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Trusts and Estates

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Overview

Our Clients

Katten's Trusts and Estates team counsels high-net-worth individuals, families, family offices, banks, trust companies, wealth management advisors and nonprofit entities of all sizes. Our individual clients include entrepreneurs, corporate executives, hedge fund managers, philanthropists, real estate investors and developers, accountants, medical professionals, artists, collectors, authors, composers, and musicians. We represent clients privately and before taxing and regulatory authorities, including the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), attorneys general and consumer protection agencies. Our attorneys also establish and maintain charitable structures such as private foundations, charitable lead trusts and charitable remainder trusts.

Our Services

Our Trusts and Estates professionals efficiently advise local, national and international clients on tax and estate planning issues. We provide creative and comprehensive representation in all areas of private client services, including personal tax-driven estate planning for both domestic and international clients, business succession and charitable planning, probate, complex estate and trust administration, estate and trust litigation, pre-residency planning, and charitable organization representation. We represent financial institutions in connection with the administration of estates and trusts, and advise nonprofit entities and their managers at every stage of operation, from formation to administration to dissolution.

Katten attorneys prepare wills and trusts that help clients avoid probate, appoint guardians for their minor children, protect assets from creditors, manage wealth for beneficiaries to ensure that children and grandchildren inherit property in a manner that is consistent with the clients' wishes, and minimize the taxes incurred when transferring wealth to successive generations. Our attorneys handle the post-death administration and distribution of our clients' estates and trusts and represent beneficiaries, trustees and other interested parties in all trust and estate matters. We also assist in planning for family members with special needs.

Katten's premier Trusts and Estates practice advises clients on how to plan in light of rapidly evolving laws and develops strategies that enable clients to take full advantage of those changes for the benefit of themselves and their families.

