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Practices

Trusts & Estates

The Carter Ledyard & Milburn LLP Trusts and Estates Group has a broad and diversified practice. The partners and counsel in the Group are supported by senior and junior associates, paralegals, and a fiduciary accounting department that handles the preparation of estate and trust accounts and tax returns.

The Trusts and Estates Department focuses on helping individual clients of substantial means develop estate plans that will assure that the client’s assets benefit those whom the client wants to benefit in the best possible way. This includes structuring of the client’s financial affairs and preparation of all necessary documents (including wills and trusts) to effectuate those estate plans. Our clients have assets ranging from publicly and privately owned businesses to racehorses, and from real property to intellectual property rights in plays and novels, and the Trusts and Estates Department works closely with other practice groups in the firm to minimize the impact of transfer taxes upon the death of senior family members. This practice has earned the firm a national reputation for the successful and efficient transfer of assets among several generations of a family.

The Department represents buyers and sellers in estate sales and auctions of fine arts and other collectibles. It has considerable expertise in administering trusts and estates, and acts as legal advisor to a wide spectrum of public and private fiduciaries, from banks and trust companies to individuals. In coordination with the attorneys specializing in employee benefit matters, the Department frequently advises senior management on structuring and taking maximum advantage of employee benefit, insurance and profit-sharing programs of the enterprises they serve. Working closely with family members, the Trusts and Estates Department can help structure a smooth transfer of control of closely held businesses from the older to the younger generation. The Department also counsels individuals on sophisticated charitable giving techniques, forms both private and public charities, and counsels philanthropic interests, including private foundations.

The Department’s extensive experience in the area of taxation is widely acknowledged; CL&M is, as a result, frequently retained as special counsel to advise other law firms or to handle audits and tax litigation. Carter Ledyard & Milburn LLP attorneys lecture and write widely in the area and are on the “cutting edge” of tax planning in this field. Richard Covey is widely considered to be the leading expert in the field and serves as special counsel to the American Bankers Association on all tax legislation affecting trusts and estates. The Department’s victory in the Tax Court in the Walton case overturned a Treasury regulation and greatly enhanced the attractiveness of grantor retained annuity trusts (“GRATs”), an asset transfer device that the firm pioneered.

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