Covering all aspects of estate planning, estate and trust administration, probate litigation, guardianship and conservatorship matters
Riemer & Braunstein’s Trusts and Estates practice covers all aspects of estate planning, estate and trust administration, probate litigation, guardianship and conservatorship matters and prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.
In every case, our objective is to create an estate plan that meets the unique needs and goals of the individual, while addressing the tax and non-tax issues related to the transfer of assets during the client’s lifetime or upon the client’s death.
Estate plans often involve the creation and administration of living trusts, traditional pour-over trusts, and other tools that are suitable from a tax, personal, or business planning standpoint. Some of the more frequently used tax planning services include:
- Irrevocable life insurance trusts
- Credit shelter revocable trusts
- Grantor trusts
- Powers of attorney; health care proxies; and living wills
- Trusts designed to address particular family concerns, such as the special needs or circumstances of children
- Charitable giving trusts and/or charitable foundations
Attorneys in the trusts and estates group work with clients to identify and develop their estate planning goals. The planning process addresses various tax issues, special concerns raised by individual family situations, the needs of particular beneficiaries, asset preservation and protection for individuals and families in businesses that create unusual risks, and the implementation of other appropriate planning tools and strategies.
Estate planning also frequently involves our clients’ business planning concerns. In this context, our attorneys work closely with the attorneys in our Business Law practice and the clients’ other professional advisors. Such business planning may require coordinating the estate planning of two or more generations while at the same time minimizing tax burdens to ensure that the family business will continue to thrive. Often, planning must be coordinated for several business participants to ensure that all expectations are met in the event of a death, disability, or the possible future dissolution of a business entity.
All of these tools are designed to meet our clients’ individual needs at a time when they would benefit from the best possible advice, in situations such as these:
- Gifting residences to children in a way that protects the children from potential creditors
- Helping families establish guardians for their young children
- Structuring trusts for families that include children from previous marriages
- Creating family limited partnerships that will enable family businesses to be transferred to younger generations
- Presenting clients with charitable giving options
Our Trusts and Estates group works with families after the death of a loved one to implement the estate plan and assist the family with the administration of the estate. We work with the fiduciary for the estate to address any necessary filings with the appropriate Probate & Family Court, advise the fiduciary in addressing final expenses and creditor’s claims, assist in marshalling the assets of the estate and guide the fiduciary in the distribution of assets to estate beneficiaries. We also assist the fiduciary with the preparation and filing of the necessary estate and income tax returns.
Our attorneys work with Trustees to advise them regarding the proper administration of trust assets, decisions relative to distributions made to beneficiaries and how to meet a Trustee’s fiduciary obligations.
In coordination with our Litigation department, our attorneys work with clients to address probate litigation cases, including representing clients in a broad range of matters involving allegations of undue influence, incompetency and fraud, family limited partnership disputes, trust reformation, modification and interpretation actions, as well as breach of fiduciary duty and fiduciary removal actions. We have experience representing both beneficiaries and fiduciaries in these types of matters.
Guardianships and Conservatorships
Our attorneys have experience working with clients to secure guardianships and conservatorships for both elderly individuals and younger individuals with special needs. We assist clients with navigating both the court system and the medical system with respect to the documentation that is required to obtain a guardianship, conservatorship or both over an incapacitated person. We also assist clients with the annual filings that are required by the court.
Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements can be a powerful estate planning tool. Our attorneys work with clients to formulate prenuptial agreements to address the disposition of assets and protect specific assets in the unfortunate event that a marriage ends in divorce. We also work with clients who are married but wish to implement an agreement with their spouse regarding how specific assets will be treated in the event of death or divorce.