preparation of wills. A further key focus of the unit is the representation of private clients in disputes, such as those relating to inheritances. The team is headed by Filippo Beck who specialises in inheritance and asset structuring matters. Roland Bachmann has a focus on dispute resolution.

Practice head(s):

Filippo Beck

Other key lawyers:

Roland Bachmann

Wenger Vieli Ltd

Wenger Vieli Ltd advises private clients, such as small and mid-size entrepreneurs as well as ultra-high-net-worth families, on a broad variety of tax and legal issues, including estate planning, corporate tax advice regarding family businesses, as well as immigration and relocation. The ‘highly talented and ambitious‘ team members also frequently act as executors of estates. Michael Huberexpertly‘ manages inheritance matters and Bruno Bächli ‘has superb knowledge of Swiss tax‘ issues. Dominik Bürgy is ‘a very experienced private client adviser with an excellent analytical approach‘.

Practice head(s):

Michael Huber; Bruno Bächli

Other key lawyers:

Dominik Bürgy

Testimonials

‘Wenger und Vieli is one of the leading Swiss law firms with an international focus. The team consists of outstanding experts who are supported by highly talented and ambitious young professionals. The team always communicates promptly and with Swiss accuracy with their clients. The team is always looking for tailor-made solutions for the clients. The legal elaborations are at the highest scientific level. Litigation is strictly success-oriented and relentless.’

‘Dominik Bürgy as the tax partner in charge is a very experienced private client adviser with an excellent analytical approach helping clients to actually understand the consequences of their options to act. He also makes excellent use of his reliable contacts to tax officers in Switzerland in order to anticipate tax implications.’

‘I found the team to be collaborative and extremely responsive. We were also able to find solutions to problems that worked in various jurisdictions. We frequently had calls with parties in three or more countries to organise matters and kept running collective agendas.’

‘Bruno Bächli has superb knowledge of Swiss tax and was able to work with us to find solutions that worked internationally.

‘Michael Huber: responsive, to the point and with a long term perspective.’

‘I have the pleasure to work alongside Michael Huber. Michael is very calm, considered and manages the case expertly.’

Work highlights

  • Advised a family on splitting their real estate portfolio (> CHF150m) by disentangling complicated ownership structure (eight co-owners and usufruct-beneficiaries) including advise on tax and estate planning-implications of the restructuring.
  • Executorship in a considerable estate (approx. CHF1bn) of an expat with assets all over Europe involving offshore-structures and complicated tax and inheritance law issues.
  • Advised a UHNWI regarding relocation to Switzerland, including negotiation of lump sum tax agreement, immigration permits for his extended family, acquisition of real estate and amendments to estate planning necessitated by new domicile.