Expanding private client services

Expanding private client services

Expanding private client services

Partnering with a law firm over high-net-worth clients can open up a lucrative new channel

There is huge untapped potential for accountancy practitioners and private-client lawyers to collaborate over wealth and tax advice required by high-net-worth clients.

Not only are these client services really important to family-owned businesses (over 70% of these enterprises fail to successfully transition from first to second generation due to inadequate planning and lack of professional advice, according to research by Deloitte and Harvard Business Review). But by working with legal partners and adding to the client service offering, accountancy practices can generate increased revenue.

Succession planning

More than 80% of family-run businesses have no formal plans in place for succession, according to PwC’s family business survey; and those that do rarely have a provision or direction for their business assets, resulting in a full or partial intestacy and a potential family dispute. This can lead to hefty fees for negotiating legalities and tax liabilities, and can even result in the dissolution of the business.

When looking for a suitable lawyer to work with, a little research goes a long way

Inheritance tax, family business succession and family-related tax matters can be best served with a unified approach. By joining forces, accountants and lawyers can develop integrated solutions that protect their clients’ wealth and legacy. It also makes for far closer relationships with the clients’ children, who will also be involved in succession, and reinforces the accountant’s position as a trusted adviser for the family’s financial matters.

For example, some accountants shy away from trusts, as they are really the domain of the lawyer. But they are powerful tools for safeguarding assets and providing a huge range of flexibility in wealth preservation and estate protection. Trusts can help clients maintain control over their wealth, reduce tax liabilities for generations to come and ensure assets pass on to chosen beneficiaries in a manner that aligns with the clients’ wishes.

Working as a team, lawyers and accountants can ensure clients get the most suitable trust and tax advice, and deliver a combined, robust plan.

Where to start?

When looking for a suitable lawyer to work with, a little research goes a long way. Tax and trust law is a complex and specialised field. Tax and trust issues often require creative problem-solving. A skilled lawyer should be able to analyse the overall situation and wishes of the client, identify potential challenges and develop innovative solutions.

Clients often have a close relationship with their accountant, so choose a lawyer who will be a team player

Ensure that the lawyer you’re considering has a deep understanding of both tax law and trust law, and has a proven track record of handling cases or providing advice in this area. Experience really matters here, as it equips the lawyer with the skills to navigate intricacies, anticipate challenges and find effective solutions.

A client-focused and friendly approach is also important. Clients usually have a relatively close relationship with their accountant, so choose a lawyer you know will be a team player.

Fee structures can vary widely depending on the nature of the matter, and the advice and strategy involved in the planning, but typical fees for planning and strategy for a trust would start at £10,000.

As this is based on teamwork, there are usually additional accountancy fees involved in the planning, and working together is key.

About the author
At Oldgate Trustees we are a Tax and Trust specialist Law Firm. Our field of expertise enables wealthy families and family business owners to maintain and pass on wealth, whilst maintaining control and flexibility in a tax efficient way. Cementing a closer relationship with the Accountant and their client through business continuity with the clients’...