Experience
  • Counsel to a high-net-worth individual in the structure of a sale of a rare piece of fine art from the family’s private collection; Katten helped structure the multimillion-dollar sale to minimize tax implications. Katten continues to provide ongoing estate and tax planning for the family.
  • Counsel to an individual in wealth transfer and business succession planning, creditor protection planning, insurance planning, and estate tax reduction planning for members of the client's family.
  • Counsel to an individual in relation to wealth transfer and business succession planning, creditor protection planning, insurance planning, and estate tax reduction planning for members of the client's family.
  • Counsel to a multinational family seeking to transfer wealth to the second generation while retaining full control of a closely held US company in contemplation of a future IPO. Katten attorneys restructured the ownership of the company and then created a series of trusts to hold the voting and nonvoting shares of the company for the benefit of the entire family. Subsequently, when IPO talks in fact materialized, we worked closely with investment bankers throughout the process further to facilitate the intergenerational planning, conducting sophisticated corporate restructuring to the benefit of both the family and the company. Throughout the process, our clients were able to continue to manage and benefit from the company, while moving vastly appreciated assets to the second generation transfer tax-free.
  • Counsel to members of a family with multijurisdictional European contacts with respect to planning for their ultimate exposure to worldwide US income and transfer taxation upon their impending emigration to the United States. The family members are beneficiaries of certain foreign non-grantor trusts, which own offshore corporations which in turn own interests in European operating businesses. In particular, the family members were concerned that they could be subject to onerous US income tax, interest and penalties as a result of the trusts' indirect interests in certain UK businesses, and on distributions to them from the trusts. Katten attorneys created an innovative two-tier trust structure for the family so that property which is distributed from the family’s original trusts to those members of the family who are US persons will be free from any US income tax whatsoever, while their business interests and most personal assets will remain exempt from US transfer taxation.
  • Provision of advice to a founding partner of a new private equity fund regarding all aspects of fund formation. Katten serves as lead counsel on all acquisition and sale transactions for the fund and structured the fund and ownership interests to take maximum advantage of the client’s exemptions from estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer taxes. Katten also sitused the transferee trust in a jurisdiction with more favorable trust law.
  • Cooperation with a client’s primary estate planning counsel to negotiate and draft a private derivative between a series of GST-exempt trusts and an owner of a new hotel property being constructed. Katten developed a private derivative transaction, allowing the client to move some of the upside potential benefits to the irrevocable trusts while maintaining actual ownership of the project.
  • Representation of a member of one of the wealthiest families in the United States in all national and international estate planning matters for the multibillion-dollar holdings of his branch of the family.
  • Corporate trustee for a late, renowned international film producer, providing advice regarding the restructuring of all of his domestic and overseas intellectual property interests.
  • Provision of advice to a global family that founded one of the world's largest businesses in connection with all of their US interests and issues.
  • Counsel to a high-net-worth individual in the creation of a bank in Puerto Rico for estate planning and income tax incentives under the parameters of Puerto Rico Act 273, also known as the International Financial Center Regulatory Act, which provides tax exemptions for businesses engaged in eligible activities outlined in the Act.
  • Representation of a real estate family in connection with a global multibillion-dollar planning initiative.
  • Counsel to the trustees of two trusts which owned more than $100 million worth of copyright interests of a renowned composer for the benefit of multiple generations of his family, only one of which trusts was exempt from generation-skipping transfer (GST) taxes. Following the death of the composer's children, the efficient management of the copyrights would be lost because of the requirement that the trustees of the non-exempt trust make outright distributions of a portion of the trust's assets (including the copyright interests) to the composer's many grandchildren. Even worse, the non-exempt trust would be subject to millions of dollars in GST tax, thus requiring the sale of its share of the copyright interests. Katten attorneys developed and implemented a plan whereby the non-exempt trust sold its share of the copyright interests to the exempt trust. As a result, the non-exempt trust will be spent down and used to support the composer's children and the exempt trust will keep control of the copyrights, which will be preserved for future generations of the composer's family without the imposition of the onerous GST taxes.
  • Counsel to an ultra-high-net-worth individual in the offshore transfer of intellectual property for business, income tax and estate planning purposes.
  • Provision of worldwide planning advice for the multibillion-dollar family office of an owner of interests in European and US real estate and private equity investment.
  • Representation of the owner of the rights to some of the world's most popular stage and film musicals in its sale of a Broadway catalog to one of the world's leading independent music companies.
