Practice/Industry Group Overview
Sutherland has a broad and sophisticated individual tax and estate planning practice. The practice involves lifetime tax and business planning for individuals, post-mortem income tax planning, and estate and trust administration. Although the focus of the practice is on estate planning, it is our belief that this includes more than properly drafted wills and trust agreements. Therefore, we offer extensive experience in income tax and business planning for owners of closely held businesses, transfer tax minimization, real estate transactions, and international taxation and estate planning. In addition, we work with clients to develop and implement lifetime gift programs, insurance programs and charitable giving programs appropriate to each client's desires, needs and resources.
Our clients cover the spectrum, from individuals with assets of several hundred thousand dollars to those with estates valued over a billion dollars. Working directly with the client and, where appropriate, the client's advisors and accountants, it is our goal to provide sound tax and business planning advice and to create an estate plan that achieves the client's goals in a manner that minimizes the time and expense of estate administration.
Our firm provides advice for specific issues often faced by individuals. We have substantial experience in the area of business planning for owners of closely held businesses, including extensive experience in S corporations and partnership issues. We assist clients in the integration of business planning techniques and estate planning by providing advice on the tax and non-tax issues attendant to the transfer of family businesses, including capital structure reorganizations, buy-sell arrangements, gift programs and valuation issues.
We have advised numerous clients on issues related to international income and estate tax planning. We write and speak extensively on the federal estate and gift taxes that affect individuals who are not citizens of the United States. We regularly provide advice to nonresident aliens with extensive U.S. business interests and create trusts to protect those assets from U.S. income and transfer taxes.
Postmortem tax planning and estate administration are a major part of our practice. We advise estates of all sizes and in all jurisdictions and counsel personal representatives on the preparation of federal and state estate tax returns and income tax returns, and on tax elections and allocations peculiar to estates and trusts. In addition, the firm advises fiduciaries on business issues affecting estates and trusts, including the restructuring of business interests, providing advice on the disposition of assets, and representing estates or trusts as shareholders of business enterprises.
The firm has represented numerous individuals and estates in disputes before the Internal Revenue Service concerning income, gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer tax matters. In the course of these representations we have gained significant experience in the area of asset valuation and in the issue of whether property held in trusts or similar arrangements is subject to gift or estate tax. Further, the firm has represented individuals and estates in fiduciary and tax litigation.
The firm has also represented fiduciaries and beneficiaries in non-tax disputes regarding the validity and interpretation of wills and trusts.
Sutherland has a broad array of knowledge regarding all facets of individual income taxation, business planning and estate planning and administration. It is our goal in tax and estate planning not only to satisfy our clients' concerns about the disposition of their assets and the well-being of their families, but also, through effective transfer tax planning, to minimize transfer taxes and administration costs, thereby, maximizing the assets that will be available for our clients' beneficiaries.