Estate Planning & Wealth Preservation
Estate Planning & Wealth Preservation focuses on maximizing and protecting family wealth but wealth preservation is only a small part of the puzzle. Tailoring a comprehensive, flexible estate plan to a client’s individual needs is a process that requires depth of skill, insight, intuition and patience.
At MBK, we take the time to get to know and understand our clients so that we can build estate plans that mesh with their specific goals. Our attorneys bring a diverse set of multi-disciplinary skills to the processes of estate planning, administration and dispute resolution, incorporating our firmwide experience in Taxation, Elder Law, Business & Finance, and Non-Profit & Tax-Exempt Organizations to provide the full spectrum of services to our clients.
“Say not you know another entirely, till you have divided an inheritance with him.”
– Johann Kaspar Lavater (John Caspar Lavater)
Many of our clients come to us with complex financial or familial situations. Our attorneys analyze and disentangle these complexities and deliver clarity to the client. Together, we construct a plan that best achieves their personal and financial objectives in a tax-efficient manner. We prepare all necessary documents, which may include:
- Revocable (Living) Trusts
- Testamentary Trusts
- Financial Durable Powers of Attorney
- Health Care Directives, Health Care Proxies and Living Wills
- Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts “(GRATS”)
- Life Insurance Trusts
- Generation-Skipping and Dynasty Trusts
- Intentionally Defective Grantor Trusts
- Beneficiary Defective Grantor Trusts
We also help clients to achieve their charitable-giving objectives, whether through lifetime gifts or as part of their estate planning. We counsel individuals and charities on a number of charitable-giving techniques including:
- Charitable Lead and Charitable Remainder Trusts
- Charitable Gift Annuities
- Private Foundations
- Donor Advised Funds
For many clients, their personal wealth plan intersects with their business planning. MBK counsels business owners on all aspects of the closely held business life cycle, and integrates tax and estate planning in the DNA of the business through a focus on:
- Management and ownership succession planning
- Buy-sell, shareholder, partnership and operating agreements
- Stock transfer restrictions
- Employment agreements
- Executive compensation and non-qualified deferred compensation plans
- Exit strategies for inactive owners of a family business.
Estate and Trust Administration
We advise families in handling complex estate and trust administration matters. We have been privileged to handle some of the most significant and substantial estates in our region. Our services include assisting executors and trustees in discharging all of their fiduciary duties, such as probating estates and preparing all required court documents and tax returns. We provide assistance in marshalling and distributing assets to beneficiaries. We also provide ancillary probate services to out-of-state executors, administrators, and personal representatives who require estate administration services for Pennsylvania properties.
Disputes regarding trusts and estates require in-depth knowledge of a specialized area of the law, top-notch litigation skills, and the sensitivity to guide a client through a very stressful time. We have successfully represented executors, trustees, and beneficiaries in highly contentious will contests, probate litigation, and asset transfer disputes, including:
- Will and trust contests
- Claims related to a beneficiary’s status as an heir or as a designated beneficiary of life insurance, annuity or retirement plan benefits
- Charges of undue influence, lack of capacity, or fraud in the drafting and execution of Wills, Trusts, and Powers of Attorney
- Disputes concerning lifetime gifts, jointly owned accounts, Transfer-on-Death accounts, and other transfers designed to avoid probate
- Claims against executors and trustees, including mismanagement of assets, sub-standard investment performance, self-dealing, conflicts of interest and misappropriation of assets.