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Thought Leaders

Thought Leaders

Thought Leader

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Natalie Peter has a profound understanding of tax matters, which she expertly deploys when advising clients on inheritance law and succession planning.

Questions & Answers

Natalie Peter heads the private client practice. She has extensive experience in advising clients and their families, typically on cross-border matters, including estate and tax planning; immigration to/emigration from Switzerland; and analysing and setting up tax-efficient structures. She has particularly extensive knowledge in matters relating to the taxation of trusts and foundations, as well as the setting up of tax-exempt charitable organisations. She is recognised as a top professional in various directories.

What qualities make for an effective private client lawyer in today’s climate?

A private client lawyer must be familiar with various areas of law such as inheritance law, tax law, trust and foundations – or at least have a certain basic knowledge.

At the same time, he or she should be familiar with compliance and aware of current changes. This is a major challenge.

What challenges does cross-border estate planning pose to lawyers, and how do you ensure you are well equipped to handle them?

Families are often already spread over several continents and it is difficult to predict where children and their families will move to. For this reason, inheritance planning must remain flexible. A certain basic knowledge of other jurisdictions and a network of experts in these countries are therefore essential for competent planning.

There has been a lot of debate around introducing Swiss trusts. How would the Swiss legal system benefit from this development?

Switzerland already codified the family foundation in the Civil Code, in 2017. However, the definition of the purpose of the foundation was very narrowly defined, so that in practice it hardly ever occurs. The debate about the Swiss trust also brings the opening of the purpose definition back on the table, which has been demanded by various scholars and by the federal court for years.

What impact has the increased focus on compliance and regulation that has come into force recently had on client demands and priorities?

Clients seek security and above all privacy. The complexity of compliance and governance rules often leads to simplification of structures. The more countries are involved, the more complex compliance becomes.

How have family governance matters relating to companies, and the issues they bring up, evolved since you first began practising?

Of late, family governance seems to have increasingly become the basis for robust inheritance planning. While in many families companies were passed on to the descendants, many families today are asking themselves how they can ensure the continued existence of the company in a meaningful way.

What advice would you give to younger lawyers looking to specialise in the area?

Build up an international network of colleagues and stay up to date, at least in a specific area of law. Consult specialists in other fields of law. It does not matter to the client whether you can answer all questions yourself. He or she is simply demanding a practicable solution from you.

WWL says

Natalie Peter impresses peers as a “prominent figure” with an “outstanding reputation in the Swiss private client market”.

Questions & Answers

Natalie Peter heads the private clients practice. She has extensive experience in advising clients and their families typically on their cross-border matters, including estate and tax planning; immigration to/emigration from Switzerland; and analysing and setting up tax-efficient structures. She has a particularly extensive knowledge in matters relating to the taxation of trusts and foundations as well as the setting-up of tax-exempt charitable organisations. She is recognised as a top professional in various directories.

What inspired you to pursue a legal career?

To be honest, I was initially not pursuing a career in law, but one step lead to another and unexpected opportunities opened. Today I am happy about my career in law and find my work very attractive.

How does your background in tax law contribute to your current private client practice? 

Many decisions in estate planning or asset structuring are driven by tax law. For this reason it is helpful that I can take tax issues into account during the planning process rather than seeking a subsequent tax assessment of a structure.

What do you enjoy the most about the cross-border nature of your work? 

Families are often already spread over several continents and it is difficult to predict where children and their families will move to. For this reason, inheritance planning must remain flexible. It is challenging taking the laws of various jurisdictions into account when planning. It is also nice to working with my colleagues in the respective jurisdictions.

How has the increased levels of globalisation changed the nature of your practice? 

Planning is becoming increasingly complex as many clients operate internationally or family members reside in different countries or continents.  Possible future changes of residence of individual family members should already be anticipated, if possible.  

How can compliance procedures change to make structuring more effective? 

Every jurisdiction has its own compliance rules which must be obeyed independently. To keep compliance at its minimum we try to limit the exposure to various jurisdictions to a minimum. Since the scrutiny on compliance has increased the protection of our client’s privacy has increased accordingly. While tax consequences in a particular jurisdiction are still an important factor in our planning, the actual implementation may result in choosing another jurisdiction.

What has been a highlight of your practice in the past year?

There is not a specific highlight. I appreciate every success that we can achieve for our clients. I am happy to have a very dedicated team and enjoy working with all of them.

What changes do you think the next generation of lawyers will bring to your firm?  

Work-life balance was not an issue when I started as a young lawyer. However, it is reality today and our younger lawyers balance their work and free time quite differently from our generation. It is and will be a challenge matching these different expectations. The younger generation can handle new media much better and is therefore able to meet the expectations of the new generation clients.

Global Leader

Private Client 2020

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Natalie Peter enjoys an “excellent reputation” for her dynamic practice which often sees her advising private clients on multi-jurisdictional tax matters.

Biography

Natalie Peter is a partner at Blum&Grob Attorneys at Law in Zurich and heads the private clients team.

She has been advising private clients for 25 years in a range of national and international tax matters, including estate tax planning; immigration to/emigration from Switzerland; tax litigation; completing tax declarations; obtaining tax rulings from tax authorities; and analysing and setting up tax-efficient structures. She has a particularly extensive knowledge in all tax matters relating to the taxation of trusts and foundations as well as the setting-up of tax-exempt charitable organisations. She has considerable experience in cross-border situations and advises families in complex estate planning matters. She has gained substantive experience in US/Swiss issues.

Natalie Peter has published numerous articles on various topics relating to tax matters of individuals, in particular on trusts and foundations. She is a frequent lecturer at national and international conferences and seminars and teaches on postgraduate programmes at the universities of Zurich and Liechtenstein, as well as at the Swiss Institute for Tax Studies (SIST).

She is currently vice chair of the individual tax and private client committee of the International Bar Association (IBA) and a committee member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP).

Natalie Peter was educated at the University of Zurich (lic iur 1994, Dr iur 2001) and the University of Boston (LLM 1995). She worked in an accounting firm in Zurich and New York (1995–1997) and in Zurich-based law firms before she joined Blum&Grob Attorneys at Law in 2018. She is admitted to the Swiss Bar.

National Leader

Switzerland - Private Client 2020

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Natalie Peter impresses peers as a “prominent figure” with an “outstanding reputation in the Swiss private client market”.

Biography

Natalie Peter is a partner at Blum&Grob Attorneys at Law in Zurich and heads the private clients team.

She has been advising private clients for 25 years in a range of national and international tax matters, including estate tax planning; immigration to/emigration from Switzerland; tax litigation; completing tax declarations; obtaining tax rulings from tax authorities; and analysing and setting up tax-efficient structures. She has a particularly extensive knowledge in all tax matters relating to the taxation of trusts and foundations as well as the setting-up of tax-exempt charitable organisations. She has considerable experience in cross-border situations and advises families in complex estate planning matters. She has gained substantive experience in US/Swiss issues.

Natalie Peter has published numerous articles on various topics relating to tax matters of individuals, in particular on trusts and foundations. She is a frequent lecturer at national and international conferences and seminars and teaches on postgraduate programmes at the universities of Zurich and Liechtenstein, as well as at the Swiss Institute for Tax Studies (SIST).

She is currently vice chair of the individual tax and private client committee of the International Bar Association (IBA) and a committee member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP).

Natalie Peter was educated at the University of Zurich (lic iur 1994, Dr iur 2001) and the University of Boston (LLM 1995). She worked in an accounting firm in Zurich and New York (1995–1997) and in Zurich-based law firms before she joined Blum&Grob Attorneys at Law in 2018. She is admitted to the Swiss Bar.

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