The Estate Planning and Administration team assists clients in estate planning matters, including the creation of wills, revocable trusts, powers of attorney, health care surrogates and living wills. Attorneys on this team often assist clients in achieving the maximum tax benefits by utilizing their available estate tax exemption, as well as marital and charitable deductions. They advise clients on matters including probate avoidance, as well as inter vivos transfers to reduce estate and gift taxes, such as valuation discounting, gifts to intentionally defective grantor trusts, and the creation of family limited partnerships. They work with clients and charities to assist clients in charitable giving, including techniques that seek to allow the client’s family to receive income in conjunction with charitable gifts. Where appropriate, they also counsel clients in regard to pre- and post-marital agreements.
Estate and Trust Administration
Attorneys on the Estate Planning and Administration team assist families in facilitating a distribution of a deceased loved one’s assets in accordance with the decedent’s wishes. They advise and assist the fiduciaries in carrying out such duties as determining and inventorying the estate’s assets, identifying and notifying creditors, determining beneficiaries, and transferring title to the decedent’s properties to heirs. Where appropriate, they use post-mortem tax planning to seek further tax savings.
Probate and Trust Litigation
The firm also represents estate and trust fiduciaries and beneficiaries in probate and trust litigation disputes. The team has experience in a wide range of estate related disputes, including elective share and spousal claims, will contests for undue influence or lack of capacity, breach of fiduciary duty claims, valuation disputes, and litigation related to pay-on-death beneficiary designations. Lawyers on the team are dedicated to working efficiently and effectively to resolve intra-family disputes in a cost and time sensitive manner.
The attorneys routinely advise business owners on issues relating to succession planning so that the client’s plan for the transfer of ownership and control of their business may be implemented smoothly and efficiently. Estate planning clients also tend to be among those who are advised by attorneys on other Ausley McMullen teams, such as Corporate, Health Care, Real Estate and Lending, and Tax, providing a unique opportunity for a multi-disciplinary approach to the individual’s planning goals. Several Ausley McMullen attorneys hold advanced tax degrees.