Andrea Vicari

Our vocation for estate organising and planning has deep roots back in time.

At mid 90’s most people in Italy ignored the existence of trusts. Andrea Vicari, founding partner of Vicari & Associati, driven by the desire to go deeper into both the technical and theoretical profiles of trust law, moved to the United States of America, where he accomplished a master (International Tax Program – Harvard) first and became Doctor of Juridical Science (Cornell) later.

Scientific research has then became applied research.

When the first kernel of Vicari & Associati has been formed back in 2001, these experiences have constituted the foundations for today’s professional practice.

Since that moment, many difficulties have been faced, many estate planning solutions have been realised, many innovative application of trust have been developed, many successes in legal claims re asset protection structures before both national judges and national and international arbitrators have been achieved.

Trust law has remained a pillar of our practice, so much that Andrea Vicari contributed to the drafting of the first law on trusts written in Italian in 2005, the law of the Republic of San Marino, and then he has co-drafted with Professor Maurizio Lupoi its full reform in 2010; Andrea Vicari also collaborated to the drafting of the Constitutional Law for the establishment of the Court for trusts and fiduciary relationships of the Republic of San Marino.

Over time, our practice has taught us to master all the tools of estate planning, consciously developing a working technique unique in the Italian landscape.

Pausing to reflect on the progress we made, we have realised that we have gone further than planned: we aspired to be best experts on trusts, we have became Engineers of Patrimonies, experts in estate organising and planning.


Patrimonial engineering takes advantage of the tools offered by both Italian and foreign law, and it is led by precise methodological rules. Each tool must be evaluated regarding its attitude towards producing:

i) PROTECTION WITHIN THE FAMILY, i.e. the ability to make a patrimony indifferent to the matrimonial property regime of both the individual who intends to allocate such patrimony and of its beneficiaries. A structure that pursues such target permits the patrimony to be excluded from the joint estate of the spouses, and not to be evaluated in determining the maintenance allowance if the spouses legally separate or the alimony if they divorce;

ii) PROTECTION WITHIN THE SUCCESSION, i.e. the ability to exclude a patrimony from the estate of both the individual who intends to allocate such patrimony and of its beneficiaries. A structure that pursues such target permits the patrimony to be excluded from the estates of all the subjects involved and therefore prevents the latter from disposing of it by will or devolving it to their relatives according to the rules of forced heirship;

iii) SEGREGATION: to segregate a patrimony means to make it indifferent to the legitimate claims of the creditors of both the subject who owns such patrimony and intends to allocate it, and of its beneficiaries. The segregated patrimony, in fact, is devoted to the destination attributed to it, by the settlor or by the law, and it is legally bound only by the obligations assumed for the pursuing of its purpose;

iv) PLANNING: planning a patrimony means to make it subject to rules and precepts which automatically initiate when some pre- determined events occur; the patrimony is correctly planned where the destination the settlor has attributed to it, abstractly, contemplates every possible circumstance such patrimony has to face, and disciplines the ways it shall react, precisely taking into account the purpose such patrimony has to fulfil. The planning of patrimonies is therefore the dynamic dimension of their organisation.

Hélène Anne Lewis

Hélène is a national of Trinidad and Tobago and English qualified lawyer of more than twenty-five years who has been practising in the BVI since 1990. She is the Founding Partner of SimonetteLewis a boutique law practice that serves as BVI legal advisers to private banks in Europe and Asia as well as to private wealth advisers and high net worth individuals onshore. Mrs Lewis’ practice includes advising on property, trust, probate and corporate matters involving BVI structures. With her Litigation Partner, she has also appeared in several high value trust and civil litigation matters in the Supreme Court of the Virgin Islands and the OECS Court of Appeal. She has presented to several conferences on Trust, Compliance and Corporate issues and is a member of the organising committee of one of the trust industry’s most successful conferences – the STEP Caribbean Conference which she has chaired twice in her capacity as Chairman of the BVI Branch of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (“STEP”).

After admission to the Bar at Gray’s Inn the former Hélène Anne Simonette returned to Trinidad where she was at various times, State Counsel in the Attorney General’s Chambers, Legal Advisor to the Ombudsman and to the Leader of the Opposition. After having been the Senior Crown Counsel and sometimes Acting Attorney General of the Turks and Caicos Islands, she joined a prominent BVI law firm but established her own practice (SimonetteLewis) in February 2007. Mrs Lewis has served as President of the B.V.I. Bar Association, of which she was previously Secretary for seven years and has also served as Vice President and Treasurer of the OECS Bar Association, a regional association of the Bar Associations of the nine countries which comprise the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States. She has served as a member of the STEP Worldwide Council and Board of Directors and had the distinction of being elected in November 2012 to be Chairman of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners. She was re-elected to the post in November 2013 and stood down in November 2014. She currently serves as a Vice President of STEP Worldwide and Chairman of the Branch Development Committee and Emeritus Member of the STEP Caribbean Conference Steering Committee which plans, organises and hosts the STEP Caribbean Conference annually.

