Private client in Switzerland

Bär & Karrer Ltd.

The team at Bär & Karrer Ltd. has considerable experience in the private client space. It is regularly approached to assist with trust and estate litigation, trusts, foundations and related wealth planning structures and succession planning, among other areas. The group, which closely collaborates with the corporate, tax and dispute resolution practice group, is led by Tina Wüstemann. She is an expert in estate and governance planning as well as in the administration of international estates. Other key practitioners include inheritance specialist Daniel Leu and Daniel Bader, who is well versed in tax matters.

Practice head(s):

Tina Wüstemann

Testimonials

The team is universally excellent, and is able to tackle high-value, complex matters with a view to achieving the best results for its often highly demanding clients.’

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 great person with whom to work, and you wouldn’t want her as an opponent.’

Daniel Bader is a top private client lawyer with deep expertise in cross-border planning.’

Daniel Leu stands out as a highly effective and very bright lawyer who always gets to the heart of the problem very quickly.’

Lenz & Staehelin

Lenz & Staehelin impresses with a broad coverage of the private client area. The team advises on inheritance law, wealth and estate planning, related litigation mandates as well as establishing trust companies. It has a particularly strong standing with Swiss ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWI). Practice co-head Lucien Masmejan splits his time between Lausanne and Geneva; he focuses on real estate and family governance issues. He leads the team with Heini Rüdisühli , who is an expert in tax law. Geneva's Mark Barmes, noted for his experience in wealth planning, and Frédéric Neukomm are also prominent practitioners.

Practice head(s):

Lucien Masmejan; Heini Rüdisühli

Testimonials

An excellent law firm with a grip on strategic issues, which puts the client first and forefront.’

The team has good commercial as well as technical legal and tax knowledge. This brings an additional element of support to clients with underlying family business interests. The team additionally has strong cross-border insight.

Lucien Masmejan is a highly experienced tax lawyer with an international approach particularly with businesses and individuals who are connected with Switzerland. With the level of experience he has he is able to offer that experience to clients and better able them to make the right decisions.

Heini Rüdisühli is committed to meeting his clients’ goals with creative solutions in a practical and efficient manner.

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 very bright, creative, thoughtful, deeply experienced.’

Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd

Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd has a strong private client practice, covering the gamut of relevant work. The offered services include assistance with estate planning, family office organization and charity-related mandates. The team is jointly led by Alexander Jolles, who is well versed in contentious matters including inheritance, trust and estate disputes, and Geneva-based Bernard Vischer, who specialises in mandates relating to private banking, trusts and philanthropy. Other key contacts in Geneva include David Wallace WilsonGrégoire Wuest and Christian GirodManuel Liatowitsch is another dispute resolution expert, and is noted alongside Andrea Dorjee-Good, who was promoted to the partnership in 2020.

Practice head(s):

Bernard Vischer; Alexander Jolles

Testimonials

The team includes excellent practitioners with high professional standards.

David Wallace Wilson has an excellent eye for the legal issues as well as a strong understanding of the stakeholders involved and their respective agendas.

Christian Girod is an excellent inheritance specialist with wide experience of international matters.’

Key clients

Rhone Trust

NBK Banque Privée (Suisse) SA

Work highlights

  • Counseling two co-defendants in a cross-border CHF1bn estate litigation.
  • Advised the estate of a UHNWI in proceedings related to the disputed ownership of a painting.
  • Assisted a HNWI with structuring and implementing a family inherited Swiss real estate portfolio.

Walder Wyss Switzerland Global

Walder Wyss Switzerland Global's private client practice is comprised of specialists with various backgrounds and is often instructed by entrepreneurs. The areas of expertise of Zurich's group heads, Kinga Weiss and Stephan Neidhardt, are inheritance and tax law respectively. Geneva-based co-head Philippe Pulfer is an expert in international wealth structuring and estate planning. Further tax specialists include Fouad Sayegh and Robert Desax in Zurich, while Olivier Sigg in Geneva is the key contact for trusts, foundations, wills and testaments.

