Family Office

Gunster’s Family Office team is committed to delivering a 360-degree approach to assisting our clients in establishing, developing and maintaining family offices. Over the last decade, the needs of wealthy families have grown exponentially resulting in commensurate growth in the number of family offices established nationally and throughout the world. These family offices manage a market currently estimated into the trillions of dollars. Our lawyers understand, from decades of practical experience, that family offices are businesses unto themselves that require a full array of legal support and planning solutions while serving as the center of a family’s unique needs.

Gunster is focused on delivering a comprehensive and integrated suite of legal services that are designed to complement the many benefits of a structured family office. Our lawyers serve as outside counsel to family offices, ultra high-net-worth individuals and founder/family-owned businesses. Our team serves as trusted advisors and oftentimes as “quarterback” for the legal needs of families and family offices in Florida, nationally and internationally.

The design and formation of the appropriate family office legal structure can be very beneficial to a family. These benefits may include enhanced control by selected family members; centralization and customization of asset allocation, deployment and investment; wealth planning and risk management; and overall business succession, family cohesion and legacy planning. Our attorneys know that each family office represents the unique values of the family it serves, and that many families desire to implement family office industry best practices within their office. Gunster offers decades of experience working with family offices, providing the requisite private wealth services, estate planning, succession planning, tax, corporate, real estate, M&A, investment, employment/HR and general advisory legal services needed to serve family offices and their founder/family-owned businesses on an integrated basis.

Our succession and business continuation planning and transactional experience is extensive. Our attorneys strive to create proactive, forward-looking solutions for families that have an impending or potential transition event – such as the sale of a business or other material assets. Moreover, we have extensive experience in helping families with business structuring and restructuring, presale planning, mergers and acquisitions, equity and debt refinancing and dividend recaps, liquidity events, investment structuring and execution, and corporate and family governance.

Gunster is called upon to provide services for family offices established in and seeking to relocate to Florida. Our attorneys assist families and their family offices with establishing domicile in Florida while assisting with the administration formal family office structures, including the formation of family trust companies.

Family investing requires a proper legal structure and framework. Gunster lawyers are called upon to establish and work with investment committees and CIOs, to develop investment-specific policies and procedures grounded in sound legal theory, and to execute investment-related due diligence and agreement negotiations. Our team advises on the legal aspects of directing private equity, hedge fund and other investments, as well as co-investments, minority investments and control acquisitions.

Our Family Office practice is dedicated to bridging the gap between business and estate planning. Our team works with clients to safeguard wealth from potential liability while serving as a catalyst for realizing transparent and conflict-free transitions among family members and multiple generations. Our focus on custom tailored estate and business planning takes into consideration the impact of tax liabilities, individual and family-wide risk, insurance coverage issues, asset and investment holdings and philanthropic objectives. Our lawyers deliver sophisticated trust, administrative and estate planning advice in an ever-changing world.

Gunster’s Family Office services include a focus on:

  • Appropriate legal, tax and business structures
  • Family and individual family member estate planning
  • Private trust company formation and operation
  • Establishing dividend policies, family compensation, executive compensation and contracting
  • Drafting and implementing office policies and procedures and office governance processes
  • Facilitating family office meetings, including educational sessions and family retreats
  • Establishing investment, charitable giving and other initiatives
  • Forming family foundations and facilitating philanthropy
  • Providing estate, gift and income tax advice
  • Advising on an array of transactions, including real estate, M&A, and borrowing and lending
  • Providing a full suite of investment-related legal services, including due diligence, investment structuring and implementation, direct investing and co-investing, and set up of investment committees and investment policies. This includes sustainable and impact investing (ESG investing)
  • Employment and HR matters including employment counseling, employee benefits, and immigration matters
  • Confidentially addressing privacy issues, technology and cyber security matters
  • Division of services between family members and services within/outside the family office
  • Serving in the role of general and/or outside counsel involving the needs of family members and the family office
  • Legal and regulatory compliance
  • Real estate construction contracts
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