Wills, Trusts and Probate

Trusts & Estates

Petefish, Immel, Hird, Johnson, Leibold & Sloan, LLP has extensive experience serving individuals and families with transferring assets to beneficiaries with the least tax and administration costs. We prepare and protect a family’s legacy through drafting of wills, trusts, powers of attorneys, and other planning documents. But, our attorneys are more than “will and trust” drafters. Our attorneys recognize the issues and solve the problems of families and business owners. Our attorneys have the experience and knowledge to develop the best estate plan for our clients by understanding our client’s current assets and personal goals for future wealth accumulation, developing and implementing plans for orderly transfer of assets during lifetime and upon death, taking into account our client’s objectives for the family, and reducing or eliminating estate tax burden or reducing income tax burden.

Our attorneys focus on accomplishing our client’s estate planning and business succession planning goals through the use of the most effective and tax-advantaged planning methods available. We service a wide range of clients, ranging from moderate sized estate to high net worth families. Each family’s personal plan is designed after understanding the family’s overall business plan and personal objectives, and we understand that a client’s personal life or business plan can have an impact on any personal plan.

Our attorneys gather financial and personal information, family facts and discuss with each client personal and business goals to address the accumulation of wealth, planning for retirement, planning for education needs of children and grandchildren, business management, succession planning, planning for illness or disability, planning for special needs children or grandchildren, and disposition of assets at death.

Our attorneys work closely with investment, accounting and insurance professionals to assure that a comprehensive plan is developed and implemented.

We support our clients with the preparation of wills and trusts, preparation of corporate documents, preparation and administration of trusts and wills, handling marriage and step- or second family fairness, planning for succession and long-term medical concerns, and determining the appropriate plan for real estate interests and use of gifting options. We also assist our clients with estate and gift tax returns and disputes.

Because of our expertise and experience, our clients rely on us for vital and effective estate planning, business planning, tax advice, trust and estate administration and charitable planning. We provide counseling and guidance to our clients, often working with multiple generations of the same family to optimize the planning results at all generation levels.

We regularly counsel family business owners with regard to business ownership and management succession planning issues, business exit strategies, buy-sell agreements, family dynamics issues, and structuring business entities for optimal protection from potential future liabilities.

Trust and Probate Administration

Petefish, Immel, Hird, Johnson, Leibold & Sloan, LLP attorneys assist trustee, executors, administrators, guardians, conservators, and other fiduciaries in fulfilling their duties and responsibilities during a trust administration or probate proceeding. Our attorneys work with our clients throughout the period of administration for an efficient and effective process, which items include, but are not limited to, review of the trust, will, pour over will, and other documents to ensure compliance with the terms of the documents, and any tax requirements, compile all probate filings needed and prepare any required notices to creditors and beneficiaries, prepare an inventory of the assets and compile date of death values based on appraisals and valuations, coordinate the preparation of tax returns, allocation and distributions of assets to the beneficiaries, including transfers to subtrusts, prepare reports and communication with the beneficiaries throughout the process. We will work closely with our client to avoid potential disputes among beneficiaries to preserve family relationships and avoid costly litigation.

Estate, Trust and Fiduciary Litigation

Petefish, Immel, Hird, Johnson, Leibold & Sloan, LLP attorneys possess a unique and substantial blend of experience in both the litigation and probate/trust areas. Our attorneys have decades of collective experience and can provide invaluable insight into litigation matters involving wills, trusts, guardianships and conservatorships, breach of fiduciary duties, and other proceedings involving disputes over management of assets and related matters.

Our attorneys have handled will contests, trust contests, discovery of assets actions, contested guardianships and conservatorships, proceedings to remove executors, administrators, trustees, guardians and conservators, and actions involving construction, amendment and termination of trusts. We have significant depth of experience with a host of claims involving breach of fiduciary duties in the trust and estate context both on the fiduciary and the beneficiary side.

Because these types of cases often involve serious emotional disruption in the lives of litigants and their families, we focus on minimizing, to the extent possible, the emotional impact on our clients, and often recommend alternative dispute resolution instead of heated courtroom proceedings, if appropriate. But, when the facts support it, we are ready for a court proceeding.