Higgs & Johnson
Co-Managing Partners: Oscar N Johnson, Jr and Sterling H. Cooke
Number of partners worldwide: 17
Number of other lawyers worldwide: 21
Languages: Bahasa Malaysia, English, French, Spanish
Higgs & Johnson has 70 years of experience in offshore and onshore trusts and foundations. The firm are industry leaders in offshore and onshore trusts, private trust companies (PTCs), purpose trusts and foundations for families, high net worth individuals and fiduciaries. The firm is accustomed to liaising with legal advisors based in other jurisdictions to ensure tax efficient trust structures, and have considerable experience in estate planning and asset protection.
Main Areas of Practice:
Clients of Higgs & Johnson can be assured of having their matters handled by highly qualified trust and estate practitioners (TEPs).
Higgs & Johnson with a wealth of experience in offshore and onshore trusts and well versed in trust litigation played an integral role in the amendment and updating of such legislation, including the abolition of the rule against perpetuities.
The firm is the counsel to many leading trust companies in The Bahamas, advising in a broad range of trust matters from the preparation of complex private trusts for high net worth individuals and businesses to intricate matters of trust administration.
The firm is accustomed to liaising and working with offshore legal advisors to ensure tax efficient trust structures and have substantial experience in asset protection trusts.
The firm provides a full range of services and, to this end, the trust and litigation groups work together on contentious or potentially contentious matters to provide a comprehensive service.
Services include advice on and drafting of:
■ Fiduciary structures, including fixed or discretionary trusts (testamentary or inter vivos)
■ Variation and rectification of trusts
Higgs & Johnson is an industry leader in purpose trusts and foundations. The firm has assisted in the formation of numerous foundations and played an instrumental role in the drafting of Amendments to the Foundations Act.
Private Trust Companies:
The main purpose of a PTC is to act as trustee of a specific trust or, in some cases, a group of trusts.
■ PTCs can provide families with a greater level of control over trust administration
■ PTCs may appeal to persons desiring to add an extra layer of confidentiality regarding their financial affairs
■ PTCs can also lower the potential legal exposure of the professional trustee and even solve any trustee succession issues as PTCs have the advantage of perpetual life and can serve as trustee indefinitely
■ PTCs are not ideal for every client but can offer significant advantages for high net worth individuals seeking trust services. A partner of the firm served as a consultant and played an active role in the drafting process of PTC legislation, adopted in December 2006 to enhance the range of financial services offered in The Bahamas
Wills & Probate:
Higgs & Johnson has helped numerous high net worth individuals, business owners, professionals, and retirees and their families carefully prepare estate or trust documentation to make sure that even the most complex personal and family needs are met.
Additionally, the firm has probated or administered thousands of estates, where the deceased was resident inside or outside of The Bahamas. A partner was much involved in the production of the Probate and Administration of Estates Act, 2011, which governs non-contentious probate proceedings.
■ Preparation and execution of wills and codicils
■ Applications for probate and letters of administration
■ Resealing of foreign wills
■ Contentious probate applications
■ Estate planning and administration
■ Applications for citizenship and residence
■ Work permit applications
The firm’s clients are local and international commercial and offshore banks, global law and accountancy firms, trust companies, investment firms, multimillion dollar touristic developments, multinational companies, and high net worth individuals.
Coupled with strong connections with leading firms in New York, London, Zurich, Geneva, Hong Kong, São Paulo and other commercial centres, Higgs & Johnson has a talented and knowledgeable team of experienced attorneys, with additional administrative, financial and technical support to deliver timely, accurate and relevant service to clients around the world.
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