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‘It has been striking how the global pandemic has focused clients’ minds on what is really important to them,’ says William Begley, head of the Tax, Trusts and Succession team at Charles Russell Speechlys.
One of Begley’s specialisms is devising ownership structures to protect the wealth of his clients over several generations whilst benefiting society more widely. This often involves ‘instilling good long term governance into those structures and prompting discussions how best to support philanthropic endeavours’.
Many clients are household names, drawn from the worlds of business, property, finance, media and the arts, explains Begley, who joined the then-Speechly Bircham in 2000. ‘20 years on, I see my role very much as someone who is able to make complex areas of the law digestible and easy to understand, to enable clients to make informed and sensible decisions,’ he tells Spear’s. Asked for a memorable moment of the last year, he cites ‘a client who had previously settled a successful business into a family trust and, shortly following the sale of the business, asked me to have dinner with him. At the dinner, he asked me to become a trustee of the trust, expressing complete trust and confidence in me to ensure the proceeds of sale were preserved for the benefit of multiple generations of the family. I felt privileged to be asked to play such a pivotal role in his family’s long- term wellbeing and gleefully accepted. Building that trust and confidence is absolutely key to any professional relationship.’