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Trusts & Estates

We provide advice and counsel based on our expertise, experience and insight in formulating individual estate plans and administering the estates of family members.

Our Trusts & Estates attorneys work with individuals who need strategic advice regarding the development and implementation of their estate plans.

Our clients want to maximize the value of their estate passing to family members by minimizing taxation and ensuring that their wishes concerning the distribution of assets are heeded. Some clients have complicated family dynamics, while others need to address both business and personal concerns or realize their philanthropic goals.

We work with our clients to minimize the taxation on the transfer of assets (estate, gift, and generation-skipping taxes), preserve family wealth and transfer closely held businesses to younger generations. We also incorporate insurance products into an estate plan, allocate, structure, and coordinate relationships between clients and investment managers of portfolios for trusts and family accounts, and guide the funding of college and post-graduate education for children and grandchildren using tax-efficient options. Our attorneys have an array of estate planning techniques that are specific to the needs of art collectors, artists, musicians and authors.

Following the death of a family member, we guide the survivors through the estate administration process from the probate proceeding to the final distribution. Our expertise in planning for the eventual estate administration and the preparation and filing of estate tax returns, combined with our years of experience in the Surrogate’s Court and with the IRS and state taxing authorities, makes this difficult period manageable for the family. In many cases, we counsel and supervise the administration of trust funds for the surviving spouse, children, and grandchildren. We also advise clients on the best way to use planned giving techniques, family foundations, and charitable trusts to accomplish their philanthropic goals.

Case Study

Non-Compete & Trade Secrets

Non-Compete Claims

As part of its strategy to enter a new geographical market, our client, one of the world’s largest insurance brokers, hired a group of employees in that market from another of the world’s largest insurance brokers.

The Situation

As part of its strategy to enter a new geographical market, our client, one of the world’s largest insurance brokers, hired a group of employees in that market from another of the world’s largest insurance brokers.  One of the new hires became the President of our client’s affiliate in that market.  Shortly thereafter, the former employer initiated an action in Michigan state court against our brokerage client and its affiliate’s President, whom we also represented.  Plaintiff alleged that the new President misappropriated confidential information and was soliciting plaintiff’s clients and employees in breach of her employment agreement’s restrictive covenants, allegedly with her new employer’s encouragement and assistance.

Months later, during the course of discovery, two of plaintiff’s corporate clients transferred their health and benefits insurance business from plaintiff to our brokerage client.  Plaintiff filed an emergency motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction.  In its motion, plaintiff sought to enjoin our clients not only from soliciting, accepting, and servicing business from plaintiff’s current or prospective clients, but also from servicing the two clients that had already moved their business.

The Solution

In the span of a little more than a week, the GEABP team drafted a 20-page opposition brief and secured three supporting affidavits, two of which were provided by the non-parties who had transferred their business from plaintiff to our brokerage client.  When plaintiff submitted an untimely and improper reply brief less than 48 hours before the hearing, we – less than 24 hours later – submitted opposition in response to that brief as well.

The Result

The preliminary injunction hearing was held remotely via Zoom.  After hearing oral argument, the judge gave his ruling from the bench, adopting all of our key arguments and denying plaintiff’s motion for injunctive relief in its entirety.  The case settled shortly thereafter.