Private Wealth Services
The private wealth services lawyers at Stahl Cowen provide creative, efficient, and practical guidance to help clients – traditional and non-traditional families, business owners, estates, trusts, and others – manage wealth, plan for the future, and achieve their goals. We help them transfer assets, develop strategies for charitable gifting, administer trusts and estates, craft flexible and effective wills, and design succession plans to minimize federal and state taxes, avoid probate, and protect their assets.

Estate Planning

We work with clients to incorporate both short and long-term financial objectives into a comprehensive estate plan that lays out a road map for minimizing federal and state death and income taxes, avoiding probate, and insuring maximum flexibility to them and their family. Our attorneys have particular strengths working with "non-traditional" families – same-sex couples, single parents, and unmarried opposite-sex couples – to ensure that they and their heirs receive the same protections for and rights to their assets.

We take a holistic approach to estate planning that addresses one of the primary concerns voiced by our clients – the protection of their assets from claims of potential creditors – to develop strategies for safeguarding wealth that include the use of state and federal exemptions, family limited liability companies, and domestic and off-shore asset protection trusts.

Business Succession Planning

We work with owners of closely-held companies and their family to develop succession plans that meet three specific criteria: protect the business and the value of its assets, minimize the future cost of transferring the business to heirs and others, and incorporate the family's financial and personal goals.

We typically work with our client's other financial advisors including their accountant, insurance advisor, appraiser, banker, investment advisor, and of course the clients themselves to develop a plan to fulfil the client's goals. We then prepare the required documents, which may include a shareholder or operating agreement, employment agreement, and appropriate estate planning documents.

When a sale of the business best helps the owner and family achieve their objectives, we ensure that the transaction is executed in the most tax-efficient manner possible.

Charitable Planning

We regularly work with individuals and families to create charitable giving plans that maximize the impact of their donations and the tax benefits of their gifts for the donor and their beneficiaries and may include the establishment of charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, pooled income funds, donor-advised funds, or private foundations.

In addition, our lawyers serve on the boards or committees of a number of publicly supported charitable organizations and assist on a broad range of tax, planning, and operational issues.

Estate and Trust Administration

Our private wealth services attorneys regularly work with executors, administrators, guardians, and trustees to administer and manage probate estates, estates of disabled persons and minors, and living trusts. We advise fiduciaries through the administration process, prepare relevant court documents, appear in court, transfer assets, and prepare estate tax returns, generally together with our client’s accountants to ensure that our actions maximize the tax benefits for the estate or trust.

Finally, because estate matters are not always amicable and routine, we represent both fiduciaries and claimants in will contests, estate claims, and other disputes.

Contested Tax Matters

We help clients respond to and successfully resolve a wide range of adversarial tax proceedings involving income, employment, gift, and estate taxes before the Internal Revenue Service, state administrative agencies, and various courts, as well as administrative matters including collection issues and offers in compromise.