With one of the top Trusts and Estates Groups in New York City, recently ranked #1 by The Best Lawyers in America for the sixth year in a row, Patterson Belknap advises some of the nation's wealthiest individuals and families. Widely recognized as leaders in their field, they sit on the boards of major national not for profit organizations and institutions, lecture extensively and provide cutting edge planning advice to clients. In addition, they serve on major bar association committees, as well as committees that impact both federal and state legislation regarding wealth management. As evidence of their leadership roles, partners in Patterson Belknap's Trusts and Estates Group are consistently recognized by their peers in legal industry publications; five are included in Best Lawyers in America.
When matters necessitate, group attorneys coordinate with firm litigators to handle estate and trust issues in the courtroom, including probate contests, proceedings to remove fiduciaries, construction proceedings and contested accounting proceedings where very substantial sums are at stake as well as control of large closely held corporations. In addition, attorneys in our group have represented many major banks in their capacities as trustee.
Below are brief overviews of our partners' and counsels' experience.
Christopher C. Angell
has more than 30 years of experience advising a broad international client base on personal planning matters. He serves as a trustee of various trusts, including those established by clients and their families, as well as a director of Bessemer Trust Company and Henry Street Settlement. He is a Trustee of Johns Hopkins University and serves on the Advisory Board of the Bioethics Institute of Johns Hopkins University. He is president of The Emily Davie and Joseph S. Kornfeld Foundation. He is recognized in The Best Lawyers in America
Michael S. Arlein
focuses his practice on a broad range of matters in the personal planning area, including estate and tax planning for individuals and families, estate and trust administration, all aspects of Surrogate's Court practice, including probate proceedings, will contests and guardianships, and planning for charitable giving and philanthropy.
Hugh J. Freund
has more than 35 years of experience representing individuals in their business, personal, investment, estate planning, real estate and fiduciary matters. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg nominated Mr. Freund to be a Director of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation through December 2012. Mr. Freund, also at Mayor Bloomberg’s request, served as a Commissioner of The Art Commission of the City of New York through October 2006. He is also a member of the Board of Overseers of the Hopkins Center and Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College, a trustee of The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, Inc., a trustee of Mass MoCA and an Honorary Trustee of The Parrish Art Museum.
Dana W. Hiscock
has more than 30 years of experience representing high net worth individuals and families, including owners of private businesses, corporate and financial services executives, and U.S. citizens residing abroad. He serves as a trustee of various trusts established by clients and their families. His exempt organizations practice has focused on the establishment and representation of charitable entities. He is recognized in The Best Lawyers in America
Catherine Grevers Schmidt
focuses on estate planning, administration of trusts and estates, Surrogate's Court practice, and planning for charitable giving and for the inter-generational transfer of wealth. Her practice also encompasses contested estate and gift tax proceedings, and she has represented clients before the United States Tax Court. She is a regular speaker on estate and gift tax topics. She is recognized in The Best Lawyers in America
advises individuals and corporate fiduciaries on legal issues involving works of art, charitable giving, and estate planning. He teaches the Seminar in Law and the Visual Arts at the Columbia University School of Law and lectures frequently on tax-exempt organization, charitable giving, and art law topics. He is recognized in The Best Lawyers in America
By having a strong trusts and estates group within a larger firm, we provide clients with a level of sophistication in legal advice that is unmatched. Our firm's capabilities-and the promise of its strong future-allow us to protect families for generations.
Because of these long-term relationships, we often become personal counsel to clients, addressing matters beyond estate planning. Working with our renowned tax-exempt organizations group, we advise a number of private foundations and public charities. Our litigators handle disputes about closely held businesses. Our tax attorneys structure documents to take advantage of the latest changes in the tax code.
Counsel for Every Need
For individuals as well as entire families, we answer complex questions about their business and philanthropic affairs, and handle routine matters such as banking relationships and the selection of investment services.
Because many of our clients own family businesses or control large blocks of stock in privately traded companies, we regularly counsel them on such issues as:
retaining a company's private status,
providing continuity of management across generations,
transferring stock in the company to younger generations,
maintaining voting control of a company,
drafting shareholders' agreements to define family obligations, and
preparing closely held businesses for sale.
When designing estate plans, we look to meet the diverse personal and financial needs of our clients. Our trusts and estates group assists families that include persons with disabilities, addressing their unique tax and financial planning needs. We counsel our clients on the use of trusts and other legal devices to protect family assets.
For the Public Good
Recognizing that many of our clients seek to give back, we work with them to establish and administer private foundations and other charitable arrangements, including charitable lead trusts and charitable remainder trusts. We also counsel individuals who plan to make significant or unusual gifts to nonprofit institutions.
Many charitable, educational and religious organizations that are beneficiaries under wills and trusts rely on our attorneys as their counsel. Indeed, we have a long history as counsel to some of the nation's leading public charities and private foundations.
The administration of clients' estates and the operation of their trusts require skill on the part of executors and trustees. We regularly counsel banks, trust companies and individuals regarding their duties as such fiduciaries. Our partners have also served as directors of trust companies.
Working together with lawyers from our litigation group, we represent individuals and trust companies as executors, trustees or beneficiaries in disputes concerning the validity or operation of wills and trust agreements or when administrative decisions of a fiduciary are challenged in an accounting proceeding. We counsel our clients and represent them when controversies arise among family members or among owners of closely held businesses. We also negotiate and draft pre- and post-nuptial agreements.
Advice Across Borders
Foreign nationals who reside in the United States or have holdings here, as well as U.S. nationals living abroad or with investments in other countries, turn to us because of our global experience. We counsel them concerning investments in the United States and other countries, and assist in creating corporations or trusts as vehicles for these investments. We work with attorneys in many foreign jurisdictions to assist clients in complying with complex multinational tax and other rules, in choosing the most appropriate jurisdictions in which to base their operations, and in creating trusts, corporations and other entities in the U.S. and in other countries. We fashion estate plans for multi-national clients which address their needs and the concerns of their families while minimizing taxes and complying with the laws of multiple countries.