Trusts and Estates
Unforeseen events, both positive and negative, can and will occur.
Estate Planning: You May Not Even Know You Need It
Even those who recognize the value of long-term estate planning often have more questions than answers:
I’m just starting a family of my own. If something happens to me, how can I ensure that my children are provided for?
Is it too early to start planning for retirement? Too late?
I have residences in more than one state; how do I determine which tax and property laws will affect my assets?
I’m concerned about strangers making healthcare and financial decisions on my behalf if I’m incapacitated; how can I ensure that my wishes are known in advance?
Has the federal estate tax been repealed — or simply changed?
After a long career, building my own business, I’m ready to retire. What’s the best way to transition control of the company, without risking my own financial security?
Effective estate planning is neither a simple one-time event, nor an onerous, endless task. Nor is it restricted to individuals of a specific age, profession, income or asset base.
The Trusts & Estates Group of Quarles & Brady LLP views estate planning as an ongoing process that comes into play at natural stages of professional and personal life. We work with clients to clarify their own unique circumstances, goals and requirements, and help set a financial and legal course that enables individuals and families to more effectively direct their own futures.
The Trusts & Estates Group is a sophisticated, experienced practice with an extensive history of providing effective legal counsel to high-net worth individuals and their families. We have a number of attributes that we believe set us apart, in both the quality and delivery of our services.
From our offices in Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Wisconsin, the Trusts & Estates Group works with clients at every stage of life and career: new professionals, beneficiaries, individual and professional trustees, startup- and established-business owners, executives and retirees. This national presence is particularly important as business and family life have become increasingly mobile; many of our clients have homes, businesses and financial commitments in several states.
Unique among many larger firms, the Trusts & Estates Group is a dedicated team of attorneys whose primary focus is the provision of trust and estate planning services to our clients. Rather than acting as a secondary or “add-on” service to key corporate clients, our Group is, in fact, quite the reverse: a key, independent practice within the Firm. Although some of our clients come from businesses and organizations also represented by the Firm, many others have come to us as a direct result of our reputation for high-quality service and excellent legal counsel.
Broad-based Legal Knowledge
Our attorneys have extensive experience in all aspects of trust and estate law. As clients’ needs expand and develop, we regularly draw on the knowledge and resources of many of the Firm’s approximately 450 attorneys. We have established close relationships with the Firm’s securities, real estate, tax, litigation, family and general corporate attorneys, to name a few, in order to seamlessly respond to the full range of client concerns.
Unlike many firms, we prefer to work with clients at every step in the trust and estate planning process. This means that we regularly administer the plans we have helped create. Rather than farming out portions of an estate or trust administration, we can do all the necessary accounting and tax-return preparation — and in doing so, we ensure that our clients’ wishes are carried out in full and with complete accuracy.
Understanding that client needs evolve with time and changing circumstances, we strive to develop effective, long-term relationships. Many of our clients have been with us for decades, as a result of our open, frank communication style and our commitment to quality. This long-range view of our clients’ histories and goals enables us to provide counsel tailored to their unique needs.
It’s no surprise: Individuals who have achieved a certain measure of financial success are generally well-aware of the potential costs and benefits of any investment. They make wise decisions regarding the use of their assets, with an eye toward balancing both risk and reward. At Quarles & Brady LLP, we see no reason for our clients to change this successful strategy. We are committed to providing cost-effective legal counsel that, we believe, represents a solid investment in your future security.
A Full-Service Approach
We provide a complete range of trust and estate planning services, regularly offering counsel on issues such as:
Lifetime gift and asset distribution planning.
Wills and probate administration, including determination of appropriate probate-avoidance measures.
Establishment and administration of a broad range of trusts, including revocable living trusts, charitable trusts, educational trusts, minor’s trusts and multigenerational trusts.
Advance planning for healthcare and health-related financial matters, including living wills, healthcare power of attorney and durable financial power of attorney.
Concerns specific to privately held businesses and their owners, including transition and succession planning, control, valuation and liquidity.
Guardianships for minors and incompetent individuals.
Charitable giving, including lifetime gifts, bequests, charitable lead and remainder trusts.
Community and marital property classification.
Life insurance planning.
Retirement planning, including lifetime distribution planning and advice on disposition at death.
Estate and trust disputes and litigation.
The Trusts & Estates Group recognizes that individuals pass through normal stages of personal, professional and financial development. Many of the laws that affect a person’s finances, tax status, and property rights are specifically written to reflect these events.
We also recognize that unforeseen events — both positive and negative — can and will occur. We approach each client’s estate planning needs with an eye toward the full range of possibilities: the expected, the unexpected, the traditional and the unique. In doing so, we help clients create and execute effective strategies for protecting themselves, their loved ones and their investments.
We encourage you to contact us for a review of your estate planning needs and for additional information on how we can help you chart your legal and financial future. For more information, please contact Patrick J. Bitterman at (312) 715-5122 /
or your local Quarles & Brady attorney.