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Estates, Trusts & Exempt Organizations

Poyner Spruill LLP offers a full range of estate planning services. With attorneys throughout the state, we provide experienced advice, planning, document preparation and administration of estates and trusts. A number of our attorneys also are certified public accountants or have graduate degrees in taxation, and three belong to the American College of Trusts and Estate Counsel.
 
We represent a wide variety of estate planning clients including owners of closely held businesses, corporate executives, professionals and individuals with special needs. We also represent many tax-exempt organizations, including a number of health care organizations, colleges and church-affiliated foundations.
 
Our services include preparation of testamentary documents and intervivos trusts; planning for succession and ownership in closely held businesses including S corporations, partnerships and limited liability companies; life insurance planning, including preparation of life insurance trusts and financing agreements; and planning for charitable giving, including use of charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts and private foundations. In addition to these direct legal services, Poyner Spruill LLP attorneys provide client newsletters that track recent developments in the field of estate planning and estate planning seminars, available by appointment for small groups.

Major Practice Areas:

  • Complex estate and gift tax planning
  • Business succession planning
  • Life insurance planning
  • Charitable giving
  • Estate and trust administration
  • Tax planning for distributions from qualified retirement plans and IRAs
  • Tax-exempt organizations

Description of the Estate Planning Process

Complex Estate Tax Planning

We advise clients concerning the proper disposition of their assets in the context of optimal use of the marital deduction, the applicable credit, annual exclusions, charitable deductions, and the generation-skipping transfer tax exemption.  We advise clients concerning methods to reduce potential estate taxes through lifetime transfers such as gifts to minors, effective use of annual gift tax exclusions, use of qualified personal residence trusts and grantor retained annuity trusts, sales to intentionally defective grantor trusts and gifts of real estate using fractional interest discounts.  Recent illustrative experiences include:

  • Estate planning for a real estate developer including the transfer of interests in a family LLC to an intentionally defective grantor trust
  • Establishment of a charitable lead trust and qualified personal residence trust for a surviving spouse with a considerable taxable estate
  • Optimizing use of both gift and generation-skipping tax annual exclusion in irrevocable trusts
  • Planning for gifts by client of non-qualified stock options in a publicly traded corporation
  • Optimizing generation-skipping transfer tax exemption by establishing “dynasty” trusts for grandchildren and more remote descendants with interests in closely-held business
  • Obtaining fractional interest appraisals to support valuation of recapitalized S corporation non-voting stock and implement sale to grantor trust

Business Succession Planning

We advise owners of closely held businesses, including C corporations, S corporations, general and limited partnerships and limited liability companies about management succession, lifetime transfers of interests and use of discount valuations for gift tax purposes. Recent illustrative experiences include:

  • Participation in a year-long series of meetings with client and financial advisors to plan for succession management of retail company, including issues of managerial control, cash flow and minimization of estate taxes
  • Organization of a family LLC providing for children to participate in management
  • Organization of a private foundation to allow children to participate as members of the board of directors
  • Planning for valuation issues in organization of a family LLC
  • Design of exit strategies for owners of both closely held and publicly traded stock

Life Insurance Planning

Our services include advice on acquisition of life insurance, including single insured and second-to-die policies, in the context of estate planning and business planning, use of irrevocable life insurance trusts, advice concerning various premium financing arrangements and advice on Section 101(j) and transfer-for-value issues to avoid income taxation of proceeds. Recent illustrative experiences include:

  • Preparation of life insurance trust financed by large up-front discounted gift
  •  Organization of partnership to hold life insurance and other assets
  • Structuring buy-sell agreement for owners of $40,000,000 closely held S corporation funded with cross-purchase life insurance

Charitable Giving

Our attorneys have a wealth of experience in preparing split-interest gifts, such as to charitable remainder trusts and charitable lead trusts. We have substantial experience in organizing and funding private family foundations as well as implementing gifts to community foundations through donor-advised funds. Recent illustrative experiences include:

  • Organization and funding of a private foundation to achieve income and estate tax savings, and to allow children to participate as members of the board of directors
  • Substantial intervivos gift to a major museum
  • Preparation of net income with make-up charitable remainder trust to be funded with publicly traded stock
  • Planning for the use of ESBT in estate with S corporation stock to allow charities to be beneficiaries
  • Structuring redemption agreement for S corporation owner that allows his private foundation to be beneficiary of this estate without triggering excise taxes

Estate Administration

  • Representation of an estate holding more than 60 real estate parcels that was subject to an IRS audit
  • Representation of an estate holding a large closely held business that was subject to an IRS audit
  • Preparation of family settlement agreement among the heirs of an estate

Tax Planning for Distributions from Qualified Retirement Plans and IRAs

Our attorneys advise clients concerning compliance with minimum distribution rules applicable to qualified retirement plans and IRAs and methods to postpone taxation of benefits. We also advise clients concerning selection of beneficiaries, including the use of trusts. Recent illustrative experiences include:

  • Planning for designation of a charity as the beneficiary of an IRA
  • Negotiating with IRA custodians concerning the use of custom beneficiary designation forms, permissible distribution methods, separation of retirement accounts into sub-accounts for beneficiaries and trustee-to-trustee transfers
  • Drafting custom beneficiary designation forms to preserve maximum distribution periods, to consider potential disclaimers and to account for separate beneficiary shares subject to trusts

Tax-Exempt Organizations

Our attorneys have substantial experience in the formation and management of tax-exempt entities. Our clients include large non-profit health care organizations, tax-exempt entities and private foundations. Recent illustrative experiences include:

  •  Advice to a major non-profit entity on organization of affiliate non-profit entities
  •  Advice to a large non-profit on the sale of its assets
  •  Organization of private foundation for major bank
  •  Representation of charity in sale of charitable lead trust assets
  •  Organization of 501(c)(3) to conduct national fundraising for and support of veterans’ families and ensure its compliance with state solicitation acts 
  • Draft of grant agreement for substantial grant to area hospital

For a fuller description of our Nonprofit and Tax practices and the attorneys who practice in each area, click on any of the following links.

Nonprofit Law
Tax
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