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Trusts and Estates

Trusts and Estate Administration

The hallmarks of our practice.

Overview

Among Delaware law firms, few possess the depth of experience and level of sophistication in all aspects of estate planning that has long been the hallmark of our Private Client Services’ trusts and estates counsel.  At Morris James, we pride ourselves on developing an estate plan that accomplishes both tax- and non-tax-related objectives for each of our clients. Our success in designing effective estate plans that do not sacrifice practical concerns in application begins with careful listening to identify client goals and needs, and then proceeding to apply the benefit of our broad-based knowledge and experience in efficiently accomplishing those goals.

We are skilled in crafting estate plans that incorporate strategies for lifetime giving within annual exclusion limits and structured wealth transfers during life and at death through the use of limited liability companies, trusts, and other vehicles. Our attorneys counsel clients and advise estate representatives and other fiduciaries and beneficiaries on multi-generational transfer planning, asset protection, general matters of estate and trust administration, federal, state and local estate tax issues, post-mortem planning, and tax-saving strategies.

Our attorneys also take into consideration important non-tax aspects of estate planning.  These include practical concerns regarding appointment of fiduciaries, the management of closely-held businesses, real estate and other assets, planning for inter-generational ownership, succession or exit of family businesses, and use of life insurance and employee benefits.

Trusts

We advise clients regarding probate avoidance in the disposition of assets through the use of Revocable Trusts and utilization of trust planning techniques to attain family and charitable gifting goals, including tax-favored strategies such as Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (GRATS), and trusts with charitable gift components.  

We routinely counsel financial institutions and individuals on The Delaware Advantage, with its variety of tax-efficient and innovative trust strategies that keep Delaware trust law on the cutting edge.  These include judicial and non-judicial modification procedures and termination of existing trusts, decanting, and changing of trust situs.  In addition, we provide advice regarding the potential state income tax savings and other advantages available to non-residents of Delaware with the use of Delaware trusts.

Estate Administration

Morris James' trusts and estates attorneys assist clients in the administration of complex multi-jurisdictional estates, estates including difficult to value and illiquid assets, and the probate of estates; as well as in trust administration intended to maximize the benefits of the planning that went into it.  We represent clients in the Court of Chancery in fiduciary litigation, contested will cases, elective share proceedings, and in other estate and trust disputes.

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