Estate Planning, Probate & Trust Administration

Howard & Howard is a full-service business law firm with an extensive probate, trust administration, guardianship, conservatorship, estate, gift, generational, and tax planning law practice.

Our experienced, committed and innovative attorneys strive to meet our clients' needs in the most efficient and effective manner possible while providing our clients with practical solutions for estate and tax planning. We counsel and plan for taxable and nontaxable estates in meeting our clients goals and objectives and strive to monitor the evolution of these efforts.

  • I. The Scope of Our Services

    Estate planning frequently reaches beyond issues solely of taxation.

    The only thing that ever remains constant is change. We strive to help develop adaptive solutions to accommodate changes in the laws, the client's feelings, marital or domestic partner relationships, asset changes, health circumstances, matters of special needs and elder care issues, and family and/or business partner relationships.

  • II. Impact of New Legislation

    In January 2013, Congress increased and made permanent the exemption of $5,000,000 per donor, indexed for inflation for gift, estate and generation skipping tax purposes. However, this did not eliminate the necessity for ongoing estate planning. In reality, planning for many has been, and may continue to be, a function of personal feelings as well as tax considerations. Formulas in existing documentation could now likely produce unintended results, unnecessary complexity and undesired restrictions. Accordingly, this documentation should in all cases be reviewed. Ultimately, your documents may require revision or replacement in an effort to accommodate more flexible planning to satisfy your intended objectives.

  • III. Integration with Income Taxes

    Income tax rates as well as Medicare taxes increased in 2013. As the economy strengthens, many other taxes could rise in order to cover federal deficits. The estate planning process enables us to monitor and evaluate how these income tax consequences could possibly be reduced, deferred, or eliminated. This could result in the enhancement of your retirement objectives, preserving and increasing savings and investments, and better achieving your goals and objectives through avenues such as Roth Conversions, income shifting techniques, Charitable Trusts, sales, gifts, and/or low interest loan opportunities. As a result, the integration of income tax planning into estate planning has become far more essential.

  • IV. What We Design and Prepare

    We cover all aspects of estate planning and wealth preservation including cutting edge solutions in order to fulfill our clients’ goals and objectives.

    Accordingly, we prepare:

    • Wills
    • Revocable Living Trusts
    • Irrevocable Trusts
    • Special Needs Trusts
    • Joint Trusts
    • Supplemental Needs Trusts
    • Intervivos Marital Trusts
    • Self-Cancelling Installment Notes
    • Private Annuities
    • Asset Protection Trusts
    • Qualified Domestic Trusts
    • Retirement Plans
    • Retirement Plan Trusts
    • Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts and related funding methods
    • Operating Agreements and Partnership Agreements
    • Pre and Post Nuptial Agreements
    • HIPAA Release Agreements
    • Health Care Powers of Attorney
    • Preferred Partnerships
    • Pet Trusts
    • Education Trusts
    • Charitable Trusts (Lead, Uni, Annuity and Remainder)
    • Private Foundations and Not-for-Profit Documentation
    • Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts
    • Qualified Personal Residence Trusts
    • Dynasty Trusts
    • Intentionally Defective Grantor Trusts
    • Installment Sales and Exchange Agreements
    • Voting Trusts Agreements
    • Cottage Trusts
    • General Durable Powers of Attorney
    • Gun Trusts
  • V. Planning Services

    Howard & Howard actively advises clients in order to reduce or defer taxes, shift wealth in a tax efficient manner, and/or plan for wealth preservation in the following planning areas:

