Istee Cheah

Istee Cheah

Wong & Partners
Kuala Lumpur


Istee is a partner in the Tax, Trade and Wealth Management Practice Group of Wong & Partners. Her key practice areas are wealth management and succession planning. Her Wealth Management practice was named the Tax and Trusts Law Firm of the Year by the Asian Legal Business Malaysia Law Awards in both 2020 and 2021, and is ranked as a Band 1 practice by the Chambers High Net Worth Guide for Private Wealth Law.

She has collaborated on several guides and publications including LexisNexis Practical Guidance - Tax, where she co-authored the Taxation in Malaysia: Overview, Taxation of Trustees and Trust Funds, Automatic Exchange of Information and Succession Laws in Malaysia articles.

Practice Focus

Istee's practice focuses on advising high-net worth individuals, financial institutions and intermediaries on the legal, regulatory and tax issues in setting up a succession planning structure. She has also assisted families and individuals with the actual implementation of such structures, which includes the setting up of Malaysian or offshore trust structures.

Her practice extends to advising on tax planning, corporate compliance and issues relating to investments and setting up of operations in Malaysia across multiple industries. She also manages corporate exercises, including cross border mergers and acquisitions. She is also experienced in matters involving restructurings, and post-acquisition integrations.

Representative Legal Matters

  • Advised on the Malaysian legal and regulatory regime on establishing a structure for wealth management and succession planning for a prominent Malaysian family, whose assets include investment in a Malaysian-listed company. As part of this exercise, various structuring options were explored, including structures utilising a company limited by guarantee, a Labuan Foundation, and/or a Labuan private trust company. The advice covered an array of legal and tax matters including securities law, company laws, Labuan company laws and tax laws to be able to comprehensively and holistically explore feasible structures to meet the wealth management and legacy protection needs of the family. 
  • Assisted a prominent high-net-worth client in respect of the setting up of trust structures in Guernsey, for the succession planning of the client's business operations and real estate. The advice included detailed structuring in respect of the trusts and the corporate governance to ensure the appropriate balance of control is maintained, and the integrity of the future succession of the assets is protected. 
  • Advised a Japanese high-net-worth individual with the succession of the family's business operations following the demise of his father in Japan. Given the cross-border nature of the deceased's assets and business operations, assisted with the succession of the management of the foreign businesses and continuity of the father's business and wealth legacy.
  • Advised a high-net-worth client in respect of the legal and tax structuring of the holding of investments in a foreign football club. The advice rendered covered local and foreign legal and tax implications on the proposed structuring of the investments in the club, including steps to potentially mitigate the risk of the assets being subjected to additional foreign tax exposure. 
  • Successfully advised on a stamp duty appeal in the High Court against the notice of assessment issued by the Inland Revenue Board, in respect of the transfer of company shares for the setting up of a wealth management structure. The stamp duty appeal is one of the first of its kind to be considered and litigated in the High Court.
  • Advised foreign trustees in connection with the substantial shareholding disclosure obligations pertaining to interests in Malaysian companies listed on the Malaysian exchange.


  • "LexisNexis Practical Guidance - Tax," LexisNexis, 2020
  • "Legal Tax Developments in Malaysia," WealthBriefingAsia, 2019
  • "Insight: Malaysia—Will Its New Tax Disclosure Program Work?" Bloomberg Tax, 2019

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • The Bar of England and Wales
  • The Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn
  • Malaysian Bar
  • Chartered Tax Institute of Malaysia (CTIM) - Full Member
  • Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP)


England and Wales (2011)

Malaysia (2012)


LL.B (Hons), London School of Economics and Political Science, UK (2010)



Bahasa Malaysia