Trusts and Estates
The attorneys of the firm’s Trusts and Estates practice offer our clients depth and breadth of experience in all aspects of individual estate and gift tax planning, charitable giving and philanthropic planning, business succession planning, estate settlement, trust administration, adoptions, conservatorships, guardianships and probate litigation.
We provide estate planning services for many individuals including senior executives of some of the nation’s top companies, Connecticut nonprofit organizations and the officers, directors and major shareholders of the firm’s corporate clientele. In addition to assisting individual clients in carrying out their duties as executors, trustees and conservators, our attorneys represent many local and out-of-state banks and other trust services institutions as fiduciaries.
- Our attorneys guide clients through the process of creating an estate plan designed to fulfill the client’s specific needs and address his or her concerns about the orderly transition of wealth, taking into consideration the composition of the client’s assets and intended beneficiaries. This requires monitoring and mastery of rapidly changing income, gift, estate and generation-skipping tax laws; careful attention to the allocation of assets; and sensitivity to the needs of individuals, their family members and other beneficiaries.
- Members of our practice counsel individual clients regarding the tax and dispositive aspects of estate planning. We then draft documents designed to implement each client’s objectives, which may include prenuptial agreements, wills, trusts, family foundations, marital agreements, limited liability company operating agreements and buy-sell agreements, among others.
- In addition to preparing wills and trust agreements, members of our practice advise clients concerning "elder law" issues such as planning for incapacity and long-term health care arrangements. These matters often involve the review of gifting and insurance options, and preparation of powers of attorney and advance health care directives.
Probate, Estate Settlement and Trust Administration
- The Trusts and Estates practice handles all types of probate matters including administration of decedents’ estates, testamentary trusts, adoptions, conservatorships and guardianships.
- Our attorneys and paralegals are well versed in every aspect of probate procedure. Our goal is to make a difficult time and a sometimes complex process as easy as possible for our clients.
- Our team approach to estate administration matters facilitates the orderly, efficient management and distribution of decedents’ estates. We assist the fiduciary with preparing and filing probate documents, attending hearings, evaluating claims, post-mortem tax planning, preparing and filing federal and state transfer and personal income and fiduciary income tax returns, and handling audit examinations and appellate proceedings before the Estate and Gift Tax and Appellate Divisions of the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Tax Court as well as local tax authorities.
- We advise individual and institutional trustees in matters involving trust administration, and prepare trust accountings and fiduciary income tax returns.
- We represent individual and institutional fiduciaries, heirs and family members in contested matters in the probate, state and federal courts. We have pursued and defended numerous actions involving wrongful death, will contests, determination of heirs, claims by or against a fiduciary, breach of fiduciary duty, fiduciary removal and replacement, contentious guardian and conservator appointments, and termination of parental rights proceedings.
In addition to the attorneys in our Trusts and Estates practice, we draw on the talents of Pullman & Comley attorneys in other practices of the firm, when appropriate, to obtain optimal results for our clients. Trusts and Estates attorneys have the opportunity to work with members of the Business Enterprises practice concerning the succession and preservation of family businesses, consult with members of the Employee Benefits practice in structuring estate plans that include substantial retirement benefits, collaborate with the firm’s Commercial Law & Real Estate practice concerning real property matters associated with the planning of estates or estate and trust administration, or seek advice from the firm’s Litigation practice about trial or appellate procedure in contested tax and probate matters.