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Kathryn von Matthiessen

New York Office

Kathryn von Matthiessen is a partner in Katten's Trusts and Estates practice and a member of the Private Client Services group. She focuses primarily on sophisticated personal and estate planning for high net-worth individuals and the administration of complex estates and trusts, including the representation of trust companies on fiduciary matters. Kathryn handles extensive estate planning for both domestic and international families with assets ranging from hedge fund interests to real estate to intellectual property and artwork, utilizing a wide variety of techniques (both charitable and non-charitable in nature) to minimize taxes and achieve her clients' goals.

Kathryn's experience in international private client work is extensive. With regard to inbound matters, she regularly advises clients on pre-residency planning, creating trusts for these clients to fund prior to their US residency start date, and pinpointing opportunities to step up the basis of assets for US income tax purposes and/or provide US income tax deferral. She also specializes in cross-border planning for foreign families with US members through the use of foreign grantor trusts and domestic receptacle trusts, providing tax efficient generational wealth transfers for the US family members, while minimizing US gift and estate tax exposure for the foreign settlors. She also helps to structure global succession plans. She provides guidance concerning structuring for holding companies owned by foreign trusts after the demise of the foreign settlor and options for post-mortem tax optimization through entity elections and further instructs clients regarding UNI minimization techniques for foreign nongrantor trusts with US beneficiaries. She also counsels foreign clients on tax efficient structuring for purchasing US situs assets, taking into account relevant treaties and preparing US situs wills with qualified domestic trusts, when necessary.

With regard to outbound matters, she regularly advises clients regarding expatriation planning and the best use of their exemptions against US gift tax before their departure.

Kathryn also has an expansive background in both domestic and international business succession planning through the use of trusts, private trust companies, buy-sell agreements and shareholder agreements. Kathryn has advised clients on jurisdictional planning with respect to trusts as well. She has counseled clients on the existence of foreign estates for optimal US income tax planning and represented heirs of deceased foreign nationals in connection with the preparation and filing of 706-NAs with respect to US situs assets.

In addition, Kathryn instructs US clients regarding options for US tax compliance and represents international trust companies with regard to reporting obligations for US beneficiaries of their trusts.

Shown below is a selection of Kathryn’s engagements.


Citywealth Leaderslist, 2012–2016, 2018


Latinvex , Latin America’s Top 100 Female Lawyers, 2016, 2018

Legal Week

Legal Week, Private Client Global Elite Lawyer, 2017–2018
Best Lawyers in America, 2019
November 3, 2016
Foreign Investment in US Real Estate: Structuring Techniques and Traps for the Unwary, Global Tax Weekly—A Closer Look
February 4, 2016
June 2015
Co-author, LatAm Clients Investing in South Florida Real Estate—The Need-To-Knows: Part 1, Family Wealth Report
February 2015
The Foreign Trust Audit™: Strategic Review of Foreign Trusts With US Beneficiaries or Settlors, STEP Singapore Newsletter
September 1, 2014
Through the Looking Glass: Into the Land of Global Tax Transparency?, Offshore Investment
May 2014
Tax Planning for International Families with US Members, Offshore Investment
January 15, 2014
January 2014
July 6, 2011
Co-author, Foreigners and the Gift Tax , Private Wealth
FATCA and the Trust Industry—Pitfalls to Avoid, IFC Review
June 21, 2018
Presenter | Trust Law: Back to Basics, Advising Latin American Families in a Transparent World | Miami, Florida
June 13, 2018
Presenter | Tax and the Political Landscape – Implications of the tax Plan for the PPLI-PPVA Market, 2018 PPLI & VA Forum | Chicago, Illinois
February 7, 2018
Speaker | Old and New: Breaching the Void | Private Client Forum Americas 2018: The Ultra High Net Worth Client: From Cradle to Grave | Playa del Carmen, Mexico
January 11, 2018
Moderator | Comparison of U.S. Trust Jurisdictions | New York, New York
February 16, 2017
Panelist | Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide: Protecting the Security of Your Client and Their Family | Legal Week Private Client Forum | Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
October 24–25, 2016
Lecturer | Ransom Clauses in Trust Deeds. How They Work and Practical Considerations? | International Trusts & Private Client Forum | Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
September 30, 2016
Lecturer | PTCs: The Devil is in the Details | STEP LatAm Conference | Panama
February 2016
Lecturer | US Transfer Tax Considerations for the International Private Client | University of Miami LL.M Class Lecture | Coral Gables, Florida
June 10, 2015
Panelist | Estate Planning and Abuse of Law | ABA-IBA U.S.—Latin American Tax Planning Strategies | Miami, Florida
January 2015
Lecturer | US Transfer Tax Considerations for the International Private Client | University of Miami LL.M Class Lecture | Coral Gables, Florida
October 3, 2014
Lecturer | Wealth Planning for US and UK Beneficiaries: Does One Size Fit All? | Mourant Ozannes International Trusts & Private Client Conference 2014 | Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
June 11, 2014
Lecturer | Tax and Estate Planning Issues of Multijurisdictional Cross-Border Families | Family Office Exchange Webinar
March 13, 2014
Lecturer | BEWARE the Width of the Tax Net: Settlement Tax Traps for Litigators | Legal Week Trust and Estates Litigation Forum 2014 | Tourrettes, Provence, France
January 30, 2014
Lecturer | US Transfer Tax Considerations for the International Private Client | University of Miami LL.M Class Lecture | Coral Gables, Florida
November 20–21, 2013
Lecturer, Panelist | "International Wealth Preservation: Trust Structuring", "What the Latin American Client Wants" and "An Assembly on Private Client Planning" | 20th World Offshore Convention | New York, New York
Mar 31, 2013
Lecturer | Foreign Trusts with U.S. Beneficiaries — Mistakes Made in Drafting and Administration and How to Avoid Them | STEP Miami Summit | Miami, Florida
May 15, 2013
Panelist | International Tax, Trusts and Immigration After the Fiscal Cliffs of 2013 | New York State Bar Association International Section Global Law Week 2013 | New York, New York
May 8, 2013
Lecturer | Pre-Immigration Planning | Estate Planning Council of New York City Estate Planner's Day | New York, New York
May 3, 2013
Lecturer | Foreign Trusts with US Beneficiaries: Best Practices for Administration | TTN Conference Miami 2013 | Miami, Florida
May 11, 2011
Panelist | Ten U.S. Cross-Border Tax Traps to Avoid | New York State Bar Association International Section Global Law Week 2011 | New York, New York
Kathryn  von Matthiessen


  • LLM (Taxation), New York University School of Law
  • JD, Columbia Law School
  • BA, Carleton College, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa

Bar Admissions

  • New York
  • Florida


Citywealth Leaderslist
2012–2016, 2018


Latin America’s Top 100 Female Lawyers, 2016, 2018

Legal Week

Private Client Global Elite Lawyer, 2017–2018
Best Lawyers in America
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  • American Bar Association
  • International Bar Association
  • Florida Bar Association
  • New York State Bar Association
  • Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP)
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