Estate and Personal Tax Planning
Our approach to estate planning is premised on the belief that the transfer of assets to one’s heirs at the lowest possible tax cost is only one part of the equation. It is just as important to integrate family, business and charitable objectives into the design of an overall estate plan that minimizes income, estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer taxes, as well as transaction costs.
Our estate planners are sophisticated tax lawyers with broad business experience who regularly deal with the problems that challenge family enterprises and closely held businesses. We understand the tension that can arise between family, business and tax goals and have the experience and judgment to deal with complex tax and business issues, including voting control, liquidity, diversification, management succession and transferability of interests. Whether recapitalizing corporations or partnerships, drafting buy-sell agreements, designing innovative charitable contribution arrangements, or structuring offshore investments, we focus on the business, together with the income, estate and gift tax ramifications of different approaches, so as to give tax minimization a practical perspective. Through techniques such as partnership freezes, “defective” grantor trusts and retained or fractionalized ownership interests, we integrate tax, estate and business planning at a level of sophistication that we believe is unparalleled.
Our personal tax practice is integrated with estate planning. We work with executives, high net worth individuals and families to structure their investments, insurance programs and retirement plans, as well as to design compensation arrangements and stock option plans. We help our clients focus on the tax, personal and business issues relevant to achieving their investment and asset accumulation objectives at the lowest overall tax cost. For example, the advisability of an investment may be affected by a host of complications: the passive loss rules, limits on the deductibility of interest and other expenses, timing of gain or loss recognition and differences between personal and corporate tax rates. Often, more esoteric considerations must be evaluated as well: limits on the step-up in tax basis at death, impact of the alternative minimum tax and deferral opportunities through the use of foreign corporations or accounting methods.
International Tax Planning
Dealing with the complex cross-border planning issues that confront nonresident individuals and U. S. expatriates has been a mainstay of our practice since the beginning of the firm. Our clients include world citizens, entertainers, athletes, multinational corporate executives and families with members and assets in multiple jurisdictions. These clients have unique tax problems. Our attorneys regularly address multi-country income, estate, gift and transfer tax problems involving forced heirship, marital rights, usufructs, community property, changes in either domicile or residence, temporary residence in, or expatriation from, the United States, dual citizenship, cross-border investments, offshore trusts and other investment vehicles.
Administration of Estates and Trusts
Tax planning does not end with death. Post-mortem planning often presents surprisingly significant tax-savings opportunities. Our estate planners, intimately familiar with both the income and estate and generation-skipping tax rules, are ideally suited to take advantage of discontinuities that exist in the different regimes. Administration, the process of implementing an estate plan, represented by wills, trusts and other instruments, requires a wide range of skills. This includes experience dealing with interrelationships between the tax and procedural questions that arise probating a will, funding trusts and making distributions to beneficiaries who may be geographically remote and who may have vastly different needs. In addition to mastery of technical tax and probate laws, successful administration requires the practical ability to explain a decedent’s objectives, to resolve conflicts that may arise among beneficiaries and to negotiate or litigate with federal and local tax authorities. Our attorneys have the judgment, together with the planning, negotiating and advocacy skills, required for successful estate and trust administration.
Published: Bloomberg Insights, January 10, 2019
Published: Tax Management Real Estate Journal, November 7, 2018
Published: Tax Notes, August 6, 2018
Published: Estate & Gift Tax Planning Newsletter, August, 2016