Practice head(s):

Philippe Pulfer

Testimonials

The team of Walder Wyss has refined services and capabilities to assist clients in various aspects of the Swiss law. In particular, its private client team has a very proactive, addressed approach, competitive fees and knowledge of the market.

A strong international team with an outward-looking attitude and a good international presence. It is capable of dealing with significant cases and has the strength and depth to stand out among most of its rivals.’

Philippe Pulfer is an excellent technical lawyer with sound judgement and a good strategic approach.’

Kinga Weiss is a very energetic professional totally dedicated to the client. She is particularly operational and close to the client. She delivers promptly and always with an interesting quiet point of view.’

Fouad Sayegh is a very bright, smart tax lawyer, who has sound knowledge of the Swiss tax law and is very creative.

Olivier Sigg is a real pleasure to deal with – enthusiastic, endlessly helpful and with a real interest in the law.

Robert Desax is very reactive and has strong knowledge in the private clients area.’

Work highlights

  • Advised a German entrepreneur in the pharmaceutical/ IT field on setting up a charitable foundation and his estate planning.
  • Advised the foreign executors of a Dutch UHNWI on the estate proceeding and administration.
  • Advising a Russian oligarch on setting up business in Switzerland.

Baker McKenzie

The practice of Baker McKenzie is internationally oriented, with a particular focus on US and UK families and private businesses. It is approached for its expertise in US, UK and Swiss taxation as well as charitable foundations, among other areas. Of counsel Stephanie Jarrett in Geneva is an expert in matters relating to trusts, estates and succession and tax planning; the office was further enhanced with the promotion of Elliott Murray to partner in summer 2019. In Zurich, names to note are Marnin Michaels and Lyubomir Georgiev, who are well versed in international private banking and wealth management respectively.

Practice head(s):

Elliott Murray; Lyubomir Georgiev; Marnin Michaels

Testimonials

The team has an international outlook, always replies promptly and on point, and the advice is both theoretically sound and very practical in its application. It always sees the bigger picture.’

Marnin Michaels responds very quickly and efficiently. He offers practical and appreciated solutions and has wide knowledge in many jurisdictions – an excellent lawyer.’

Lyubomir Georgiev always goes above and beyond for his clients, making himself available for calls at anytime. His advice is clear, and he explains matters so they are easy to understand for his clients.’

Charles Russell Speechlys AG

Charles Russell Speechlys AG is a go-to firm for individuals, families, financial institutions and fiduciaries. The team is experienced in wealth structuring and regularisation advice in particular in cross-border mandates. Mark Summers is a taxation expert and leads the group together with Geneva-based Michael Wells-Greco, who is well versed in succession and family law. David Cooney has, due to prior work experience, good knowledge of Cayman Island regulations, while Grégoire Uldry has a special focus on philanthropic and probate matters. Uldry is based in Geneva, as is Bruno Ledrappier.

Practice head(s):

Mark Summers; Michael Wells-Greco

Testimonials

CRS delivers highly skilled and professional services. It has a number of excellent partners and associates who have a thorough understanding of the private client business. They also complement this with local Swiss advice where required.’

Michael Wells-Greco always finds time to assist, supported by his superb team. His knowledge in the private client sector goes without saying, however, it is his ability to articulate the issues and solutions to his clients that really sets him apart.’

Grégoire Uldry is a smart lawyer with an extensive expertise in the legal assistance to private clients.’

David Cooney is a superstar. He is very polished, extremely practical, always well-prepared and thorough. He has a brilliant tax mind.’

Meyerlustenberger Lachenal Ltd

Meyerlustenberger Lachenal Ltd is noted for its seamless collaboration across practice groups and its ability to cover a broad range of private client matters, including family asset structuring, inheritance disputes and real estate acquisitions, among others. Its client portfolio includes patriarchs, heirs, entrepreneurs and investors from Switzerland and abroad. Geneva-based Serge Calame is well versed in estate and tax planning and leads the practice together with Patricia Guerra, who is noted for her broad practice. Bernard Lachenal in Geneva is the dispute resolution contact in the team. Other names to note include Maud Udry-AlhankoJulien Tron and associate Annaïg Vogt.

