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Trusts, Estates & Private Clients

McCarter & English’s Trusts, Estates and Private Clients Practice advises high net worth individuals, closely held businesses and financial institutions, among others, on a broad range of matters, including estate and personal tax planning; charitable giving; estate administration; and estate, trust and fiduciary litigation.

Estate & Personal Tax Planning

There is more to estate and personal tax planning than simply drafting a will. Careful planning strategies can minimize exposure to income, estate, gift and generation-skipping taxes.

Our attorneys have years of experience in working one-on-one with clients to develop an estate plan that fits the unique needs of each client. The Private Clients Group uses its knowledge of the laws governing asset transfer to create a plan that achieves the client's goals for the disposition of his or her property -- and does so in as tax-efficient a manner as possible. This careful planning may involve implementation of a program of tax-effective giving to family members, the establishment of a plan of succession for a family business, or use of charitable giving techniques such as charitable trusts or private foundations. Through its understanding of estate, retirement and business planning, the Private Clients Group assists clients planning for estates of all sizes and levels of complexity.


Charitable Giving

The Private Clients Group applies years of experience in the area of charitable giving to craft inventive strategies for the transfer of assets to charities. Through the use of charitable trusts and private foundations, we work together to accomplish the client’s goals in a tax-efficient manner.

Estate Administration

When a client dies, our attorneys work as a team to ensure the estate plan is implemented as the client intended. The Private Clients Group has considerable experience administering estates and trusts, from the relatively simple to the most complex, and offers a full range of support services to executors, administrators and trustees. Our attorneys work to facilitate the administration of trusts and estates and to distribute assets as promptly as possible.

Estate/Trust/Fiduciary Litigation

When disputes arise regarding a trust, estate or related family entities, you can rely on our team’s extensive experience representing individuals or institutions, as beneficiaries or fiduciaries, in all aspects of dispute resolution. Some issues may arise before death: our attorneys can advise you on contested matters regarding guardianships, powers of attorney, lifetime trusts and pre-death agreements. Other matters, such as claims regarding the validity of wills, trusts or other estate planning instruments, typically arise shortly after death. Our attorneys frequently handle other issues, such as disputes involving estate or trust accountings, interpretation of wills or trusts, the performance of fiduciary duties or the management of trust or charitable assets.

In these and myriad other scenarios, we can help you navigate through these often complex matters (which have included litigation over estates valued in excess of $1 billion). Both before and after disputes arise, we counsel fiduciaries and beneficiaries on all aspects of dispute resolution or avoidance, including prudent tax, trust or estate administration, and beneficiary relationship issues. We will help you identify the most effective approach to achieve the best result for you, whether through litigation, negotiation or alternative dispute mechanisms. Sometimes creative approaches are required to balance difficult family dynamics, complex tax issues, and challenging estate planning. Whatever the approach, we welcome the opportunity to help find the right solution for you.


National Business Institute, Eatontown, NJ