What We Do
We help our clients decide how to best use and arrange their wealth to strengthen and sustain the people and causes most important to them. That may be a spouse, children, grandchildren, extended family, friends or charities. No matter what it is, we start by getting to know the client. We frame relevant ideas and alternatives, and help clients reach confident decisions. Then we write documents to implement those decisions, including Wills, Revocable Trusts, Powers of Attorney and Living Wills.
Estate and Transfer Tax Planning
We help clients minimize estate, gift, inheritance and generation-skipping taxes. Sometimes, this involves controlling the future growth of a taxable estate. Other times, it involves shrinking a taxable estate through sales, gifts, or both. We use simple techniques when possible, such as irrevocable “Crummey” and “spousal access” trusts. When indicated, we use more complex approaches, including grantor-retained annuity trusts, grantor trust sales, qualified personal residence trusts, limited liability companies and partnerships.
Federal and State Income Tax Planning
We help you minimize federal and state income taxes with creative trust planning, often using charitable remainder trusts to avoid federal capital gains taxes and incomplete gift non-grantor trusts to avoid state income taxes (often in connection with a business sale).
Business and Succession Planning
We help business owners organize and structure their businesses. We often protect and plan for “side ventures” in rental real estate, startups or franchises. When estate planning for owners, we anticipate transfers of control and estate equalization issues, and strive to reduce risks of discord among the next generation of owners. We write buy-sell agreements to protect owners’ families and reduce risks of expensive litigation. We also work with owners exploring a business sale, especially to capture estate and income tax savings opportunities.
Asset Protection Planning
Because we believe that estate planning and asset protection objectives are often aligned, we often help clients increase protection against creditors. Common tools include “spousal access” irrevocable trusts and self-settled “asset protection” trusts in Delaware and other jurisdictions. We also organize limited liability companies and other business entities to separate side investments from core wealth. We help “snowbirds” make the fullest use of Florida’s asset protection laws, including homestead and tenancy by the entirety. We help clients reduce financial risks of divorce with prenuptial agreements. We also help clients (especially blended families) use postnuptial agreements to reduce financial risks of estate litigation.
We help you optimize retirement residency to minimize property and income taxes, most often for Kentuckians who move to Florida.
When clients have a charitable agenda, we help them carry it out, providing thoughtful coordination with other aspects of estate and income tax planning. Common tools include donor-advised funds and charitable remainder trusts. For larger gifts, we use charitable lead trusts and private foundations. We also have conservation and historic preservation easement experience for clients with unique properties to protect.
We help clients administer estates in Kentucky and Florida. We also advise on Kentucky inheritance tax and Federal estate tax return planning, audits and compliance (including Federal “portability” estate tax returns and disclaimer planning).
We help corporate and individual trustees avoid and mitigate liability in changes of trustee and the management and termination of trusts. We also help trustees and beneficiaries adapt irrevocable trusts to changing circumstances with decanting and non-judicial settlement agreements.
Trust and Estate Disputes
We advise executors and trustees in contested situations, helping them protect rights to reasonable compensation and reduce liability risk from beneficiaries. We also protect interests of trust and estate beneficiaries against problems presented by other beneficiaries, or by uncooperative executors and trustees. Litigation is expensive and hurtful for families, and more than 95% of litigated cases eventually settle. Accordingly, when possible, we focus on identifying and implementing creative negotiated solutions that make the most of trust law, tax law, and financial planning opportunities.
Targeted Financial Planning
Many of our clients already have access to comprehensive financial planning, forecasting and modeling. For clients that don’t, we provide financial modeling to support decisions for estate planning, tax planning, gifts to family or charity, and resolutions of trust and estate disputes.