David CHEE is a Partner in the Private Wealth and Middle East Practices. David was called to the bar in 2004 and apart from legal practice, he has also worked as an in-house counsel in trust companies and as a wealth planner in private banks. Having spent almost 20 years in the wealth management sector, David has deep industry insight and a strong network with industry participants.

His principal areas of expertise are wealth and succession planning, trusts and philanthropy.

In the private wealth space, David advises ultra high-net-worth clients on all aspects of their international wealth and succession planning concerns which include generational wealth transfer, asset protection, asset preservation, family business succession, family governance, structured philanthropy, tax planning and the establishment of family trusts and family offices.

In the area of trusts, David also advises professional trustees on various matters related to their trust business, such as trust structuring and restructuring, licensing and regulatory requirements, risk management and the administration of trusts and estates. Apart from family trusts, David also advises on trusts in other areas such as charity, investments, debt restructuring, employee benefit programs, environmental restoration and rehabilitation projects.

In his philanthropy practice, David advises on the establishment, governance, regulatory requirements administration and restructuring of charities and non-profit or philanthropic entities. These include institutions of public character and donor advised funds. His clients include a sovereign wealth fund, a trade union, financial institutions, family offices and large business organisations.

David is a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, the Law Society of Singapore and the Singapore Academy of Law. He serves on the boards of an international non-profit organisation and an Institution of Public Character. David is also an active speaker and trainer.

Significant transactions that David has been involved in include advising / acting for the following:

  • A prominent Singapore company on the establishment of its philanthropic platform which has, to date, donated more than S$2 billion in endowments. He continues to advise the company in connection with the continued activities of the platform.
  • Families on the establishment of family office structures to consolidate family assets and corporatise succession. These exercises typically involve the use of private trust companies, offshore trusts, family constitutions and where relevant, applications to the authorities such as the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore, Singapore Exchange and Securities Industry Council.
  • Structuring and/or restructuring of trust arrangements in response to change in circumstances such as tax laws, relocation of family members, foreign ownership restrictions of property, etc.
  • Clients on planned giving, including the setting up and selection of appropriate structures or arrangements to carry out their philanthropic causes locally or overseas.
  • Clients on matters relating to the setting up and running of charities in Singapore.
  • Charities on regulatory compliance and obligations.

Related Practices

  • Middle East
  • Private Wealth


David is recommended as a leading lawyer in private wealth by independent publications such as American Law Media – Private Client Global Elite Directory, Chambers High Net Worth Guide and The Legal 500: Asia Pacific – The Client’s Guide to the Asia Pacific Legal Profession. He is also ranked as a National Leader in Who’s Who Legal’s Southeast Asia - Private Client 2023.  He was recognised as “Private Client Lawyer of the Year” in 2016 by The Asian Lawyer Emerging Markets and remains one of the world’s top 250 elite lawyers advising ultra-high-net-worth clients by Legal Week’s Private Client Global Elite. David is also an endorsed individual in the area of Trusts and Estates by Best Lawyers International: Singapore 2020. He was also a listed lawyer in Singapore Business Review’s 40 most influential lawyers aged 40 and under in 2018.