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Succession and tax planning of wealth in the international modern family : problems and solutions

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Title: Succession and tax planning of wealth in the international modern family : problems and solutions
Author(s): Vinogradova, Ksenia
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Law
Discipline: Private international and comparative law
Language: English
Acceptance year: 2020
ABSTRACT When does a person have to think about writing a last will and structuring his assets and affairs so that his family members will lately inherit them or other people involved in his life? Surprisingly, not a lot of people start thinking of it early enough to protect wealth and assets to be smoothly and fully transferred to their family members or other heirs. The issue is complicated by the international aspect and the amount of wealth that a modern businessperson owns. The aim of the thesis is to study in depth and name the problems, indicate complexity and find solutions for inheritance succession planning of wealth with the tax perspective. The central figure of the paper is a rich wealth owner that is of HNWI or UHNWI level. Modern families have a lot of possibilities to live in several countries, expand and conduct business internationally, which brings certain complications when one of the family members passes away and the heirs suddenly find themselves in a situation, that half of the estate is given out to pay taxes in several countries, partly assets are stolen in the transition period by the advisors they have never heard about and part is simply lost; business enters crisis and does not provide enough income anymore as the heirs are not interested in the full engagement or are not educated in the sphere. Creditors are waiting around the corner and once having millions and comfortable life the heirs find themselves in a dubious situation. When the succession planning done beforehand, having enough time to structure wealth and assets, get to know tax exemptions and possible tools most of the assets can be retained. What are these tax laws or inheritance procedures that support the advantageous planning for wealth transfer? To provide not a general but a more detailed perspective on differences in procedures, tax regulations and possible solutions, comparative analysis of three jurisdictions is completed. The thesis looks closely into tax optimization rules and instruments such as gifts, trusts and foundations and life insurances. Advantages of the instruments are indicated in general prospective and applying them in concrete legislations and situations. In conclusion, the thesis presents an overview, a practical imaginary situation, and a plan for the wealth owner to adhere. Of importance, for understanding is to mention that concrete situation of each wealth owner is complicated and needs to be analyzed in detail in the context of the entire structure and its relationship with other components.
Keyword(s): tax law comparative law inheritance law tax planning life insurance gift trust foundation

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