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Estate Planning and Trust and Estate Administration

Thompson & Knight’s attorneys provide a full range of estate planning and probate services. We draft wills and trusts and restructure family businesses for management continuity and tax savings in future generations, and help individual and corporate executors and trustees administer decedents’ estates and trusts efficiently and cost-effectively.

Overview

Thompson & Knight’s attorneys provide a full range of estate planning and probate services. In addition to drafting wills and trusts, we restructure family businesses for management continuity and tax savings in future generations, and help individual and corporate executors and trustees administer decedents’ estates and trusts efficiently and cost-effectively. Many of our trusted family relationships are more than 70 years old, and it is not uncommon for our attorneys to work with three or even four generations of a family over the course of decades.

Our attorneys provide counsel on the most sensitive personal family tax issues, from those involving succession planning to executive compensation and retirement plans. Our attorneys have helped our clients transfer millions or, in some cases, hundreds of millions of dollars to their families in a tax-efficient manner. We work with clients to form charitable remainder and lead trusts and family private foundations, as well as to structure gifts and bequests to charities across the country. When necessary, we also represent clients in adversarial proceedings with the Internal Revenue Service and in Tax Court.

All of our estate planning attorneys keep current on rulings and developments in the field, and many are nationally acclaimed speakers on these topics. Five of our attorneys are Board Certified in Estate Planning and Probate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and three of our attorneys are Fellows of The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel.

We advise individual clients on:

  • Wealth transfers that use creative, individualized lifetime vehicles to minimize income, estate, gift, and generation-skipping taxes
  • Lifetime gifts that minimize gift and estate taxation and achieve personal and family goals
  • General powers of attorney, designations of guardian, directives to physicians (“living wills”), and powers of attorney relating to health care decisions
  • Lifetime revocable and irrevocable trusts that make tax-efficient gifts, facilitate asset management and avoid guardianship if the client is incapacitated, avoid lengthy state court probate, and protect assets from creditors
  • Tax plans that lower estate tax values and defer estate tax payment on farm and ranch property
  • Charitable lifetime and testamentary gifts, including the establishment of private foundations, charitable trusts, and endowments

We advise family held companies and business executives on:

  • Restructuring family businesses to reduce income and succession taxes
  • Succession and inheritance plans that defer significant estate taxes
  • Various forms of charitable planned giving
  • Proper employee benefit and life insurance beneficiary designations that minimize income and estate tax burdens while satisfying federal laws regarding qualified plans
  • How a relocation applies new community property systems and local regulation to the administration of corporate executives’ estates
  • Estate planning fringe benefit services, including guidance on existing wills, asset valuation, proper insurance and employee benefit beneficiary designations, and all estate planning documents necessary to accomplish corporate executives’ goals

We handle probate and fiduciary matters including:

  • Probate of the decedent’s will and filing of other necessary court documents, or if there was no will, we wind up the decedent’s affairs as simply as possible
  • Creditors’ claims
  • Income tax planning for the decedent’s estate and beneficiaries
  • Post-mortem income and estate tax planning, including discussing disclaimers with family members
  • Winding up closely held businesses
  • Preparation of estate, gift, and generation-skipping tax returns
  • Asset transfers to beneficiaries, in addition to winding up closely held businesses
  • Administration of testamentary and lifetime trusts, in addition to providing advice to trustees and beneficiaries
  • Proceedings in the probate courts and other courts to modify, construe, and terminate trusts
  • Guardianships of minors and incompetents
  • Provision of fiduciary law and trust administration advice to corporate and individual fiduciaries

Estate planning practice is among the largest in the southwestern United States

More attorneys selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2019 in Trusts and Estates than any other firm in Texas

Regional tier-one ranking in DFW for Trusts and Estates Law in “Best Law Firms” 2019 by U.S. News-Best Lawyers®