Practice head(s):

Serge Calame; Patricia Guerra

Testimonials

The partnership of MLL includes both seasoned, highly regarded international experts and young talents. That specific blend makes it very entertaining to work with them as they provide all the experience there can be and the enthusiasm and creativity of younger partners.’

Patricia Guerra is all that you look for in counsel for private clients and is one of the very best in the Swiss market. She is smart and savvy with great flair and goes that extra mile for her clients. She thinks creatively and brings excellence to all she does.’

Serge Calame is extremely knowledgeable and at the same time pragmatic.’

Bernard Lachenal has an incomparable “book” of clients and yet down to earth and always makes himself available. His network among peers is second to none.

Maud Udry-Alhanko is highly knowledgable in family law matters with an extensive understanding of foreign legal systems, and local mindsets.

Julien Tron is definitely a rising star, with an already impressive network and an in-depth understanding of private clients issues.

Annaïg Vogt is bright and switched on. She is adept at dealing with often complex and emotionally challenging situations with style. She is definitely one to watch for the future.’

Pestalozzi

Pestalozzi's private client practice includes specialists from the tax, banking, real estate and litigation areas. It is experienced in advising on inheritance and estate planning as well as on relocations and executions of wills, among other matters. The team is jointly led by banking and finance specialist Oliver Widmer and dispute resolution experts Thomas Rohner and Christophe Emonet in Geneva. Sibylle Pestalozzi-Früh and Michael Lips are also noted.

Practice head(s):

Oliver Widmer; Thoma Rohner; Christophe Emonet

Testimonials

Experienced private client team with cross-department capabilities.

Oliver Widmer is increasingly visible on the private client stage. His background allows him to approach matters with a commercial view, something clients are increasingly looking for.

Thomas Rohner is a stand-out partner.’

Key clients

Credit Suisse

Banque Cantonale de Genève

Bank Reichmuth

Bank IHAG

Bank Rothschild

Fleming Family & Partners (Suisse) AG

Stonehage (Zürich) AG

Private Clients Partner

Cofra Holding AG

Porsche family

CERN, European Organization for Nuclear Research

Zulauf Family

Merrill Lynch Trust Services

Marcuard

Deutsche Bank Private Banking

Bank Maerki Baumann

Credit Agricole

Societe Generale

Bank Vontobel

Julius Baer

Work highlights

  • Advised a foundation in relation to various legal, regulatory and tax matters, as well as on the co-ordination of asset management strategy.
  • Advised a sports celebrity on a construction project in the municipality of Kreuzlingen where the client has acquired a property.
  • Assisted a foreign private client with the construction of a new house in Switzerland and to reach a settlement with the architect.

Blum & Grob Attorneys at Law Ltd

Blum & Grob Attorneys at Law Ltd fields a team of specialised lawyers who advise clients on matters ranging from inheritance and tax law to foundations, aviation and labour issues. Natalie Peter has more than 20 years of experience in the field and specialises in tax and immigration. She is supported by counsel and estates specialist Claude Blum.

Practice head(s):

Natalie Peter

Testimonials

The private client team of Blum & Grob has superb skills in law and tax and provides excellent services covering all needs of private clients in Switzerland but also in international matters. The knowledge in trust and taxation laws is outstanding.’

Natalie Peter is an expert in the tax field and serves the interests of clients to full satisfaction. She has in depth know-how with regard to tax matters for private clients and trust structures.’

Work highlights

  • Advised a Liechtenstein family foundation on settling a new charitable foundation.
  • Provided tax and compliance advice to a family office of a Swiss UHNWI.
  • Counselled a Swiss national resident in the US on US estate planning for his Swiss real estate.