  • Representation of an individual regarding alleged breach of fiduciary duty as executor of an estate through the conversion of valuable copyrights and iconic rock memorabilia via a complicated series of transactions taking place over a decade. Katten refuted the plaintiffs’ chain of title in copyrights and memorabilia dating back to the 1960s, obtaining summary judgment in favor of our client. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed.
  • Trustee to a charitable provider of legal support to journalists and media outlets around the world.
  • Representation of the successor trustee for the multibillion-dollar estate of an iconic artist in connection with interdisciplinary worldwide issues.
  • Lead counsel to an individual in developing a plan to more efficiently transfer substantial business interests to the next generation of the family and also address significant charitable objectives. The plan involved a combination of a sale to a grantor trust and a testamentary charitable lead annuity trust.
Firm News
Articles
December 18, 2017
July/August 2011
Advisories
Events
May 10–11, 2018
May 3–6, 2018
December 7, 2017
October 26, 2017
October 8–13, 2017
June 20, 2017
May 22–25, 2017
May 4–5, 2017
September 29, 2016
Mitigating Fiduciary Risk | New York, New York
June 9–10, 2016
STEP Canada 18th National Conference | Toronto, Ontario, Canada
May 22–27, 2016
May 9–10, 2016
May 4–6, 2016
March 10–12, 2016
February 10–12, 2016
January 11–15, 2016
October 2, 2015
June 2, 2015
STEP Chicago Luncheon Meeting | Chicago, Illinois
May 4–6, 2015
April 27–28, 2015
April 23–24, 2015
February 6, 2015
Private Client Forum Americas 2015 | Papagayo Bay, Costa Rica
January 15–16, 2015
November 6–7, 2014
STEP Global Congress | Miami, Florida
June 24–25, 2014
June 19–22, 2014
ACTEC 2014 Summer Meeting | Dana Point, California
June 4–6, 2014
The Future Leaders Forum | Surrey, United Kingdom
February 4, 2014
STEP San Francisco Seminar | San Francisco, California
December 5, 2013
Private Wealth London | London, United Kingdom
November 19, 2013
November 19–20, 2013
November 4–5, 2013
October 22, 2013
Charlotte Estate Planning Council Luncheon | Charlotte, North Carolina
October 16–18, 2013
62nd Tulane Tax Institute | New Orleans, Louisiana
October 9, 2013
October 4, 2013
September 12, 2013
September 10, 2013
Private Client Forum Hong Kong | Tsimshatsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong
September 10, 2013
July 18, 2013
July 12, 2013
July 16, 2013
June 13–15, 2013
33rd Annual Estate Planning Retreat | Snowmass Village, Colorado
June 12, 2013
June 12, 2013
June 5–7, 2013
May 8–10, 2013
International Wealth Advisors Forum | County Kildare, Ireland
March 14–16, 2013
February 12, 2013
STEP Cayman Lecture | George Town, Grand Cayman
January 30–February 1, 2013
October 25–26, 2012
Wealth Forum Brazil | Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
September 30–October 5, 2012
IBA 2012 Annual Conference | Dublin, Ireland
September 5, 2012
July 23–25, 2012
June 4–5,2012
May 8–10, 2012
2012 International Wealth Advisors Forum | New Milton, New Forest, Hampshire, England
May 4, 2012
May 3–6, 2012
April 30, 2012
April 26, 2012
Planning During Turbulent Times | New York, New York
April 26, 2012
March 22–23, 2012
February 21, 2012
Philadelphia Estate Planning Council | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
February 7, 2012
December 15, 2011
STEP Luncheon Conference | Geneva, Switzerland
December 13, 2011
November 22, 2011
November 8, 2011
3rd Annual Trust Litigation Symposium | London, United Kingdom
November 3–5, 2011
September 12–13, 2011
July 21, 2011
32nd Annual Estate Planning & Fiduciary Program | Kiawah Island, South Carolina
June 22–26, 2011
May 22–27, 2011
May 20, 2011
Friends Seminary Seminar | New York, New York
May 9, 2011
May 8–10, 2011
March 7–13, 2011
ACTEC 2011 Annual Meeting | Phoenix, Arizona
March 3–5, 2011
February 16, 2011
February 9, 2011
January 21, 2011
2011 Estate Planners' Day | Tucson, Arizona
January 13–15, 2011
January 11, 2011
November 18–19, 2010
November 11–13, 2010
Private Client Forum Europe | Lake Como, Italy
November 4, 2010
15th Annual Professionals Symposium | San Diego, California
October 28–29, 2010
October 27, 2010
STEP Chicago | Chicago, Illinois
October 25, 2010
Tax Discussion Group | New York, New York
October 19, 2010
STEP Private Client Awards 2010 | London, United Kingdom
October 12, 2010
October 3–8, 2010
International Bar Association Conference | Vancouver, British Columbia
September 29–October 1, 2010
September 29, 2010
September 13–14, 2010
September 1–3, 2010
July 15–16, 2010
July 13, 2010
Estate Planning Conference | New York, New York
June 23–25, 2010
June 15, 2010
June 3, 2010
May 20, 2010
32nd Annual Estate Planners Day | Charlotte, North Carolina
May 13, 2010
Citywealth Magic Circle Awards 2010 | London, United Kingdom
May 13–15, 2010
May 6–7, 2010
21st Annual Spring Symposia | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
May 5, 2010
Estate Planners Day | New York, New York
May 5, 2010
April 21–23, 2010
March 15, 2010
Understanding Gift Taxes | New York, New York
March 3, 2010
February 25–27, 2010
Annually, 2006–2014
January 25–29, 2010
January 12, 2010
December 1–2, 2009
November 19–20, 2009
November 12–14, 2009
November 4, 2009
October 28–30, 2009
Tulane Tax Institute | New Orleans, Louisiana
October 13, 2009
STEP Private Client Awards 2009/2010 | London, United Kingdom
October 13, 2009
Trusts & Estates Litigation Symposium | London, United Kingdom
September 24–26, 2009
2009 Joint Fall CLE Meeting | Chicago, Illinois
September 14–15, 2009
July 14, 2009
June 14–19, 2009
June 9, 2009
May 20–22, 2009
May 15, 2009
May 14, 2009
Citywealth Magic Circle Awards 2009 | London, United Kingdom
May 14, 2009
March 19–22, 2009
March 5–8, 2009
ACTEC 2009 Annual Meeting | Rancho Mirage, California
January 21–25, 2009
14th Annual Los Angeles Art Show | Los Angeles, California
January 12–16, 2009
January 12, 2009
November 13–15, 2008
November 4, 2008
The Future of Trusts | St Helier, Jersey
September 8–9, 2008
Estate Planning Institute 2008 | New York, New York
September 10–11, 2007
March 1–3, 2007
January 22–24, 2007
2007 Tax Institute | Los Angeles, California
January 22–27, 2007
October 30–November 01, 2006
October 16, 2006
January 23–25, 2006
2006 Tax Institute | Los Angeles, California
Trusts and Estates

