Harold (Gus) Fletcher

Back to All Attorneys

Of Counsel

Harold (Gus) Fletcher is Of Counsel toSMGQ where he focuses on U.S. taxation and related matters applicable to international/cross-border individuals, families and business, as well as their various wealth holding structures. Mr. Fletcher provides legal counsel concerning overall tax minimization, wealth structuring, business/entity structuring and estate planning; U.S. tax compliance for U.S. and foreign persons and businesses; as well as contentious and non-contentious trust and estate administration. He also handles public and private trust company formation, operation, regulatory and related company law matters.

Prior to joining SMGQLaw, Mr. Fletcher served as president, chief fiduciary officer and trust counsel of Investment Counsel & Trust Company (“ICT”), a Memphis, Tennessee boutique, independent, bank regulated trust company/multi-family office that he founded in the nascent stages of the specialized wealth management industry. At ICT, Mr. Fletcher oversaw all wealth structuring/planning; as well as fiduciary, regulatory, tax and other legal issues; for the company, which had clients living throughout North America, as well as in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. He also served as senior trust counsel of ICT’s related national trust bank, Argent Trust Company, N.A. Mr. Fletcher ensured compliance, mitigated risk and provided counsel relative to diverse aspects of Argent’s multi-jurisdictional fiduciary activities. At the time he left Argent, its trust bank operated in 14 states and administered over $2.25 billion in assets.

Before founding ICT, he served as Vice-president-Investments for Morgan Stanley/Dean Witter, where he oversaw all tax, trust, estate, retirement and financial planning related activities for the Memphis, Tennessee office.

Mr. Fletcher began his legal career in 1978 at Glankler Brown PLLC, founded in Memphis, Tennessee in 1918, where he handled tax and estate planning related, as well as general appellate, matters. Thereafter, he joined the Bogatin Firm, a boutique firm focused on tax matters. Currently, he also serves as Special Counsel to Apperson Crump PLC where he provides counsel on international taxation and complex trust matters, as well as trust bank formation, operation and regulatory matters. Founded in 1865, Apperson Crump is the oldest continuously operating law firm in Memphis, Tennessee.

PRACTICE AREAS

  • U.S. Taxation of International/Cross-Border Individuals, Families and Businesses
  • Global Wealth Management & Structuring
  • Global Entity Structuring
  • Estate Planning/Complex Trust Planning
  • U.S. Tax Compliance for U.S. & Non-U.S. Persons & Businesses, including Remediation of Prior Non-compliance
  • Contentious/Non-Contentious Trust Administration
  • Public & Private Trust Company Formation & Regulatory Matters

REPRESENTATIVE CLIENT WORK - PRIVATE PRACTICE OF LAW

International Private Client Advice & Counsel 

  • Pre-immigration wealth planning for persons moving to the U.S., including overall tax minimization planning for their wealth structures and their U.S. and foreign operating businesses.
  • Expatriation planning for persons moving from the U.S.

  • Planning for wealth transfer from foreign persons, estates and trusts to U.S. persons, including establishment of dynasty trusts, U.S. tax minimization, interaction of common law with civil law, forced heirship issues and home country hostility to trusts.

  • Operational and governance issues relative to domestic and international trusts and family offices.

  • Planning for foreign trusts, as well as their foreign and U.S. beneficiaries in order to minimize negative effects of relevant U.S. taxation, including the U.S. Tax on Accumulation Distributions (i.e., the “Throwback Tax”), as well as domestication of all or portions of foreign trusts where appropriate.

  • Planning for U.S. beneficiaries of foreign civil law foundations relative to the effects of relevant U.S. taxation, as well as restructuring the interests of such beneficiaries.

  • Post voluntary disclosure restructuring of wealth holding structures to increase their U.S. tax efficiency and ensure U.S. tax compliance.

  • Establishment of U.S. trust companies for foreign persons, including for foreign trust companies.

