Estate & Wealth Planning Services & Succession Planning

Overview

Estate and wealth planning can raise sensitive issues. Our lawyers act as both legal advisors and trusted counselors, helping clients leverage financial and legal tools to achieve their personal, family, business, and charitable goals.

Michael Best provides guidance on income and estate tax planning, business succession planning, financial planning, asset protection planning, risk management, and retirement planning.

Our clients, who come from diverse backgrounds and situations, include executives, private investors, family trusts, closely held business owners, and philanthropists. We look at the big picture of each client’s overall financial planning, often working with their accountants, investment managers, and other professional advisors. Our plans are designed to be flexible, and we assist clients in adapting and responding to unforeseen family and business issues, economic conditions, and ever-changing tax laws.

Experience

We have extensive experience across all dimensions of wealth transfer, asset protection, and estate planning matters. Our work includes the following areas:

Tax and Estate Planning

  • Asset protection
  • Wills
  • Living trusts
  • Testamentary trusts
  • Gift and estate tax preparation
  • Individual income tax preparation and planning
  • Fiduciary income tax preparation and planning
  • Generation-skipping trusts and tax planning
  • Qualified personal residence trusts
  • Grantor retained annuity trusts
  • Trust administration
  • Family limited partnerships, LLCs, and other corporate structures
  • Intra-family sales
  • Minimization of transfer taxes
  • Changes of residency planning

Family Business Succession Planning

  • Transition to next-generation owners
  • Formation and maintenance of corporate entities
  • Shareholder and buy/sell agreements
  • Recapitalizations
  • ESOPs
  • Qualified Subchapter S trusts
  • Electing small business trusts

Charitable Planning

  • Income tax implications
  • Charitable remainder and lead trusts
  • Family foundations
  • Donor-advised funds

Contested Matters

  • Tax audits and litigation (federal and state)
  • Will contests
  • Trust litigation
  • Estate and trust accountings

Insurance Planning

  • Irrevocable life insurance trusts
  • Split-dollar plans
  • Beneficiary designations
  • Analysis of life, disability, and long-term care insurance

Marital Property Planning

  • Pre- and post-marital agreements
  • Titling of assets

Elder Law/Disability Planning

  • Governmental benefits
  • Special needs trusts
  • Long-term care planning
  • Property powers of attorney
  • Healthcare powers of attorney

Retirement Planning

  • Qualified and nonqualified retirement plans
  • Deferred compensation
  • Retirement distribution planning
  • Stock option issuance and exercise
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