Michael Arlein is Chair of the Firm's Trusts and Estates group and the Firm’s practice group devoted to Founders & Entrepreneurs and has been with the Firm since 2000. Mr. Arlein focuses his practice on estate and tax planning for high net worth individuals and families, including founders and entrepreneurs, Wall Street professionals, principals at venture capital and private equity firms and hedge funds, real estate developers, corporate executives, professional athletes, entertainers and artists. A former investment banker, Mr. Arlein brings to his clients insight and business sense that distinguishes him among lawyers. He works closely with clients and their other trusted advisors to identify their objectives and provide creative and practical solutions designed to meet their specific goals. Collaborating with lawyers from the Firm's other practice areas, Mr. Arlein often serves as "general counsel" for his clients, coordinating all of their personal legal needs.
Mr. Arlein's practice extends to all aspects of sophisticated planning, wealth preservation and philanthropy. He has extensive experience preparing wills and trusts and implementing complex strategies involving grantor-retained annuity trusts (GRATs), family partnerships and limited liability companies, life insurance, Delaware trusts, and other wealth transfer techniques. Mr. Arlein frequently represents clients in administering large estates and trusts and in resolving complex estate and gift tax audits. He also has considerable experience negotiating and preparing prenuptial agreements, designing estate plans for international clients, and counseling clients on estate planning opportunities that arise in connection with the sale of privately held businesses and digital assets.
In recent years, Mr. Arlein has worked with the founders of numerous venture-backed companies in connection with their estate and tax planning. Among others, he has worked with some of the founders of the following companies (who have given permission to be included on this list): 305 Fitness, Alleviant Medical, Alma, Anchor, Anvyl, AppNexus, Aterian, Attentive, Bay Dynamics, Bedrock Ocean Exploration, Beeswax, Care/of, Casper, Codeacademy, Cometeer, Dia & Co., Daily Harvest, Dash, Digital Ocean, Fair Harbor, Firstleaf, Fishbowl, Flatiron Health, Frame.io, Frida Baby, Formsort, fubuTV, Gimlet, H1, Harry’s, Hubble Contacts, Imperfect Foods, Influenster, Kard, Kingdom Supercultures, Koneksa Health, Maestro, Magic Spoon, Maven Clinic, mParticle, MoneyLion, NS1, Pearl Health, Rhone Apparel, Roman Health, Saturn, Scoop Technologies, ShopKeep, Slack, Sollis Health, Standard Bots, StellaService, Transfix, Vestwell, Voray, Xtreme Solutions, and Xwing. In that context, Mr. Arlein has developed deep experience implementing planning strategies for Qualified Small Business Stock. Please visit the Founder Focus Resource Center where you will find unique content on topics of interest to founders and entrepreneurs and their professional advisors.
In 2022, Chambers High Net Worth recognized Mr. Arlein as a Band 1 top-tier practitioner in one of its Private Wealth Law guides for New York. A market source quoted in the publication notes “[h]e’s one of those lawyers who is just so down to earth, practical and easy to deal with.” Another sources notes “[h]e is very calm under pressure, very smart and practical. I like dealing with him." Other sources describe him as "very smart and thoughtful" and "very bright and technically skilled." Mr. Arlein has received Martindale-Hubbell’s highest rating of "AV Preeminent" based on both peer reviews and numerous client reviews. Mr. Arlein frequently publishes articles and lectures on various estate planning topics. He served on the Board of Directors of the Estate Planning Council of New York City and is a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP). He is a Guest Lecturer on the Practice of Wealth Management for High Net Worth Clients at Columbia Business School. Mr. Arlein also serves on the Association of the Bar of the City of New York’s Trusts, Estates & Surrogate's Courts Committee, as well as the New York-Presbyterian Planned Giving Advisory Council.
In 2018 Mr. Arlein received the Jeremy G. Epstein Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Service for his work with clients of the Planning and Estates Law Project (PELP). PELP offers free legal assistance with end-of-life planning, probate, and estate matters to low-income individuals in New York City.
- New York
- New Jersey
MEMBERSHIPS: Chair, Summit Hometown Heroes Banner Committee; New York-Presbyterian Planned Giving Advisory Council; New York State Bar Association (Trusts & Estates Law Section, Committee on International Estate Planning); Association of the Bar of the City of New York (Trusts, Estates & Surrogate's Courts Committee); Estate Planning Council of New York City (Board of Directors); Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP); Instructor, "Art as a Family Asset: Value, Gifts and Transactions," Sept 21, 2011, Artelligence Conference (New York, NY); "Divorce and Trusts: How to Effectively Represent Your Client," October 13, 2012, ABA Section of Family Law Fall Conference (Philadelphia, PA)
The Washington Post, "You’ve won the Mega Millions jackpot! Time to hide" (October 23, 2018)
Town & Country Magazine, “Executor's Song: The Tricky Business of Choosing Someone to Oversee Your Estate When You're Gone” (October 18, 2017)
NPR, “Learning the Importance of Estate Planning the Hard Way” (June 2, 2017)
Co-Author, "Estate Planning for Founders and Investors in Venture-backed Companies: Transfers of Qualified Small Business Stock by Gift," Tax Stringer (May 2020)
Co-Author, "Cybercrime: Rethinking Estate Planning and Asset Protection for Family Offices, High Net Worth Families and Executives," Family Office Exchange (November 2016)
Co-Author, "Asset Protection Wake Up Call: Data Security Top Concern for High Net Worth Investors," Data Security Law Blog (September 2016)
Co-Author, "The Net, Net Gift: A Technique for Reducing Gift Tax on Lifetime Transfers," Trusts & Estates Journal (August 2008)
Author, "Will State Farm Be There? Often Overlooked Property and Casualty Insurance Aspects of Common Estate Planning Transactions," The Practical Tax Lawyer (Summer 2007)
- Panelist, “State Residency & Domicile Planning and Pitfalls and Other State Issues Impacting Family Offices," New York Society of CPAs (February 24, 2021)
- Panelist, “Understanding and Planning with Qualified Small Business Stock," New York Estate Planning Council (February 3, 2021)
- Co-Speaker, “Trusts and Real Estate," 2020 Wealth Preservation Symposium (October 1, 2020)
- Co-Speaker, “Estate and Tax Planning for Founders of Venture-Backed Companies," Trust and Estate Taxation Conference of the Foundation for Accounting Education (December 4, 2019)