You face choices
You've dedicated years—perhaps decades—to hard work, and it's brought you well-deserved financial success. Now you have decisions to make as you approach retirement. If you are a closely-held business owner, you must choose whether to keep ownership and operations in the family, sell to outsiders, find an outside management team or liquidate the company.
If you are approaching the completion of a corporate career, you likely have complex choices involving pensions, stock options and benefits. The dynamic nature of our tax laws create an ever changing labyrinth of traps for the unwary that potentially affects all the wealth you have created, and the steps you have taken to preserve it for yourself and your heirs.
You have concerns
There are several issues to consider: making sure that your wishes are carried out for asset distribution, providing for family members with special needs, and minimizing taxes when you're no longer able to offer direction. Perhaps family members may disagree about your estate even if you have a will, and you want the assurance that a reliable and efficient third party will settle any problems effectively.
Perhaps you see yourself in one of these scenarios:
- A business founder wants to pass on a company to two children, but they are both strong-willed and seldom agree on anything—and who face paying a large tax burden if the company is part of your estate at your death.
- A successful executive and spouse who want to share their values of philanthropy with their children by setting up a family charitable foundation that the children will eventually manage, and which will be the primary recipient of their wealth at death.
- The parents of a child with special needs that will last the child's lifetime, and who want to select guardians and establish trusts so that these unique needs are met.
We can resolve these and many more trust and estate planning concerns for you, your family and your business partners. Our lawyers offer a wide variety of services related to estate and business planning, wealth protection and trust administration. We customize wills, trust agreements and business entity structures so that you can maximize your asset protection, minimize taxes, and have confidence that you can provide for yourself and your heirs.
Porter Hedges has helped numerous business owners, physicians, lawyers and other professionals, entrepreneurs, investors, executives, retirees and their families. We respect the unique concerns and wishes of each client, ensuring that they are met within the context of the legal requirements for executors, trustees, guardians, heirs and beneficiaries.
You get comprehensive assistance
We carefully prepare any type of estate or trust documentation related to:
- Wills · Charitable and family trusts
- Family partnership structures
- Marital property agreements
- Business succession agreements
We make sure that even the most complex personal and family needs are met regarding:
- Financial and retirement planning · Living wills and trusts
- Planning for incapacity or other special health situations
- Division of assets among children and spouses in blended families
Effective tax management is essential to successful estate planning, and we have worked with our clients to skillfully handle:
- Federal estate and gift tax filings
- Federal generation-skipping transfer taxes
- Estate tax examinations before the Internal Revenue Service
- Disputes before the IRS Appellate Division and U.S. Tax Court
Disputes arise even in carefully planned estates, and we protect our clients in litigation concerning:
- Inheritance rights
- Wills, and will and trust construction
- Community and separate property
- Creditors' claims
- Tax liabilities
- Fiduciary responsibilities of executors and trustees
These are examples of solutions that we provide:
- Securing an allowance in estate tax deductions from the IRS for a large estate with operating oil and gas properties.
- Protecting the estate of a physician from potential lawsuits by using established asset protection planning techniques, while achieving significant estate tax savings.
- Drafting a shareholder agreement for owners of a successful business who are concerned about ongoing management of the company and the transition of ownership if one of the partners dies or chooses to leave the business.
- Prosecuting a claim of fraud on inheritance rights in a disputed estate to obtain a substantial settlement for our client.
- Helping a high net worth client obtain large estate tax valuation discounts on such complex financial assets as commercial real estate, limited partnership interests and restricted public stock.
- Managing the affairs of an elderly couple who have no close family and who must deal with one spouse's advancing Alzheimer's disease.