Estate Planning and Probate
Our estate planning and probate attorneys provide clients an array of services that go well beyond the traditional drafting of wills and trusts. We think creatively to help our clients address family issues and plan for significant transfers of wealth, while minimizing tax costs.A Commitment to Listen and Discern Clients' Goals
Our estate planning attorneys take our role as personal counselors very seriously. We listen carefully to determine our clients' objectives and provide clear, comprehensive "plain English" recommendations appropriate for each situation, using flow charts as well as overhead presentations in family meetings to make sure that all the concepts are understood.
Private Client Services
A significant portion of our estate planning practice is devoted to providing exceptional advanced planning, administration, and related fiduciary and tax services to our high net-worth clients.
On the planning and administrative side of the practice, our attorneys have expertise in advanced asset transfer techniques enabling our private clients to pass on substantial estates in a tax-efficient manner. We design and draft integrated estate plans comprised of wills and trusts, and as needed, corporate and partnership documents, buy-sell agreements, conveyance documents, and other instruments specifically tailored to address a client's estate planning needs.
For our clients interested in charitable giving, we provide charitable gift planning and create charitable trusts, private foundations and other tax-exempt entities and, as required, obtain recognition of tax-exempt status and qualification of those entities from federal taxing authorities.
Cost-Effective Counsel Regarding Large and Small Estates
A significant portion of our estate planning practice is centered on the planning and administration of very large estates. However, we bring to bear the same competence and dedication in planning estates at all levels, and take particular pride in being able to provide efficient services to both large and small estates.
Related Estate Planning Services, Tax Counseling and Litigation
The estate-planning group also assists clients in the negotiation and drafting of ante-nuptial agreements and retirement planning, as well as 401(k) plans and IRA rollovers that may implicate taxes and the need to amend existing estate planning documents. We also represent and advise conservators and guardians.
On the tax representation and litigation side of our practice, we effectively represent estates and individuals in IRS gift and estate tax audits from start to finish through the IRS appeals process and, if necessary, through litigation. Our estate planners and estate and trust administration team skillfully prepare gift and estate tax returns and are \well-equipped to defend the positions taken on those returns.
When Planning Was Incomplete During Lifetime
We take pride not only in our lifetime planning services, but also handle "post-mortem" planning for those whose affairs were neglected during their lifetimes.
Estate and Trust Administration
Estate and trust administration is a major part of our practice, whether within the probate system or involving post-death administration of revocable and irrevocable trusts. Our team includes our estate administrator, a licensed attorney whose practice is concentrated on estate and trust administration and probate matters and has overseen the administration of over 500 estates throughout her career.
Our estate planning and probate lawyers attend to detail and seek to uncover tax-saving opportunities during estate administration. Work in this area ranges from helping clients maximize their estate planning objectives to consulting with fiduciaries and beneficiaries on issues arising during the course of administration. We also represent clients in all matters before the probate court.
Fiduciary and Beneficiary Representation
As part of our services, we counsel personal representatives and trustees on their obligations as fiduciaries and advise them with respect to strategies to avoid fiduciary liability. Our estate planning attorneys work closely with our litigators on complex and high-stakes fiduciary litigation in order to provide our clients with unparalleled service and expertise.
Our firm advocates on behalf of personal representatives, trustees, and beneficiaries in lawsuits involving estate and trust administration issues, fiduciary removal and breach of duty allegations, conflicts of interest, will and trust construction and reformation issues, trust terminations, accountings, and will contests.
Related Estate Administration and Planning Publications and Presentations
Bob Kass, the head of our estate planning group co-authored "The Executor's Companion: A Practical Guide to Estate Administration" (previously published as "What Do We Do Now: A Practical Guide to Estate Administration for Widows, Widowers and Heirs") that is regularly used as a text book by local colleges. The group's most recent publication, "Who Will Care When You're Not There: Estate Planning For Pet Owners" addresses estate planning issues of concern to pet owners. Because of the breadth of their knowledge, skills, and clarity in explaining complicated planning techniques and concepts, our estate planning attorneys are frequently called upon for presentations to continuing legal education providers, charitable organizations, and the general public on estate planning and charitable giving.