Areas of Practice

Trusts & estates, probates, succession law matters, international estates and estate planning, elderly law

My practice focuses on probate and administration procedures of decedents’ estates and inheritance law. I represent domestic and international clients to realize their claims (out of an heir-ship, forced heir-ship, legacy, bequeath or a creditor position) in estate cases, most of them litigated. I also assist in instigating ancillary probate procedures to grab on assets placed in Austria. I gained a lot of professional experience as a licensed substitute of a notary public and am therefore well linked to a number of notaries engaged as court commissioners in pertinent procedures.

If a last will or the legal situation is contested, it is almost inevitable to seek the advice of an attorney in order to sustain or defend ones legal position. I render advice also on drafting settlement agreements, e.g. on the distribution of estates and/or honoring (forced) heir-ship rights in a way most favorable to provide legal peace and to avoid detrimental tax consequences.

I am admitted to practice law both in Austria and in the USA (New York) and quite seasoned in handling international succession law cases. If feasible, I may represent your case before a foreign court bench or retain reliable assistance from a world-wide network of co-operating firms.

Prudent estate planning goes for avoiding unnecessary legal disputes. The advent of the multiple-marriage society results in a significant fraction of the population being married more than once and having stepchildren and children by previos marriages; and in the acceptance of a partnership out of mariage. These developements require enhanced skills in planning the wealth transfer. I assist in drafting your last will as well as in preparing all the accompanying measures designed to implement your anticipated succession plan (drafting of purchase or donation contracts, contracts on a donation upon death, preparing waiver agreements regarding inheritance or forced heir-ship rights and the like).

Abstaining from an attorney’s assistance in that respect saves money on the wrong side. The challenge of transactions and costly legal disputes after the death can easily and quickly burst the intended scheme of your last will and sap wealth from work of a live time.

Succession planning for family businesses requires both strong legal skills and the ability to share the views of an entrepreneur. Entrust me with the responsibility of structuring the wealth transfer to the envisaged successor and be sure that it will be handled in the most favorable way.

Benefit from my record in handling cross border inheritance matters if the estate planner in your situation needs to cope with issues of conflicting laws from different nations (assets being placed in foreign countries, domicile in several states, double citizenship and the like).

Sustain the right to self-determination by means of a health care proxy and/or a durable power of attorney in case you come into high age. I will explain you the legal significance of these instruments and assist in drafting and executing them in the proper form.

Private foundations

The private foundation in Austrian has proved oneself to serve as a practical mean to ensure stable and sustainable management of family businesses and firm holdings. This vehicle can be designed to serve both private (e.g. family maintenance) and charitable objectives.

Ideally, the settlor relinquishs power to dispose of his wealth. Setting up a private foundation needs to be considered with care. This is precision work. I will explore your underlying motives and intentions before I propose the proper drafting for the founding document and additional by-laws. If you wish to retain, or confer upon beneficiaries, specific rights (e.g. a right to revoke or amend the private foundation or if you want to make sure to control appointment, serving term or policy of its board of directors), I will put you on notice of all the legal traps looming (e.g. the possibility of foundation funds attached by a settler’s creditors, claw-back rules to cover forced heir-ship claims, enforceability). All these issues need to be considered and balanced with care and due diligence.

Under the specific circumstances of a situation, a foundation or trust governed by foreign law (e.g. a foundation under the law of the Principality of Liechtenstein, common law-trust and the like) may turn out to be more advantageous to solve your needs. I will keep an eye on that and put your attention on the issue when appropriate.

In current times more and more private foundations face original settlors stepping down or passing away. That is why a rising number of cases involving the deprivation of rights of beneficiaries, or board members mired into conflicts of interest, come under judicial surveillance. On the other hand, in some instances board members are charged with unjustified allegations. Even conflicting views between different officials of a foundation can reach the level of a judicial dispute. I will assist in evaluating your legal position and defending it.

If you face a private foundation designed to support family members, I assist in enforcing your interhitance- and family law claims as a spouse/registered partner or kid of the founder.

Business- and corporate law

I advise and represent renowned Austrian enterprises and high net worth individuals on the following fields:

• Labor law
• Partnerships and corporations (law of corporations with limited liability and joint stock corporations)
• M&A (private equity)
• Trade disputes (including arbitration)
• Insolvency law
• Capital markets (securities’ litigation)