Trusts and Estates

Trusts and Estates has been a significant practice for Bleakley Platt since the Firm’s inception in 1937. Our Trusts and Estates Practice Group continues to flourish and includes attorneys from both national and local law firms who are highly experienced in representing clients in all aspects of trusts and estates planning, administration and litigation. This highly-skilled Group effectively addresses the legal needs of its clients in a personal and attentive manner.

Estate Planning

We work closely with our clients to develop tax-efficient, customized estate plans to fit their particular needs. While a well-drafted will is an essential element of one’s estate plan, it is often not sufficient because little can be done in a will alone to reduce the estate tax. We use a variety of estate planning vehicles and techniques to reduce our clients’ transfer taxes and to maximize the amount of their wealth that passes to those people and those charities that are important to them. The Trusts & Estates Practice Group counsels and represents clients in all aspects of estate planning, including:

  • Wealth Transfer Planning
  • Business Succession Planning
  • Asset Protection Planning
  • Charitable Planning
  • Special Needs Planning
  • Forming Business Entities

Estate and Trust Administration

We represent corporate and individual fiduciaries in estate and trust administration matters. Acting as a fiduciary carries with it significant responsibility. A fiduciary’s duties may include filing tax returns, probating a will, identifying and marshalling assets, obtaining appraisals, making tax elections, preparing accountings, and settling a trust or estate.  We are committed to ensuring that our clients have a complete understanding of their fiduciary obligations and a clear plan for meeting those obligations.

Estate and Trust Litigation

The Trusts & Estates Group represents corporate and individual fiduciaries and beneficiaries (individual and charitable) in estate and trust proceedings in Surrogate's Court, federal and state courts and before the Internal Revenue Service and state tax authorities. Such proceedings include:

  • Contested Probate 
  • Contested Accountings
  • Construction & Reformation
  • Spousal Right of Election
  • Removal and Appointment of Fiduciaries
  • Creditors’ Claims
  • Wrongful Death Compromises
  • Tax Appeals
  • Kinship Proceedings

Bleakley Platt is committed to our clients’ success and believes that in some instances, an alternative fee arrangement may be preferable to a traditional hourly fee structure. Such arrangements require approval by the Firm’s management.  To learn more about the Firm’s policy regarding alternative fee arrangements, click here or speak with a partner.

For any questions regarding our Trusts and Estates Practice Group, please contact Partner Mary Ellen Manley at (914) 287-6158.