Trusts & Estates
When it comes to Trusts & Estates, you need innovative, experienced attorneys to help you exceed your goals.
Our Trusts and Estates group has the extensive experience and knowledge to address all your estate, trust planning, and administration needs. We provide counseling and advice on a wide range of services in the areas of trust and estate planning and administration, tax planning and charitable giving for both U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens. We offer creative solutions to complex issues. We work with family advisors, accountants, and other professionals practicing in related areas of financial, investment and tax planning to ensure an appropriate plan is created and implemented. We collaborate with other Downs Rachlin attorneys when a client’s needs involve other areas of the law.
Our experience runs the gamut.
Our Trusts and Estates group has deep experience across a broad range of the planning services. In particular, we can help you with the following:
Estate Planning. Each client’s situation is unique. We work with each client to understand the family, assets, and objectives and explain the various ways their objectives may be accomplished. Plans vary greatly and may involve prenuptial agreements, family real estate trusts, asset protection vehicles, limited liability companies or similar entities, special needs trusts, and arrangements for special assets such as retirement plan benefits and unique tangible personal property such as works of art and antiques. We draft wills, revocable and irrevocable trusts, durable powers of attorney, advance directives, and other documents particularly suited to the client. We continue to assist our clients after documents have been signed to implement the plan and, if appropriate, minimize probate court involvement. We advise clients who have cross-border and international estate planning issues.
Tax Planning. We advise clients about the many techniques available to minimize or eliminate income, gift, estate, and generation-skipping tax exposure by utilizing options such as marital deduction and credit shelter trusts, irrevocable life insurance trusts, grantor retained income trusts, qualified personal residence trusts, and dynasty trusts. We prepare gift tax returns for lifetime giving as well as estate tax returns upon a client's death. We handle tax examinations and audits.
Probate and Trust Administration. We guide clients through the probate court process and prepare all documents to be filed with the probate court. We advise clients concerning the administration of trusts and assist with annual accountings and distributions. We counsel regarding the many planning opportunities available to irrevocable trusts under the Uniform Trusts Code.
Probate and Trust Litigation. We work with our dispute resolution attorneys when needed to assist clients in mediation and litigation in connection with estate and trust conflicts, including will contests, claims against executors and trustees, and disputes over the interpretation of wills and trusts.
Charitable Giving and Philanthropy. We counsel clients in connection with their charitable giving goals and provide advice regarding how best to accomplish these goals. We have extensive experience structuring and implementing charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, pooled income funds, charitable gift annuities, private foundations, and other charitable alternatives such as donor advised and field of interest funds administered by public charities.
Business Succession Planning. We work with our business clients to design succession plans for their privately held businesses, often in concert with Downs Rachlin business and tax lawyers. With careful planning our clients transfer ownership and control within the family or to a third party in a harmonious and tax efficient manner, either during life or at death.
Asset Protection. We advise clients with respect to asset protection strategies for themselves as well as for future generations including how to take advantage of New Hampshire laws allowing clients to create trusts for their own benefit while keeping the assets outside the reach of potential creditors.