Estate Planning & Administration

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Effective estate planning can eliminate uncertainties for individuals and families, giving them peace of mind as they seek to retain, administer, and transfer their wealth and values. As a full-service law firm with offices across North America, Dickinson Wright has a nationally renowned team of lawyers that seamlessly assists clients with tax and estate planning, trust administration, and business succession. Understanding the often delicate and challenging nature of these matters, our team approaches each case holistically, working to resolve disputes over complex and factual concerns while achieving the tax and non-tax results that meet our clients’ specific needs.


Our Team


Dickinson Wright’s estate planning and administration lawyers are esteemed by both clients and peers for their industry experience and excellent representation. The practice is ranked by Chambers 2020 High Net Worth Guide, and many members of the team are regularly cited for their work by Chambers®, Super Lawyers®, Best Lawyers® as well as other leading evaluating organizations, and many members of the team are American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) fellows.


Our Services

Testamentary planning, wealth transfer, and tax planning for your family members and loved ones, including:

  • Wills                                    

  • Revocable Trusts

  • Irrevocable Trusts, including:

    • Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts (ILITs)

    • Charitable Remainder Trusts (CRTs)

    • Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (GRATs)

    • Spousal Lifetime Access Trusts (SLATs)

    • Qualified Personal Residence Trusts (QPRTs)

    • Perpetual Dynasty Trusts

    • Intentionally Defective Grantor Trusts (IDITs), including Annual Exclusion Trusts for Grandchildren or loved ones

Planning for business ownership, succession, and transfer, including:

• Choice of entity
• Buy-sell agreements
• Stock bonus and option agreements
• Tax-free distributions

Personal finance and family needs, including:

• Powers of attorney
• Medical directives
• Asset protection planning, including Domestic Asset Protection Trusts (DAPTs)
• Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements

Estate and trust administration, including:

• Probate Administration – representing fiduciaries and beneficiaries
• Trust Administration – representing fiduciaries and beneficiaries
• Post-mortem tax advice to fiduciaries and beneficiaries
• Planning for tax-savings elections, credits, and disclaimers

Tax compliance, including:

• Federal estate and state death tax returns (Form 706 and 709)
• Individual, trust, and estate income tax returns (Form 1040 and 1041)
• Tax returns for closely-held businesses and tax-exempt organizations
• Government audits and investigations

– Developed and implemented enforceable estate plans for the management and transfer of assets during life and at death in ways that avoid unnecessary taxation, preserve privacy and protect loved ones.


– Assisted clients with flexible arrangements that minimized risks associated with potential federal estate tax liability.


– Counseled clients on options to defer and minimize income taxation upon distribution of retirement plans.


– Assisted individuals contemplating marriage or already married in protecting their assets and loved ones through marital agreements, trusts, and other enforceable arrangements.


– Assisted owners of closely-held family businesses in transferring ownership to the next generation through gifts and sales of business interests that preserve cash flow for the senior generation and shift growth to the junior generation.


– Structured tax-leveraged and interest rate-sensitive transactions to transfer volatile growth assets to the next generation while minimizing gift tax consequences.


Facilitated clients’ charitable intent using tax-efficient outright gifts, lead and charitable remainder trusts, private foundations, donor-advised funds, and supporting organizations.


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