With 35 years of experience in the firm's Private Clients group, John Garrett represents executors, trustees and other fiduciaries in connection with the administration of decedents' estates and trusts. He also helps clients and their families with wealth management and planning for the transfer of family wealth from one generation to the next, with a particular emphasis on accomplishing wealth transfers in a tax efficient manner. John has been with the firm since 1978 and a partner from 1987-2013.
What do you focus on?
The focus of my practice relates to wealth transfer, often through multiple generations of a family. That requires a keen understanding of the client’s goals and aspirations as well as the unique needs of their family. Structuring an estate plan is all about that.
Commonly there is a strong desire to reduce or eliminate taxes, whether they be income, gift, estate or generation skipping transfer taxes. Consequently, a variety of planning techniques are recommended and implemented to accomplish the intended tax objectives. As the tax laws change and evolve, the particular planning strategies evolve. From my perspective, though, tax planning strategies need to work within the context of achieving the overriding family goals. Achieving effective tax results often is at odds with the way the federal and state tax authorities see the world, so I am routinely working with the Internal Revenue Service and state tax authorities to assure them that positions taken by clients are legally sound. Thus, I routinely counsel clients through audits.
Another aspect of my practice relates to charitable giving, primarily to help clients achieve their philanthropic goals, but also because a variety of transfer tax benefits can be obtained when charitable giving is combined with transferring one’s wealth to other family members.