Schiff Hardin's Private Clients, Trusts and Estates Group offers more than a century of experience and industry leadership in wealth transfer and succession planning. We bring to our clients the experience and depth of a large team of attorneys, supported by complementary, general service capabilities of our firm's lawyers in offices nationwide.
Five members of our group have been elected Fellows of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), the most distinguished professional organization in this field. Our practice is nationally ranked by Chambers USA, and the leader and deputy leader of our group recently were included among the "Top 100 Attorneys" when Worth magazine compiled such listings. Members of our group have authored numerous articles, widely distributed formbooks, and a nationally-published, two volume estate planning treatise.
We emphasize an individual approach for our wide range of clients nationwide. We are personal counselors, and we take very seriously our responsibilities as such. Our clients include:
- Business executives and investment fund managers
- Owners of privately held businesses
- Charitable organizations, both public and private
- Surviving spouses
- Families with multiple generations of wealth and family offices
- Banks, trust companies and individuals serving as executors and trustees
Not surprisingly, their needs and goals differ. We work with our individual clients to create unique estate plans that preserve assets and minimize taxes, both during their lives and for future generations.
Taxes are not the end of the analysis, however. We design estate plans that address the special concerns associated with specific assets — such as a family business or an art collection — in ways that achieve the client's goals. We also address the special needs of beneficiaries, such as those who cannot manage assets or who suffer from mental or physical disability. Not to be forgotten are protecting assets from creditors and providing incentives for younger generations to use their wealth wisely and in ways that contribute to their communities and society in general.
We make it a point to work closely with other family advisors and experts, including accountants, bankers, trust officers, financial planners, investment managers, insurance agents, valuation experts, family offices and other attorneys.
We have extensive experience working with multiple generation families.
An important aspect of our firm's practice involves the representation of wealthy families in the creation or reorganization of multi-generational trusts, partnerships, and corporations.
We have a nationwide practice.
Schiff Hardin attorneys are licensed to practice in 24 states and the District of Columbia, including several that are popular retirement destinations for our clients such as Florida, Arizona, Hawaii and other warmer weather states. Our Private Clients, Trusts and Estates Group serves clients throughout the United States, and we seek opinions and assistance, where appropriate, from local counsel in jurisdictions where we are not licensed.
We also counsel and educate banks and trust departments.
We include many banks and their trust departments among our clients. Over the years we have prepared an extensively annotated manual of will and trust forms for over twenty banks across the country, tailored in each case to local law. We conduct seminars and training programs for bank officers, attorneys, accountants and bank customers, and we advise banks directly on sensitive administration issues, including federal and state taxation, accounting, fiduciary duties, construction of will and trust documents and risk management.
Our capabilities include preparation of comprehensive, cover-to-cover policy and procedure manuals for trust departments in compliance with state and federal regulatory requirements. We customize the policies and procedures for the corporate structure and personnel that the trust department will use. In some cases, we provide ongoing advice to assist the bank's personnel in operating the trust department.
We teach and write about the law as well as practice it.
Our attorneys appear before groups nationwide. We teach at major law schools and at the National Trust School of the American Bankers Association, the leading national training school for trust officers. We publish on a wide range of topics involving taxation and wealth preservation for leading industry estate planning and trust periodicals. Our attorneys also serve on the editorial boards of Trusts & Investments and Estate Planning.