The trust and estate attorneys at Allen Lottmann Kimmel PC have counseled generations of East Texas families on growing wealth in the right places and facilitating the transfer of wealth to successive generations.
Our areas of representation include:
- Estate Planning
- Wealth Migration Planning
- Business Planning and Business Succession Planning
- Elder Law and Guardianships
- Probate Administration
- Probate, Trust & Estate Litigation
At Allen Lottmann Kimmel, we take a five-step approach to estate planning: First, we invest the time necessary to thoroughly understand our client's financial affairs, family values, and planning objectives. Second, we encourage an advisory team approach which includes the client's accountants and investment advisors. Third, we provide an overview of appropriate estate planning strategies to minimize transfer taxes. Fourth, we utilize time-honored estate planning tools to enhance creditor protection and maximize control over family assets. Fifth, we carefully coordinate beneficiary designations to assets such as life insurance and retirement benefits with the overall estate plan.
Our estate planning attorneys prepare a range of individually tailored estate planning documents, including:
- Revocable Living Trusts
- Exemption and Marital Trusts
- Advance Healthcare Directives/ Durable Medical Powers of Attorney
- Statutory Durable Powers of Attorney
Wealth Migration Planning
Our attorneys focus on wealth and estate planning for high net worth individuals, and have extensive experience in planning involving the use of irrevocable trusts, including:
- Multi-generational Trusts/Dynasty Trusts
- Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts
- Intentionally Defective Grantor Trusts
- Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (GRATS)
For high net-worth families, Allen Lottmann Kimmel attorneys emphasize formation of long term dynastic trusts. These trusts provide superior divorce and creditor protection. They also enable families to avoid estate taxation on trust assets for multiple generations. Typically a separate dynastic trust is created for each mature family member. That family member may act as trustee of the trust created for his or her primary benefit and can be granted the power to direct the future owners of the trust following his or her death.
Once long term trusts are established, our attorneys teach clients to place new investment opportunities inside these trusts and to migrate existing personal investment assets into the trusts through combinations of gifts and tax free sales.
For clients with charitable inclinations, our attorneys work with estate planning specialists to advise clients on charitable strategies and create family foundations, charitable lead trusts and other non-profit entities. We routinely introduce clients to regional community foundations and discuss ways to efficiently carry out charitable objectives.
Having served families in East Texas for decades, our lawyers are readily familiar with issues unique to this region, including planning for oil and gas properties as well as significant real estate holdings.
Business Planning and Business Succession Planning
Every business owner and every person aspiring to start or purchase a business should have the benefit of an experienced business attorney. Finding the right attorney to help form and guide the development of your business is a critically important endeavor, because decisions such as the appropriate choice of entity will impact the potential exposure to liability and the tax treatment of the business. At Allen Lottmann Kimmel, we assist our clients in selecting the most appropriate business entity, business formation, contract and transactional work, purchase and sales agreements, and other vital legal services.
Firm principal Richard H. Lottmann has a wealth of experience in advising business owners in East Texas, including physicians, dentists and entrepreneurs. Mr. Lottmann provides comprehensive representation throughout the lifetime of a business, including:
- Business Formations/Business Incorporation: Choice of entity and the formation of business entity/professional organizations such as Limited Partnerships (LP), Limited Liability Companies (LLC), professional organizations, C Corporations, and S Corporations.
- Contract and Transactional Work: Including contract drafting and review of purchase and sales agreements and employment contracts (including physician and medical employee contracts).
Firm principal Michael D. Allen has particular expertise in the area of business succession planning, and is frequently called upon to speak to attorneys and other professionals at continuing education seminars on business succession strategies for family-owned and closely held businesses.
In today's litigious society, high net-worth individuals face an increased risk of exposure to liability. Our attorneys advise clients regarding asset protection and wealth preservation strategies, including limited partnerships designed to keep family assets in the family, provide for management of family assets, and to transfer family assets on a tax favorable basis. Our lawyers also advise clients regarding the use of Limited Liability Companies (LLCs), business protection involving the use of corporate entities, multi-generational dynasty trusts, and irrevocable trusts.
Elder Law and Guardianships
A comprehensive, well-drafted estate plan always takes possible contingencies into consideration, including the possibility of the future disability or incapacity of an individual. Estate planning documents such as trusts, statutory durable powers of attorney, durable medical powers of attorney, and directives to physicians are designed to provide a plan for possible incapacity.
Our attorneys also prepare supplemental needs trusts (sometimes referred to as "special needs trusts"), which are designed to ensure the continued eligibility of a disabled or incapacitated beneficiary for government benefits. We also prepare Miller Trusts to qualify a Medicaid applicant with income in excess of the eligibility limit for long-term care assistance under Medicaid.
In the event a person becomes incapacitated, and does not have estate planning documents in place designating who will manage their financial affairs or make decisions regarding their care, we can assist in obtaining the appointment of a guardian and can advise the guardian regarding his or her fiduciary duties and obligations.
Our firm represents executors and administrators in the probate administration process. Our attorneys have the knowledge and expertise to effectively handle the administration of estates of any size, ranging from simple estates requiring a muniment of title to large and complex estates involving significant wealth, interests in ongoing businesses, and assets located in multiple states.
We pride ourselves on providing efficient, cost-effective representation in all probate matters, routinely completing the administration of nontaxable probate estates within six months. The firm charges hourly fees in probate matters; clients are not charged a percentage of the estate's value. In the event a dispute arises during the course of the probate process, we are prepared to mediate or litigate the dispute to protect the interests of our client.
Probate, Trust, and Estate Litigation
Our attorneys are experienced litigators with significant experience in representing individual fiduciaries and beneficiaries in trust, estate, and probate disputes. We represent clients in connection with an array of trust and estate issues, including challenges to the validity of estate planning documents, intra-family disputes, claims by beneficiaries, and allegations of estate or trust mismanagement or breach of fiduciary duty.
Our attorneys are also experienced negotiators and skilled mediators. When a dispute arises, we often recommend mediation as an alternative to litigation. Mediation provides an informal, more expeditious way of reaching a resolution, and is significantly less expensive than going to trial. Our goal in mediation is to secure a favorable resolution for our client, with minimal expenditure on attorneys' fees and litigation costs.
Mediation is particularly well-suited for intra-family disputes, because it allows the parties to avoid some of the emotional costs of litigation. While litigation tends to pit each party against the other in an adversarial proceeding, in mediation, the parties air their grievances in a private setting, and the confidentiality of the process allows them to openly discuss difficult issues. The parties mutually agree upon a resolution, rather than one which is imposed on them by the court. Because the parties work together to reach a resolution, they are often more likely to repair or maintain their relationship.
Contact Us for Assistance
We welcome your inquiry regarding our estate planning, probate administration, and trust and estate litigation services. Contact Allen Lottmann Kimmel PC to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced trust and estate attorneys.