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Estate & Legacy Planning

Our attorneys take an imaginative but prudent approach in assisting clients with developing strategies designed to increase and preserve wealth for their own benefit and for the benefit of future generations. We handle estate planning for all sizes and types of estates.

Wealth Management, Estate & Disability Planning, Probate & Trust Administration

The attorneys in our Estate and Legacy Planning group take a personalized approach to estate planning.  We are proud of our ability to establish long-lasting and stable client relationships that are built from gaining a solid understanding of our clients' needs. We assist with short-term needs, but more importantly we provide true depth and breadth in long-term planning for wealth management during disability and on death. Our attorneys support clients from the middle class through ultra-high net worth individuals and families in their estate and disability planning. Our planning includes advice and counsel, and preparation of the appropriate planning documents, such as wills, trusts, medical directives and powers of attorney for legal and health care matters, as well as other disability planning documents. As a full-service firm, we are well situated to help clients transfer businesses and their assets from generation to generation, or prepare to sell for retirement and family succession purposes. Our recommendations include helping families preserve wealth using such tools as premarital and post marital agreements, community property and separate property agreements and similar lifetime planning tools. As individual lawyers, we undertake simple and complex probate and trust administration, and the settlement and negotiation of trusts and estates on behalf of fiduciaries and beneficiaries. We evaluate and assist with planning for retirement benefits, probate for out-of-state and other special assets, alternatives for transferring jointly-held property, valuations of business and investment property, as well as a multitude of other estate planning matters.

As a team, we meet regularly to explore new planning tools, discuss our planning and administration client matters, and share our thoughts on changes in the law. Some estate planning needs are more complex than others, and our attorneys have the knowledge and understanding to develop and nurture a more sophisticated estate plan. The Estate and Legacy Planning group has vast experience in handling advanced techniques such as grantor trusts (GRAT’s, GST’s and IDGT’s for example), qualified personal residence trusts (QPRT’s), charitable trusts (CRAT’s, CRUT’s, NIMCRUT’S), formation and maintenance of family foundations, dynasty trusts, self-canceling installment notes, private annuity arrangements, and family limited liability companies.

Tax Services

We have a sophisticated federal and state taxation practice. For estate planning, we advise on management and analysis of all forms of transfer tax, including generation skipping, gift and estate taxation. Our clients undertake many types of charitable giving during lifetime and on death, and rely on our advice in creating charitable trusts, foundations, donor advised funds and other charitable gift strategies. For businesses and individuals seeking tax advice, our lawyers represent shareholders, corporations, partners and partnerships, limited liability companies and their members. Our clients include highly compensated executives and employers in maintaining and devising their deferred compensation plans. Additionally, we have experience in the use of corporate reorganizations and partnerships to obtain more favorable valuation for tax purposes. We provide tax counsel and advise on tax elections associated with formation of business entities and non-profits. Real estate owners and clients who own real estate rely on our tax lawyers as team members. We work together with our clients and their real estate, environmental and land use attorneys to undertake transactions in a tax efficient manner. Our tax advice includes short-term and long-term tax planning, advise on tax advantage approaches to reorganizations, 1031 and 1035 exchanges, condemnations, debtor and creditor transactions, liquidations, creation of trusts (testamentary, living, irrevocable and life insurance), installment sales, asset protections and tax shelter programs. Our attorneys provide clients with the legal resources and tools needed to help minimize and eliminate gift and estate taxation as well as to assist in the preparation and filing of state and federal tax returns. We offer counsel in the event of an audit by the IRS as well as audit/private letter rulings and in select tax controversy matters.

Planning for Family Members with Special Needs

Planning for the future, requires strong resources now. Whether one anticipates the payment a child's education, a wedding, elderly care, incapacitated individual care, or other obligations, the attorneys at Williams Kastner have the foresight needed to provide individuals and families with the options and best possible planning guidelines available. Our lawyers are well-versed in handling minor's trusts, educational trusts, trusts for aged parents, guardianships, revocable living trusts, durable powers of attorney for financial matters and health care, elder law matters and incapacitated individual law matters.

Probate and Trust Litigation

On occasion, will validation can become emotional and lead to disputes. When congruence between parties becomes non-existent, our lawyers have the skills and experience that help mitigate the need for litigation as a means of settling disparity. In the event litigation arises, our lawyers effectively handle disputes including elder financial abuse claims, will contests, trust disputes, guardianship and conservatorship proceedings, appointment of fiduciaries, will interpretation, business succession issues, instructions in probate, and disputes between beneficiaries, executors and trustees.