Max is Chair of the Firm's Private Client Department. He practices in estate and trust planning, with particular emphasis on representing professionals and owners of closely-held businesses. In representing closely-held businesses, Max provides his clients with general corporate law services, with an emphasis on issues relating to executive compensation and business succession planning.
With respect to individual clients, Max represents clients in the preparation of wills and trusts and the administration of estates, with particular emphasis on the use of family partnerships, charitable and non-charitable split interest trusts and other approaches appropriate to tax planning for large estates.
Max also works extensively with clients holding substantial family properties and is particularly experienced with family property-sharing and conservation agreements. Max has been listed in the Trusts & Estates section of The Best Lawyers in America for for more than five years and has been included in the Rhode Island Super Lawyers listing in the area of Estate Planning & Probate by Thomson Reuters.
· Assisted five siblings with limited financial resources in developing a mechanism for the shared use and multi-generational preservation of an heirloom property on an island off the New England coast. The property, acquired at a modest price many years ago, was recently valued by arms-length appraisal at more than $30 million. Through a bargain sale of development rights to a conservation organization, the family will depress the value of the property substantially. Placing the encumbered property in a partnership will then permit discounted gifts of partnership interests to future generations, subject to rules and regulations that will promote family harmony and protect the family interests against the claims of creditors, including those arising in the event of divorce or bankruptcy of a family member. The proceeds of the bargain sale of development rights will also fund insurance on the lives of the siblings, to defray estate tax costs on the passing of the first generation.
· Worked with a couple holding substantial financial and multi-state real estate interests to develop an equitable plan for their respective adult children of prior marriages, including provisions for an emotionally handicapped child and for a spendthrift child. Incorporated in this plan are elements to minimize estate and generation-skipping taxes, as well as asset-protection components, rights of first refusal allowing certain children a priority in certain properties, mechanisms to permit discounted gifting of appreciating assets and mechanisms to permit the surviving spouse to adjust distributions after the death of the first spouse, while simultaneously preventing the surviving spouse from improperly favoring his or her children.
· Assisted the owners of a regional prepared foods business (serving states from Pennsylvania to Maine) to transfer substantial equity in their company (with control retained until the parents ultimately choose to relinquish it) to their child who has followed in the family business. The plan has also, simultaneously, accomplished distributions of portfolio assets to the founders' other child (who is not active in the family business) in a fashion that both children accept as "equitable" despite the risk that the family business interests passing to one child may ultimately have substantially greater or lesser value than the marketable assets passing to the other child. The plan also includes trust mechanisms that have funded the education of 7 grandchildren, partnerships that have significantly discounted the value of multiple commercial properties and estate tax funding vehicles that will protect the full value of the estate that this family has labored to build from a single storefront in a modest community to a multi-million dollar enterprise.
Besides Edwards Wildman Max Kohlenberg is past President of The Audubon Society of Rhode Island. He serves as a Director of The Westport (MA) Land Conservation Trust, Inc., as well as Director of the Community Preparatory School in Providence, Rhode Island. He also serves as Co-Chair of Northeastern University's Fund for the Public Interest. Max and his wife have two sons. Max has a weakness for old wooden boats and antique trucks.
News & Publications
September 27, 2012, Best Lawyers Recognizes 56 Edwards Wildman Attorneys
October 7, 2010, EAPD Attorneys Selected For Inclusion in Super Lawyers 2010
August 10, 2010, Sixty EAPD Attorneys Recognized by the Best Lawyers in America
November 6, 2009, EAPD Attorneys Selected For Inclusion in Super Lawyers 2009
September 1, 2009, 62 EAPD Attorneys Recognized as Best Lawyers in America 2010
February 4, 2009, 57 EAPD Attorneys Recognized as Best Lawyers in America 2009
October 30, 2008, EAPD Attorneys Named Super Lawyers 2008
October 10, 2007, 57 EAPD Attorneys Recognized as Best Lawyers in America 2008
September 5, 2006, Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge Attorneys Recognized as "Best Lawyers in America"
· Boston Bar Association
· Estate Planning Council of Rhode Island
· Massachusetts Bar Association
· Rhode Island Bar Association
(Also at Providence, Rhode Island Office)