Estate Planning & Administration
Bringing your wealth planning goals into focus.
Our attorneys take a true team approach, investing time to understand each client's concerns and wealth planning objectives. We work collaboratively with their other advisors to ensure all contributions to those they care about are planned with their goals and specifications foremost in mind. We help our clients stay on the right path for estate, income tax, retirement, charitable giving and business succession planning. In addition, we advise closely held businesses on all tax matters, ranging from operational issues and choice of entity structure to the transfer, sale or liquidation of the business.
Practice Area Contacts
For a family business or closely held enterprise, there are real advantages to working with reliable, well-informed attorneys to develop a solid succession plan. Our business succession planning team can help ease the transition to new management, facilitate business growth and curb taxes while providing a secure basis for retirement.
Our attorneys work closely with owner-managed and family-owned businesses to develop a strategic, forward-looking succession framework. We aim to balance our clients’ personal and business goals, preserve existing assets, prevent family discord and set the next generation of company leadership up for success. To this end, we often guide clients in evaluating the choice of entity and ownership structures and inform them of additional financing options, including life insurance arrangements, recapitalizations, buy-sell agreements, non-competition covenants, stock options, restricted stock awards and deferred compensation arrangements.
The succession planning process is often done in incremental steps over a period of months or years. And we counsel clients every step of the way to ensure their succession plan is an integral part of their business strategy, and their legacy is left in capable hands.
Our experienced group assists clients in reviewing charitable giving techniques among organizations they contribute to or feel strongly about and can help them identify the income and estate tax ramifications and benefits of such charitable giving. For example, we may find that participating in a charity’s pooled income fund or creating a private foundation would meet a client’s objectives. Alternatively, we can help a client explore many other options, such as charitable remainder trusts (CRUTs and CRATs), charitable lead trusts, conservation easements, preservation easements, gift annuities, pooled income funds and private foundations.
Whether the estate requires a full probate administration or a less formal settlement process, our team works on all aspects of estate administration, tailoring each plan to meet our clients’ goals and specifications. On a routine basis, we represent individual and corporate fiduciaries in the estate and trust administration process. We assist with the preparation of documents and court pleadings, federal and state estate and inheritance tax returns, postmortem income and estate tax planning, disclaimers, and much more.
Our team also has a wealth of experience assisting clients in developing, implementing and administering their trusts. In addition to coordinating the transfer of assets to the trust during the client’s life, we assist with the transfer of securities, brokerage accounts and real estate to the trust, while handling various bookkeeping, tax notice preparation and tax return requirements. Often, during the administration of the decedent’s estate, we counsel the beneficiaries of trusts created for their benefit by family members or other persons.
We advise the beneficiaries of an estate or trust as to the nature and extent of their interests. In trust construction matters, contested guardianships and cases involving a breach of fiduciary duties, we provide purposeful, responsive representation to ensure our clients’ property rights are protected via:
- Will contests.
- Trust construction matters.
- Contested guardianships.
- Cases involving a breach of fiduciary duties.
We help clients carry out their wealth transfer objectives and minimize transfer tax costs through meticulous planning and practical solutions. From last will and testament and trust agreements to living wills and advanced medical directives, our knowledge of estate planning makes us a powerful advocate for the owner of an estate and its beneficiaries. We work closely with each client to structure the estate to provide for the right beneficiaries, curb the associated transfer taxes, and allow for surrogate decision making in financial and healthcare matters in the event of an individual’s incapacity.
Routine work for us includes:
- Last will and testament.
- Trust agreement.
- Durable general financial power of attorney.
- Advance medical directives.
Whether our clients are families or individuals, businesses or their fiduciaries, they come to us because complex, sometimes highly sensitive family law issues require attorneys who put the time in to understand their unique situation and identify practical solutions. With decades of family law experience, our team assists clients with prenuptial agreements, guardianships and protective custody proceedings, while providing detailed analysis regarding the tax aspects related of divorce and domestic partnership agreements.
We draft customized prenuptial agreements that fully account for our clients’ monetary and material assets, inherited or gifted property and retirement accounts. This comprehensive approach is especially beneficial to clients who own a business, anticipate a large inheritance in the future, or wish to protect assets for children from a prior marriage.
Similarly, we draft domestic partnership agreements stipulating the rights and responsibilities of each partner, including joint property ownership, income distribution and asset protections if the relationship ends. Also, in complicated divorce cases, our attorneys provide peace of mind by handling our client’s tax, property, child support and custody issues with the utmost care and efficacy.
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