Trusts, Estates and Wealth Transfer


Ensuring that assets are properly transferred to family, friends and charities with minimum tax consequence is an increasingly complex challenge.  Effective estate planning requires a thoughtful assessment of both a client’s financial situation and the family’s concerns and wishes.  It requires a thorough understanding of current property business and tax laws.  Christian & Barton lawyers continually monitor changes in these laws that may affect our clients’ interests, and we work to explain these laws in a way that is understandable and useful to our clients.

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Our lawyers help clients design estate plans to meet important personal objectives.  We prepare wills, powers of attorney, advance medical directives and many types of trusts, including revocable living trusts, special needs trusts, charitable trusts, irrevocable life insurance trusts, qualified domestic trusts and qualified personal residence trusts to meet the client’s individual estate planning needs.  Our knowledge of sophisticated estate planning techniques allows us to minimize tax burdens for our clients and their beneficiaries.

When our clients must resolve disputes through the courts, our extensive court experience helps us address probate issues quickly and take appropriate actions on behalf of beneficiaries, executors, administrators and guardians.  We also represent clients in will contests, suits for aid and guidance, augmented estate issues and other litigation matters involving trusts and estates.  We routinely assist in the appointment of guardians for our clients’ loved ones who have become incapacitated.


Christian & Barton lawyers are frequently involved in the administration of trusts and estates for our clients.  These services include assisting our clients with the probate of wills, preparation of notices of probate, inventories and accountings, and assisting the client’s accountant in the preparation and filing of gift, estate and fiduciary income tax returns.

We also assist clients with trust administration that includes both living trusts established by the individual, and trusts established after the death of another. Trust administration services include assisting the client qualify as trustee, retitling assets into the name of the trust, filing inventories and accountings, and working with asset managers.


Family and closely held businesses can generate difficult problems relating to management succession and the transfer of wealth from generation to generation.  We have extensive experience with family businesses and frequently assist with business succession planning, the organization of family limited liability companies and family limited partnerships, and the preparation of buy-sell agreements.  We routinely advise clients on potentially sensitive issues of wealth preservation and management, and are well-versed in the drafting of premarital agreements, planning for retirement benefits and evaluating issues related to Medicaid planning.

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