Trusts & Estates

Overview

Our attorneys at HAMILTON THIES & LORCH LLP provide comprehensive tax planning and trust and estate legal services to clients seeking financial security in the face of the ever changing and increasingly complex federal, state, and local tax laws. We serve individuals, families, and business owners, helping them preserve and enhance their financial situation, avoid unnecessary taxes, and plan for the future. We also serve individual and corporate fiduciaries acting as executor or trustee. Our innovative and sophisticated planning provides clients with high quality work done with integrity that results in peace of mind.

Estate Planning

We learn about our client's needs and goals and help clients protect their families, plan for their financial security, and preserve assets for future generations. From the simple to the complex, our estate planning attorneys assist clients with:

  • Asset transfers at death
  • Lifetime gifting strategies
  • Charitable gifting strategies
  • Minimizing taxes
  • Protecting assets from creditors
  • Preserving and transferring retirement plans
  • Intra-family loans
  • Planning to avoid probate
  • Planning for minor children
  • Planning for adults with special needs
  • Planning for a non-citizen spouse
  • Planning for care of pets

In addition to traditional planning, we are sensitive to the dynamics of complex family and business situations and often collaborate with accountants and financial advisors of our clients to ensure comprehensive planning.

Business Succession Planning

Successful business owners are often challenged with decisions regarding family succession and legacy when establishing or restructuring the ownership of closely-held businesses, such as:

  • When the current owners will transfer control
  • Whether and when to sell the business
  • Who will receive control of business
  • Who will receive ownership of business
  • Whether estate taxes of the individual owner will affect the business
  • How to plan for family members not involved in the business
  • Whether employees or other non-family members will be included in the succession plan

Our perspective and specialized skills allow us to contribute objectively while appreciating each client's unique goals for the success of the enterprise and working with financial advisors and accountants for comprehensive plans.

Charitable Planning

Our attorneys successfully assist clients with tax-effective methods for charitable giving and administration and compliance for tax exempt entities by:

  • Drafting specific charitable bequests
  • Establishing donor advised funds
  • Creating and administering private foundations
  • Drafting and administering charitable lead trusts
  • Drafting and administering charitable remainder trusts

We refer our clients to a wide range of charitable organizations and philanthropic professionals when needed to further explore client goals.

Trust and Estate Administration and Probate

We represent individual and corporate fiduciaries in all aspects of trust, estate, and probate administration including: 

  • Preparation of estate, gift, and generation-skipping tax returns
  • Preparation of estate and trust income tax returns
  • Collection and retitling of assets and funding of trusts after death
  • Valuation of assets
  • Transactional and real estate matters arising during administration
  • Probate of wills
  • Preparation of trust, estate, and guardianship accountings
  • Guardianship of minors and disabled adults

Our attorneys collaborate closely with our paralegals in trust and estate administration immediately after death and in long-term trust administration, providing quality work at a reasonable cost.  We understand that this is often a very difficult time for many clients and we diligently respond to the unique needs of our clients in a sensitive manner.

We have excellent relationships with knowledgeable professionals outside of our specialized area of expertise and we draw on those resources as necessary to best serve our clients.

Trust and Estate Litigation

Our attorneys provide effective advocacy to fiduciaries and beneficiaries involved in both contested and uncontested litigation. For example, we assist individuals, trustees, and executors in matters involving:

  • Will and trust construction
  • Trust reformation or termination
  • Family settlement agreements
  • Approval of non-judicial settlements
  • Accounting issues 
  • Citations to discover assets
  • Will and trust contests
  • Spousal elective share rights
  • Interpleader actions
  • Guardianships for minors and disabled adults

Our attorneys achieve positive results for our clients acting as fiduciaries or beneficiaries of estates and trusts. We successfully resolve complex legal issues through court proceedings, alternative dispute resolution, or settlement agreements outside of court.

Tax Controversy

Our attorneys represent fiduciaries in audits of estate and gift tax returns and fiduciary income tax returns, and in response to compliance matters with the states and the Internal Revenue Service. Our representation includes:

  • Estate and gift tax disputes
  • IRS or state tax audits and appeals
  • IRS or state tax collection matters
  • IRS liens, levies, and seizures
  • Installment payment plan agreements
  • Failure to file tax forms
  • Penalty waivers and abatements
  • Late tax filings or payments

Meet our Trusts & Estate professionals