Practice Areas

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  • Trusts and Estates

    Trusts and Estates Definition

    How Can a Trusts and Estates Attorney Help You?

    Trust and estate attorneys help clients plan for the efficient and effective transfer of assets to spouses, to younger generation family members, to other persons clients wish to benefit, and to charities. The practice involves the preparation of trust agreements, wills, powers of attorney, medical directives, and closely held business structures, including partnerships, limited liability companies, and corporations.

    What are the Trusts and Estates Practices Focal Points?

    Wealth Planning
    When attorneys begin the planning process, they consider your objectives, your family relationships, charitable inclinations, and the relationship of federal and state estate tax, gift tax, and generation skipping transfer tax laws to these objectives. Attorneys then work with you and, in some cases, with other advisers to design the appropriate plan to meet your goals and objectives, prepare the necessary documents to carry out the desired plan, and assist with the implementation of your plan. In connection with family wealth planning, attorneys plan and draft trust agreements and wills, create various business entities, and carry out business reorganizations.

    Estate Administration
    Trust and estate attorneys also handle the administration of estates. Attorneys confer with members of a decedent’s family on the various issues, including:

    • Assistance to the executor with the preparation of the required probate documents and assist in valuation of estate assets
    • Making insurance claims
    • Preparation of final income tax returns and the estate’s income and federal and state estate tax returns
    • Monitoring of the investment of the estate’s assets
    • Arranging for the distribution of the estate’s net assets
    • Throughout the administration of an estate, consideration is given to income tax savings through the timing of distributions and the timing and claiming of appropriate deductions.

    Trust Administration
    In the trust administration area, attorneys advise and consult with corporate and individual trustees concerning the discharge of the trust’s terms and consult with beneficiaries concerning trust administration matters including the preparation of trust accounts.

    Trust and Estate attorneys also assist clients in all phases of probate and trust litigation. This may involve construing or reforming the terms of a will or trust, prosecuting or defending a will contest action or surcharge actions against trustees.

    What is a Trusts and Estates attorneys goal for its clients?

    The goal of an trust and estate attorney is to assist clients to achieve their personal goals while obtaining the significant tax savings which may be available to them through proper planning. Attorneys in the practice spend a significant amount of time dealing with the federal estate, gift, and generation skipping tax issues involved in transfer planning.

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