TRUSTS & ESTATES
Kirk & Simas’s trusts and estates attorneys devote their experience and creativity to protecting family wealth for individuals and businesses. The Firm’s attorneys are thoroughly familiar with the complex federal and state laws related to planning, administration and litigation of estates and trusts, as well as the succession planning and exit strategy needs of closely held businesses.
ESTATE PLANNING AND WEALTH PRESERVATION
Estate planning is essential to preserve family wealth and provide for efficient and caring distribution of family assets. Kirk & Simas helps establish plans for clients that avoid probate, address today’s complex tax rules, and temper complicated family dynamics while addressing the family’s special circumstances. Firm attorneys are additionally versed in formulating lifetime gifting programs and designing long-term planning vehicles such as irrevocable trusts, grantor retained annuity trusts, and IRA LLC’s to protect real property, address complicated investor portfolios, and create financial security, all while minimizing taxes and providing a uniform distribution plan for the next generation.
PROBATE AND TRUST ADMINISTRATION
A practical and cost-effective approach to estate and trust administration is as important to ensuring proper and efficient transfer of family wealth as an estate plan. Kirk & Simas has extensive experience and knowledge assisting clients with administration techniques and elections, including tax planning alternatives, statutory tax elections and disclaimers. Firm attorneys provide step-by-step counsel to grantors, executors, trustees and beneficiaries during all phases of an estate administration to ensure the proper gathering, liquidation, administration, appraisal, accounting and transfer of assets.
BUSINESS SUCCESSION PLANNING
Recognizing most family and closely held businesses do not survive the first transfer to the next generation, Kirk & Simas attorneys help clients establish plans that facilitate business continuity through multiple generations and maximized returns for the founders. Developing a family succession plan is a multi-phase and multi-discipline process. Firm attorneys have extensive experience reorganizing equity, updating wills and trusts, establishing intentionally defective grantor trusts, reviewing insurance policies, and drafting buy-sell agreements. The process involves the counsel of a diverse group of independent professionals who contribute objectivity, specialized skills and experience. Accordingly, Kirk & Simas maintains close working relationships with some of the region’s most skilled financial planners, accountants, and bankers to ensure clients reach their succession and retirement goals.
CONSERVATORSHIPS AND GUARDIANSHIPS
When a child or adult is unable to oversee their personal affairs or finances, whether due to loss of or removal from a parent in the case of a child or due to increasing age, disability, injury, or any other cause with respect to an adult, it may become necessary to seek court appointment of a guardian or conservator for that person, absent an appropriate Power of Attorney or Health Care Directive. Kirk & Simas has substantial experience navigating the complex guardianship and conservatorship law for families of incapacitated persons and interested parties looking to establish guardianships for children, including children subject to the provisions of the Indian Child Welfare Act.
Kirk & Simas’s trust and estates attorneys have a long track record of successfully resolving estate administration disputes using informal means to save clients time, emotion and money. The Firm represents grantors and beneficiaries, including high-net-worth individuals and their families, corporate trustees such as banks and trust companies, executors, trustees, administrators and other fiduciaries, as well as non-profit organizations in all facets of estate disputes. Firm attorneys combine in-depth understanding of trust and estate law with decades of experience in litigation procedure and tactics, much of which is unique to trust and estate disputes. The end result is a more expert, more efficient and more responsive advocate for trust and probate disputes involving claims for breach of fiduciary duty, or the duty of loyalty, environmental claims, investment claims, beneficiary disputes, contested heirship, pretermitted and adopted heirs, disputed creditor claims, judicial construction and modification of wills and trusts, will and trust contests, will and trust validity, capacity, undue influence, elder abuse, contested powers of attorney, contested accountings, fraudulent transfers, partition actions, spousal right of election issues, wrongful death recovery, family and estate management disputes, conservatorships and guardianships.