Trusts & Estates
In a world of constantly changing estate tax laws and uncertainty in the economy, we understand that planning for your family's future is more important than ever. Pierce Atwood's Trusts & Estates Practice Group can provide you and your family with comprehensive estate planning, gift planning, estate administration, and trust administration services. We also provide related services such as business succession planning, guardianships and conservatorships, work with tax-exempt organizations, and prenuptial agreements.
Our team of lawyers and paralegals collaborates to produce the best result for our clients, drawing on each other's knowledge and experience and regularly works with lawyers from other practice areas of the firm. When you engage Pierce Atwood for trusts & estates services, be assured that the full resources of the firm will be on hand to provide whatever assistance you may need.
Areas of Expertise
Business Succession Planning
Every business should have a succession plan. Proper planning can mean the difference between a business that passes to the next generation (or to a key employee or to a third party purchaser) successfully and a business that fails. We work closely with our Business Practice Group to provide creative, practical, tax efficient solutions for business owners at every stage of their careers.
We have a long history of providing estate administration services to families in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. We understand that you need experienced and sensitive counsel in the midst of difficult transitions, such as in the weeks and months following a death. Our lawyers and staff are skilled in the personal and the technical aspects of estate administration. Working with Pierce Atwood will give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing that if the worst should happen, we will be there to help your family every step of the way.
When providing estate planning services for our clients, we work closely to understand our clients' priorities, goals, family, and philanthropic interests. We carefully analyze the related tax issues and consider the available planning opportunities. Then we create and assist clients with implementing their estate plans. The plans typically include Wills, Trusts, Advance Health Care Directives, and Durable Powers of Attorney and may also include Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts, Charitable Remainder or Lead Trusts, Minor's Trusts, or other instruments. We provide planning for estates of all sizes and are comfortable working with "complicated assets" such as real estate holdings, closely held businesses, large retirement plans, and unique executive compensation plans.
Especially for people whose estates are potentially subject to federal or state estate taxes, lifetime gift planning is just as important as planning for death and incapacity. We can advise you on the most tax efficient ways to make gifts to charitable organizations or family members. We often employ techniques to leverage our clients' available gift tax exemptions such as the use of Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts, Family Limited Partnerships and Limited Liability Companies, or Qualified Personal Residence Trusts. We also provide our clients with various options for making charitable gifts that support organizations important to them while also providing considerable tax benefits.
Pierce Atwood has an extensive history of successful representation of clients in all types of probate litigation matters, from guardianships, conservatorships, and adoptions to disputes over the validity or interpretation of Wills and Trusts.
Pierce Atwood provides comprehensive trust administration services to our clients. Our attorneys regularly serve as trustee or co-trustee of trusts and also provide legal advice and assistance to our clients serving in those fiduciary roles. Some of the services we provide include the appointment of trustees, preparation and approval of accountings, preparation of nonjudicial settlement agreements, and shepherding trust interpretation, modification, or termination matters through the courts. Our group is also experienced with administering charitable trusts and private foundations.