Practice Area

Trusts and Estates

Trusts and Estates Team

Below are brief overviews of our partners' and counsels' experience.

  • Michael S. Arlein, Chair of the Firm's Trusts and Estates Group, focuses his practice on estate and tax planning for high net worth individuals and families, including Wall Street professionals, entrepreneurs, principals at private equity firms and hedge funds, real estate developers, professional athletes and corporate executives. 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. He has received Martindale-Hubbell’s highest rating of "AV Preeminent" based on both peer reviews and numerous client reviews, and has been recognized by Super Lawyers as a Rising Star in the area of Estate Planning and Probate.

  • Jennifer W. Brown advises high-net worth individuals and families, as well as banks, trust companies, and not-for-profit organizations, on estate and tax planning, with a focus on inter-generational planning. Her practice involves the administration of trusts and estates, all aspects of Surrogate’s Court practice, including probate and guardianship proceedings, 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.

  • Carolyn B. Handler oversees the administration of complex estates and trusts, including tax planning, reporting, valuation issues and fiduciary advice. Additionally, Ms. Handler focuses on Surrogate's Court practice, representing fiduciaries as well as individual and charitable beneficiaries in uncontested and contested proceedings. Her exempt organizations practice is centered on the establishment and representation of charitable entities, including private foundations, charitable trusts and public charities, and all aspects of nonprofit governance.

  • John Sare 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.

  • Brian M. Sweet engages in sophisticated estate planning for individuals and families, often designed to accomplish transfers to family members and charitable organizations in a tax-efficient manner. Mr. Sweet has also structured innovative solutions to help donors, fiduciaries and family offices accomplish both tax and non-tax goals in the administration of estates and family trusts. Mr. Sweet’s practice encompasses a broad range of issues relating to charitable giving, and he regularly represents charitable organizations with respect to estate and trust matters.

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 transactions and reorganize family holdings to take advantage of the latest changes in the tax code.