Trusts and Estates

Our Trusts and Estates attorneys represent a diverse client base, from individuals to large, multi-generational families, including owners of family-held business enterprises, non-U.S. citizens and foreign individuals with significant international and U.S.-based interests.

Our clients also span a broad cross-section of affluent families, including those who have inherited their wealth from a prior generation and those who are in the process of building their family’s wealth through the operation of family-held business enterprises. Our Group includes six main areas of practice: (1) Domestic and International Income, Estate and Gift Tax Planning, (2) Philanthropic and Family Legacy Planning, (3) Administration of Trusts and Estates, (4) Fiduciary and Estate Litigation, (5) Fiduciary Tax Accounting and (6) legal counsel on issues which are unique to family-held businesses.

Family-Owned Businesses

Family-held businesses have unique dynamics that are different from businesses that are owned and operated by non-related parties. Our attorneys have experience both as lawyers and as former members of family-held businesses in these unique dynamics including:

  • Governance planning
  • Understanding collaborative work with other family business professionals
  • Identification of models of structuring family offices and family enterprises to reduce conflicts of interest
  • The interplay between leadership selection by virtue of bloodline versus leadership selection based on merit
  • Creating an atmosphere of accountability, transparency, and trust between family members involved in the operation of the family business versus those who are not working in the family enterprise
  • Assisting in developing methodologies to groom the next generation of family business leaders in a way the minimizes friction with non-family executives and employees
  • Guiding families through merger & acquisition transactions

Domestic and International Estate and Gift Tax Planning

The Estate Planning and Wealth Protection Group provides sophisticated legal and tax advice in the traditional areas of generational wealth transfer planning, including work related to:

  • Revocable living trusts and Last Wills and Testaments
  • Estate tax and lifetime gift planning
  • International estate and gift tax planning for non-citizens
  • Family business and governance planning
  • Grantor trusts and family limited partnerships for family businesses
  • Special needs trust planning for persons with disabilities
  • Captive life insurance planning

Philanthropic and Family Legacy Planning

  • Philanthropic planning with private foundations and charitable trusts
  • Advising on operation and administration of charitable trusts and foundations

Administration of Trusts and Estates

  • Probating wills and administering trusts; post-mortem family tax planning
  • Representation of fiduciaries in tax disputes (income, estate, and gift tax)
  • Preparing estate and gift tax returns

Fiduciary and Probate Litigation

SGR’s Fiduciary and Probate Litigation attorneys represent a variety of fiduciaries, including corporate trust departments, individuals, trustees, personal representatives/ executors, guardians, and beneficiaries.

These attorneys regularly handle the following diverse types of litigated matters:

  • General probate, trust, and estate litigation
  • Coordination of multi-jurisdictional estate and trust disputes
  • Fiduciary removal proceedings
  • Judicial accounting disputes and objections to estate and trust accountings
  • Breach of fiduciary duty claims, including self-dealing claims
  • Will contests, including claims based on undue influence and lack of capacity

Fiduciary Tax Accounting

  • Judicial trust account
  • Fiduciary income and estate tax accounting

SGR was named a Tier 1 firm for Trusts & Estates Law for the Atlanta, Georgia metropolitan area in the 2011-2012 U.S. News — Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” rankings.

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