Estate Planning and Administration

Estate Planning constitutes an active area of the firm's practice. Due to the nature of our clientele, most every client has a very substantial and ongoing interest in properly planning for the orderly transition and disposition of their business interests and assets upon death.

Because many of our clients own large amounts of real estate or are either the owners of medium to very large closely-held business enterprises or the owners of large blocks of publicly traded securities, the process of planning generally involves considerably more than the preparation of standard trusts and wills. In order to meet the complex and sophisticated objectives of our clients, we again work closely with our clients' outside accountants and other advisors.

In order to minimize taxes, while simultaneously meeting the business and family objectives of our clients, we are continuously engaged in the preparation of the documentation required to form and operate the following kinds of entities and arrangements.

  • The firm engages in the preparation of simple and complex revocable and irrevocable testamentary and intervivos trusts and associated wills, designed to minimize taxation on death and to provide effective and efficient management of assets both during one's lifetime and upon death. Special consideration is given with respect to planning for individual exemptions from the federal generation-skipping transfer tax. In connection with this level of planning, consideration is also given to the preparation of durable powers-of-attorney for health care as well as directives to physicians to be used in the event of health related problems, and in connection with decisions regarding the use of artificial life-sustaining devices.
  • The firm is also involved in establishing family partnerships and other similar contractual relationships, including the use of split interest purchase arrangements such as grantor retained income trusts among the owners of closely-held businesses and among the members of their immediate families. These agreements are designed to provide flexibility in the management and operation of specific assets, while providing internal arrangements with regard to values, and with respect to their disposition upon the occurrence of specified events.
  • We also evaluate and, if appropriate, prepare the documentation necessary to form and, if applicable, obtain governmental determination of tax exempt status for charitable remainder trusts, as well as private and public foundations. The design and use of charitable remainder unitrusts and charitable lead trusts, along with foundations of various kinds, is an important facet of the estate planning process for those clients who have expressed an interest in charitable activities. At the present time, the firm is engaged in providing legal representation and advice to numerous entities of this nature possessing very significant assets, which either on their own, or in conjunction and cooperation with other charitable entities, are providing funds for educational and scientific endeavors throughout the United States and in foreign jurisdictions as well.