Estate Planning & Probate Administration

Frantz Ward’s Estate Planning and Probate Administration attorneys provide advice on the full spectrum of estate planning, charitable and other gift planning, educational fund planning, and probate administration.

In the estate planning area, we work with clients to develop wills, trusts and powers of attorney-POAs (financial and health care) that are tailored to the specific needs of each of our clients and their families. We address issues such as the special needs of a family’s children, asset protection, implementation of Section 529 educational plans, and income and estate/gift/generation skipping tax planning (including tax-effective gifting strategies such as GRATs and defective grantor trusts, and advice on tax-wise completion of retirement plan beneficiary designations). For individuals and families with charitable aspirations, we design and implement planning techniques such as charitable remainder trusts, private foundations, and even public charities.

For business owners, we advise on business succession matters, including strategies to transition a business to the next generation, methods for recruiting, developing and retaining managerial talent key to a successful transition, and other exit strategies for the owner (including ESOP formation and sales to other third parties).

We have a significant practice in the probate administration area, helping guide executors and administrators through the maze of required filings, accountings, appraisals and other necessary actions in that field. However, in the case of our clients for whom we have created estate plans, we strive to posture the client’s assets in a manner that avoids most, if not all, probate administration.

We also work with a number of financial institutions to provide advice and counsel for their trust and administration services.

Representative experience includes:

Design, drafting and implementation of:

  • Wills
  • Living and Testamentary Trusts
  • Asset Protection Trusts
  • Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts
  • "Defective" Grantor Trusts
  • Charitable Lead and Remainder Trusts
  • Financial Powers of Attorney
  • Health Care Powers of Attorney and “Living Wills”
  • Pre-nuptial Agreements
  • Family Partnerships

Advice and representation of:

  • Probate administration
  • Ongoing estate administration
  • Trust funding to minimize probate and estate administration
  • Beneficiary designations for income tax sensitive assets, such as IRAs
  • IRS and state audits of estate and gift tax returns
  • Adoptions
  • Competency hearings
  • Conservatorships
  • Guardianships

Counsel on transactional matters, such as:

  • Business succession planning
  • Charitable giving plan development and implementation
  • Gift, estate, and generation-skipping transfer tax issues
  • Family asset maintenance and administration


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