Recognition

Citywealth Magic Circle Awards
International Law Firm of the Year, 2012–2013
Chambers USA – Wealth Management (Nationwide)
Wealth Management (Nationwide), 2006–2016
U.S. News Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms" – Trusts and Estates Law (Los Angeles)
Trusts and Estates Law (Los Angeles), 2011–2018
U.S. News Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms" – Trusts and Estates Law (New York)
Trusts and Estates Law (New York), 2011–2018
U.S. News Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms" – Litigation – Trusts and Estates (Los Angeles)
Litigation – Trusts and Estates (Los Angeles), 2012–2018

Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners – North American Team of the Year

North American Team of the Year, 2012
Chambers USA – High Net Worth (New York)
High Net Worth (New York), 2016–2018
Chambers USA – High Net Worth (Illinois)
Private Wealth Law (Illinois), 2016–2018
U.S. News Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms" – Trusts and Estates Law (National)
Trusts and Estates Law (National), 2012–2018
U.S. News Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms" – Trusts and Estates Law (Chicago)
Trusts and Estates Law (Chicago), 2011–2018
Chambers USA – High Net Worth (USA)
High Net Worth (USA), 2016–2018
Chambers USA – High Net Worth (Southern California)
High Net Worth (Southern California), 2016–2018
U.S. News Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms" – Litigation – Trusts and Estates (National)
Litigation – Trusts and Estates (National), 2012, 2014–2015
U.S. News Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms" – Family Law (Charlotte)
Family Law (Charlotte), 2011–2013
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Recognition

International Law Firm of the Year, 2012–2013
Wealth Management (Nationwide), 2006–2016
Trusts and Estates Law (Los Angeles), 2011–2018
Trusts and Estates Law (New York), 2011–2018
Litigation – Trusts and Estates (Los Angeles), 2012–2018

Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners – North American Team of the Year

North American Team of the Year, 2012
High Net Worth (New York), 2016–2018
Private Wealth Law (Illinois), 2016–2018
Trusts and Estates Law (National), 2012–2018
Trusts and Estates Law (Chicago), 2011–2018
High Net Worth (USA), 2016–2018
High Net Worth (Southern California), 2016–2018
Litigation – Trusts and Estates (National), 2012, 2014–2015
Family Law (Charlotte), 2011–2013

OUR CLIENTS SAY...

"I think that it's an excellent trusts group there. Very smart and able lawyers. Definitely go-to lawyers when you have a trusts problem."

"In complex cross-border estate matters they are one of the top firms. They are really outstanding and excellent."

Chambers USA 2016
(Wealth Management)

Screen Reader Content

Our Clients Say: "I think that it's an excellent trusts group there. Very smart and able lawyers. Definitely go-to lawyers when you have a trusts problem."

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