A Day in the life of the Legal Team at Earl
A multi-faceted role
Currently at Earl Fiduciary, we have a modest legal team of three. Our days are never boring! We are consulted on a daily basis by trust officers, on the one hand to control the legality of trust documents and to draft supplemental deeds and agreements, and on the other to advise on the legal operations of trust investments and to undertake legal due diligence on new investment opportunities. We also provide complimentary legal services to trust settlors and beneficiaries, such as will drafting. Overseeing the operations of hundreds of trusts, we understand how trust structures must remain flexible to suit the needs of the modern, often internationally mobile, family. Each family is unique but common themes emerge, and we are able to draw upon our experience to propose effective solutions to new problems. Similarly, as we are called upon frequently to review investment agreements, this breadth of exposure allows us to highlight common pitfalls and, in conjunction with investment advisors, we are able to take a pragmatic approach to negotiation of investment terms, nevertheless focusing on the points of detail that matter.
Responding to changes in the evolving tax and regulatory space
We have many settlors and/or beneficiaries, who are United States’ persons or resident in the United Kingdom, South Africa or Australia. Almost yearly changes to the tax landscapes in these jurisdictions require us to respond by making adjustments to trust documents and/or changes in investments. In addition, over the last decade, the drive towards transparency has imposed a raft of reporting obligations upon us as trustees. We are facilitated in the task of compliance by a fantastic IT infrastructure, which enables us to quickly extract data and keep track of variables such as location of trust beneficiaries and assets. Leveraging upon both our expertise and technology enables us to stay ahead of the curve in this area, mitigating risk and ensuring our trusts remain beyond reproach.
Teamwork and relationships are key
We work closely day-to-day with the trust officers and the accounting team, and consult with investment and tax advisors, ensuring trust operations are both integrated and seamless. The relationships we build and nurture are paramount to this. This applies too to our contacts with settlors and beneficiaries. Our fiduciary duties to the trust beneficiaries are central to all that we do, and we value our relationships with them so that we can understand and continue to serve their best interests.