Estate Planning

Attorneys in the Estate Planning Group are well versed in techniques that aid clients in forming and implementing comprehensive estate plans. Estate Planning is essential for people to make sure their property goes to the persons they want it to go to, and to avoid probate on succession to their property. Poorly-drawn, ambiguous documents can spark litigation and fail the testator’s purpose.

While reducing estate tax liability is an important focus of the estate planning process, we understand that each client's situation is unique, and that tax motivated decisions must be consistent with the client's personal desires. We can never be certain about the future and therefore an estate plan must be flexible and adaptable so that we can react quickly to the needs of our clients. We prepare documents that preserve as much flexibility as possible and provide opportunity for later tax planning by use of such devices as QTIP elections and disclaimers of interests in property.

Taking into account estate and income tax issues, as well as human and family concerns and financial management factors, our goal is to create comprehensive estate plans to address all these issues, while tailoring each plan to the needs of the individual client: from traditional wills and trusts for taxable and nontaxable estates, to more sophisticated planning including the formation and implementation of business succession plans, family entities, charitable trusts, irrevocable insurance trusts and private foundations.

People of all ages need to have certain basic tools in place. Estate planning includes wills, trusts, durable powers of attorney, living wills and health care powers of attorney, and coordinating property ownership and beneficiary designations with the overall plan. Because we are both estate planning and elder law attorneys, we offer more protection for our clients that most estate planning lawyers do not consider.

We assist clients in developing individual financial plans for the management and use of assets during the individual's lifetime. This includes advice regarding legal and tax aspects of joint ownership of property, formation of family limited partnerships and limited liability companies for the management of property and for lifetime transfers to family members; planning for the contingency of disability through "living wills" and advance directives for health care, use of durable powers of attorney and revocable living trusts; and advice regarding various types of investments, the desirability of making gifts and the general effect of income tax laws.

The following descriptions are representative of Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin & White’s work in Estate Planning:

  • Development and coordination of estate plans, including:
    • Succession planning for multiple generations in family businesses;
    • Coordination of charitable and family gifts; and
  • Drafting documents to:
    • Reduce, defer and where possible eliminate federal estate tax liability;
    • Protect family assets threatened by issues such as heirs with debt, dependency, or disability;