Private Wealth

A sophisticated, efficient approach to the full range of wealth transfer planning for individuals.

Meet the team

Locke Lord's estate planning lawyers offer a sophisticated, efficient approach to the full range of wealth transfer planning for high-net-worth individuals. From moderate to billion-dollar estates, we understand the complex and dynamic tax laws and the latest issues that impact clients' wealth transfer and estate planning goals. We quickly analyze complex issues and help clients identify and understand planning options so they can effectively maintain and pass on wealth.

We customize plans to individual needs, realizing every family and every estate is unique. Our team works closely with our business tax and employee benefits lawyers to handle all types of client needs, from typical transfer tax issues to the most sophisticated wealth transfer techniques.

Our lawyers work extensively in planning for transfers of business interests and family investments, and we have the established ability to reduce taxes and defend such planning techniques on audit. While tax planning is frequently an important element of estate planning, our lawyers pride themselves on the breadth as well as the depth of their experience, which extends to business succession planning, trust and estate administration, litigation, fiduciary advice and charitable planning.

Locke Lord's private wealth team is consistently recognized in the Best Law Firms survey by U.S. News – Best Lawyers®. All of Locke Lord's eligible estate planning lawyers are Board Certified in Estate Planning and Probate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and one is also a Fellow in the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. All of the attorneys in the group are also members of the probate and estate planning sections of their state and local bar associations. We regularly share our knowledge at seminars and are leaders and members of professional organizations.

Wealth Transfer Planning

We are skilled at current estate and gift tax planning opportunities, asset protection, marital property planning and business succession plans. Our lawyers have experience in sophisticated estate and tax planning for clients whose estates — often exceeding many tens of millions of dollars — consist of multiple types of assets, including oil and gas interests, real estate, stock and bond portfolios and closely held businesses.

Locke Lord lawyers have years of experience in all phases of wealth transfer planning, including the following:

  • Preparation of simple to complex wills and incapacity planning documents
  • Preparation of all types of revocable and irrevocable trusts, including living trusts, dynasty trusts, GRATs, irrevocable grantor trusts, educational trusts, life insurance trusts, S corporation trusts, qualified domestic trusts for non-U.S. citizens and personal injury settlement trusts
  • Creation of family partnerships and other entities for asset management and wealth planning
  • Generation-skipping transfer tax planning, including analysis of impact of trust modification or division on GST exempt status
  • Beneficiary designation planning for retirement benefits
  • Probate of wills and handling estate administrations
  • Preparation of federal estate tax, gift tax and generation-skipping tax returns
  • Gift and estate tax audits and valuation controversies with the IRS and other taxing authorities
  • Asset protection planning
  • Marital property planning, including pre- and post-marital agreements
  • Decisions on tax and community property aspects of property division upon divorce
  • Charitable planning

We are also able to meet our clients' desires to provide effective philanthropy, and we help in deciding between such techniques as private foundations, supporting organizations and donor-advised gift funds. We have experience in all types of charitable split interest trusts. A number of our lawyers serve on advisory and governing boards of charitable organizations and are familiar with operational and governance issues involving charities as well as the related tax planning.

Trust and Estate Administration

Locke Lord lawyers have substantial experience in trust and estate administration. We offer general representation on fiduciary, investment product and operational matters to individual and institutional trustees, including trust companies and trust divisions. We advise trustees on their fiduciary duties related to trust administration as well as advising trust and estate beneficiaries on their rights and remedies.

Our lawyers continue to plan for family harmony and wealth transfer even after the death of a client. We also counsel clients regarding elections on employee benefits, disclaimer planning, income taxes associated with trusts and estates and the myriad of other issues which arise after a death in the family.

We institute legal actions to modify and terminate irrevocable trusts and render general advice to trustees. Our lawyers are experienced in the most difficult trust and estate interpretation, administration and contest issues, and we are proficient in arranging for the collection of assets and handling of claims against estates and trusts.

Meet the team