    • Estate and Gift Planning
    • “Tax Burn” Strategies
    • Generation Skipping Transfer Tax Planning
    • Choice of Venue
    • Income Taxes
    • Valuation Discounts and Estate Freezes
    • Inbound and Outbound International Estate Planning
    • Life vs. Death Planning
    • Coordination with Financial Planning
    • Addressing Multi-State Asset Ownership Issues
    • State and Local Tax Planning
    • Post-Mortem Planning
    • Business Succession
    • Liquidity Needs and Financing Options
    • Limited Liability Company Formation and Governance
    • Implementation of Transactional Services
    • Asset Protection and Offshore Planning
    • Litigation Prevention and Dispute Settlement
    • Multi-Generational Planning
    • Charitable Planning
    • Planning and Advice on Complex and Difficult-to-Value Asset Holdings
    • Coverage of Reproductive Technology Alternatives
    • Executive Compensation Planning
    • Estate and Gift Tax Return Preparation
    • Probate Controversies and Dispute Resolution
    • Guardianships/Conservatorships
    • Representation of Collectors of Art, Coins and Other Collectibles
    • Estate Freezes
    • Trust Funding
    • Marital Agreements and Domestic Partner Agreements
    • Counseling Fiduciaries, Financial Advisors, CPAs and Outside Legal Counsel
    • Tax Audits and Controversies
    • State and Local Taxation
    • Cross Border Tax Advice
    • Asset Allocation Considerations
    • Tax Opinions
    • Tax Compliance
    • Creation of Family Offices
    • Creation of Private Trust Companies
    • Document Interpretation
    • Forecasting and Responding to Changes in the Law
    • Participation in the Drafting of New Probate Laws
    • Mediation of Marital Dissolutions
    • Counseling as to Ownership and Operation of Corporations, Partnerships, Limited Liability Companies and Joint Ventures
  • VI. Administrative Services

    In conjunction with these services, we engage in the following administrative proceedings:

    • Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Administration
    • Appointment of Guardians and Conservators
    • Challenges to Guardianships and Conservatorships
    • Probate Litigation
    • Mitigation of Penalties
    • Trust Reformations
  • VII. Integration with Other Legal Needs

    This planning transcends families and also applies to business partners as well as corporate and business planning. Estate planning administration invariably leads to an interdisciplinary process that requires the expertise and advice of other well-qualified Howard & Howard attorneys. Accordingly, the Estate Planning Group, on a team approach with our other attorneys, collectively recommend, design, draft, and assist in the implementation of the following:

    • Tax Planning and Tax Litigation
    • Entity Planning and Formations (Corporations, Partnerships, and LLCs including Start-Ups)
    • Entity Compliance
    • Buy Sell Agreements
    • Executive Compensation Agreements
    • Retirement Plans and Fringe Benefits Planning
    • Public Offerings and Private Placements
    • Mergers, Acquisitions, Purchases, Sales, Liquidations of Businesses and Professional Practices
    • Real Estate Planning
    • Real Estate and Property Tax Appeals
    • Health Care Planning
    • International Taxation and Planning
    • Dispute Resolution and Mediation
    • Personal and Fiduciary Tax Return Preparation
    • Business and General Litigation
    • Litigation Support
    • Intellectual Property Matters
    • Private Equity and Venture Capital
    • Banking and Securities Law and Regulatory Work
    • Acquisitions, Sales, Reorganizations, Mergers, Spin-Offs, and Divestitures
    • Tax Credits and Incentives
    • Environmental Law
    • Entity Governance
    • Compliance
    • Franchise Law
    • Gaming Law
    • Labor Law, Employment Law, and Litigation
    • Insurance Claims and Litigation
    • Communications Law
    • Energy and Utilities Law
    • Excise Tax
    • Immigration Law
    • U.S./Canadian Law
    • Bankruptcy Law and Receiverships
    • Transportation and Logistics
    • Expatriot Tax Counseling
  • VIII. Collaboration and Counseling with Client’s Advisory Team

    Not only do we work with other Howard & Howard attorneys, but we often collaborate with our client's other professional advisors including accountants, financial advisors, appraisers, bankers and insurance advisors. Our goal is to periodically meet with the client's team throughout the course of the calendar and/or fiscal year in order to maintain and enhance planning opportunities, abate potential problems, and continue to achieve the client’s current and changing goals and objectives. We structure our planning in ways that enhance communication and collaboration and minimize and deter possible conflicts within the family and/or business structure.

  • IX. Our Goal is to Make a Difference

    At Howard & Howard, we pride ourselves on our prompt, attentive, and cost-effective service, while providing comprehensive and innovative solutions. We are not "one size fits all" attorneys. We strive to customize the legal services to meet the client's unique circumstances. Every client and client matter is important to us. Our goal at Howard & Howard is to make a difference and to add value for our clients.