Estate Planning & Estate Administration
We provide each client with sophisticated estate planning at all financial levels. Without this planning, a family could lose up to one-half of its wealth to taxation when it passes to the next generation. In addition, it often is necessary (and certainly advisable) for each client to develop a governance structure for inherited assets. Addressing these tax and governance concerns requires thoughtful consideration and action during one’s lifetime. We guide each client on a customized basis through this process and work with them to assure that they have proper and up-to-date planning in place. The cost of not having proper planning always outweighs the cost of proper planning.
Our Trust and Estate attorneys work with our clients to create customized, comprehensive estate plans that accomplish the clients’ goals while reducing the effective rate of eventual estate tax. We help clients identify which of the established and innovative lifetime wealth transfer approaches are most appropriate for them to use to transfer assets to their beneficiaries on an after-tax basis. These choices may be impacted by recent changes to laws affecting gift and estate taxes, including the tax treatment of individuals as spouses and adjustments to federal and state transfer tax exemption amounts. Once decisions have been made, the attorneys develop the legal structures, such as specialized trusts and limited liability companies, to implement the plan and manage the client’s wealth over time. Continuing communication is promoted to assure that a clients planning is always up-to-date and achieving the clients goals.
As part of life, each estate plan will eventually require the administration of an estate. Executors and trustees work with our Trust and Estate attorneys to oversee the administration of estates and trusts and to handle the required legal, tax and accounting work. We also assist in all aspects of the estate or trust administration process, including probate, collecting, valuing and disposing of assets and maintaining all records, preparation and filing of required tax returns and closing an estate. As planners, we are acutely aware of the important steps that need to be taken to reduce taxes and preserve wealth, while ensuring that the intentions of the grantors are preserved and the needs of beneficiaries served.