A legacy is built not only with a gift of property given by will or trust but also with the goals and values the gift embodies. Wealthy individuals and families need to plan carefully how they will use their assets to shape their legacy in both of these ways. The decisions involved, however, are not just financial. They require consideration of the needs and desires of current and subsequent generations, an appreciation for the individual heirs involved and their ability to manage wealth, 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, from our experience representing multiple generations of high-profile and high-net-worth families and individuals residing within the United States and, over many years abroad, ranging from young entrepreneurs and executives to elderly retirees. We also represent charitable organizations, banks, trust companies, and closely held businesses. Our attorneys advise executors, trustees, and beneficiaries of trusts and estates on all aspects of estate and trust administration, including fiduciary duties and powers, tax planning, and required court filings When necessary, we provide litigation services in connection with trust and estate accountings and document interpretation.
We assist our clients in transitioning their wealth, valuable possessions, real estate, and business holdings to their heirs and charitable beneficiaries, while addressing the family and organizational problems inherent in wealth transfer. In doing so, our attorneys bring to bear their skills as trusted and skilled advisors, with an extensive knowledge of the ever evolving tax code, estate and trust laws, securities regulations, and accounting rules that apply in the context of transitioning wealth from one generation to the next. Our attorneys are focused on helping our clients identify and implement strategies to hold, manage and distribute their assets in a manner that minimizes their tax and other liabilities and maximizes their ability to meet their estate planning and family preservation goals. Some of our tools include wills, various types of trusts, and other types of entities focused on wealth transfer, asset protection and charitable gifting. In addition, individuals and families frequently rely upon our services for innovative planning techniques involving unique assets and real property holdings, including large parcels of land, ranches and farms, priceless antiques, jewelry and collectibles, artwork, and oil, gas, and other mineral interests. Saul Ewing also understands that estate planning extends well beyond financial and tax planning issues, to matters that involve the health and protection of the individuals who wish to transfer the wealth and the heirs who stand to benefit from it. To that end, we assist with planning techniques involving powers of attorney, advanced medical directives, guardianship arrangements, special needs, prenuptial agreements, family agreements and other tools where, without sound legal planning and consideration, family dynamics sometimes defeat the family’s best interest.
In addition, our services include:
- Counseling regarding the structuring of estate and other valuation freeze techniques
- Providing counseling for disabled beneficiaries
- Counseling on the establishment of various levels of equity participation by family members in a business
- Advising businesses on 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
- Counseling on life insurance planning techniques
- Creating family gift and charitable gift programs, including the preparation of private foundation charitable trusts
- Assisting highly compensated executives with planning for stock options, sophisticated life insurance arrangements, and other compensation benefits
- Representing clients before the Internal Revenue Service at all levels, including audits and Tax Court and district court litigation