Tax, Estate & Probate
Disputes will inevitably arise in many family situations, whether they involve the interpretation of the language of estate planning documents or the manner in which an estate or trust was administered. At Armbrecht Jackson, we specialize in both prosecuting and defending a variety of claims that can be brought in both a probate administration, as well as a trust administration.
This experience includes representation of both individuals and institutions in the following types of matters:
- Will Contests
- Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claims;
- Actions to Remove Personal Representatives and/or Trustees;
- Court Interpretation of Ambiguous Language Contained in Estate Documents;
- Handling Tax Disputes with the IRS and State Department of Revenue for Estates and Trusts;
- Incompetency Proceedings.
- and many other matters which fall under the ambit of probate and trust litigation.
The trained professionals at Armbrecht Jackson understand that perhaps more than any other area of the law, disputes that arise in the context of a death of a beloved family member, or which arise in the area of a family trust, can be among the most contentious, emotional, and personal claims our clients may face. Our attorneys are skilled not only in the courtroom dealing with the actual litigation, but also outside of the courtroom, in dealing with the family members and helping our clients to diffuse explosive situations, and sometimes settle these matters short of litigation. Regardless of the situation, the experience of the attorneys at Armbrecht Jackson is invaluable in helping our clients resolve their disputes and preserve the assets of both their estates and trusts.
Probate and Trust Administration
Being appointed as a fiduciary, either as a trustee or personal representative involves many serious challenges, both for individuals and institutions. Administration of trust or an estate is filled with complexities, and in the context of individuals can be a great source of anxiety and stress, especially after the death of a loved one. The attorneys at Armbrecht Jackson have a wide range of experience in helping our clients with the many nuances of estate and trust administration, and can help alleviate the stress and confusion that naturally comes from this area. Our attorneys include an active assistant probate judge and adjunct faculty members at local colleges, and our attorneys frequently speak at national and local seminars on matters involving trusts and estates.
Our experience in this area includes handling virtually any kind of probate or trust administration matter which can arise, including but not limited to the following:
- Probating of Wills/Intestate Petitions;
- Interpreting Will and Trust Language;
- Making Decisions Regarding Investments;
- Filing Petitions for Sale of Assets/Real Property;
- Dealing with Creditors of the Estate or Trust;
- Resolving Conflicts with Beneficiaries;
- Estate Planning After Death, Including the Use of Disclaimers and Preserving the Unified Credit of Deceased Spouses (i.e. portability planning);
- Retitling of Assets;
- Handling Appointments of Guardians and/or Conservators.
We strive to take the guess work out of this area for all of our clients, both individuals and institutions, so that they can be assured that any decisions they make are well thought-out, reflective of the drafter’s intent and are done in such a way to minimize the opportunity for disputes with the beneficiaries.
Crafting a plan for the preservation and distribution of a person’s estate upon their death can be a difficult task, especially given the complexities in today’s modern tax environment. Armbrecht Jackson currently retains one of the largest groups of estate planning lawyers in the area, including three attorneys with advanced tax law degrees and years of experience in the area of estate tax planning. These attorneys can help assist their clients with any number of tax planning strategies to minimize or altogether avoid the payment of federal and state estate taxes, including appropriate will drafting, living trusts, charitable tax planning, gifting strategies, estate freezing techniques, and other techniques in the area. Our attorneys assist clients not only with drafting an appropriate estate tax plan, but also representing estates in front of the IRS after the clients’ death to assure that their plan is carried out.
However, our estate planning abilities are not just reserved for persons with larger estates and more complicated issues. Our estate planning group at Armbrecht Jackson also handles estate planning for non-taxable estates, whether that involves drafting wills, revocable trusts, drafting powers or attorney, disability trusts, advanced health care directives, and other types of planning documents to assure that intent will be met upon death and that any special issues that may arise in the family context can be appropriately planned for. At Armbrecht Jackson, our attorneys utilize a comprehensive approach toward estate planning, including assuring that non-probate assets such as life insurance, retirement benefits, jointly held property, and other type assets are provided for in the estate.
Business Succession Planning
For small business owners, much if not all of the value of their estates is contained in businesses which they have built up over the course of their lifetime. However, many of those same business owners find difficulty protecting that asset, and consequently fail to provide for their loved ones, by engaging in planning for the succession of management for that business.
At Armbrecht Jackson, our attorneys are skilled in assisting families and small business owners to preserve this valuable asset, to ensure the survival of the business upon the death of the key owner, or where appropriate, to facilitate the sale of that business either before death or after death. Our attorneys provide assistance in such areas as drafting appropriate documentation to implement succession plans, obtaining valuations of business, developing gifting programs for business interests, drafting retirement plans to provide for the key owner while transitioning the business to the next generation, and many other tasks which will assist clients in assuring the survival of this business upon their death. We incorporate succession planning into your estate plan as well, in order to meet the goals of providing for family members, including both participating and non-participating family members and surviving spouses. We work closely with our corporate attorneys as well in drafting appropriate corporate documentation to assure that the successful transition of the business is carried out.
Federal and State Tax
One need only take a look at the sheer size of the current tax code and the attendant regulations to know that tax planning is perhaps one of the most difficult and complicated areas of law in existence today. Tax planning touches all areas of our lives, whether it involves our businesses or our families, and more than ever it requires a skilled advisor to navigate through the labyrinth of laws in this area.
Armbrecht Jackson employs one of the largest tax departments in the local area to provide just such advice to our clients. Our tax attorneys work hand-in-hand with our corporate attorneys to analyze and plan for any number of tax issues in the corporate and transactional area, including corporate acquisitions, divisions, and reorganizations, income tax and FICA withholding, employee/independent contractor issues, tax credits, tax deferral strategies, business deductions, and many other issues which arise in the business area. Our tax attorneys are involved with numerous national, state and local organizations, including the current chair of the Closely Held Business Committee of the Tax Section of the American Bar Association, and they also teach courses and various national and local seminars on tax topics. They have worked on drafting and providing advice regarding tax legislation, both at the state and national level, and they apply this experience to meet the needs of the firm’s clients in this very complicated area.
In addition to providing tax planning advice, our tax attorneys are skilled in representation of their clients in front of the IRS in tax litigation. This includes not only estate planning issues, but also tax issues involving federal and state withholding, payroll taxes, income tax liability for estates and trusts, challenges to employee classification, and the many other issues which may arise for both individuals and companies with the IRS. Our attorneys are trained to assist our clients in dealing with the IRS in an audit, and in either resolving disputes with the IRS or if necessary litigating the matter in tax court.
U. S. News rates our firm “Tier 1” in Trusts and Estate Law, and Litigation – Trusts & Estates.
Tax, Estate, & Probate Resources and Publications
Collaboration Between Our Practice Area Teams
As a full-service law firm, we are able to devote resources to fit clients’ needs.
Our clients rely on counsel from related practice areas such as: