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Trusts, Estates & Succession Planning

Trusts, Estates & Succession Planning

While wills, living trusts, healthcare directives and durable powers of attorney are the basic estate planning building blocks, we also implement plans involving more sophisticated tools, such as:

  • Special Needs Trusts (a/k/a Supplemental Needs Trusts)
  • Irrevocable Income Only Trusts for elder law planning
  • Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts (ILITs)
  • Gifting Strategies
  • Qualified Personal Residence Trusts (QPRTs)
  • Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (GRATs)
  • Sales to Intentionally “defective” Grantor Trusts (IDGTs)
  • Family Partnerships and Limited Liability Companies (FLPs & FLLCs)
  • Private Foundations
  • Generation-skipping or “dynasty” Trusts
  • Pension and IRA Distribution Planning, Including standalone Beneficiary Trusts

Our primary focus is always on the clients goals, desires and best interests. Our estate and succession planning strategy is determined by listening to and understanding the clients objectives. While a tax reduction strategy is often the clients main concern, there are other non-tax goals — such as leaving property in trust to be managed for the benefit of clients loved ones to protect their legacy from divorce or creditors, or to provide an incentive to younger family members to be productive in their own right and not simply rely on an inheritance from parents or grandparents — that may be important considerations in developing clients plan.

Our attorneys are frequently called upon to advise clients on establishment of business succession plans to transition ownership management to succeeding generations. We help plan and implement ownership transitions in ways that can involve one or more of a redemption, reorganization, sale or gifting of ownership interests.

Asset Protection Planning

In today’s somewhat litigious society, business owners face lawsuits from many sources, including product liability matters, employment disputes, environmental issues, and intellectual property infringement. Medical professionals constantly practice with the threat of malpractice suits. Corporate executives face the risk of shareholder suits and claims of breach of fiduciary duties. Finally, each family must consider the potential ramifications of a property settlement pursuant to a contentious law suit.

Our lawyers work in groups as a team to structure an estate plan that suits the particular situation of each client to protect his or her assets from claims of future creditors. We apply a series of techniques that are designed to make it difficult or impossible for future creditors to attain your assets or collect judgments against you.

Probate & Trust Administration

We understand that trust and estate matters can be very personal affairs, and that losing a loved one or experiencing a dispute amongst relatives is difficult, complicated, and exacts an emotional toll. Even in less emotionally charged situations, simply serving as an executor, administrator or trustee can seem overwhelming. We try to lighten these burdens and counsel clients through every step of the process.

Mohen Cooper’s attorneys provide the sound and sensitive legal services needed to administer a decedent’s estate, some of which may include:

  • Finding & valuing assets of the estate
  • Settling debts
  • Preparing probate filings in Surrogate’s Court
  • Filing federal and New York estate tax returns
  • Addressing all issues related to the allocation of assets to beneficiaries

Many clients who have funded their trusts during their lifetimes or who have established trusts that are funded upon the death of the grantor need ongoing support. In these circumstances, we counsel trustees on their legal responsibilities and best practices for smooth and efficient trust administration. We assist with accountings, distributions, tax reporting requirements, and court filings. Our seasoned trial attorneys are experienced litigators in Surrogates or Supreme Court, and with the in-depth knowledge of the substantive law and unique procedures applicable to probate and trust disputes. 

 Mohen Coopers attorneys combine in-depth understanding of trust and estate law with decades of experience in high stakes litigation. In addition, since trust and estate matters regularly intersect with other legal issues and disciplines such as tax, real estate, corporate/securities and insurance, our litigators often draw upon the expertise of other practice areas within our firm, such as our business consulting group, to advise on special aspects of a given dispute. This ensures our clients received the best representation possible.