Business Case Study
Trusts and Estates
Rackemann, Sawyer & Brewster is one of Boston’s premier firms for representing individuals in protecting and preserving their wealth and meeting the special needs of families through estate planning. In addition, the firm represents individuals and corporations in trust and estate administration and probate litigation. Our multi-generational legal team has a wide range and extraordinary depth of experience which facilitates the development of long term relationships with our clients. Five of the department’s lawyers are members of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, a prestigious national association of trust and estate lawyers.
Our commitment is to individualized client service. Each client we work with has unique goals, background, perspective and thoughts on long term planning for himself, or herself and his, or her family. Individual clients often view us as family counselors and rely on us for legal, financial, tax, and practical advice. By ongoing and regular communication with our clients, we assist them in attaining their goals.
A significant aspect of our legal work involves planning to minimize estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer taxes. Rackemann lawyers are experienced in the most sophisticated and leading-edge tax-minimizing techniques for transferring property, such as retirement plans, real estate and business interests, from one generation to another. We also advise individuals and families regarding business succession planning and charitable gift planning. In addition to basic core estate planning documents (will, revocable trust, durable power of attorney, health care proxy and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act authorization), the following are a sample of various sophisticated trust structures we use to meet a client’s goals:
- Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts (“ILITs”)
- Qualified Personal Residence Trusts (“QPRTs”)
- Generation-Skipping Trusts
- Qualified Domestic Trusts (“QDOT”)
- Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (“GRATs)
- Charitable Remainder Trust (“CRTs”)
- Private Foundations
- Family Limited Partnerships.
Our lawyers help many clients create a plan for charitable giving which may include the establishment and operation of a family charitable foundation. In addition, we advise both public charities and private foundations about operating in compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Our lawyers work closely with our Philanthropic Support Group and Tax-Exempt Organization Group to assist Donors and charitable organizations achieve their goals.
Business Succession Planning
We advise closely held business owners to ensure that the value of their business interests will pass to their surviving family members in a manner that will not give rise to disputes with their partners. Our lawyers put into place buy-sell agreements where appropriate and coordinate those with the client’s estate plan, with full consideration to the estate tax and income tax minimization strategies appropriate to the client’s unique situation.
In addition to planning, we work with the named executor and trustee to implement the client’s postmortem plan. Although our involvement in each estate settlement varies, we routinely assist the executor with probating the will and obtaining the appointment of the executor; preparing estate tax returns, final individual income tax returns, and fiduciary income tax returns; representing the executor with any tax issue that arises with the IRS; and funding trusts and advising the trustee on an ongoing basis.
Representation in the Probate Court
Will Contests/Fiduciary Controversies
Lawyers in the department handle will contests and lawsuits for or against executors and trustees. In addition, we represent fiduciaries in equitable actions such as trust reformation.
Family Law Issues
We handle all family law issues that have trust and estate implications, from pre-nuptial agreements to revision of estate plans following divorce or in connection with a client’s child who is divorcing.
Guardianship and Conservatorships
Our lawyers are also experienced in obtaining guardianships and conservatorships for individuals who cannot manage their own personal and/or financial affairs.
The firm also represents trustees in probate court proceedings for resignation and appointment of successor trustees and account allowance proceedings, which often include working with court appointed guardians ad litem.