Estate Planning / Trusts and Estates

    The essence of trust and estate practice is helping clients to preserve their personal wealth, while minimizing tax liabilities. The hallmark of our trusts and estates practice is the provision of legal services of superior quality, with utmost confidentiality and compassion, and attention to the special desires and requirements of our clients. Our sophisticated trusts and estates practice entails regular advice to individuals, families, and business owners (in the U.S. and abroad) on tax issues relating to wealth preservation and management.

    We arrange the affairs of individuals and business entities of various sizes. Such projects vary widely, ranging from wealth transfers and multi-generational planning to corporate recapitalizations which may affect or facilitate business founder buy-outs. Our trust and estates practice provides a level of sophistication and expertise in the substantive law, but it is focused on individualized attention. We counsel clients in planning their estates in a manner which effectively minimizes their income, gift, estate and generation-skipping tax liabilities.

    We counsel trust and estate clients with diverse backgrounds and needs, often with unique foreign connections and or situs. Frequently, our clients have interests in an ongoing family or closely-held businesses, demanding complicated estate planning that often must be integrated with the needs and operational aspects of the business. We create personally tailored asset management, estate and business plans which effectively accomplish our clients goals in the most practicable and tax-favored manner possible.

    We also aid in the administration of trusts and estates, including handling probate and other judicial proceedings. Although it is not a major focus of our practice, we are sometimes also called upon to mediate or litigate disputes regarding wills, trusts or estates. 

    We counsel our clients on financial, retirement and personal planning matters, including wills, living trusts, and powers of attorney (durable, limited or general); estate planning and administration; estate litigation; preparation of revocable and irrevocable trust agreements (both domestic and foreign) to hold life insurance, personal residences, and other assets; establishment of guardianships and conservatorships, business continuity planning, charitable giving, preparation of buy-sell agreements for closely-held businesses, and the formation of family limited partnerships (FLPs), limited liability companies, and corporate benefits.

    Representations include:

    • Advised a successful CEO and his spouse on a panoply of estate planning structures, including FLPs and grantor retained annuity trusts (GRATs).

    • Advised the members of an extended family on the implementation of a multi-generational dynasty trust.

    • Interpreted, amended and administered a multi-jurisdictional trust, formed in Canada but with U.S. and French assets and beneficiaries.

    • Assisted many married couples with U.S. and U.K. assets, resolving such issues as residency, joint vs. separate tax filings, marital property issues, transfer tax planning, and trust situs issues.

    • Created personal residence trusts, structured settlement trusts, special needs trusts, and similar vehicles.

    • Assisted U.S. domiciled beneficiaries of foreign trusts in interpreting, administering and/or securing distributions under foreign trusts.

    • Represented bank trust departments and other financial institutions in the interpretation and administration of trusts and estates.

    • Counseled a Swiss-administered Channel Islands trust in making distributions to U.S. beneficiaries, along with requisite U.S. tax and securities filings.

    • Advised a European trust administrator on the U.S. tax treatment of distributions of corpus and income to beneficiaries.

    • Created blind trusts for the holding of assets, including real estate and securities.

    • Formed large insurance trusts to facilitate the liquidity of large estates for use to pay estate taxes, fund buyouts of family business.

    • Advised a closely-held corporation on valuation discounts.

    • Advised a family on the use of GRATs.

    References available on request.