  • FATCA and GATCA/CRS compliance, including restructuring holdings to lawfully increase privacy.

Taxation of International Business Activities 

  • Advising U.S. individuals and companies relative to the impact of U.S. taxation on their foreign investments and the operations of their foreign businesses.

  • Advising foreign individuals and companies relative to the impact of U.S. taxation on their U.S. investments, including the operations of their U.S. businesses and related holding structures.

  • Design and implementation of foreign persons’ holding structures for U.S. commercial and residential real estate, as well as remediating their existing, suboptimal U.S. real estate holding structures.

  • Remediation of faulty, defective and improper entity classification elections, including minimizing negative taxation resulting from such remediation.

International and Domestic Tax Compliance 

  • All forms of voluntary disclosures, including under the Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedures, the Streamlined Domestic Offshore Procedures and the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program, as well as under the Delinquent International Information Return Submission Procedures and the Delinquent FBAR Submission Procedures
  • General U.S. tax compliance for persons involved in cross-border activities, including blocking or delaying IRS enforcement actions and reduction or elimination of penalties.

REPRESENTATIVE WORK - INVESTMENT COUNSEL & TRUST COMPANY OR ARGENT TRUST COMPANY, N.A.

Wealth Structuring & Fiduciary Administration 

  • Structured wealth to maximize client goals and administered resulting holdings, trusts and entities.

  • Tracked global trends affecting fiduciary law. Leveraged comprehensive knowledge of, and experience with, fiduciary law, administration and taxation to optimize multi-generational wealth

  • Decanted and otherwise modified multi-generational trusts to avoid judicial proceedings and preserve family unity in the interests of current and future generations.

  • Structured, and performed all U.S. related legal work for, non-U.S. dollar denominated, non-U.S. issuer bond strategy operated through Bank of Bermuda (now HSBC), Cayman and Bermuda, designed to diversify physical asset location and benefit from legal provisions at that time not available in the U.S.

Fiduciary/Regulatory Compliance & Corporate Governance 

  • Advised/ensured trust bank fiduciary and regulatory compliance including reviewing, interpreting and following: appropriate documentation and client instructions; OCC Regulation 9 and state equivalents; Bank Secrecy and USA PATRIOT Acts; Anti-Money Laundering Laws; and FBAR and other reporting requirements.

  • Handled regulatory differences between banks and regulators. Managed corporate and structure governance, Also assured all regulatory and other compliance for related companies and their SEC registered investment advisory and CFTC/NFA futures-related activities.

  • Served as Investment Counsel & Trust Company’s President, Chief Fiduciary Officer, Trust Counsel and Bank Secrecy Act/AML Officer; member and Chairman of its Board of Directors; member of its Trust and various other Committees.

GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS AND PUBLIC POLICY

  • The principle author, Pub. Acts 2013, Pub. Ch. 390, 108th Gen. Assemb., Reg Sess. (Tenn. 2013). This legislation is the most significant and comprehensive update to Tennessee’s trust law since initially adopting the Tennessee Uniform Trust Code. Passed unanimously by both houses of the Tennessee General Assembly. The result of this legislation was to make Tennessee a world-class jurisdiction in which to establish or administer trusts.
  • The principle author, 2013 Restated Comments To Official Text of the Tennessee Uniform Trust Code (2013). The above legislation was significant enough to require a complete restatement of such Comments, which are published in the official Tennessee Code Annotated.

  • A principal author, Pub. Acts 2010, Pub. Ch. 725, 106th Gen. Assemb., Reg. Sess. (Tenn. 2010), significantly amending the Tennessee Uniform Trust Code. Passed unanimously by both houses of the Tennessee General Assembly.

  • Selected by Tennessee Commissioner of Financial Institutions to provide trust, trust regulatory and trust related taxation input relative to Tennessee Governor’s “Tennessee Forward– Top to Bottom Review” of all state government agencies.