Bratschi Ltd

Bratschi Ltd's key practitioners are Ingmar Snijders and Walter Boss, who have extensive experience in the private client space. They advise clients on trusts and foundations, estate planning and structured assets as well as tax and litigation matters. The client portfolio includes national and international banks, commodity traders and wealthy individuals. Head of the firm's tax team Michael Barrot is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Ingmar Snijders

Testimonials

Experienced, knowledgeable practitioners who understand the issues and respond with technical precision and practicality in a prompt manner.’

Ingmar Snijders is extremely collaborative, practical and approachable.

Walter Boss is a regarded Swiss tax lawyer. He is gives clear and concise advice.

Work highlights

  • Represented an individual in all Swiss aspects with regard to the relocation to Switzerland and the establishment of the Swiss family office.

CMS

CMS's private client practice is noted for advising clients on estate planning and estate litigation; here, it is experienced in Swiss as well as international mandates, and benefits from its global network. HNWIs, families and entrepreneurs are on the client roster. Team head Tobias Somary's broad background is highlighted; his experience also includes succession planning, prenuptial agreements and inheritance disputes. Senior associate Louise Lutz Sciamanna is a key practitioner; she is noted alongside Max Albers and David Hürlimann.

Practice head(s):

Tobias Somary

Testimonials

CMS has a top-quality private client practice with particular expertise in complex cross-border succession planning.’

Tobias Somary is supremely knowledgeable, practical and empathic, a quality not to be underestimated in the private client field.

Tobias Somary and Louise Lutz Sciamanna both have a strong analytical approach. They have strong communication skills as well as enormous readiness for action.

FBT Attorneys-at-Law

The team at FBT Attorneys-at-Law covers the full spectrum of matters in the private client area, including the structuring of trusts and entities, the acquisition and sale of assets, as well as inheritance and asset management disputes. It is regularly engaged by national and international banks, high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs), family offices and fund management companies. Frédérique Bensahel is also a specialist in banking and finance matters, while Jean-Luc Bochatay and Michel Abt focus on tax mandates. Alain Moreau heads the practice from the Paris office.

Practice head(s):

Alain Moreau

Testimonials

The team is reactive, problem solving and devoted to its clients.

Jean-Luc Bochatay and Michel Abt are exellent private client tax specialists.’

Work highlights

  • Acted for several HNWIs in the framework of several international successions as legal advisor, coordinator or executor.
  • Advised various UHNWIs on holding, transmission, but also on the possible sale of part of their artistic patrimony.
  • Counselled a UHNW family trust on a multi-billion trust structure.

Homburger

Highly regarded full-service law firm Homburger fields a skilled team of private client practitioners. It works closely with other practice groups, such as tax, dispute resolution, real estate and regulatory, and specialises in trusts and estates as well as matrimonial law. Team leader Claudia Suter is also knowledgeable in tax structuring and planning. Gabrielle Nater-Bass is a key contact in contentious matters, while Harold Grüninger focuses on inheritance law.

Practice head(s):

Claudia Suter

Testimonials

Homburger is known for its excellence as well as responsiveness on any type of tax and legal matter in Switzerland.’

Claudia Suter is technically highly qualified, very reliable and responsive.’

Gabrielle Nater-Bass is highly committed and truly personally engaged, very reliable and responsive.’

Key clients

Executor of Estate of Marc Rich

International Fiscal Association (IFA)

Work highlights

  • Acting as international lead counsel to the executor of Marc Rich’s Estate.

Niederer Kraft Frey AG

Niederer Kraft Frey AG combines tax and private client practitioners in one team. It advises on a broad range of matters, including estate planning, matrimonial property law and foundation and philanthropic work; another area of expertise is divorce law. Thomas Graf is a tax specialist and leads the practice together with Catherine Grun Meyer, who can also offer assistance in employment law and dispute resolution.

Practice head(s):

Thomas Graf; Catherine Grun Meyer

Testimonials

The team has an excellent client base, pragmatic approach, good relationship with the cantonal revenue authorities, and great knowledge of the Swiss tax system.’