Trusts & Estates Law Practice:

At the core of our practise is the Trusts and Probate Group. We offer trust formation services to commercial and private clients.

Services include:

  • Estate planning
  • Establishing Trusts for commercial and investment purposes
  • Wills and Probate

To act on behalf of trustees, beneficiaries, we offer 360 degree advice on the on the establishment of trusts. SimonetteLewis also has a wealth of experience in trust related litigation and contentious trust and estates matters.

“We rely on the advice and on prompt, personal and effective service offered by Mrs. Lewis and her team. We are always pleased by their prompt efficient and cooperative attention.”


Kieron O’Rourke

Kieron joined Harneys in 1995 and has been a partner since 1998. Kieron is Global Head of Investment Funds and Regulatory and recently relocated to the Cayman Islands to spearhead Harneys new Cayman operation. Kieron is qualified as a lawyer in England & Wales and is admitted as an attorney in the state of New York. Harneys has the largest Investment Funds practice in the British Virgin Islands, and is consistently ranked as the leading authority on the British Virgin Islands Investment Funds Industry by the major legal and funds directories.

The Investment Funds practice is comprised of a team of specialist investment funds lawyers headed by Kieron which, together with its affiliated trust company Harneys Corporate Services Limited, provides legal advice and related corporate services to approximately one third of all regulated funds and fund management companies established in the British Virgin Islands.

In addition to advising on private and professional funds and fund management companies for clients ranging from first time hedge fund managers to large institutional sponsors, the team is also the acknowledged leader in the specialised field of regulated public funds and acts for the principal sponsors of public funds domiciled in the British Virgin Islands.

Kieron is a member of the British Virgin Islands Mutual Funds Advisory Committee, a statutory body whose principal function is to advise the Financial Services Commission on matters relating to the mutual funds industry.

Ranked as leader in his field by Chambers Global 2005-2008.

Ranked as a leading lawyer by IFLR 1000.


Central Lancs (LLB Hons)

Queens University, Belfast (CPLS)

Bar Admissions

Admitted as a Solicitor in England & Wales 1990

Admitted in New York 1991

Admitted in the British Virgin Islands 1996

Admitted in Anguilla 2000

Admitted in the Cayman Islands 2008

Partner since 1998


Patrick Hamlin

Patrick’s practice focuses on trust and succession litigation including Inheritance Act claims, breach of trust actions and applications for construction of trust documents and wills. He also advises on removal of personal representatives and trustees.

He gives advice on all types of charity litigation, dealing with the Charity Commission and Attorney General in latter’s role as protector of charity, as well as fraud and asset tracing. He has a particular interest in SE Asia, having practised in Hong Kong for 16 years.

Law Practice:

As wealthy families get larger and issues become more complex, there is a growing need to resolve some of the issues by means of alternative dispute resolution and sometimes, by referral to the courts.

We have one of the largest international teams dedicated to dealing with such issues as they arise, or with such disputes where no internal resolution is possible.

We deal extensively with such claims before probate, surrogate’s and chancery courts in the United States, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and certain offshore jurisdictions, and in other offshore jurisdictions, where we are not admitted to the courts, we work closely with local lawyers to provide a seamless service to our clients.

Claims take numerous forms, but areas of concentration include working with families to avoid these problems in the first place. In a number of circumstances, issues relate to the performance (or non-performance) of trustees, their relations with beneficiaries, or claims by non-beneficiaries with respect to trust assets.

In many cases we help clients resolve issues without the need for personal details to be made public through litigation.


Withers has been acting for successful individuals, families and institutions for over 100 years. We advise clients on their business and personal legal needs both at home and abroad. In this fast moving and increasingly regulated world the need for integrated and timely advice has never been more urgent.

2014 was book-ended by the opening of our San Francisco office, which was launched in January in order to better service the needs of our growing Californian client-base, and ended with the arrival of our first Australian office in Sydney. This coincided with the launch of Withers SBL, an alliance established by Withers, BLW and SBL Shmith to offer tax and estate planning, corporate and commercial and immigration law services.


