The Trusts and Estates Department of Becker Meisel LLC provides estate and gift planning, business continuity, estate and trust administration and litigation services, as well as tax services to individuals, professionals and institutions. The group concentrates on providing quality and personalized services to clients and, when appropriate, works closely with a client’s advisors, such as accountants, insurance professionals, financial planners, investment advisors, custodians, and trustees.
One of the principal functions of the group is to review with clients the complex relationship between the transfer of property and Federal and State taxes imposed on such transfers and recommend appropriate planning. Such plans not only achieve the client’s objectives of transferring property to desired beneficiaries, but also reduce the cost of transfer taxes imposed and provide for liquidity to pay taxes and costs.
The implementation of Wills, Trusts, Insurance Planning, Gift Planning, Partnerships, Powers of Attorney, Living Wills and other techniques are frequently utilized.
For those clients with closely-held businesses, Becker Meisel assists them with the complex problems relating to the transfer of the business from one generation to the next, reduction of death taxes, liquidity for the payment of taxes to avoid sales of the business, financial protection of spouses and equalization among children. Common tools in this area are Buy-Sell and other family or business agreements, as well as gifting and liquidity planning.
Our attorneys have represented both institutions and individuals. The institutions include banks, corporate fiduciaries, and investment companies. The individuals include the beneficiaries of estates and trusts, executors, administrators, trustees, surviving spouses, guardians, and incapacitated persons.
The attorneys have a particular and substantial experience in estate litigation matters. Litigation focused on estates and trusts is a rapidly growing area and the Becker Meisel attorneys have a heavy concentration on litigation involving probate matters, estates, trusts, fiduciaries, and guardianships. The group has a rare combination of an in-depth knowledge of estate, gift and probate law coupled with substantial litigation experience.
Among our estate litigation services are:
•Litigation on the interpretation of Wills, trusts, and beneficiary designations
•Representation in Will contests, as well as complex Will contests receiving local, regional, and national media coverage
•Evaluation and litigation of undue influence and incapacity issues
•Assistance to executors and trustees on preventing and handling disputes
•Preparation and presentment of fiduciary accountings
•Assessment of claims by beneficiaries of estates and trusts
•Counsel on investment decisions by executors and trustees
•Counsel on the challenge to or defense of lifetime transfers, gifts, joint accounts, jointly owned property, and beneficiary designations
•Formation and implementation of administrative policies by fiduciaries
•Recovery of costs and counsel fees from estates and trusts
Planning for aging and incapacity is important, and the we provide advice regarding the right to control medical treatment through the use of Living Wills and Advance Health Care Directives, Durable Powers of Attorney and other mechanisms for the management of assets during lifetime. We spend a significant amount of time handling the administration of Estates and Trusts. Areas of responsibility include probate, inventories, accountings, requests for instructions, Will and Trust interpretation, prosecution and defense of disputes and other Court matters.