Beyond our technical skills in the tax and legal arenas, we are known for listening to our clients and designing individualized estate plans to meet their wishes and goals.

Since our founding in 1892, Moss & Barnett lawyers have guided generations of clients through the preservation and management of their assets and businesses.

Our services and areas of counsel include:

  • Preparation of wills, trusts, powers of attorneys, health care directives, and related documents
  • Tax reduction strategies
  • Estate and trust administration
  • Private foundations
  • Charitable trusts
  • Trustee selection
  • Guardianships and conservatorships
  • Resolution of family and business disputes
  • Succession planning for family-owned businesses
  • Life insurance trusts and related planning
  • Assistance in IRS tax audits
  • Prenuptial agreements
  • Retirement planning

Wealth Preservation and Estate Planning Clients

Our team helps a wide range of clients provide for their children and families, realize their philanthropic goals, establish the orderly succession of family businesses, and transfer assets with minimal tax liabilities for future generations. We also have worked with numerous businesses – including business owners seeking to transfer ownership to the next generation – and routinely structure purchase agreements with owners and employees contemplating business ownership. In addition, we work collaboratively with our clients’ other professional advisors and wealth management teams.

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  • A Sound and Sensible Business Transfer. Business owners were facing major challenges in transferring valuable businesses to the next generation, and they needed to avoid significant estate taxes and liquidity issues upon their deaths. We successfully transferred the enterprises without incurring any estate or gift taxes by using the following techniques: (1) converting the stock in the enterprises to voting and nonvoting stock; (2) gifting a portion of the nonvoting stock to special trusts designed to reduce income taxes and provide protection for the benefit of the second generation; (3) selling a portion of the nonvoting stock to a specially designed trust that resulted in no income taxes payable on the gain resulting from the sale; and (4) using significant discounts for lack of control and lack of marketability.
  • Preserving Wealth in Charitable Giving. Maintaining large amounts in IRAs or other retirement plans, which are subject to income taxes and estate taxes upon death, can result in as much as 75% of those savings being paid to federal and state governments. One solution we have devised for many clients with charitable wishes is creating their own private foundation. The foundation is named as the beneficiary of the IRA or retirement plan proceeds, and all income and estate tax on those proceeds is eliminated. Clients’ families then have the full benefit of managing all of the funds to accomplish their charitable objectives.

  • Keeping a House a Family Home. Frequently, clients have valuable and highly sentimental residential property, such as a lake home or second home in a warmer climate. We have assisted many families by developing trusts, limited liability companies, or other ownership vehicles to maintain those second homes indefinitely. One key planning technique is to provide for proper funding of the expenses of the home to ensure continuing family harmony in the use and enjoyment of those properties.

  • Sibling Will Dispute Resolved. We represented one of the disputing siblings in a family will contest, which involved claims that our client had forged the mother’s signature. During the trial in probate court, we convincingly attacked the credibility and reliability of the other side’s handwriting expert during cross-examination and eventually helped our client prevail.



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