Trusts & Estates

Crowley Fleck’s Trust & Estates attorneys strive to simplify complex transitions for individuals, families, businesses and donors. We prepare clients for life changes through the creation and execution of retirement, estate and long-term care plans, establishment of durable powers of attorney, and representation in estate, trust, guardianship, and conservatorship matters. We also provide succession planning and implementation services for business owners, such as reorganizations, restructurings, buy-outs, mergers, and acquisitions, and various trust planning alternatives.

Estate Planning

We prepare personalized estate plans for our clients, taking into account both tax and non-tax planning objectives. By tailoring our clients’ estate plans to their unique needs and desires and working with clients’ other trusted advisors, we give clients the confidence of knowing that their assets will pass as intended. Depending on the circumstances, our planning can include tax planning, wills and revocable trusts, financial and healthcare powers of attorney, life insurance and retirement account planning, review of asset titling, planning with non-probate transfers such as beneficiary deeds, drafting trusts for special issues such as incentive trusts, special needs trusts, trusts for minors, pet trusts, and trusts for family cabins, and planning with irrevocable trusts such as intentionally defective irrevocable trusts (IDITs), grantor retained annuity trusts (GRATs), qualified personal residence trusts (QPRTs), and irrevocable life insurance trusts (ILITs).

Tax Planning

We are experienced in all areas of wealth transfer taxes, including estate tax, gift tax and generation skipping transfer tax (GST), as well as the income tax aspects of trusts and estates. The interplay among these types of taxes can be overwhelmingly complicated. Our attorneys possess the expertise and experience to guide clients through the maze of wealth transfer taxes and income taxes in developing effective estate and succession plans and administering trusts and estates as efficiently as possible.

Probate, Estate and Trust Administration

We advise our clients regarding all aspects of estate, probate, and trust administration matters, by guiding personal representatives and trustees, assisting to identify assets and advising about their managment, preparing estate and gift tax returns, preparing fiduciary accounts, counseling on elective share and allowances, analyzing federal and state tax issues, and advising about discretionary distributions, beneficiary claims, and creditor claims.

Business Succession Planning

We represent family and closely held businesses, including farm and ranch operations, to develop and execute succession plans. We guide businesses as they transfer ownership and management to future generations of the family, key employees or others involved in the business. Depending on the nature of the business and circumstance, this may include business restructuring, buy-sell agreements, deferred compensation plans, stock option plans, insurance planning, voting trusts, ongoing management agreements, and other planning tools.

Charitable Giving

We have extensive experience in structuring charitable gifts to provide personal reward to the donor and charities, while taking full advantage of tax benefits. Our attorneys assist high-net-worth clients who desire to remain involved with a long-term charitable gifting plan to create private foundations, charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, charitable gift annuities, and other planned gifts.

Elder Law Planning

We represent clients through their senior years and help them successfully arrange for the seamless management of their personal, healthcare, and financial affairs, through planning for long-term care, Medicare and Medicaid, social security, and a guardianship and conservatorship, if necessary.

Retirement Planning

We counsel clients on how to preserve, protect, and grow their assets to maximize the funds available to support them in retirement. We assist clients in assessing the benefits of various types of insurance, including health, disability, and long-term care.

Guardianships, Conservatorships and Disability Planning

We work with clients to establish guardianships and conservatorships where necessary to protect minors, those with disabilities, and other persons who are unable to personally manage their financial matters and personal care. Our attorneys are also experienced in maneuvering through the complicated system of government benefits that exist for those with disabilities, whether resulting from an accident or illness, and planning to financially protect those with disabilities through special needs trusts, and supplemental needs trusts and other planning tools.

Premarital Agreements

We provide clients with premarital advice, assist in developing premarital wealth management plans, and negotiate and prepare premarital agreements.

Fiduciary Obligations and Estate and Trust Litigation

We serve fiduciaries, beneficiaries, heirs and creditors in all phases of economically substantial trust and estate disputes, by counseling and advocating for clients regarding their rights and options, from pre-litigation dispute resolution through trials and appeals. We employ a multi-disciplinary approach, teaming experienced litigation counsel with colleagues in the trusts and estates practice group, and, as needed, the firm’s extensive professional resources in the broad spectrum of commercial, real estate, natural resources, taxation, health care, and other practice areas.