Trusts & Estates

Few decisions in life are as significant as the decisions that involve the protection, planning and transfer of assets that clients have worked hard to accumulate. These decisions have personal consequences as well as financial consequences, and the advantages and disadvantages of these consequences do not always coincide. Clients need attorneys who will:

  • provide the information necessary to facilitate informed decisions while listening to clients' needs and wishes,
  • guide the client through the decision-making process,
  • create a plan that implements clients' wishes concerning their assets, and
  • supervise the successful execution of those plans.

Rhoads & Sinon, through its Trusts & Estates practice group, has been serving clients in this capacity since the firm's inception. The Trusts & Estates practice group offers clients a broad variety of services, including:

Estate planning. The Trusts & Estates practice group has extensive experience creating estate plans that implement the wishes of clients through the drafting of Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney and Health Care Declarations ("Living Wills"). The Trusts & Estates practice group drafts these documents to reflect the wishes of their clients. By tailoring each client's estate plan to their unique needs and desires, the group gives each client the confidence of knowing that their assets will pass precisely as he or she desires.

For clients that require more sophisticated estate planning, the Trusts & Estates practice group is prepared to craft an estate plan that takes maximum advantage of federal estate tax credits upon death while also making use of inter vivos trusts as an estate planning tool. In this regard, the Trusts & Estates practice group has, since 1935, used trust arrangements to satisfy client objectives, which include effective  lifetime management of assets, simplified post-death administration, tax savings, charitable planning, increased creditor protection, and efficient multi-generational transfers.

Personal asset planning and counseling. The needs of clients are becoming increasingly complex, and these needs are not always met through traditional estate planning. The Trusts & Estates practice group is well prepared to meet the needs of these sophisticated clients through specialized planning and counseling.  Areas in which members of the Trusts & Estates practice group has extensive experience include:

Retirement and compensation planning. The form of wealth is changing, and client assets are increasingly found in qualified plans, individual retirement accounts and other deferred compensation arrangements. The Trusts & Estates practice group integrates clients' estate plans with beneficiary designations on their retirement accounts. The group also offers practical advice to executives and other individuals on all aspects of employee benefits, stock options, lump sum payments, roll-overs and related tax matters, consistent with each client's unique objectives. The Trusts & Estates practice group works closely with its in-house ERISA specialists to maximize benefits for employees as well as employers.

Asset protection planning. The Trusts & Estates practice group has advised members of high-risk professions on minimizing their exposure to potential liability.  Numerous asset protection techniques are both lawful and advantageous, and the Trusts & Estate practice group is prepared to counsel clients on using these techniques to their maximum advantage.

Special needs trusts. The Trusts & Estates practice group has extensive experience advising clients on techniques for providing for the future of individuals with special needs. 

Prenuptial agreements. The trend towards an increase in blended families can create situations in which married couples have loyalties both to each other and to children from prior marriages. The Trusts & Estate practice group has advised individuals on how to provide necessary resources for a surviving spouse while preserving assets for their natural children.

Elder law counseling. The Trusts & Estates practice group has represented clients through their senior years and successfully arranged for the seamless management of their personal, health care and financial affairs. Further, the Trusts & Estates Practice Group has extensive experience in counseling elderly clients with decisions such as whether to gift to children, and how to title assets.

Business asset planning and counseling. The Trusts & Estates practice group has successfully represented numerous family and closely held businesses in planning and executing succession plans. Such representation has involved the planning and drafting of buy-sell agreements, deferred compensation plans, voting trusts, employee stock ownership plans and various trust arrangements. 

Charitable giving. Few actions are as rewarding as charitable giving. The Trusts & Estates practice group has extensive experience in structuring charitable gifts so as to provide a personal reward to the donor as well as to take full advantage of the beneficial tax effects of charitable giving. The group has assisted clients in the creation of split-interest charitable trusts, pooled income funds, charitable bargain sales, and other similar gifting arrangements that have transferred hundreds of millions of dollars to local charitable organizations.

The Trusts & Estates practice group is also well-prepared to assist high net-worth clients who desire to remain involved with a long-term charitable gifting plan by creating private foundations. 

Complex estate and trust administration. The Trusts & Estates practice group has an extensive practice in handling estate and trust administration. It has efficiently administered estates of all sizes, including estates of over $200 million. The group utilizes state-of-the-art computerized accounting systems for the preparation of fiduciary accountings, Federal and Pennsylvania estate tax returns and filing income tax returns. Regardless of an estate's size, the group employs post-mortem tax planning techniques to increase the assets passed to beneficiaries while easing the sometimes difficult administration process for family members. 

Non-profit administration. The Trusts & Estates practice group represents numerous non-profit organizations, from major colleges and universities to small family foundations designed and formed by Rhoads & Sinon. The Trusts & Estates practice group is experienced in non-profit corporation issues, specialized tax exemption provisions in the Internal Revenue Code and related matters.

Fiduciary and trust litigation. The Trusts & Estates practice group works closely with the Fiduciary and Trust Litigation practice group to provide full research support for litigation matters.

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