We take great pride in providing meticulous service in the most complex and dynamic personal situations and it shows: we have families that have consistently trusted our practice for generations.
Our clients work with a counselor who is motivated to understand their unique set of goals and challenges, applying our “one size does not fit all” methodology and our innovative and personalized approach to all matters. In addition, our attorneys are able to seamlessly draw on the significant resources of the firm’s additional practices areas, including Litigation and Tax, to offer the full range of legal needs to our clients.
Herrick's Private Clients attorneys provide legal counsel and related services to high-net-worth individuals, multi-generational family estates and trusts, corporate fiduciaries and non-profit organizations. We handle the legal and contractual dimensions of key life events from creating and refining vehicles for wealth transfer, to administering wills and trusts and resolving intra-family disputes. Unlike most private clients practices, our team utilizes an in-house accounting team that can prepare and file tax returns for individuals, fiduciaries and exempt organizations to complement our legal advice.
Lawyers in the firm’s Private Clients Department support clients in a broad range of areas, including:
Estate and Gift Planning
Minimizing substantial estate and gift taxes for clients through wills and irrevocable trusts, lifetime gifts, insurance vehicles, retained interest trusts, corporate reorganizations, family limited partnerships, charitable gift planning and other arrangements.
Probate and Trust Litigation
Representing fiduciaries and beneficiaries in estate and trust litigations. We combine our extensive knowledge of estate law with significant experience in challenging litigation to successfully handle every type of litigated trusts and estate action including will contests, will construction, judicial accounting and construction proceedings, and prosecution and defense of suits by and against both executors and trustees.
Business Valuation and Succession Planning
Valuing, reorganizing and administering closely held corporations, partnerships and other forms of privately held foreign and domestic businesses, as well as planning for disposition of an owner’s interest. Our attorneys structure vehicles for inter-generational business transfers, reducing transfer tax costs and potential family discord. Working closely with our Corporate Department, we can reduce gift and estate taxes that might be incurred in such transactions and provide for appropriate ownership succession and control for succeeding generations.
Trust and Estate Administration
Providing comprehensive support to executors and trustees, including the administration of estates of high-net-worth individuals and the trusts they create. The firm helps executors marshal and value estate assets, prepare estate tax returns, and deal with distribution planning and property sales and transfers. We provide day-to-day trusts and estates administration and planning to take advantage of opportunities for maximum income and estate tax savings and deferral. In addition, we assist foreign estates in collecting U.S. property and ensuring that all requisite U.S. taxes are paid.
Disputed Tax and Valuation Issues
Counseling individuals and trusts and estates in cases before the Internal Revenue Service, United States Tax Court and state taxing authorities. In addition, our attorneys’ valuation know-how is used in intra-family dispute resolutions. We have particular experience in handling issues involving valuation and transfer of closely held business entities, real estate, intellectual property and works of art, and are well-versed in complex income tax issues. Where appropriate, members of our Real Estate and Corporate Departments work closely with outside appraisers to ensure an appropriate valuation.
Advising charities on corporate, trust and tax issues related to investments, grant making and planned giving vehicles. The group represents not-for-profits in merger and dissolution proceedings, and charities as beneficiaries of trusts and estates. We counsel our private clients on the most tax effective methods of charitable giving and provide a full range of administrative services to clients’ private foundations, advising them with respect to federal excise taxes on self-dealing, excess business holdings and taxable expenditures. Our team also has experience creating charitable entities, preparing and filing the federal and state applications to recognize such organizations’ tax-exempt status, advising board members regarding tax and administration issues, resolving disputes among board members and advising charities with respect to governance issues.
Documents such as Health Care Proxies, Powers of Attorney and Living Wills, when properly drafted, assist in avoiding the need and expense of guardianship proceedings.
Tax Advice for Non-U.S. Citizens
A non-U.S. person who owns United States property, including real estate, art or shares in a U.S. company, might be surprised to discover that such property may be subject to a very significant U.S. estate tax. With proper planning, this tax can be substantially reduced or even avoided altogether. For non-U.S. citizens who, directly or indirectly, own property connected with the U.S. we can explain and implement techniques to avoid or minimize U.S. estate and gift taxes.
Persons becoming residents or citizens of the U.S. have discrete tax issues and planning opportunities that are inapplicable to current citizens and residents. With proper planning, we can help new immigrants avoid these pitfalls and possibly shield significant assets from estate taxes for several generations.