A legacy is built not only with a gift of property given by will or trust, but also with the client’s goals and values represented by the gift. Wealthy individuals and families need to carefully plan how they will use their assets to shape their legacy. The decisions involved, however, are not just financial. They include consideration of the needs and desires of current and subsequent generations, an appreciation for the individual heirs involved and protection of wealth, the inculcation of the stewardship of the inheritance, and an understanding of the legal and tax ramifications of the available estate planning tools.
Saul Ewing’s estate planning attorneys understand how personal these decisions are. We assist high net worth families and individuals residing in the U.S. and abroad, as well as charitable organizations, trust companies, and closely held businesses with estate, charitable, and business succession planning. Because estate planning extends well beyond financial and tax planning issues, we take a creative approach to identifying planning opportunities. We advise on powers of attorney, advanced medical directives, special needs, prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements, family agreements, and other ancillary arrangements that address specific issues involved in a holistic approach to the client’s planning. In addition, our team has experience with unique assets such as large parcels of land, ranches and farms, priceless antiques, jewelry and collectibles, artwork, and oil, gas, and other mineral interests.
Our team provides counsel and drafting of documents in the following areas:
- Estate structuring and other techniques for minimizing exposure to estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer taxes, income taxes, and property taxes
- Advising on specialized irrevocable trusts, including life insurance trusts, qualified personal residence trusts, grantor trusts, grantor retained annuity and unitrust trusts, and special needs trusts
- Advising on business succession issues and establishing plans to transfer ownership and control of businesses to the next generation of owners through vehicles such as shareholder “buy-sell” agreements and reorganizations and intra-family sales
- Estate structuring and other techniques for mitigating family disputes in the event of death or incapacity, and implementation of wealth transfer
- Counseling on life insurance planning techniques
- International estate planning: advising permanent residents and non-resident aliens on tax-saving vehicles to make gifts and leave bequests to U.S. family members, and advising foreign clients on pre-immigration tax planning, customized living trusts and estate planning mechanisms to help minimize taxes on transfers of property to spouses who are not U.S. citizens
- Assisting highly compensated executives with planning for stock options, sophisticated life insurance arrangements, and other compensation benefits
- Creating family charitable gift programs, including the preparation of private foundations
- Counseling on the establishment of various levels of equity participation by family members in a business and structuring family limited partnerships
- Representing clients before the Internal Revenue Service at all levels, including audits and tax court and district court litigation