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Trusts and Estates

Cummings & Lockwood is home to one of the largest and most sophisticated trusts and estates legal practices in the country. The capabilities of our Trusts and Estate Practice go far beyond the hundreds of wills, trusts and tax returns we complete each year. As trusted advisers in the transfer of our clients' wealth, we have also designed thousands of wealth-preserving estate plans and created scores of charitable foundations.

Our commitment to excellence is demonstrated by the fact that we are the firm of choice for generations of families. In fact, we continue to provide Trusts and Estates services to descendants of several families who were among the firm's first clients. Today, more than a century after opening our doors, the descendants of these original clients reside around the world. By serving as a bridge across generations and geographical boundaries, we maintain our clients’ values, wishes and goals.

The innovative technology we employ delivers increased efficiencies that save our clients time and expense. Computerized drafting and tax software – much of which was designed by Cummings & Lockwood attorneys – allows us to devote more time to counseling individuals and structuring legal instruments tailored to their needs.

We are particularly well-qualified to serve the needs of entrepreneurs. Our attorneys coordinate personal and business finances to design tax-minimizing estate plans that address complex business concerns, including succession of business ownership, intellectual property and environmental liability issues. The resulting plan benefits both the family and the business.

We offer the ideal combination of hands-on personalized service with the ability to draw upon the skill and knowledge of attorneys across the firm. This collaborative approach allows us to maintain our commitment as trusted family advisers.

Estate Planning and Settlement Services

Our attorneys provide skilled counsel and thoughtful advice to clients throughout the estate planning process. From the initial meeting to the execution of finalized documents, we focus on our clients’ goals for their families, for their assets and for the use and distribution of their estates. We diligently work within the estate and gift tax system to structure an estate plan that will maximize the value of an estate and deliver the level of benefits that will achieve each client’s goals.

Our relationship with a client does not end just because an estate plan has been finalized. We routinely perform incidental functions such as the filing of income or gift tax returns, and offer ongoing counsel regarding changes in the law as well as advice when financial or family circumstances may affect an estate plan. By working closely with our clients, we are able to efficiently and effectively provide a high-level of ongoing service.

In the event of a client's death, our attorneys will guide a client's family through the complex process of estate settlement to help ensure a smooth and efficient transfer of assets in accordance with the estate plan. This process may include:

  • Navigating the probate court system
  • Filing of tax returns
  • Handling of any audits with the IRS and local taxing authorities
  • Dealing with the estate’s creditors
  • Assisting with the sale of estate assets to raise cash or facilitate distribution to the beneficiaries

Fiduciary Services

An integral part of our services to private clients involves counseling with respect to the management of inheritances received by a client's beneficiaries. Not only do beneficiaries often lack the expertise to manage these responsibilities on their own, they also frequently underestimate the time and commitment needed to adequately discharge them. Beneficiaries may unwittingly expose themselves to personal liability without any of the safeguards or protections routinely employed by professional fiduciaries.

The Cummings & Lockwood attorney who has established a personal relationship with a client during the estate planning process can also serve as executor or trustee. We also serve as a co-Executor or co-Trustee in conjunction with another responsible individual who is responsible for the supervision and management of all legal, tax and accounting work on behalf of the estate. By consolidating these services within the Firm, clients may achieve significant cost savings.

With decades of experience serving as estate executors and trustees, our attorneys deliver the complete range of services and staff required of a professional fiduciary. We identify high-quality investment advisers outside the firm for investment and portfolio management advice, and work with the professional our client prefers.

Trusts and Estates

Cummings & Lockwood is home to one of the largest and most sophisticated trusts and estates legal practices in the country. The capabilities of our Trusts and Estate Practice go far beyond the hundreds of wills, trusts and tax returns we complete each year. As trusted advisers in the transfer of our clients' wealth, we have also designed thousands of wealth-preserving estate plans and created scores of charitable foundations.

Our commitment to excellence is demonstrated by the fact that we are the firm of choice for generations of families. In fact, we continue to provide Trusts and Estates services to descendants of several families who were among the firm's first clients. Today, more than a century after opening our doors, the descendants of these original clients reside around the world. By serving as a bridge across generations and geographical boundaries, we maintain our clients’ values, wishes and goals.

The innovative technology we employ delivers increased efficiencies that save our clients time and expense. Computerized drafting and tax software – much of which was designed by Cummings & Lockwood attorneys – allows us to devote more time to counseling individuals and structuring legal instruments tailored to their needs.

We are particularly well-qualified to serve the needs of entrepreneurs. Our attorneys coordinate personal and business finances to design tax-minimizing estate plans that address complex business concerns, including succession of business ownership, intellectual property and environmental liability issues. The resulting plan benefits both the family and the business.

We offer the ideal combination of hands-on personalized service with the ability to draw upon the skill and knowledge of attorneys across the firm. This collaborative approach allows us to maintain our commitment as trusted family advisers.

Estate Planning and Settlement Services

Our attorneys provide skilled counsel and thoughtful advice to clients throughout the estate planning process. From the initial meeting to the execution of finalized documents, we focus on our clients’ goals for their families, for their assets and for the use and distribution of their estates. We diligently work within the estate and gift tax system to structure an estate plan that will maximize the value of an estate and deliver the level of benefits that will achieve each client’s goals.

Our relationship with a client does not end just because an estate plan has been finalized. We routinely perform incidental functions such as the filing of income or gift tax returns, and offer ongoing counsel regarding changes in the law as well as advice when financial or family circumstances may affect an estate plan. By working closely with our clients, we are able to efficiently and effectively provide a high-level of ongoing service.

In the event of a client's death, our attorneys will guide a client's family through the complex process of estate settlement to help ensure a smooth and efficient transfer of assets in accordance with the estate plan. This process may include:

  • Navigating the probate court system
  • Filing of tax returns
  • Handling of any audits with the IRS and local taxing authorities
  • Dealing with the estate’s creditors
  • Assisting with the sale of estate assets to raise cash or facilitate distribution to the beneficiaries

Fiduciary Services

An integral part of our services to private clients involves counseling with respect to the management of inheritances received by a client's beneficiaries. Not only do beneficiaries often lack the expertise to manage these responsibilities on their own, they also frequently underestimate the time and commitment needed to adequately discharge them. Beneficiaries may unwittingly expose themselves to personal liability without any of the safeguards or protections routinely employed by professional fiduciaries.

The Cummings & Lockwood attorney who has established a personal relationship with a client during the estate planning process can also serve as executor or trustee. We also serve as a co-Executor or co-Trustee in conjunction with another responsible individual who is responsible for the supervision and management of all legal, tax and accounting work on behalf of the estate. By consolidating these services within the Firm, clients may achieve significant cost savings.

With decades of experience serving as estate executors and trustees, our attorneys deliver the complete range of services and staff required of a professional fiduciary. We identify high-quality investment advisers outside the firm for investment and portfolio management advice, and work with the professional our client prefers.