Trust and Estate Planning
Jackson & Campbell has a dedicated team of attorneys who practice primarily in the area of estate planning and administration, and others with expertise in areas often affected by the planning and administration. The firm’s unique depth of experience in this practice area enables its attorneys to complement each other when special knowledge is required.
While the firm prides itself on the technical skills of its attorneys, it places an equal emphasis on attorney sensitivity to the special and unique needs of each client. We take special pleasure in working with clients to ensure that their estate planning goals and objectives will be met.
Jackson & Campbell offers a wide range of services to our trust and estate clients, including the following:
We provide guidance and advice on wealth preservation and transfer techniques that minimize estate, gift, generation-skipping transfer, and income taxes as well as on business succession planning and asset protection techniques while taking into account the unique circumstances and objectives of each client.
We provide planning services for traditional, non-traditional, and blended families, each of which requires a specific set of skills and understanding. Our experience in working with each type of family unit enables us to offer guidance and direction on planning strategies as well as to develop plans to implement the particular planning objectives of the client.
Experienced Trust and Estate Attorneys
Jackson & Campbell’s highly respected trust and estate attorneys are informed on all developments, at both the state and federal levels, which affect the interests of our clients, whether those developments relate to changes in the tax law, to legislative changes which affect the transfer of wealth during life or at death, or to court decisions which guide and inform our practice area. Many of our attorneys are involved in these developments as they emerge and are prepared to incorporate them in our planning services immediately upon their effective date.
Estate Planning Services
We advise clients on the development of Wills for the transfer of assets upon death, either outright or in trust, for a surviving spouse, children, charities, or other designated beneficiaries. A “testamentary trust” may be included in the Will, created upon the death of the client, to provide for a surviving spouse, a child, or other beneficiary with “special needs”, an underage beneficiary, or a generation skipping person (for estate tax purposes) and we advise clients on the advantages and disadvantages of each depending upon the circumstances.
A Revocable Trust is often prepared for Clients as a “will-substitute” in order to avoid probate as well as for use in planning ahead for incapacity. We advise on the revocability of such trusts as well as on the termination of such trusts either upon the death of the client or at some later date.
Irrevocable Trusts are frequently created by a Grantor to keep assets out of his or her taxable estate upon death to avoid an estate tax. We often create such trusts to own life insurance policies in order to avoid inclusion of the life insurance proceeds in the taxable estate of the insured for estate tax purposes.
Durable General Financial Powers of Attorney
In creating a Power of Attorney, the client can appoint an agent responsible for his or her financial affairs in the event he or she should become incapacitated prior to death. Such an appointment may avoid a court intervention proceeding in which the Court is required to appoint a Conservator of the property of the incapacitated individual with the responsibility for handling that individual’s financial affairs.
Advance Medical Directive
The Client may execute such a directive appointing an agent to make decisions regarding his or her medical care and treatment in the event the client is incapacitated and unable to make those decisions himself or herself.
Our estate planning services are designed to effect the donative intent of the client as well as to minimize gift and estate taxes and facilitate the implementation of the plan by the fiduciary.
Trust and Estate Administration Services
Personal Representatives and Trustees
We represent Personal Representatives of Decedent’s estates, advising them of the court probate procedures and the fiduciary duties and responsibilities owed by the Personal Representative to the beneficiaries of the estate in the course of the estate administration as well as the power of a Personal Representative.
We also advise trustees of irrevocable trusts of the powers and duties of the trustee in his or her administration of the trust and the liability of a trustee for breach of trust.
In addition to representing the Personal Representative or the Trustee, beneficiaries of an estate or trust often seek our services in advising them of their respective rights in the course of an estate or trust administration.
Minimizing Estate and Income Taxes
Our trusts and estates administration services are designed to minimize estate and income taxes and to facilitate execution by the fiduciaries.
Estate and Fiduciary Tax Services
Upon the death of a decedent, numerous tax returns are required to be filed:
- The decedent’s final federal and state income tax return for the taxable year in which he or she died must be prepared and filed and any taxes owed must be paid;
- If the decedent’s estate had income following the decedent’s death, federal and state fiduciary income tax returns must be filed, on a calendar year or fiscal year basis, reporting that income and any taxes owed must be paid by the estate fiduciary.
- Federal and State estate tax returns must also be filed, within a specified time period, if the estate exceeded the threshold amount for a taxable estate.
As part of our trusts and estate administration services, we provide tax planning and preparation services for the fiduciary income tax returns required for trusts and estates and for the estate tax returns for taxable estates of decedents.
Dispute Resolution Services
Our trusts and estates practice group also includes experienced litigators who are able to provide dispute resolution and comprehensive risk management services. We offer a wide range of such services to individuals, professional fiduciaries and institutional trustees, developing strategies to avoid disputes as well as to resolve disputes in a favorable and expeditious manner when they arise. Our trusts and estates attorneys have extensive experience in trust construction, and in enforcement and modification of trusts as well as in will and trust contests, removal of fiduciaries, and the negotiation of settlement agreements to resolve disputes without court intervention.
Business Succession Planning Services
Jackson & Campbell’s trust and estate planning attorneys offer succession planning services for family businesses designed to advise business owners on strategies to transfer all or a portion of the family business, in a tax-efficient manner, either during life or at death, to the owner’s family members, employees or to a third party buyer. In advising on transfers to family members or employees, we work with the family’s other advisors to develop transfer techniques that allow the owner to retain control during his or her lifetime but which results in the reduction of gift and estate transfer taxes.
Asset Protection Services
Asset protection requires the utilization of a comprehensive approach which often includes insurance policies, trusts, limited partnerships, limited liability companies, and other entities which Jackson & Campbell trusts and estates attorney, working with the firm’s business law and tax attorneys, are skilled at developing. It is important to understand that the fundamental purpose of the legal tools employed in asset protection planning is to neither hide personal or business assets nor to deprive the government of taxes derived from the income earned on those assets. Rather the purpose is to shield assets from unanticipated claims by dubious creditors or plaintiffs.
Trust and estate planning and administration services have historically been a special strength of Jackson & Campbell. The firm, which traces its roots back more than 125 years, has provided legal, financial and tax-related services to generations of families. Today, our Trust & Estate Planning Attorneys represent clients across the economic spectrum and provide the planning services required for the modern family of the 21st century.