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Estates & Trusts

Protect what you own – now and for the future


Heilig Branigan LLP trusts and estates professionals assist the Executrix, estate attorneys, and other advisors through federal and state estate tax return filing requirements. We efficiently organize estate assets and deductions, identify beneficial interests, make the proper elections, and draft required disclosures. We will use portability elections and valuation discounts where appropriate to reduce estate tax liability and prepare a fiduciary accounting of the trust or estate to settle the account and release the fiduciaries from liability. For lifetime gifting, we will address issues such as preservation of the lifetime exemption using withdrawal rights and gift splitting, proper allocation of Generation Skipping Transfer Tax exemption, disclosure of non-gift transactions, and necessary disclosure requirements under Treasury regulations.  


We will craft an estate plan to protect your assets from creditors, minimize federal and state estate tax, and maximize income tax opportunities available to you. Using sophisticated wealth transfer and preservation strategies, we can help you maximize the enjoyment of your property during your lifetime while also facilitating appropriate lifetime gifting strategies and providing for an orderly and efficient transfer of property to beneficiaries upon your death. Our services may include an estate and gift tax analysis including projections of potential estate tax savings achieved through specific planning strategies and an income tax and cash flow analysis in conjunction with proposed wealth transfer strategies.


Unlike some other wealth transfer strategies that require a large contribution of wealth during a lifetime to reduce estate tax liability, an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT) allows you to transfer large amounts of wealth to beneficiaries with a relatively small contribution. We can help you properly structure an ILIT so that you can avoid triggering a gift tax, using the ILIT to pay the life insurance proceeds to beneficiaries free of estate and gift tax.  We will work with you and your family to leverage this low-risk, high-reward wealth transfer strategy in conjunction with your estate planning objectives. 


To help you achieve your wealth transfer goals and philanthropic vision, our trusts and estates professionals will provide expert guidance on charitable planning strategies, current tax incentives, and tax favored wealth transfer. A charitable remainder trust can provide you with a current tax incentive, allow for a term of years or lifetime stream of income, and pass your remaining wealth on to identified charities after your death. Alternatively, a charitable lead trust can provide you with a significant current tax incentive, immediate charitable contributions, and wealth transfer to your beneficiaries that is free of estate taxes and, often, free of gift taxes. We can also advise you on setting up your own private foundation or contributing to donor advised funds or other charitable vehicles.  


Through the strategic use of irrevocable trusts, we can help protect your assets from financial abuse, lawsuits, divorce, spendthrift heirs, and other risks (so-called “Creditors and Predators”). Our wealth transfer planning professionals cut through the complexity of federal and state provisions to identify the solutions that best address your wealth preservation and transfer goals.


When passed down from one generation to the next, many businesses do not survive because of a lack of appropriate succession planning. If you own a family business, we will strategize with you to create both management and ownership succession plans to ensure its continuation. We can help your family business deliver maximum value to the senior generation while protecting assets and transferring wealth to future generations. We will also help you determine how and when your business might be passed to the next generations or if should be sold to key employees or third parties.

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