Lesperance & Associates is unique in offering advice in the area of residence and citizenship that also considers our clients’ tax, family law, business and personal lifestyle requirements. Too often advice is given in a siloed or compartmentalized fashion…often by commissioned salespeople for Citizenship-by-Investment, Residence-by-Investment and “Golden Visa” type programs. These “advisors” may only consider their limited area of knowledge, with little consideration to potential life-changing negative consequences to other parts of their client’s lives.
At Lesperance & Associates, we are truly experts in this area. Our mission is to work closely with our clients – and their advisors – to ensure that all their goals are identified and concerns dealt with. Above all, we ensure that our recommended solutions are “livable” for the client and their family. To do this we always look beyond the most immediate issues to determine the longer-term multi-generational impacts of our recommendations.
Second Citizenship & Residence, Wealth Preservation, and International Tax Planning
Lesperance & Associates is one of the world’s pre-eminent specialist firms in the areas of citizenship, immigration and tax. Since 1990 we have helped scores of high- and ultra-high-net-worth individuals and their families organize their residence, domicile, and citizenships to fulfill their personal, family and business goals, or as a hedge against possible risks to their wealth and security.
Many clients ask us to go further and develop and implement comprehensive Back-Up Plans© for them, usually in close collaboration with their existing financial, tax, legal, succession and family office advisors.
Our most requested service is the preparation of customized Back-Up Plans©. A Back-Up Plan is a comprehensive citizenship, residence and domicile solution that “plans for the worst…and hopes for best” …addressing potential economic, political, societal and environmental changes that could impact our client. Each customized plan is based on our “client unique situations, requirements and objectives- and those of their family”. If requested by our client, their customized Back-Up Plan may also address specialized needs such as the organization of stand-by personal security, legal support…..even public relations teams to help manage crises.
Back-Up Plans align with the clients’ financial, family, business situations, ensure personal and family wealth protection, and focus on clients’ goals and preferred lifestyles over the long term. They are also integrated with their existing tax structures and estate planning. Most importantly, each Back-Up Plan is meticulously researched, prepared and executed. They are not an “off-the-shelf” citizenship solution proposed by a salesperson or firm working on the commission for government citizenship or visa program.
Reviewing existing Citizenship and Residence Plans
One of the most frequent requests we receive is to review and assess Citizenship-by-Investment and Residence-by-Investment plans. These statuses were acquired over time, usually with a goal of being protected against possible negative impacts of future events. The purpose of the review is to determine if the goals of the original plan are still being met in light of new or stronger threats; significant changes in tax law enforcement in overseas countries; and evolving personal, financial, professional and family circumstances. In short, “Will the citizenship and/or residency purchased years ago provide the hoped-for protection from the storm clouds on the horizon today and in the future?”
In answering this question, it is important for clients to recognize that storm clouds can form in both their country of birth and in the overseas countries where they have purchased a citizenship and/or residence. In some home countries there has been a marked increase of incidents of abrupt arrest and asset seizure without the accompanying rule of law protections common in other parts of the world. In countries where this is occurring, there is also a tendency to use extraordinary techniques such as seizing and charging innocent extended family members to extract results.
In the overseas countries, as a result of increased financial information exchange and collection, there is a marked increase in the ability of tax authorities to identify and seize the international assets of those who might be accused of tax evasion. It is key to remember that in the area of tax, the onus of proof is reversed, with the taxpayer needing to overcome a tax authority’s position of tax liability. This is a storm cloud issue that is so far being overlooked by many purchasers of Citizenship-by-Investment and Residence-by-Investment programs who did not comply with tax or other obligations that were part of the status they acquired. This may have been through ignorance of such obligations, or awareness that lax enforcement at the time allowed them to take liberties without suffering adverse consequences. Those days are gone.
Our review helps these clients to:
- i) Identify risks to their plan;
- ii) Evaluate the potential likelihood of these risks occurring and their ramifications;
iii) If appropriate, implement changes to their plan to eliminate or reduce the risk, address current concerns and meet the family’s long-term goals.
