Asset Protection, Trusts & Estates

Our group of asset preservation, trusts and estates attorneys help successful individuals, families, closely-held businesses, and other private clients with all of their business and personal legal needs, in a hands-on and coordinated approach. We counsel clients on asset preservation and protection, ownership structuring, wealth transfers, business and succession planning, and philanthropic giving, in addition to traditional estate planning and trust administration. Our lawyers use decades of experience to develop creative solutions to meet our clients’ sophisticated needs and goals. This process often involves taking a collaborative approach that allows our attorneys to work with a family’s team of other trusted advisors, such as their financial planners and accountants. Each attorney who focuses on this aspect of our practice holds an advanced law degree in taxation and is a CPA or has accounting practice experience.

Asset Protection

Our focus is on helping highly successful individuals and families develop a plan to protect their assets – business, personal and real estate — from potential future lawsuits and creditors. We use proven strategies and establish structures to shelter our clients’ assets in today’s litigious society. Best practices require planning in advance of any known creditor claim.  Our well-crafted asset protection plans often use the following techniques:

  • Asset Protection Trusts (domestic and offshore)
  • Trusts Created for Family Members and Descendants
  • Creation of Business Entities, such as Limited Liability Companies
  • Protective Agreements
  • Protective Direct Asset Ownership Structures

Estate & Gift Tax Planning

Every client’s situation is unique. Our lawyers are well versed in every aspect of sophisticated estate, trust and gift planning. We tailor our clients’ estate plans to their specific needs by developing strategies to transfer wealth tax efficiently, preserve assets and minimize taxes through testamentary and lifetime planning documents:

  • Last Will and Testament
  • Revocable or Living Trusts
  • Irrevocable Trusts
    • Life Insurance Trusts 
    • Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts 
    • Spousal Lifetime Access Trusts 
    • Qualified Personal Residence Trusts 
    • Family Dynasty Trusts
  • General Durable Power of Attorney for Financial and Business Matters
  • Healthcare Power of Attorney and Living Will

Business Succession Planning

A large part of our practice involves ongoing representation of family and closely held businesses.  The hardest decisions for our clients often include how to pass ownership of the business to the next generation, to management or to a new ownership plan. In addition to understanding the family dynamics, there are estate tax and income tax implications to be considered.   Advanced planning and communication between business owners and the next generation of leaders is vital for the future success of a business.  A proper plan should address all potential pitfalls such as death, disability, divorce or disagreements among principals or shareholders. At Lex Nova, we assist our business clients with the following:

  • Assess the health of the business and establish clearly defined business objectives
  • Identify successors
  • Determine the timing and most effective method of transitioning the business
  • Prepare estate planning documents in accordance with the succession plan
  • Implement transition plan and resolve issues that arise during the transfer
  • Establish mechanisms for resolving internal conflicts

Estate and Trust Administration

We understand the challenges associated with serving as Executor or Trustee. Making legal decisions after a loved one passes away can be overwhelming.  Our attorneys and paralegals assist fiduciaries with all aspects of estate and trust administration: 

  • Probate the decedent’s estate
  • Manage estate and trust assets
  • Minimize taxes through post-mortem tax planning
  • Prepare estate, gift, generation-skipping transfer tax and fiduciary income tax returns
  • Prepare state inheritance and estate tax returns
  • File accountings and inventories
  • Terminate estates & trusts and distribute assets among beneficiaries timely
  • Reduce income tax incidence at both state and federal level

Charitable Planning

We help individuals achieve their charitable and philanthropic goals.  In addition to personal satisfaction, gifts to charities can provide significant tax advantages that often require sophisticated estate planning. Charitable planning involves one of the most complex areas of the tax code.  Our attorneys provide specialized planning opportunities that will maximize the economic and tax benefits of a gift. Some strategies we often use are:

  • Charitable Remainder Trusts
  • Charitable Annuity Trusts
  • Creating a Private Foundation
  • Donor Advised Funds