Family Wealth Transfer Planning & Trust and Estate AdministrationNot-For-Profit Organizationsemail
A Trusted Advisor for GenerationsA legacy is important. It demonstrates what you valued during your lifetime – not only the wealth you accumulated, but what was important to you and what you wanted to pass on to future generations. Estate planning is more than just drafting legal documents and analyzing tax issues, it is the process of carrying out your last wishes. Your testamentary documents act as your final communication to your children and grandchildren.
Keeping the Family Money where the Family Wants ItA testamentary document also serves as a guide for your professional advisors. For the legal team, there may be a host of administrative issues that can extend for generations and may include unexpected events such as will contests, complicated valuation issues and tax audits.
Whether you intend to leave your assets to family heirs, to philanthropic organizations or to a combination of the two, laying the proper groundwork helps ensure that your legacy will be protected by distributing your assets in a way that most clearly reflects your values and intentions.
More than Estate PlannersIn addition to preparing testamentary documents, we help our clients establish family limited partnerships, dynasty trusts, charitable lead annuity trusts (CLATs), private foundations, supporting foundations, grantor retained annuity trusts (GRATs), charitable remainder trusts, pre-nuptial agreements, offshore asset protection trusts, and counsel clients with respect to gifts and sales to defective grantor trusts.
We advise corporate and individual fiduciaries in all manner of probate and trust administration, including counseling trustees with respect to risk management in determining whether to accept trusteeships; advising with regard to administration matters, accountings, and exercise of discretionary trustee powers; and petitioning for probate court instructions and modifications of irrevocable trusts.
We are regularly called upon to represent trustees and executors in uncontested, contested, and litigated probate court proceedings. Our trust and estate attorneys also represent individual and charitable beneficiaries, heirs and creditors in protecting their interests in probate estates and trusts.
Fulfilling Philanthropic WishesWe routinely advise our clients on the full array of philanthropic vehicles, as well as the most effective approaches for complex charitable gifts. Because we also represent many charitable organizations, our attorneys are adept at understanding both sides of charitable transactions and advising clients on any attendant legal restrictions. We work diligently to support the donor’s philanthropic interests, while ensuring the optimal benefit to the charity.
Manatt's Family Wealth Practice Group represents:
High net worth individuals and families, including entrepreneurs, owners of substantial family businesses, and political, entertainment, and sports figures
Trust companies and trust departments of major banks
Individual and charitable fiduciaries, beneficiaries, trustees, and creditors of substantial trusts and estates in the United States and abroad
Our team has a unique skill set, and includes several LLMs, a CPA, and a certified specialist in trust and estate planning. Our litigators have an enviable track record handling will contests and a wide variety of other trust and estate litigation matters.
They Put Their Trust in Us
We created a family limited partnership whose partners consisted of our client and the trustee of the client’s dynasty trust. Our client made a gift of limited partnership interests to a CLAT, which will endow her philanthropy for 20 years. At the end of 20 years, the assets remaining in the CLAT will pass to the dynasty trust for her heirs, free of gift tax.
In a recent will contest, we successfully represented a medical center foundation against claims that the testator was unduly influenced by the foundation when he made his multi-million dollar gift to the foundation.
We established a GRAT for the founders of a biotech firm in the Bay Area. The company has since been sold, and substantial wealth will be passed to the founders’ heirs at no gift or estate tax cost.
We recently created a family limited partnership and a dynasty trust where the client gifted and sold non-voting membership interests in the LLC to the dynasty trust for a promissory note. The play between the interest on the note and the expected appreciation of the assets over time is the excess that will go to our client’s children free of gift tax. We also worked with this client on carefully-crafted trust language that reflects her values and her wish that that her heirs lead productive lives independent of their potential trust distributions.
Manatt is proud of the long-term relationships we’ve built with our clients – often times spanning multiple generations. This trust and longevity speaks to the confidence our clients have placed in our firm to fulfill their wishes, even beyond their natural life. We take this responsibility seriously and value the role we can play in protecting one’s legacy.
Manatt has one of the largest groups of trust and estate attorneys in
California, with client service capabilities throughout the state. Our
attorneys bring an extraordinary amount of experience to assisting high
net worth individuals and families in implementing their wealth transfer
strategies through effective tax and estate planning. We also advise
trust companies, trust departments of major banks, and individual
fiduciaries in all aspects of trust and estate administration in the
U.S. and abroad. Our trust and estate attorneys counsel beneficiaries
and creditors to help protect their interests in substantial estates and
trusts in the U.S. and overseas. We provide trust and estate litigation
and dispute resolution services to our clients, including
representation in will and trust contests.
Our lawyers have particular expertise in developing personalized, creative estate planning solutions for high net worth individuals and families, including entrepreneurs, owners of substantial family businesses, and political, entertainment and sports figures. We use revocable trusts and all manner of irrevocable trusts to transfer wealth to succeeding generations in an estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax-efficient manner. Charitable planning, asset protection, discount planning through the use of family limited partnerships and family limited liability companies and tax management strategies are incorporated into clients' estate planning as appropriate. Sophisticated planning techniques, such as grantor retained annuity trusts and sales to defective grantor trusts, are considered in appropriate client circumstances. We counsel owners of closely held businesses with regard to proper business structure and succession planning. Representative examples of Manatt's role as family wealth transfer advisors include the following:
Manatt lawyers counsel surviving family members through the entire process of postmortem administration of their family trusts, including estate tax matters and funding assets among newly established trusts. We also counsel numerous corporate and individual fiduciaries in all manner of probate and trust administration, including counseling trustees with respect to risk management in determining whether to accept trusteeships; advising with regard to administration matters, accountings, and exercise of trustee powers; and asking the probate court for instructions and modifications of irrevocable trusts. We regularly represent trustees and executors, individual and charitable beneficiaries, and creditors in uncontested, contested, and litigated probate court proceedings, including will and trust contests.
As an example of our trust administration capabilities, we provide ongoing representation to individual successor trustees in a multiple-year post-death administration of a $500 million trust. Our lawyers have assisted the trustees by:
In an example of our corporate fiduciary representation, we prepared and filed a petition requesting the probate court to instruct the trustee to sell one of three condominiums owned by a private trust. The settlor/beneficiary of the trust was elderly and living in a nursing care facility. The trust lacked sufficient liquid assets to pay for the ongoing expenses of the beneficiary's care. The remainder beneficiaries vigorously objected to the sale of the condominium, arguing that a taxable capital gain could be avoided if the trust were to borrow money instead. When the only loan available to the trust was a subprime loan at a high interest rate, our probate attorney argued at the probate court hearing that, because of the high cost of borrowing in this circumstance, a sale was appropriate even if a capital gain was recognized. The judge agreed, and instructed the trustee to sell one of the condominiums.
Manatt attorneys represent individual and corporate fiduciaries, charities, individuals, heirs, beneficiaries, and third-party claimants in a wide variety of trust and estate litigation matters in probate and civil courts, from initiation of a case through its final appeal. Our typical litigation representation employs a team approach, pairing a member of our trusts and estates practice group with a litigation attorney with specialized experience in trust and estate matters. The depth and variety of our experience in these matters allow our litigation team members to recognize circumstances in which expensive and time-consuming litigation can be avoided and more efficient alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation, can be employed successfully. The following examples illustrate several successful trust and estate litigation matters handled on behalf of Manatt clients:
Ranked Nationally for Litigation– Trusts & Estates 2011–2013
Ranked in San Francisco for Trusts & Estates Law 2011–2013
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