Trusts and Estates

Trusts and Estates

Fried Frank's Trusts and Estates Department advises clients, who are generally domestic or foreign individuals and families with substantial wealth, in a wide variety of personal planning matters.

Strategies for Wealth Transfer
We provide sophisticated estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer tax planning for domestic and foreign individuals and families. In addition to preparing wills, we use a wide range of vehicles to accomplish our clients' personal and financial goals. These include:
  • Revocable trusts
  • Intentionally defective grantor trusts
  • Grantor retained annuity trusts and grantor retained unitrusts (GRATs and GRUTs)
  • Charitable lead trusts
  • Charitable remainder trusts
  • Qualified personal residence trusts
Lifetime gifts allow clients to transfer substantial value at a much lower transfer tax cost than testamentary dispositions. We assist clients to identify assets that might be used as part of a gift program, such as life insurance, interests in closely held businesses and real estate, and to structure the gift appropriately and tax efficiently.
We advise the owners of closely held businesses on efficient ways to handle generational transitions, including shareholders' agreements and restructuring. We also assist families in forming investment vehicles to assist in wealth management and transfer, including family limited partnerships.

We draft and negotiate prenuptial agreements for our clients and their children.

Administration of Estates and Trusts
We provide a full range of services involved in the administration of complex and substantial estates and trusts and generally act as counsel to the executors or trustees. We also handle various specialized legal issues, such as sales of art, real estate and other assets and the enforcement of legal rights by or against the estate or trust.

Charitable Giving
We assist our clients in formulating and executing plans for charitable giving. We advise them on the formation and governance of private foundations and on how they can involve the younger generations of the family in philanthropic decisions. We have assisted clients in making major charitable gifts to public charities – such as the creation of endowed professorships – and have worked to structure such gifts so that the donor's purpose is safeguarded.

Tax Controversies
As a sophisticated, tax-oriented practice, we represent clients before the Internal Revenue Service, state tax authorities and the US Tax Court in connection with tax controversies. In addition, in conjunction with the litigation department, our attorneys handle adversarial proceedings in Surrogates' Court, such as will contests, will construction proceedings and fiduciary accountings.

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