A trusted advisor for generations
Legacy is important. It demonstrates what you valued during your lifetime—not only the wealth you accumulated but also 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 also a process for ensuring that your last wishes are carried out, with your testamentary documents acting as your final communication to your children and grandchildren.
Keeping the family money where the family wants it
A testamentary document also serves as a guide for the professionals handling your estate. Administrative issues can extend out for generations and may include such unexpected events 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 planners
We also 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, prenuptial agreements and offshore asset protection trusts, and we counsel clients with respect to gifts and sales to grantor trusts.
We advise corporate and individual fiduciaries in all manner of probate and trust administration.
We are called upon to represent trustees and executors in uncontested, contested and litigated probate court proceedings, or to protect the interests of individual and charitable beneficiaries, heirs and creditors in such proceedings.
Fulfilling philanthropic wishes
We advise clients on the full gamut of philanthropic vehicles as well as the most effective approaches to structuring large or complex charitable gifts. We work diligently to structure gifts that match the donor's philanthropic interests with the charity's current fundraising priorities.
Our team includes several LL.M.s, 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.
Manatt is proud of the long-term relationships we've built with our clients—oftentimes spanning multiple generations. This trust and longevity speak 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 our clients' legacies.
Who we work with
Our clients put their trust in us. We represent:
- High-net-worth individuals, including entrepreneurs, and their families; 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
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 defended a medical center foundation against claims that the testator had been unduly influenced by our client when he made his multimillion-dollar gift to it.
- We established a GRAT for the founders of a biotech firm in the San Francisco 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 created a family limited partnership and a dynasty trust where the client gifted and sold nonvoting membership interests in the LLP to the dynasty trust in exchange 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 to carefully craft trust language that reflected her values and her wish 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 speak 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 our clients' legacies.