Farah Deba Mohamed Sofian

FARAH DEBA MOHAMED SOFIAN has been extensively involved in estate planning and inheritance work since year 2002 and is currently a partner of Messrs Wong Lu Peen & Tunku Alina. She has advised wide range of clientele including various financial institutions (both Islamic and conventional) on corporate banking and trade facilities, property developers in respect of mixed integrated development (residential, commercial and industrial projects), foreign clients on foreign acquisition and disposal of assets, body corporates on long-term lease and land development arrangements concerning infrastructure and privatized projects locally and internationally (including  in the Middle East).
Farah also has first-hand experience in setting up an Islamic financing unit of a co-operative society including the provision of training for the staff and preparation of the standard operating procedures for the financing unit.  She is also involved in advising clients on special projects for the development & construction of transportation hub, hotels  & medical centers. Additionally, she advises clients from time to time on various ad-hoc corporate and regulatory issues including the recently introduced regulatory regimes relating to competition, data protection and privacy issues.
Special Focus
She was instrumental in establishing the Inheritance and Succession Practice Group in the Firm.  She formulated the idea of expanding the real property practice of the Firm to the provision of estate planning & business succession instruments to Muslim and non-Muslim clients.
The Firm now provides a full range of inheritance & succession advisory services with special focus in asset protection & preservation, estate & business succession planning, probate & administration affecting Muslims & non-Muslims. Her clientele include various high net worth individuals, trust companies, foundations (family holdings & charitable), professional will-writing companies & other body corporates.

Her team’s practice includes:
Determining distribution computation for Muslims & non-Muslims; – determination of heirs (forced heirship rule); – attendance in Shariah courts; – Wills writing & review; – Structuring & preparing wealth and estate planning instruments including trusts & business succession instruments, preparation of buy- sell arrangements;  – Creation & formation of trust foundations (charitable or otherwise);   – probate & estate administration including assisting & facilitating legal representatives with the administration and management of the deceased’s estate, calling in of assets, attending to transmission  until distribution of assets to beneficiaries – application for letter of representation and resealing thereof including obtaining distribution order & order for sale
Qualification Graduated from International Islamic University, Malaysia; – Masters of Laws from King’s College, University of London; – Advocate & Solicitor of the High Court of Malaya since 1992; – Registered Mediator with the Bar Council Malaysian Mediation Centre ; – Full Member of Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners


Tugrul Sevim

Having graduated from the Faculty of Law of Ankara University in 1996, Turgay Kuleli was awarded a Master’s degree in Business Administration at Isik University, in addition to a Master’s degree in Economics Law at Bilgi University. He took a set of training and tests conducted by foreign and local establishments such as the New York Institute of Finance, the Swiss Finance Institute, the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners UK, the Capital Markets Board of Turkey and the Istanbul Securities Exchange, and was awarded licences and certificates.

Turgay Kuleli began his professional career in 1995 in the finance sector as a financial analyst and portfolio manager, followed by engagement in Arz Investment Securities Company, Oyak Asset Management Company, İş Investment Securities Company, İş Asset Management Company; and has been carrying on with his professional career at Kuleli Attorneys at Law, as the founder, consultant and attorney at law since 2005.

He has expertise in international wealth and tax planning, cross-border transactions, international trust law, international and Turkish capital markets law, corporate law, commercial law, and law of contracts. His portfolio of clients covers foreigners who invest in Turkey, as well as Turkish entrepreneurs who conduct business in foreign countries. He has a good number of articles published in local and foreign media organs.

Kuleli Attorneys at Law:

Kuleli Attorneys offer all kinds of legal services, mainly focused on tax and administrative law, commercial law, contractual law, labor law, foreign capital law, competition law, banking law and capital markets law.

In addition to these mentioned above: International tax planning and tax-efficient structure analyses, legal documentation, representative offices, branches and company foundations, formation of joint ventures, shareholder agreements, share transfers, service contracts, credit and lease contracts, due diligence processes, and corporate board meeting preparations are executed.

Raymond Davern

Raymond Davern, Counsel, is Head of the Private Client and Trust practices in both the Cayman Islands and British Virgin Islands offices of Conyers Dill & Pearman. Raymond regularly works with leading onshore legal and accounting firms in the US, UK, Europe, Latin America, MENA region and South East Asia to establish and provide advice in relation to trust and related structures for high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth individuals in succession, estate planning and asset protection contexts.

Raymond also undertakes specialist trust litigation in both jurisdictions at first instance and appellate levels, regularly appearing as an advocate. He also advises on the administration of Cayman and BVI situated estate of foreign domiciled deceased persons in both contentious and non-contentious contexts.

Raymond has over 25 years of experience, and joined Conyers in 2010. In addition to his private client and litigation experience, Raymond has served as a lecturer on the Law of Trusts at King’s College in London, UK.

Conyers Dill & Pearman:

Founded in 1928, Conyers Dill & Pearman is an international law firm advising on the laws of Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands and Mauritius. With a global network that includes 140 lawyers spanning eight offices worldwide, Conyers provides responsive, sophisticated, solution-driven legal advice to clients seeking specialised expertise on corporate and commercial, litigation, restructuring and insolvency, and trust and private client matters. Conyers is affiliated with the Codan group of companies, which provide a range of trust, corporate secretarial, accounting and management services.