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Practice Areas

Estate & Succession Planning

Mohen Cooper estate planning lawyers have developed a special expertise in sophisticated estate tax planning and designing highly customized and complex will and trust arrangements.

While wills, living trusts, healthcare directives and durable powers of attorney are the basic estate planning building blocks, we also implement plans involving more sophisticated tools, such as:

  • Special Needs Trusts (a/k/a Supplemental Needs Trusts)
  • Irrevocable Income Only Trusts for elder law planning
  • Irrevocable life insurance trusts (ILITs)
  • Gifting strategies
  • Qualified personal residence trusts (QPRTs)
  • Grantor retained annuity trusts (GRATs)
  • Sales to intentionally “defective” grantor trusts (IDGTs)
  • Family partnerships and limited liability companies (FLPs & FLLCs)
  • Private foundations
  • Generation-skipping or “dynasty” trusts
  • Pension and IRA distribution planning, including standalone beneficiary trusts

Although we have a wealth of experience and skills employing sophisticated estate planning and asset protection techniques, our primary focus is always on the client’s goals, desires and best interests. Our estate and succession planning strategy is determined by listening to and understanding the client’s objectives. While a tax reduction strategy is often a client’s main concern, there are other non-tax goals — such as leaving property in trust to be managed for the benefit of a client’s loved ones to protect their legacy from divorce or creditors, or to provide an incentive to younger family members to be productive in their own right and not simply rely on an inheritance from parents or grandparents — that may be important considerations fin developing a client’s plan.

We represent individuals and families who own and operate a wide range of businesses. In that regard, Mohen Cooper is frequently called upon to advise clients with respect to establishing a business succession plan to transition the ownership and management of a family business from an older to a younger generation. Those businesses are conducted in many different forms of entity, including, partnerships, corporations (both C and S corporations) and limited liability companies (LLCs). Mohen Cooper’s lawyers can help with the planning and implementation of a plan to move ownership of the business in ways that can involve one or more of a redemption, reorganization, sale or gifting of ownership interests.  Because of their many years of representing closely-held business owners, the firm’s lawyers have a particular and creative expertise in the area of corporate succession planning.

Asset Protection Planning

In today’s somewhat litigious society, business owners face lawsuits from many sources, including product liability matters, employment disputes, environmental issues, and intellectual property infringement. Medical professionals constantly practice with the threat of malpractice suits. Corporate executives face the risk of shareholder suits and claims of breach of fiduciary duties. Finally, each family must consider the potential ramifications of a property settlement pursuant to a contentious law suit.

To protect your assets, you need legal advisors who have a thorough understanding of business law, property law, tax law, and debtor-creditor law, as well as estate and trust law. The ownership of assets, the structure of business entities, the availability of insurance, and the reach of contractual obligations all affect your ability to shield assets from claims.

Our lawyers work in groups as a team to structure an estate plan that suits the particular situation of each client to protect his or her assets from claims of future creditors. We apply a series of techniques that are designed to make it difficult or impossible for future creditors to attain your assets or collect judgments against you.

Probate & Trust Administration

We understand that trust and estate matters can be very personal affairs, and that losing a loved one or experiencing a dispute amongst relatives is difficult, complicated, and exacts an emotional toll. Even in less emotionally charged situations, simply serving as an executor, administrator or trustee can seem overwhelming. We try to lighten these burdens and counsel clients through every step of the process.

Mohen Cooper’s attorneys provide the sound and sensitive legal services needed to administer a decedent’s estate, some of which may include:

  • Finding & valuing assets of the estate
  • Settling debts
  • Preparing probate filings in Surrogate’s Court
  • Filing federal and New York estate tax returns
  • Addressing all issues related to the allocation of assets to beneficiaries

Many clients who have funded their trusts during their lifetimes or who have established trusts that are funded upon the death of the grantor need ongoing support. In these circumstances, we counsel trustees on their legal responsibilities and best practices for smooth and efficient trust administration. We assist with accountings, distributions, tax reporting requirements, and court filings.

Estate & Trust Litigation

Mohen Cooper’s Trust and Estate Litigation Practice group provides its clients with a team of attorneys widely recognized as being among the most distinguished, experienced and successful litigators in any field, along with those with specific experience in the field of trusts and estates. Some law firms involved in trust and estate litigation assign these cases to attorneys who are fundamentally estate planners with limited or no experience handling a major contested matter in the probate courts, while other firms rely on civil litigators with little or no experience in the field of trusts and estates. Mohen Cooper is unique in that we have seasoned trial attorneys with many years of experience litigating cases in either Surrogates or Supreme Court, and with the in-depth knowledge of the substantive law and unique procedures applicable to probate and trust disputes. For that reason, we are often the firm of choice to represent corporate fiduciaries (including large financial institutions), charitable beneficiaries, and individual fiduciaries and beneficiaries in some of the most complex and high profile disputes involving trusts and estates litigation matters.

Mohen Cooper’s attorneys combine in-depth understanding of trust and estate law with decades of experience in high stakes litigation. In addition, since trust and estate matters regularly intersect with other legal issues and disciplines such as tax, real estate, corporate/securities and insurance, our litigators often draw upon the expertise of other practice areas within our firm, such as our business consulting group, to advise on special aspects of a given dispute. This ensures our clients received the best representation possible.

Our litigators have experience in a wide range of areas, including claims for breach of fiduciary duty, imprudent investment management, beneficiary disputes, contested heirship, pretermitted and adopted heirs, charitable pledge disputes, disputed creditor claims, judicial construction and modification of wills and trusts, will and trust contests, will and trust validity, capacity, undue influence, elder abuse, contested powers of attorney, contested accountings, fraudulent transfers, partition actions, spousal right of election, wrongful death recovery, family and estate management disputes, and guardianships.

Our clients include high-net-worth individuals and their families, corporate fiduciaries such as bank and trust companies, large financial institutions, charitable organizations, and individual executors, trustees, administrators, and beneficiaries. Many of our individual clients are well-known entrepreneurs, business owners and entertainment talent, and we value the trust they place in us to protect their personal and financial affairs from public scrutiny.

 

our locations

100 Park Avenue - 16th Floor
New York, NY 10017
(212) 984-0619

135 Crossways Park Drive - Suite 402
Woodbury, NY 11797
(516) 280-8600