Trusts + EstatesService Area + Legal PracticesWe develop and administer highly individualized plans to preserve and transfer wealth.

Our team provides informed counsel on trust and estate law to individuals and families, including closely held business owners and executives of public companies, as well as nonprofit entities and fiduciaries. Our work with individuals includes young families just starting out as well as those with significant assets.

After many decades creating and overseeing plans for wealth preservation and transfer, we have come to believe that the measure of a great estate plan is best summed up by one word:  thoughtfulness. Here’s what thoughtfulness looks like:

  • The plan reflects a genuine understanding of the client’s unique circumstances – needs, concerns, and values
  • The nuts and bolts of the plan are rooted in an in-depth understanding of the complex, ever-evolving array of individual, charitable and business tax laws
  • The attorney has explained provisions and options in plain English, so the client is reassured – not overwhelmed – by the plan

We are committed to delivering on all three measures of thoughtfulness:

  • We use a tried and true approach to efficiently and effectively understand each clients’ particular situation. This means asking just the right questions up front, highly skilled listening, and incisive follow-up to better understand core values, needs and concerns
  • Our team has extensive knowledge of trusts and estates law, and closely monitors – and responds to - changes in applicable laws
  • We have a passion for making trust and estates law make sense to our clients, and a knack for providing simple and clear explanations to enable clients to make informed decisions

Our services include creating, managing, administering, and otherwise advising on trusts and estate plans. Regardless of the specific service, our aim is always to provide the very best quality guidance and develop strong relationships with our clients to help them attain their goals for themselves and their families, while minimizing applicable income, gift and estate taxes.

We pride ourselves on working efficiently and collaboratively not only with our clients, but also their advisors, including accountants, investment advisors, life insurance advisors and bank and trust officers.

Business Planning

Our attorneys provide counsel on issues of business continuity, family succession planning, shareholders' agreements, buy-sell agreements, estate freezes, and various tax-deferral devices.  We help clients understand and accomplish what is necessary to keep the business in the family following the death or disability of family members who were active in the business.  We develop agreements and compensation arrangements for business owners, including the means to compensate family members who are not active in the business.  In addition, we help our clients form and operate business entities, including S corporations, LLCs and family limited partnerships.  More about our Business services.

Charitable Giving

We provide counsel on charitable giving techniques, including the formation and operation of charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, donor-advised funds and private foundations, and the granting of conservation easements.  We structure charitable giving programs to serve our clients’ long-term tax and estate planning goals as well as important charitable objectives.

Estate & Trust Administration

We handle all facets of estate and trust administration and are highly experienced in estate settlements.  We work with executors and trustees to collect assets, pay outstanding debts and obligations, and make distributions to beneficiaries.  We have significant experience in the preparation of accounts and federal and state estate tax returns, fiduciary income tax returns and family settlement agreements. We also advise executors and beneficiaries of estates on a wide array of tax and property issues related to estate administration.

Insurance Planning

Our team has substantial experience with life insurance for business and personal planning, funded buy-outs, irrevocable trusts, dynasty trusts, and payment of estate taxes.  We also review life insurance policies to ensure that the beneficiary designations are aligned with the estate plan, and to assess policy performance relative to plan projections.

Lifetime Giving

Our attorneys help clients maximize lifetime giving opportunities by using the annual exclusion and the gift, estate, and generation-skipping transfer tax exemptions.  We leverage these exclusions and exemptions using tax planning techniques such as irrevocable insurance trusts, grantor retained annuity trusts and other strategies.  We evaluate the pros and cons of lifetime gifting, weighing the potential income tax and estate tax savings against the loss of control and favorable capital gains treatment.

Prenuptial Agreements

We prepare and review these agreements in appropriate situations to protect the assets of our clients and their families.

Real Estate Planning

We coordinate the transfer and titling of real estate, including the preparation and recording of deeds and related documents to conform to the client’s overall plan.  Coordinating with our Real Estate services team, we also help clients to acquire, transfer and conserve significant legacy properties.

Retirement Planning

We review retirement assets, which in many cases form a significant part of the estate.  We check all beneficiary designations to ensure they conform to overall planning objectives, and recommend specific plan provisions – as appropriate – to permit more tax-efficient distributions.

Tax & Estate Planning

We develop highly individualized estate plans for clients, including the creation of wills, trusts, powers of attorney, health care documents, and lifetime gifting programs, as applicable.    The protection and transfer of assets to future generations is an important goal for most individuals, but particularly crucial for those with minor children, a disabled child or other individual who is dependent, or a spouse who is uninvolved in financial matters.  Plans can be very simple or very complicated, depending on the nature of the assets and the client’s objectives.