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Trusts & Estates

The Van Winkle Law Firm offers an experienced team of nine trusts and estates attorneys for all aspects of estate planning and administration. Our attorneys counsel clients in the development and implementation of innovative, customized estate plans to preserve, protect and pass on their wealth. Throughout the process, our attorneys work diligently to minimize probate, estate, gift, income and business taxes and other administrative expenses. Several of our attorneys complement their law degrees with master’s degrees in taxation. Our team is staffed with Fellows of the prestigious American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, Board Certified Specialists in Estate Planning and Probate Law, Board Certified Specialists in Elder Law and Certified Public Accountants.

SERVICES INCLUDE

  • Business Succession Planning
  • Charitable Gift Planning
  • Elder Law & Disability Planning
  • Estate and Trust Settlement
  • Estate Planning & Administration
  • Guardianships
  • Taxation
  • Trusts & Estates Disputes & Controversies
  • Trust Reformations & Terminations
  • Will Contests

ESTATE PLANNING HIGHLIGHTS

  • Designed and implemented individually tailored estate plans for numerous clients with large sophisticated estates and difficult family issues. These creative plans have allowed clients to protect their hard earned wealth and to transfer that wealth to future generations with significantly reduced taxes and administrative expenses while still achieving the clients’ primary goals regarding the appropriate distribution of their assets.
  • Prepared complex estate plan for $20 million-plus estate involving a solely-owned business. Achieved client’s goal to prepare children by first marriage for succession management of the company, while balancing the interests of second spouse. Coordinated with counsel for the company and a business attorney within the firm to maximize the value of the company for the family through a management team involving attorney, spouse, business counsel and children. Plan involved multiple trusts and powers of attorney.
  • Assisted three generations of clients, parent, child and grandchildren with estate-planning arrangements. Reviewed estate plan of grandparents that had been created several years ago. Created complete estate plan for child. Drafted pre-marital agreement for child about to re-marry.

ELDER LAW HIGHLIGHTS

  • Routinely created special needs trusts for Medicaid/SSI recipients who would otherwise be disqualified from public assistance because of inherited assets or lawsuit recovery. These assets are sheltered for use in supplementing care provided by Medicaid/SSI.
  • Assists clients in “spending down” excess assets in order to enable a spouse in a nursing home to qualify for benefits, thus preserving assets for a surviving spouse and ultimately inheritance for the next generation.

BUSINESS SUCCESSION HIGHLIGHTS

  • Successfully guided clients through the legal, tax and business complexities of creating, growing, purchasing and selling a family business and devised and executed effective business succession plans to allow clients to preserve and transfer their businesses to the next generation with a minimum of taxes and administrative expenses.

TRUSTS & ESTATES LITIGATION HIGHLIGHTS

  • Without resorting to litigation, regained control of more than $10 million in assets for an elderly client.
  • Instrumental in resolving the distribution of an estate worth more than $2.5 million where there was considerable confusion and uncertainty over the provisions of the descendant’s will and trust.
  • Recovered more than $1 million for a trust involved in a dispute over a life insurance policy.
  • Used mediation to resolve several will contests.