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Private Client Services

Client and Industry Challenges

Our clients face a range of challenges that affect their personal and professional goals, including difficult family legacy decisions, ongoing legislative and regulatory changes, evolving market conditions and an increased focus by tax authorities on high-wealth individuals. At the same time, there is no “typical” problem in the area of personal and estate planning; the mix of life circumstances and business and personal assets is unique for every individual, family and company we serve.

At Snell & Wilmer, we strive to help high net worth individuals, executors, trustees and beneficiaries accomplish specific objectives and achieve overall sound wealth management and protection. Our attorneys have experience with estate planning, charitable planning, establishing private family foundations and public charities, business succession planning and international estate planning. We rely on our firsthand experience with estate and gift tax laws, our commitment to confidentiality and our reputation for providing high-quality representation to offer our clients comprehensive wealth management services that are tailored to their individual needs.

Clients We Serve

Our private client services team provides a wide range of services to individuals, families, fiduciaries, nonprofit organizations and closely-held businesses. We handle probate and trust administration for a variety of clients with estates of all sizes.

Our services include setting up revocable trusts and wills, durable powers of attorney, health care powers of attorney and living wills, life insurance trusts, charitable trusts, minors’ trusts and pet trusts. We frequently assist our clients with plans for charitable giving by setting up charitable funds and entities that promote their personal philanthropic interests.

We also help clients implement international estate planning techniques, family limited partnerships, merger and acquisition transactions for family businesses, succession planning for closely held businesses, estate and trust administration advice, planning for IRA and qualified plan assets, preparation of federal and state estate tax returns and the distribution of assets to beneficiaries.

Why Clients Select Us

Focused and Dedicated: We strive to help our clients clearly understand all elements of our personal and estate planning services and provide explanatory letters that spell out any proposed plans. We take pride in our ability to draft concise legal documents that meet our client’s needs. We use state-of-the-art computer programs to prepare estate tax projections and to prepare tax returns, and we stay abreast of trends in global and emerging markets in order to provide optimal business and wealth management advice to our clients. We also make sure to encourage our clients to take follow-up action to title assets and designate beneficiaries consistent with their planning.

Knowledgeable and Connected: Our team includes experienced attorneys and paralegals who provide estate planning services to clients in our offices. We draw upon the broad experience of other attorneys in our firm in order to fully benefit our clients. We also frequently meet with investment planners, accountants and other advisors on behalf of our clients. We believe a coordinated effort between advisors provides the most efficient and effective solutions to client needs. Many of our private client services attorneys are members of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), a national organization of estate and trust lawyers that strives to study and improve trust, estate and tax laws, procedures and professional responsibility.

Experience

Our private client services team has helped our clients define their personal estate objectives, benefit from the significant tax savings that can result in proper planning, and achieve seamless estate transitions.

  • For many married couples, we prepare estate planning documents that take advantage of the unlimited federal tax marital deduction, so there will be no estate tax at the death of the first spouse. For couples of substantial means or with significant life insurance benefits, a "credit shelter" trust is utilized to minimize taxes at the second death.
  • A couple with a handicapped child came to us requesting special planning for the long-term care issues involved with their estate planning. We were able to structure lifetime trusts for the child which would not diminish the public benefits otherwise available to the child.
  • An obstetrician wanted estate planning which would incorporate protections from potential malpractice claims. We were able to structure the assets and pension and insurance benefits so as to minimize the risk to his family.
  • We argued before a state Court of Appeals that language contained in a trust agreement drafted by another law firm effectively waived the benefit of the state's life insurance exemption statute.
  • We assisted with tax and protection issues involving an art collection belonging to a French citizen who moved to the United States shortly before his death.