Wills, Trusts And Estates
Wills, Trusts and Estates group is led by Of Counsel partner, Gerard Gjertsen.
We are dedicated to providing top quality service to our clients, and are pleased to meet with clients at any time at their convenience, whether within or outside normal office hours, and whether in the firm’s offices or not. Mr. Gjertsen is available to meet in New Canaan or New York City where he maintains an office located in midtown where he currently practices with Tricia Bonner, Esq., the former head of Trusts and Estates Department at Thacher Proffitt & Wood. Together, Mr. Gjertsen and Ms. Bonner bring over 60 years of experience to bear in the Trusts and Estate filed.
Wills and Estate Planning
The group’s approach is to identify and analyze three elements in our clients’ estate plans. The first is the drafting of documents intended to take effect at death which set forth the client’s wishes as to the disposition of his or her assets at that time. The second involves the determination of the best way to title assets and name beneficiaries so as to achieve the client’s objectives. The third is to determine the extent, if any, that lifetime gifting will assist the client with achieving his or her objectives.
Some of the firm’s clients have situations so simple that only the first element is relevant, but in most cases, all three elements need to be considered.
We seek always to work with the client to determine what the client wants, and to find the way to achieve the client’s objectives in the manner most comfortable for the client. We stress planning mechanisms that cause the client the least possible aggravation and which allow the greatest possible flexibility in implementation, without jeopardizing the objectives of the plan. We try to develop strategies, which maximize tax savings while minimizing the client transaction and administrative costs.
It is important to recognize that one’s estate plan should be comprised of more than just a will and related trust instruments. Clients need to be advised in the preparation of documents appointing health care agents, powers of attorney, and conservators. We prepare these documents for our clients as part of their estate plans.
Trusts And Other Fiduciaries
The firm represents a significant number of trusts and trustees of funded trusts. Services rendered include estate tax planning advice and estate tax return preparation, as well as general administration advice, including assisting with the fulfillment of all reporting requirements. While the firm does not provide investment advice, it has contacts with competent professionals who do. Further, a trust may play a role in the family financial plan as a business partner, real property owner, or lender.
In addition, we have experience establishing and implementing complex utilizing instruments such as remainder trusts, qualified personal residence trusts, charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, and private foundations, many of which are presently funded.
We have represented guardians, conservators, custodians and other fiduciaries, both in the planning stage and in connection with contested matters.