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What It Is

Our trust and estate attorneys work to understand clients’ family dynamics, values and financial circumstances, then help those clients achieve their wealth transfer and estate-planning goals. We have extensive experience in designing and implementing lifetime wealth transfer programs, including structures for making gifts, generation-skipping trusts (GST or dynasty trusts), irrevocable life insurance trusts (ILITs), qualified personal residence trusts (QPRTs) and other residence trusts, grantor retained annuity trusts (GRATs), grantor retained income trusts (GRITs), domestic asset protection trusts, family limited partnerships (FLPs), family limited-liability companies (LLCs), and intrafamily sales. We also advise on gift and estate tax, generation-skipping transfer tax and income tax issues, as well as represent our clients in tax audits and litigation. In certain instances, we may apply for a private letter ruling from the IRS on our client’s behalf to achieve certainty of the tax consequences of a particular transaction.

We also help our clients plan for the possibility of their disability through trusts, powers of attorney for property, powers of attorney for health care, advanced directives for health care and related health authorizations. We assist our clients in planning for wealth transfers through wills and trusts, taking into account not only the tax issues, but also the client’s non-tax objectives in providing for family members in different generations. We advise our clients on how to title their assets to best achieve their objectives and maximize income tax basis, as well as on probate avoidance and beneficiary designations. We design estate plans that address the differences between the federal estate tax rates and exclusions and the death tax laws of various states. Our counsel also ensures the preparation of the liquidity necessary to pay estate taxes and ensure the financial security of the surviving family members, including life insurance structures. We advise our clients on various trustee, investment adviser and family adviser structures to ensure the best-qualified individuals are assigned the various roles involved in trust administration.