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

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.

Representative Experience

Maine Beer Co. has grown from a small “nano” brewery producing 100 barrels of beer a year to a thriving microbrewery producing over 4000 barrels a year. To support the surge in production they expanded their staff from two to 12 full-time people and moved into a brand new 11,000 square foot production facility. As the company has grown so have its legal needs and Pierce Atwood has been there to help.

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Maine Beer Co. Growth

Working together, our Business and Trusts & Estates lawyers helped our client Tom’s of Maine negotiate the sale of a controlling interest in the company to Colgate-Palmolive, in which the family retained a 16% interest.

Successful Business Transfer

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.

Representative Experience

Our Trusts & Estates attorneys produced a complicated prenuptial agreement with just a few weeks’ notice and in the midst of the holiday season. We worked quickly to ensure our client could celebrate a New Year’s Eve wedding knowing her legal affairs were in order.

Complex Prenuptial Agreement Produced on Short Notice

Maine Beer Co. has grown from a small “nano” brewery producing 100 barrels of beer a year to a thriving microbrewery producing over 4000 barrels a year. To support the surge in production they expanded their staff from two to 12 full-time people and moved into a brand new 11,000 square foot production facility. As the company has grown so have its legal needs and Pierce Atwood has been there to help.

More
Maine Beer Co. Growth

We helped a client to develop a tax efficient charitable giving plan wherein he will leave his estate to numerous charitable organizations. We customize such gifts to maximize value to the charitable organizations and minimize taxes, in this case using a combination of charitable trusts and outright gifts to endowments.

Tax-Efficient Gift Plan

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.

Representative Experience

We helped a client to develop a tax efficient charitable giving plan wherein he will leave his estate to numerous charitable organizations. We customize such gifts to maximize value to the charitable organizations and minimize taxes, in this case using a combination of charitable trusts and outright gifts to endowments.

Tax-Efficient Gift Plan

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.  

Please click here for more details on our Probate Litigation practice.

Representative Experience

Pierce Atwood successfully defended the trustee of two trusts established for distribution of the estate of the beneficiaries’ father. Plaintiff beneficiary of the trusts sued her co-beneficiary (the trustee) for an accounting, alleging that the trustee had wrongfully withheld distribution of assets. We moved to dismiss the complaint on statute of limitations grounds based on the pleadings and record testimony taken in a prior bankruptcy proceeding involving the plaintiff, which showed that the plaintiff’s interest in the trusts had terminated nearly 10 years ago.

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Successful Defense of Trustee

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.

Representative Experience

When a senior level executive relocated to Maine we helped him to understand how his estate plan should change to comply with state-specific laws. We also helped to design an innovative trust structure to match the unique needs of his family.

Innovative Trust Structure for Senior Level Executive

Representative Experience

Our Trusts & Estates attorneys produced a complicated prenuptial agreement with just a few weeks’ notice and in the midst of the holiday season. We worked quickly to ensure our client could celebrate a New Year’s Eve wedding knowing her legal affairs were in order.

Complex Prenuptial Agreement Produced on Short Notice

When a senior level executive relocated to Maine we helped him to understand how his estate plan should change to comply with state-specific laws. We also helped to design an innovative trust structure to match the unique needs of his family.

Innovative Trust Structure for Senior Level Executive

Maine Beer Co. has grown from a small “nano” brewery producing 100 barrels of beer a year to a thriving microbrewery producing over 4000 barrels a year. To support the surge in production they expanded their staff from two to 12 full-time people and moved into a brand new 11,000 square foot production facility. As the company has grown so have its legal needs and Pierce Atwood has been there to help.

More
Maine Beer Co. Growth

Working together, our Business and Trusts & Estates lawyers helped our client Tom’s of Maine negotiate the sale of a controlling interest in the company to Colgate-Palmolive, in which the family retained a 16% interest.

Successful Business Transfer

Pierce Atwood successfully defended the trustee of two trusts established for distribution of the estate of the beneficiaries’ father. Plaintiff beneficiary of the trusts sued her co-beneficiary (the trustee) for an accounting, alleging that the trustee had wrongfully withheld distribution of assets. We moved to dismiss the complaint on statute of limitations grounds based on the pleadings and record testimony taken in a prior bankruptcy proceeding involving the plaintiff, which showed that the plaintiff’s interest in the trusts had terminated nearly 10 years ago.

More
Successful Defense of Trustee

We helped a client to develop a tax efficient charitable giving plan wherein he will leave his estate to numerous charitable organizations. We customize such gifts to maximize value to the charitable organizations and minimize taxes, in this case using a combination of charitable trusts and outright gifts to endowments.

Tax-Efficient Gift Plan