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Cynthia D. Brittain

Partner
Cindy Brittain works closely with private clients in the U.S. and around the world, designing efficient strategies that maximize tax benefits for individuals and their companies while meeting personal wealth transfer and business succession needs.

Education

  • LL.M., Taxation, University of San Diego, 1998
  • J.D., California Western School of Law, 1992; Law Review; Academic Achievement Award; American Jurisprudence Award 
  • B.A., Economics and Foreign Policy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1984
  • Dean’s List; Advocate on UNC’s Court of Chancery 
Cynthia “Cindy” Brittain has decades of experience advising high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth individuals and families on domestic and international income and estate tax planning strategies, as well as philanthropic endeavors. Her practice offers significant cross-border expertise for families whose members are multinational and whose companies have a global footprint. She frequently helps clients navigate complex issues relevant to international and domestic wealth and asset transfer, as well as assisting with pre-immigration planning and international corporate tax matters. Her extensive experience with the cross-border regulatory laws that affect U.S. domestic planning and U.S. tax compliance under the various voluntary disclosure regimes enables her to help clients avoid negative consequences and minimize tax implications. 
       
Over the course of her distinguished career, Cindy has worked with clients in Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, London, Hong Kong, Mainland China, India, and the U.S. She takes a personal approach to advising large global families, working closely with each family member to obtain a comprehensive understanding of values and dynamics to ensure that unique personal and business goals are accounted for and achieved. Cindy also provides hands-on guidance for financial institutions and corporate trustees who work with international clients, advising on global enforcement initiatives relevant to companies, CPA firms, and law firms that handle international clients. Infrastructure for the U.K. Criminal Finances Act of 2017, trust registration obligations within European Union countries, and domestic planning taking into account Brussels IV are just some of the foreign rules that cross the Atlantic and impact planning and protocols here in the U.S., and Cindy is a frequent speaker on the application of these rules.
 
Cindy previously served as Northern Trust’s Director of Inbound Wealth Advisory, where she acted as a national resource advising clients and internal teams on international regulatory compliance, and assisting both domestic and international clients with planning. She also worked within the international mergers and acquisitions group at a Big Four accounting firm.
Admissions & Affiliations
Speaking
News
Publications
  • California State Bar 
  • Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) Orange County: Board of Directors
  • Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) Los Angeles
  • Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) Full Member
  • Santa Barbara County Bar Association, Tax Committee: Co-Chair
  • California Lawyers Association – International Tax Committee
  • Beverly Hills Bar Association – International Tax Committee
  • “Taxation Planning for US Expats,” America Outbound Summit, November 10, 2022
  • “How to Work With People of Wealth With Assets Abroad or Who Are Newly Arrived in the United States,” Financial Planning Association’s Orange County 2022 Tax & Financial Forum, November 3, 2022
  • "S Corps and Trusts with Foreign Beneficiaries," Beverly Hills Bar Association, September 6, 2022
  • “Navigating Estate and Gift Tax Treaties, U.S. Situs Assets, and Allowable Deductions,” Strafford Webinar, August 30, 2022
  • “GST – What You May Not Realize But Need To Know,” California Lawyers Association 29th Annual Estate and Gift Tax Conference, July 28, 2022
  • “Preparing Form 706-NA: Estate and Gift Tax Treaties, U.S. Situs Assets, Allowable Deductions, Transfer Certificates," Strafford Webinar, June 8, 2022
  • "Competing Property Rights and Regimes,"  STEP International Tax and Estate Planning Forum, May 4-5, 2022
  • “Hot Topics and Strategies for Cross Border Planning: Danger, Water’s Edge Approaching! (A New Paradigm for Cross Border Clients),” 2021 California Fellows Meeting of The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), Nov. 5, 2021 
  • “Foreign Trust Challenges for U.S. Tax Professionals: Navigating Tax Traps and Opportunities, Fiduciary Accounting Income, Form 3520, and FATCA Compliance,” Strafford CLE webinar, Aug. 6, 2020
  • “Ethical Planning Within Our New Paradigm: The Globalization of Enforcement,” STEP Orange County Ninth Annual Institute on Tax, Estate Planning and the World Economy, Feb. 4, 2020
  • “International Estate Planning in the New Global Paradigm: Planning to the Water’s Edge is Dangerous!” AAA-CPA Southwest Regional Education Conference, Jan. 25, 2020
  • California State Bar 
  • Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) Orange County: Board of Directors
  • Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) Los Angeles
  • Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) Full Member
  • Santa Barbara County Bar Association, Tax Committee: Co-Chair
  • California Lawyers Association – International Tax Committee
  • Beverly Hills Bar Association – International Tax Committee
  • “Taxation Planning for US Expats,” America Outbound Summit, November 10, 2022
  • “How to Work With People of Wealth With Assets Abroad or Who Are Newly Arrived in the United States,” Financial Planning Association’s Orange County 2022 Tax & Financial Forum, November 3, 2022
  • "S Corps and Trusts with Foreign Beneficiaries," Beverly Hills Bar Association, September 6, 2022
  • “Navigating Estate and Gift Tax Treaties, U.S. Situs Assets, and Allowable Deductions,” Strafford Webinar, August 30, 2022
  • “GST – What You May Not Realize But Need To Know,” California Lawyers Association 29th Annual Estate and Gift Tax Conference, July 28, 2022
  • “Preparing Form 706-NA: Estate and Gift Tax Treaties, U.S. Situs Assets, Allowable Deductions, Transfer Certificates," Strafford Webinar, June 8, 2022
  • "Competing Property Rights and Regimes,"  STEP International Tax and Estate Planning Forum, May 4-5, 2022
  • “Hot Topics and Strategies for Cross Border Planning: Danger, Water’s Edge Approaching! (A New Paradigm for Cross Border Clients),” 2021 California Fellows Meeting of The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), Nov. 5, 2021 
  • “Foreign Trust Challenges for U.S. Tax Professionals: Navigating Tax Traps and Opportunities, Fiduciary Accounting Income, Form 3520, and FATCA Compliance,” Strafford CLE webinar, Aug. 6, 2020
  • “Ethical Planning Within Our New Paradigm: The Globalization of Enforcement,” STEP Orange County Ninth Annual Institute on Tax, Estate Planning and the World Economy, Feb. 4, 2020
  • “International Estate Planning in the New Global Paradigm: Planning to the Water’s Edge is Dangerous!” AAA-CPA Southwest Regional Education Conference, Jan. 25, 2020

Education

  • LL.M., Taxation, University of San Diego, 1998
  • J.D., California Western School of Law, 1992; Law Review; Academic Achievement Award; American Jurisprudence Award 
  • B.A., Economics and Foreign Policy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1984
  • Dean’s List; Advocate on UNC’s Court of Chancery 
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