Thomas Graf has an excellent grasp of commercial, technical and personal issues.

Catherine Grun Meyer is appreciated for her professionalism, experience and intelligence. She provides outstanding work.’

Staiger Attorneys at Law Ltd

Staiger Attorneys at Law Ltd covers a broad spectrum of private client matters, from estate and succession planning to matrimonial property and family law. Michael Hamm's areas of expertise also include inheritance law. Georgia Fotiou is well versed in the establishment, management, restructuring and liquidation of international wealth management structures. Together they lead the team, in which Andreas von Erlach is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Michael Hamm; Georgia Fotiou

Testimonials

The STAIGER Private client team is a coherent, highly experienced, efficient and convincing team of experts, covering all relevant aspects which international private clients are regularly confronted with.

The team offers a cutting-edge wide and cross border expertise in civil, tax, litigation and estate planning issues.’

Georgia Fotiou has an excellent track record in advising HNWIs on an international level. She is highly committed, persistent, seeks long-term solutions and has a very special flair to deal with clients.’

Michael Hamm provides sophisticated and yet pragmatic and practical civil and tax advice. He focuses on clients’ complex and individualized needs and goals. He has a great experience in sensitive situations where integrated advice is required into confidential estate plans.’

Key clients

Nesinco Group Ltd.

Andritz Soutec Ltd.

L.A.M. Les Arts Mécaniques SA

New Energy Horizons Ltd.

Private Capital Partners Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Advising Swiss banks on tax and estate planning issues of their clients.
  • Acted for the owners in the board of L.A.M. Les Arts Mécaniques in the restructuring process of the group.
  • Setting up and structuring a Swiss holding company in the field of renewable energy.

Borel & Barbey

The team at Borel & Barbey includes Olivier DunantMarc Fischer and Laurent Kyd, whose areas of expertise are estates, immigration and tax law, respectively. It also advises on foundation and trust law, succession planning and the execution of testaments. Luc Hafner and Stéphanie La Roche are also noted.

burckhardt Ltd

The key contacts for private clients at burckhardt Ltd are Jacqueline BurckhardtMark Eichner and Michelle Bruni, who are all based in Basel. The team regularly advises on asset structuring, succession planning and inheritance. Other areas of expertise are art law, real estate and assisting associations and foundations.

Fischer Ramp Partner AG

Boutique law firm Fischer Ramp Partner AG focuses its entire practice on advising entrepreneurs, UHNWIs and families on the full spectrum of private client matters, on both a national and international level. The team specialises in particular in tax litigation and real estate matters. Michael Fischer is well versed, besides tax, in estates, social security and succession planning. Samuel Ramp and Marc Buchmann are also tax experts.

Practice head(s):

Michael Fischer

Testimonials

The team combines the big law firm background with a heightened sensitivity for entrepreneurial settings, bringing outstanding institutional skill sets to the table.’

Flexibility and availability of lawyers is top class. Deep knowledge and thinking outside the box.’

Michael Fischer is a brilliant strategist at the intersection of corporate law and taxation with individual and entrepreneurial settings and set-ups.

Marc Buchmann is an excellent lawyer with detailed knowledge in taxation.

Samuel Ramp is always responsive and it’s a real pleasure to work with him.’

Froriep

Froriep's private client practice specialises in estate planning, charitable structures and trust and succession disputes. The team is well versed in assisting companies in the oil, shipping and fund industries, both national and international. Julie Wynne has a broad practice with niche expertise in social entrepreneurship and B Corporations. Another highlighted practitioner is Dmitry Pentsov, who specialises in assisting Russian clients.

Testimonials

This firms works unified with strong beliefs and common strategy, having very talented individual lawyers who make the difference.’

Julie Wynne is energetic and passionate in that capacity and contributes a great deal to our organisation.

Dmitry Pentsov is an excellent lawyer and true professional. He shows an excellent knowledge of Swiss corporate law and EU law.