  • Trust Committee Member, Tennessee Bankers Association. Selected to review and author fiduciary, trust and bank legislation submitted by such Committee and encourage state legislators to sponsor and adopt such legislation.

PROFESSIONAL AND CIVIC ACTIVITIES

  • Florida Bar Section Member: Tax Section; and Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section.
  • Trust & Estate Practitioner (TEP) of Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners (STEP), London, UK. Member of Miami, Florida USA chapter. STEP has 20,000 members across 95 jurisdictions and is the worldwide professional association for practitioners dealing with family inheritance and succession planning.

  • Former Member, Board of Trustees, Southern Trust School – A joint project of the Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee bankers associations to provide continuing education to lawyers and accountants, as well as to other professionals in banks, trust companies and trust regulatory and examining agencies.

SELECTED PRESENTATIONS

  • “You’ve Never Seen Penalties Like These! - Nosy IRS Forms Apply to Non-US Persons, Too - Failure to File Can be Very Costly” Presentation to the International Wealth Planners 2017 Conference in Miami, Florida USA, March 21 2017.

  • “U.S. Hybrid Trusts—An Optimal Structure for International Families” Presentation to the Florida Institute of CPAs Miami-Dade Chapter, Coral Gables, Florida, January 26, 2016.
  • “Five Routes to U.S. Tax Regularization—Choose with Care to Fit Your Needs” Presentation to the Transnational Taxation Network Conference, São Paulo, Brazil and Buenos Aires, Argentina, November 12, 2015 and November 16, 2015, respectively.
  • “No One Wants a Truly Irrevocable Trust” Presentation to the Estate Planning Council of Middle Tennessee, September 8, 2014.
  • “Why a U.S. Trust for an N.R.A.—Benefits and Risks of Using U.S. Trusts for Foreign Settlors or Foreign Assets” Presentation to the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), Miami, Florida USA Chapter (and via telecast to members in Naples Florida USA), April 29, 2014, with Simon Beck, Esq. and John P.C. Duncan, Esq.
  • “Tennessee’s ‘Non’ Uniform Trust Code” [Covering Tennessee’s Transformation Into a Top Five U.S. Trust Jurisdiction] Presentation to Tennessee Bankers Association 2013 Trust & Wealth Management Conference), October 24 2013.
  • “A Comparison of ‘Attractive’ States’ Trust Laws: Florida vs. Delaware” Presentation to the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), Miami, Florida USA Chapter, January 26 2012, with Douglas Lundblad, Esq. and Jerome L. Wolf, Esq.
  • “Tennessee – A Comparison of ‘Attractive’ States’ Trust Laws,” Presentation Comparing the Trust Laws of Delaware, New Hampshire, South Dakota and Tennessee on 20+ Factors (with comprehensive citations) to Tennessee Bankers Association Trust & Wealth Management Conference, October 15 2009.
  • “Tax and Planning Strategies Using Investment Services Trusts (the Tennessee Asset Protection Trust),” Presentation to Tennessee Bankers Association Trust & Wealth Management Conference, October 17 2008.

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS AND PAPERS – AUTHOR, EDITOR OR COMMENTATOR

  • “Tennessee—A Trust Friendly State,” Family Wealth Report, January 2011 (Also appeared in Offshore Red—an affiliated UK print news publication, January 2011).
  • “Tennessee Trusts Have Advantages Beyond Its Borders,” [Memphis] Commercial Appeal, October 26 2008.

  • “Moonstruck — Tax Managed Core Investing,” Bloomberg Wealth Manager, May 2003.

  • “The Trust Company — A Builder’s Blueprint,” Bloomberg Wealth Manager, May 2000.

  • “Wolves at The Door,” Bloomberg Wealth Manager, January/February 2000.

  • “From Wealth Manager to Trust Company (Evolution of Revolution),” CCH Journal of Retirement Planning, May—June 1999.

  • “Saving Private Banking — Special Section: Million Dollar Advice,” Bloomberg Personal Finance, May 1999.