Contact us today if you want to inquire whether a review is appropriate for you and your family.
A Passport Portfolio® is a stand-alone Lesperance & Associates offering that can also be incorporated into a Back-Up Plan. The Passport Portfolio® allows the individual and their family to travel to and remain in one or more jurisdictions to securely and legally manage their personal and business affairs.
Lineage or Ancestry Citizenships
Many clients are not aware that they may have a legitimate claim to citizenship arising from their ancestry (i.e. Irish, Sephardic Jewish, etc.). At Lesperance & Associates, we are experts in the many complexities and procedures for each different jurisdiction and will first examine whether the family’s history can be used to save hundreds of thousands of dollars that would have been spent on Citizenship-by-investment, Residence-by-Investment or “Golden Visa” type programs to meet our client’s goals.
Renunciation of Citizenship or Changing Tax Residence
In certain citizenship planning situations, it is necessary for the client to renounce their existing citizenship(s) or tax residence, a process that may also give rise to significant tax issues. Getting this step wrong can be costly. Lesperance & Associates has deep experience managing this process to ensure our clients get it right, first time around.
Marriage, Divorce, Birth Planning
Many of our clients are truly global citizens by virtue of their professions, businesses and dynamic families, and their personal situations often change as a result of marriage, divorce, birth, adoptions, etc. Lesperance & Associates will examine the potential residence, citizenship, and family law issues that may arise out of these life changes and identify the risks to be avoided and opportunities that can be realized through a properly organized strategy.
Citizenship-by-Investment, Residence-by-Investment and “Golden Visa” type Programs
Not all Citizenship-by-Investment, Residence-by-Investment and “Golden Visa” type programs are the same. Indeed, many such programs will ultimately not fulfill the client’s long-term needs. We know this to be true as many of our clients came to us as a result of previous unsatisfactory experience.
Sometimes a program’s weaknesses are obvious (such as so-called “Honorary” Citizenships), while for others the rules, regulations, and laws require close scrutiny by an expert to discover a fatal flaw. In addition, visa rules, residence, naturalization, citizenship, tax treaties, and tax law regulations and practices are constantly changing. The difference between success, wasted time, effort and money is an advisor who is up-to-date on the latest changes in these areas and properly skilled to figure out the implications for each individual client.
We Represent our Clients Only
Another unique advantage of engaging Lesperance & Associates is that we have never earned commissions from any Citizenship-by-Investment, Residence-by-Investment and “Golden Visa” type programs. Many people do not realize that Citizenship-by-Investment, Residence-by-Investment and “Golden Visa” type programs pay large commissions to the immigration “consultants” who bring in applicants. Most often these commissions are undisclosed and can be significantly larger than the fees they charge their clients.
At Lesperance & Associates, we have always considered accepting commissions from government programs to be an inherent conflict-of-interest. Indeed, the practice of paying big commissions begs the question as to whether the advice is given in the client’s best interest or in the financial best interest of the “advisor”. As a result, our firm has never applied to be a “Marketing Agent” for any Citizenship-by-Investment, Residence-by-Investment and “Golden Visa” type programs. Instead, if through our research and analysis we determine that a particular program is in the best interest of our client, we work with local advisors to secure it as an element of our client’s Back-Up Plans©. That way, our clients can always be confident that we are acting exclusively in their best interest.
How We Like to Work
We work either directly with our clients or in collaboration with their family office, legal, accounting or financial advisors. For Back-Up Plans© we normally recommend close coordination with our client’s advisors as a holistic planning approach ensures important issues are identified and addressed early, saving on time and money…and unnecessary stress.
If you are a high- or ultra-high-net-worth individual or family concerned that your current citizenship, residency, and tax plans do not adequately address your unique personal and family situations today or into the future, please contact us for a private first consultation at:
Phone: Call us toll free at (800) 478 0023 or +1 (415) 685 4308