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Graham Thompson

Sean McWeeney, Q.C.

Sean McWeeney, Q.C.

Partner

Expertise

  • Banking & Finance
  • Private Clients, Trusts & Estates
  • Corporate, Commercial & Securities
  • Banking & Finance
  • Corporate, Commercial & Securities
  • Private Clients, Trusts & Estates

WSG Practice Industries

Activity

Profile

Sean McWeeney QC, is a senior partner and Chair of the firm’s Financial Services, Private Client, Trusts and Estates Practice Group. He specializes in trusts and corporate law.

He represents domestic and international high net worth individuals and fiduciaries in a broad range of complex matters including trusts and estates administration and litigation and family business governance. In addition, Sean advises institutional and private families on complex corporate matters including restructurings and Bahamian tax matters. He is a recognised author on both legal and historical matters and regularly speaks at national and international conferences.

Sean is recognised by the prestigious London-based Chambers and Partners as a top ranked attorney in the High Net Worth (HNW) Offshore Trusts Sector and Chambers Global General Business Law. He holds the distinction of a Band 1 ranking in both areas, which is the highest individual ranking.

Chambers Review (HNW): Sean McWeeney QC, is a “well-established name” in the market. One peer says: “He is one of the best offshore lawyers across the board and certainly the go-to person for Bahamas work. He has handled some huge cases and the market unanimously sees him as the best private client lawyer in the Bahamas. He is very sophisticated, has great judgement and is very thoughtful and charismatic.” A market insider enthuses: “He is remarkable. He is hands-down still the guru. He is a champion of the industry and the island.”

Chambers Review (Global): Sean McWeeney QC remains a widely respected figure, and is particularly known for his skills in trusts and estates and private wealth matters. Industry sources praise his way of “very proficiently manoeuvring clients through bureaucratic systems.” One commentator added: “He’s in a class of his own.”

Recent engagements include:

  • Trust re-structuring for ultra-high-net worth Australian family for succession-enhancement purposes (tax neutral), involving complex underlying corporate structures, and complex bespoke trust provisions requiring original (non-template) drafting.
  • Trust structuring for HNW client with progressive illness; personal asset transfers into trust with new command-and-control structures (including special enduring powers of attorney and new pour-over Will, and discretionary trust with customized features) in anticipation of his complete incapacitation.
  • Complex variation of trust preparations (which will require court approval) for re-domiciliation of trust from Cayman Islands to The Bahamas for ultra-high-net worth family and involving co-ordination with attorneys in multiple jurisdictions.
  • Leading counsel for major ongoing trust litigation in The Bahamas involving complex claims of breach of trust and breach of beneficiary information rights (with landmark decision on the latter already). Close co-ordination with interests in four other jurisdictions.
  • Acting for major international trust companies in relation to formal variation-of-trust applications to the Bahamas Supreme Court.
  • Acting for a number of ultra-high net worth families in relation to the succession-oriented re-structuring of their trust and corporate affairs.
  • Acting for a major international bank and trust company in relation to the re-structuring of its domestic operations in The Bahamas.
  • Acting for a number of banks in relation to the regulatory aspects of their re-structured ownership.
  • Acting as the Bahamian legal adviser to a British-based petroleum company in relation to its proposed exploration activities in the Bahamas.

Bar Admissions

  • The Bahamas Bar, 1978
  • The Inner Bar (Queen’s Counsel), 2009

Education

Queen's College
Nassau, Bahamas
Areas of Practice

Banking & Finance | Corporate, Commercial & Securities | Private Clients, Trusts & Estates | Banking & Finance | Corporate, Commercial & Securities | Private Clients, Trusts & Estates

Professional Career

Significant Accomplishments

Chambers and Partners, Leading Lawyer (Band 1), High Net Worth (HNW) , Offshore Trusts Sector (2020)


Chambers and Partners, Band 1 Attorney, Chambers Global – General Business Law (2020)


Chambers and Partners, Band 1 Attorney, Chambers Global – General Business Law (2019, 2018, 2017)


Chambers and Partners, Leading Lawyer (Band 1), High Net Worth (HNW), Offshore Trusts Sector (2019, 2018, 2017)


Chambers and Partners, Band 1 Attorney, Chambers Global – General Business Law (2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012)


Appointed one of Her Majesty’s Counsel (Queen’s Counsel), 2009


Bahamas Silver Jubilee Medal for “Outstanding Contribution to National Development in the Area of Law”, 1998


Citiwealth Offshore Leaders List as one of the Caribbean’s leading lawyers in wealth management




Professional Associations

The Bahamas Bar Association


Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP)





Professional Activities and Experience

“Financial Institutions as Constructive Trustees” (Bahamas Association of Compliance Officers, 2000)


“The Rule in Hastings-Bass - Help for Trustees Who Make Mistakes” (STEP Bahamas, 2007)


“International Asset Protection Planning and Domestic Creditor Recovery Tactics: Two Mock Trials” (STEP Canada, Osgoode Hall, University of Toronto, 2008 – served as trial judge)


“The Effectiveness of Statutory Provisions Outlawing Forced Heirship Claims” (STEP Caribbean Conference, Panama, 2008)


“Trust Fundamentals – Back to Basics”, (STEP Trust Immersion Seminar, 2010)


“Protectors and Trust Disputes” (OPC Trust Law Conference, 2011)


“Getting Rid of Trusts and moving Towards Companies Limited by Guarantee Without a Share Capital as Trust Substitutes” (STEP, 2013)


“What Now? Survival and Adaptation Strategies for Offshore Financial Centres” (STEP Caribbean Conference, 2014)


Articles

Reflections on the Reality and the Vision for Financial Services in The Bahamas
Graham Thompson, September 2018

My time is short, so let me get to my subject without delay.I begin with a few observations on the Reality we face.First, the bad news - not all of it, just some of it; just four things that I regard as being among the more worrisome realities that confront us today.Firstly, in terms of aggregate dollar volume, we are a much smaller industry now than we were just a few years ago...

Additional Articles

Investment Funds Global Practice Guide, “Law and Practice” in The Bahamas [April 2019]


“Creditor Protection Trusts under Bahamian Law” (monograph, 1993)



WSG's members are independent firms and are not affiliated in the joint practice of professional services. Each member exercises its own individual judgments on all client matters.

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