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Estate Planning & Administration

The Goulston & Storrs Estate Planning and Administration group provides personalized counsel to clients in planning for the optimum ownership and disposition of family assets, both during life and at death. The strategies implemented are carefully tailored to each person’s or family’s particular needs. As one of the largest collections of trusts and estate professionals in New England, we work individually and collegially to provide informed advice, execute on our clients’ wishes and promote our clients’ goals.

We advise clients on structuring and restructuring ownership interests in family businesses and other assets in order to achieve family objectives in the most tax efficient fashion. We focus on opportunities for the transfer of our clients’ real estate and business interests to family members at favorable valuations, often prior to substantial growth in the value of these interests, utilizing appropriate discounts. We have expertise in working with clients who are beneficiaries of trusts created by prior generations to determine how to use various assets for the most tax efficient transfer of wealth. We work closely with our clients’ other professional advisors, including accountants and financial planners, to accomplish our clients’ goals.

We possess particular expertise in the administration of large and complex estates, including those holding real estate and business interests. With many decades of experience dealing with federal and state tax issues, we implement innovative strategies for protecting our clients’ estates, through the use of tax elections, disclaimers and other sophisticated planning techniques.

We work extensively with clients in fulfilling their philanthropic goals, whether through outright gifts or charitable trusts. Many of our clients have created private foundations, private operating foundations, or donor advised funds. We are prepared to offer guidance on the best vehicles to meet the family’s charitable goals as well as assist with the ongoing administration of the entities.

Representative Projects and Transactions

  • Estate plans for entrepreneurs and owners of operating businesses and real estate enterprises.
  • Estate administration for minority owner of family-held manufacturing company, including valuation of business and real estate entities, planning for payment of taxes in installments and negotiations among family members regarding possible sale of the minority share.
  • Division of trusts to create sub-trusts wholly exempt from generation-skipping transfer (“GST”) tax.
  • Estate plans for investment entrepreneurs including VC’s, private equity and hedge fund principals and managers.
  • Creation and funding of Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (“GRATs”) to hold:
    • interests in publicly-traded companies
    • closely-held business interests
    • commercial real estate interests
  • Sales and gifts to long-term trusts, taking advantage of exemptions from the gift and generation-skipping transfer tax, including transfers to trusts which are ‘defective’ for income tax purposes.
  • Retirement asset planning involving complex beneficiary designations and post-death planning involving trusts, as well as charitable uses of such assets.
  • Planning for ownership of substantial life insurance policies by irrevocable trusts and other arrangements.
  • Creation of family limited partnerships and limited liability companies as vehicles to preserve family assets for future generations.
  • Preparation of Qualified Personal Residence Trusts (“QPRTs”) to hold valuable primary and vacation residences.
  • Negotiation of sophisticated gift agreements and preparation of estate plans involving major charitable dispositions.
  • Favorable settlement of Tax Court litigation involving IRS disallowance of substantial valuation discount for interest in family limited partnership for estate tax purposes.
  • Use of qualified disclaimers to equalize estate taxes on successive deaths of a wealthy couple.

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