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Individual Client Services
Schulte Roth & Zabel’s individual client services practice is one of the most sophisticated, extensive, and diverse of any major law firm. We support individual clients through every phase of their lives, from inheritance and marriage to the administration of estates and trusts. All of our work is built around you and your goals, helping ensure that your estate planning is an active tool to build the life you want to lead — and the legacy you want to leave behind.
We represent many of the wealthiest individuals in the country on their personal legal matters, including entrepreneurs, managers of large investment funds and those who have inherited substantial wealth. We also represent individuals, banks and trust companies who are acting as fiduciaries, in both general administrative matters and litigated or contested matters. Our work encompasses much more than a conventional “trusts and estates” department, providing a full range of legal services to individual clients. Our tax and other estate planning advice is tailored to the unique circumstances of each client. Our lawyers assist clients in administering estates and trusts from inception, counseling them in the most tax-efficient and beneficial ways to fulfill the terms of a governing document, and helping clients throughout the world to achieve their personal and charitable goals. We also handle the formation of private foundations, public charities and split-interest trusts, and helping clients negotiate and document the terms of substantial gifts to public charitable institutions. We advise clients on matrimonial matters, including divorce settlement negotiations and mediations, as well as prenuptial, postnuptial and cohabitation agreements. Our work also includes handling a variety of personal matters not strictly related to estate planning or estate and trust administration, including advice regarding family businesses, buy-sell agreements, and succession planning, as well as residential real estate and family disputes.
We represent wealthy individuals and families in all aspects of their estate planning. In this context, we prepare sophisticated wills and trusts, advise our clients on how best to minimize gift and estate taxes, and create various types of trusts — including insurance trusts, grantor retained annuity trusts, qualified personal residence trusts, credit shelter trusts and dynasty (or generation-skipping) trusts. We develop and implement many types of sophisticated planning techniques that help our clients to achieve their personal, business, and tax-related goals.
Our estate planning team provides counsel on:
Wills and trusts
Gift giving, installment sales and other transfers of wealth
Planning for multi-generational transfers
Health care documents
Powers of attorney
Planning for incapacity or other special needs
Estate and Trust Administration
When clients pass away, we assist family members, beneficiaries and fiduciaries to ensure that they are advised of their rights and obligations and that the estate is properly, efficiently, and promptly administered. Where necessary or appropriate, we advise clients regarding potential and actual litigation regarding estates, trusts and related matters. In the course of representing estates, we probate the will (or initiate an administration proceeding if there is no will), and we help to marshal, preserve and value all of the decedent’s assets. We also prepare all necessary estate tax returns and advise our clients on related income tax matters.
As a part of this aspect of our practice, we routinely represent fiduciaries in Surrogate’s Court matters, estate tax audits and, where necessary, in Tax Court. At the end of the administration of an estate or trust, we often prepare an accounting of the fiduciaries’ actions and work with the fiduciaries to settle the account and have the fiduciaries released from liability, either with or without court action, depending on the circumstances.
During estate and trust administration, our individual client services group handles:
Probate of wills
Administration of intestate estates
Preparation of tax returns and representation in tax audits
Post-mortem tax and other planning
Preparation and settlement of fiduciaries’ accounts
Administration of trusts
Representation in fiduciary litigations
Charitable Giving and Planning
Our extensive charitable planning practice includes the creation of split-interest trusts (such as charitable lead trusts and charitable remainder trusts) that can have substantial tax benefits. We also help clients create and administer private foundations and public charities. In addition, we represent donors of major charitable gifts to educational, cultural, and other charitable institutions, ensuring that gifts are used as intended and that our clients realize the maximum income tax advantages. We also advise our clients on IRS and Attorney General rules and regulations related to charitable organizations.
Representation of Fiduciaries
We represent individual and corporate executors and trustees in all aspects of estate and trust administration — from inception through completion. We advise fiduciaries on all phases of administration, including tax and non-tax matters and litigated and non-litigated matters. Drawing on other departments within the firm, we also counsel fiduciaries on real estate, litigation, employment law, intellectual property, corporate, securities, and tax issues related to administration.
In representing fiduciaries, we handle:
Retention of books and records
Preparation of income tax returns
Advice regarding proper trust administration and fulfillment of fiduciary duties
Advice regarding discretionary distributions
Representation in tax audits
Representation in disputes/litigations
Preparation and settlement of accounts
Our matrimonial practice includes representation of clients in sophisticated prenuptial, postnuptial, cohabitation, and separation agreements. We are well known for our ability to negotiate fair and amicable settlements of matrimonial matters without diminishing our ability to represent our clients aggressively and fully, as appropriate. In addition, because of our knowledge about estate planning and tax matters, we are able to structure matrimonial settlements in the most tax-advantageous way.
General Personal Representation
As a service to our individual clients, we represent them (or oversee their representation) on many matters that are not strictly related to estate planning or estate and trust administration. This includes representation on family business matters (including buy-sell agreements and succession planning), residential real estate matters, family disputes, and planning for incapacity.
Schulte Roth & Zabel (SRZ) is hosting its 27th Annual Private Investment Funds Seminar today in New York. A pioneer in the alternative investment management industry, SRZ has advised private funds for nearly 50 years. Today’s seminar...
“An Act to Provide for Reconciliation Pursuant to Titles II and V of the Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2018” (“Act”) was enacted in December 2017 and implements a wide range of changes to existing tax...
For more than 50 years, Bill Zabel, founding partner and head of the Individual Client Services Group at Schulte, has been an advocate for social justice in the United States and abroad. From authoring the amicus brief on behalf of the ACLU in Loving...
The 2018 edition of the U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” listing recognized Schulte as a top-tier firm in 17 practice areas both nationally and in the metropolitan areas of New York City and Washington, D.C. The...
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, introduced by the House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady on Nov. 2, 2017, proposes substantial changes to the federal gift, estate, and generation-skipping transfer taxes and the charitable income tax...
The 2017 edition of Chambers High Net Worth recognized Schulte as a leading law firm for Private Wealth Law in both the Nationwide and New York categories. The publication identifies leaders in the international private wealth market through in-depth...
Schulte Roth & Zabel (SRZ) is hosting its 26th Annual Private Investment Funds Seminar today in New York. A pioneer in the alternative investment management industry, SRZ has advised private funds for nearly 50 years. Today's seminar features the...
Schulte Roth & Zabel (SRZ) is pleased to announce the election of Antonio L. Diaz-Albertini, Seth R. Henslovitz, Seetha Ramachandran and Ji Hye You as partners. The firm also announces the promotion of Conrad Axelrod, Melissa G.R. Goldstein,...
Our clients rely on our knowledge and experience in this area with respect to a host of legal matters distinct to the academic environment, including:Education LawAdmissions issues and diversity initiativesEnrollment contracts and tuition...
With one of the leading nonprofit practices in the United States, we represent a wide range of tax-exempt organizations, including public charities, private foundations, arts and cultural organizations, trade associations and educational institutions...