Trusts & Estate Planning

High net worth individuals and families, entrepreneurs and businesses often encounter situations that require sophisticated estate, gift and income tax planning. Planned or unexpected intergenerational transfers of wealth and business deals and restructuring are opportunities to maximize tax efficiencies, freeing up assets, time and energy for the revitalization of a family or business.  Finding creative solutions in these types of situations is a highly personalized practice at Goodwin. Our lawyers have decades of experience designing creative, effective plans focused on the goals and needs of our clients. We are able to draw on the resources of a large firm as needed to provide truly customized plans for each of our clients.

Our comprehensive services include:

  • Estate planning: designing creative, effective plans focused on the goals and needs of our clients and their families
  • Estate administration: settlement of estates on behalf of professional fiduciaries, attorneys, or individuals named as executors or personal representatives
  • Trust administration: serving as trustees of family and charitable trusts
  • Fiduciary services: advising corporate fiduciaries and private trust offices
  • Litigation: representing fiduciaries and beneficiaries in trust and estate disputes
  • Non-profit and charitable organizations: assisting with tax-exempt status, governance, regulatory compliance and planned giving programs

Estate Planning

Analysis: understanding the unique goals of each individual client and analyzing income, gift and estate tax consequences of transfers in light of individual goals

Core estate plans: wills, revocable trusts, durable powers of attorney, health care documents

More sophisticated plans: generation-skipping trusts, gift trusts for minors, grantor retained annuity trusts, qualified personal remainder trusts, business/investment vehicles such as limited partnerships or LLCs, life insurance trusts, intra-family sales or loans, other trusts addressing unique circumstances

Charitable planning: outright or restricted gifts, negotiation of gift agreements, donor-advised funds, private foundations, charitable remainder trusts and charitable lead trusts, gifts of unique assets such as real estate and artwork

Estate Administration

  • Implementation of estate plans
  • Probate court filings
  • Preparation of estate tax returns and fiduciary income tax returns, analysis and management of income tax consequences and handling of federal and state estate tax audits
  • Disposition of assets, including the funding of trusts and devises under more complicated plans in light of tax considerations
  • Obtaining valuations of probate and non-probate assets
  • Estate account preparation
  • Settlement of claims against estates

Trust Administration

  • Administering trusts
  • Working with investment advisors to manage assets
  • Understanding complex family situations, assets and specialized tax-sensitive trusts
  • Working with co-trustees and beneficiaries by providing tax and financial advice and planning distributions
  • Communicating and reviewing the purposes of the trust with beneficiaries
  • Preparing fiduciary income tax and generation-skipping tax returns

Other Services

Advising corporate fiduciaries and private trustee offices on establishment and management of fiduciary businesses and identifying and managing fiduciary risk.

Working to avoid litigation, but when disputes arise, using our considerable capabilities and resources to devise effective litigation strategies and negotiate sophisticated settlements.

Advising nonprofit and charitable organizations on the implementation and administration of planned giving programs, the establishment and maintenance of 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status, corporate and governance issues, and state and federal regulations applicable to nonprofit and charitable organizations.