Private Client

“Impressive experience in advising on wills and related areas across international jurisdictions”

Our specialist private client team strives to protect the personal and financial interests of successful individuals on the full range of contentious and noncontentious issues faced by private clients, including estate planning and related disputes, succession of family businesses, relocation, philanthropy and art related legal advice.

Our clients include high net worth individuals (HNWIs) and families, owners, entrepreneurs and philanthropists, family offices, foundations, trust companies and fiduciary holding structures.

LALIVE’s team of highly skilled specialists and litigators is particularly well versed in complex disputes involving businesses, investments and other valuable assets spread across the world, involving family members in various jurisdictions. We assist to protect and defend your interests and that of your family in particular by ensuring smooth succession from one generation to the next, navigating family disputes and preserving key assets.

Given our international dimension, we are especially well placed to advise in complex cross-border matters and can coordinate multi-jurisdictional and multidisciplinary matters such as tax and corporate advisory, by drawing on the expertise of a wide, highly specialized network.

We offer particular expertise in the following:

  • Succession planning and executorship: We assist successful people looking to preserve the integrity and longevity of their business or the family’s assets without disruption and seek to avoid future disputes among the heirs. We can provide personalised matrimonial agreements, registered partnership agreements, last wills and inheritance agreements, helping them to protect private wealth and business assets, always applying the highest discretion and sensitivity. Members of the firm are also regularly appointed as executors of last wills and provide philanthropy advice to foundations and international charities.
  • Divorce proceedings: We advise HNWIs in relation to separation, divorce, registered partnership, particularly in complex and cross-border disputes involving international assets, complex trust structures and cross-jurisdictional litigation.
  • Matrimonial Agreements: Private wealth requires careful examination and planning of the matrimonial regime, in particular in an international environment and in complex family situations. We advise on the legal options available and assist our clients to set up personalised matrimonial agreements, which not only become relevant in a divorce scenario but are an elementary tool for succession planning in Switzerland.
  • Elderly Protection: The incapacity of a person can disrupt the functioning of a family and the family business. The incapacity of a director or shareholder in particular can have serious consequences for companies and their advisors. We advise on how to anticipate, prepare and put in place potential solutions to mitigate the adverse impact of incapacity in the corporate context.
  • Media & reputation: We assist individuals and companies to navigate media crisis or to pro-actively manage and protect their reputation. Our focus is on providing practical and efficient solutions by persuasion, negotiation and litigation if needed.
  • Litigation & arbitration: We advise private clients in all domestic and cross border litigation and arbitration proceedings relating to their personal interests and assets.
  • Trust & estate litigation: We act for business owners, trustees, executors, settlors, or beneficiaries in helping to resolve or prevent disputes in relation to the ownership and structuring of privately held wealth.
  • Art as an asset: We advise collectors, dealers, galleries, museums, charitable organisations and auction houses on an array of legal issues connected with the buying and selling of fine art, antiques and other collectibles at private auction and privately. In addition, we advise on the broad range of transactions involving art as an asset or as a collateral in loans to museums or loan against the value of an artwork.
  • International assistance: We assist individuals in complex administrative assistance proceedings in tax matters in Switzerland initiated at the request of foreign tax authorities aiming to obtain evidence of financial transactions, bank records and other assets located in Switzerland.
  • Representing the heirs of a South American citizen domiciled and deceased in Switzerland on the liquidation of his estate.
  • Representing and advising a non-Swiss HNWI on potential risks and action required in the context of a divorce settlement, including on complex international law issues regarding offshore structure and assets located abroad.
  • Representing and advising an individual regarding estate planning and private international law issues arising out of an estate opened in Switzerland with assets located in foreign countries and trusts.
  • Advising a non-Swiss HNWI in relation to the acquisition of a luxury real estate property in the Swiss Alps, structuring the financing for the transaction and negotiating the contractual terms.
  • Representing a foreign trustee regarding access to information and assets held by Swiss banks.
  • Representing and advising the Swiss trustees of Jersey Trusts in Swiss criminal and mutual legal assistance proceedings related to the Trust’s funds involving complex cross border issues and strategic litigation advice in relation to the potential civil and criminal liability of the Trustees under Swiss law.

Nachlassplanung - Praxisreihe Rechtsberatung - Erstberatung von Mandanten

Sabine Herzog, Werner Jahnel 2022

Schulthess Verlag, Zurich, June 2022

Chronique de jurisprudence suisse – Loi fédérale sur le droit international privé (LDIP) (2011-2019) (2e partie)

Jean-Paul Vulliéty, Joséphine Auberjonois, Caroline Dos Santos, Grégoire Geissbühler, Benoît A. Mauron, Roxane Pedrazzini, Noémie Raetzo, Simine Sheybani, Sébastien Zulian, Hannes Meyle, 2020

In: Journal du droit international (Clunet)

Droit Suisse des sanctions et de la confiscation internationales

Sandrine Giroud, Héloïse Rordorf-Braun 2020

Helbing Lichtenhahn, 1st Edition, 2020

The firm is renowned for its expertise in international dispute resolution. One interviewee observes: "The firm is very good on arbitration, and in the context of private client disputes, they will be market leaders in this respect." Another adds that "they are very helpful when trying to resolve tough trust disputes."

Chambers HNW Guide, Private Wealth, Switzerland, 2019

Lalive offers a wide range of services to high net worth families as well as foundations, trust companies and fiduciary holding structures. Interviewees state that "they are a good boutique with a strong reputation for private client ligation" with "some impressive high net worth clients."

Chambers HNW Guide, Private Wealth, Switzerland, 2019

With a specialism in inheritance, trust and estate disputes, media litigation, matrimonial cases, art-related advice and matters concerning the protection of elderly family members, clients appreciate LALIVE's 'highly skilled team' for its 'cohesive nature, outstanding case management, supportiveness and emotional presence'.

Legal 500, Private Client, 2019

Lalive is considered to be ‘very strong in international inheritance law and arbitration’. The firm assists clients with advisory services as well as dispute resolution relating to a range of private client matters, including wills, succession planning, trusts and foundations. Its clientele includes family offices, foundations, fiduciaries and trustees, as well as high net worth individuals.

A client reports that ‘the firm was very responsive, approachable and knowledgeable. They took the time to ensure that we were well aware of the legal implications of what we were implementing’.

Chambers HNW Guide, Private Wealth, Switzerland, 2018

Lalive has ‘impressive experience in advising on wills and related areas across international jurisdictions’ and also handles tax, trust, estate planning and marital property issues; special expertise exists in the field of art law and inheritance disputes.

Legal 500, Switzerland, Private client, 2018

Recognised Practitioner in Private Wealth Law

Chambers HNW 2017

Lalive regularly advises high-net-worth individuals on estate planning and is particularly known for its strength in dispute resolution.

Legal 500, Switzerland, Private client, 2017

Lalive is especially known for dispute resolution, but also provides advisory services to high-net-worth individuals on estate planning regarding private wealth and business assets.

Legal 500, Switzerland, Private client (Tier 3), 2016

The firm’s “outstanding” private client practice serves high-net worth individuals in Switzerland and abroad.

Who’s Who Legal: Switzerland, 2015