Key clients

Naked Heart Foundation

Work highlights

  • Assisted a high-profile individual with the incorporation of the Swiss entity of the network of foundations.
  • Advised the Naked Heart Foundation on its establishment in Switzerland as a charitable foundation.

Kellerhals Carrard

Kellerhals Carrard covers a broad range of private client matters, such as wills, estate and tax planning, family law, structuring of private investments, inheritance disputes, foundations and trusts. The team was enhanced by the arrival of Ingrid Iselin, who joined the Geneva office alongside Nicolas Hoffmann and Rémi Sacerdote from Python in early 2019. Iselin leads the practice together with Annette Spycher in Bern, who is well versed in contentious matters. Peter Schatz and Giovanni Stucchi are key contacts in the Lugano office.

Practice head(s):

Ingrid Iselin; Annette Spycher

Testimonials

Ingrid Iselin is an extremely straightforward and focused lawyer for inheritance and succession matters. Her client handling and her responsiveness are remarkable. She is very flexible and reliable also in complex cases.’

Work highlights

  • Assisted a UHNWI with a CHF70m estate planning.
  • Acted for an heir of an inheritance estate of over CHF700m.
  • Advised a client in connection with a potential inheritance of a CHF150m estate.

LALIVE

The team of LALIVE is well positioned to advise on inheritance, art and family law, in particular in cross-border mandates. Other areas of expertise are asset management litigation and reputation management. The Geneva-based Alexander Troller and Sandrine Giroud are key contacts in contentious cases. Simone Nadelhofer is also well versed in white-collar crime matters and is noted alongside inheritance specialist Werner Jahnel.

Testimonials

LALIVE is exceptional when it comes to servicing private clients. It is pro-active, solution-oriented and understands the needs of global families with sophisticated needs.’

The team is able to deliver excellent legal services under strict time constraints. All members are available at all times.

Alexander Troller and Werner Jahnel are excellent lawyers.’

Simone Nadelhofer is well informed and up-to-date with legal knowledge, nuances. She is responsive and professional in her approach.’

Sandrine Giroud is simply superb – responsive, reliable, fantastic with clients and other advisers – a real team player and a joy to work with.’

Work highlights

  • Representing a UHNWI in asset recovery related to artwork transactions of over $1bn.
  • Acting for an UHNWI against a bank following criminal legal actions in litigious divorce proceedings.
  • Advised a HNWI domiciled in Switzerland in relation to inheritance and asset structuring.

MME Legal | Tax | Compliance

MME Legal | Tax | Compliance has its areas of activity in its name; the team is instructed by HNWIs and families to assist them in particular with inheritance and real estate matters. Practice head Balz Hösly has longstanding experience in the field and also advises on estate planning and in corporate succession. Christoph Nater is well versed in the property area. Alexandra Geiger is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Balz Hösly

Testimonials

MME is well positioned in all areas of law. This enables the team to advise on a wide range of issues and to quickly identify a solution. The rapid reaction time of all employees is particularly noteworthy.’

Balz Hösly is an outstanding inheritance lawyer. He is very knowledgable and an excellent communicator in tense and difficult circumstances.

Christoph Nater and Alexandra Geiger are a well-rehearsed team with a lot of experience in inheritance law. They advise very effectively in complex cases.

Work highlights

  • Advised a bank as executor in an international inheritance division.
  • Advised a client on estate planning including trusts and foundations.
  • Assisted an heir in taking over a CHF20m real estate within the scope of inheritance divisions.

Python

Python covers key private client matters, including wealth structuring, financial planning and pensions, foundations and asset protection, among others. Jean-Christophe Hocke and Thomas Steinmann are the key contacts. Ingrid Iselin left for Kellerhals Carrard in 2019.

Wenger Plattner

The private client practice at Wenger Plattner has a strong focus on tax planning and is also experienced in succession planning, various agreements and inheritance, wills and estate distribution matters. Filippo Beck has a banking and finance background, which adds value. Peter Sahli and the Basel-based Katja Schott-Morgenroth are also active practitioners in this area.

Practice head(s):

Filippo Beck