Private Client, Trusts and Estates

Our Private Client, Trusts and Estates Group is dedicated to the personal and sophisticated legal needs of high net worth individuals and families. Effective tax planning is just one step in addressing the management and transmission of family wealth. But successful planning also requires intelligent design based on sound experience and a focus on execution. Our attorneys have unparalleled experience in this area and play the critical role of listener, often confidante, and always advisor, in addressing the unique family issues that relate to a successful estate plan. They are legal counsel, but also personal counsel, with the experience to access the cross-disciplinary resources of a full-service law firm or to recognize, where needed, specialized outside resources for high net worth families.

Planning

For high net worth individuals with myriad holdings, effective transfer and tax planning requires more than mastery of the ever-changing legal, tax, and regulatory rules — it requires true finesse. Our team of seasoned attorneys have successfully developed and implemented sophisticated estate plans for some of the country’s most affluent individuals and families. Drawing on our deep experience, combined with intellectual rigor on the cutting edge of wealth transfer techniques, we deliver forward-looking planning focused on each client’s unique circumstances, goals, and needs. We work hard to ensure that what you build today will benefit generations to come.

Estate & Trust Administration

We represent executors, trustees, and beneficiaries in the full range of estate and trust administration matters, from the settlement of estates, to tax return preparation and audits, to ongoing trust accounting and implementation. We have unsurpassed experience in the administration of estates and trusts and have a dedicated team of paralegals, trust administrators, and other bookkeeping and support staff. In all matters, we take a practical and personalized approach made possible by our commitment to individualized client service.    

Family Office

An effective family office facilitates and coordinates personal, business, tax, and charitable giving management for high net worth families. Our lawyers represent some of the wealthiest families in the United States and abroad in connection with their family offices. We draw on the experience of lawyers throughout the firm to create tax-efficient structures for our family office clients and advise in areas such as regulatory compliance, structuring of pooled investment vehicles, asset protection, risk management, privacy and data security, and private foundations. Working in concert with a multidisciplinary team of attorneys throughout the firm, we serve as private general counsel to our family office clients. Most importantly, we strive to immerse ourselves in the family history and dynamics that underlie each family office’s priorities, challenges, and aspirations.

A unique extension of our practice, HomeBase, the Family Office @ Cozen O’Connor, provides clients with an independent, family office platform. Supported by state-of-the-art systems and technology, and a dedicated staff, HomeBase provides family office services such as custody, reporting, bill-pay, and many other related services to clients, including back-office support to those families with their own family office structure.

Estate and Trust Litigation

When it comes to successfully resolving trust and estate controversies, experience, creativity, and tenacity are key. Our team offers each of these attributes in spades. We have been representing fiduciaries and other parties in will and trust contests, will and trust construction and reformation disputes, and other fiduciary litigation for decades. Whether sitting on the plaintiff’s or defendant’s side of the table, we identify the critical issues at hand and on the horizon, and cut a path to a timely and favorable resolution.

Philanthropy

Philanthropy is a significant priority for many of our high net worth clients, and we recognize that effectively implementing a philanthropic plan requires a multidimensional approach. We represent individuals, families, and family offices in connection with their most significant philanthropic and charitable giving campaigns. Our services in this area include the creation of foundations, planned giving, issues involving public charity board service, and advice regarding tax compliance and governance.

Publications

New Planning Opportunity for Florida SLATs [Alert]

June 14, 2022

A new Florida law will allow a Grantor Spouse of a SLAT to be a beneficiary of the SLAT following the death of the Beneficiary Spouse.

The New York—Florida Connection: Key Developments and Differences in the States’ Long-Term Care Planning Environment [Elder Law and Special Needs Law Journal]

December 29, 2021

Howard S. Krooks contributed an article to the Elder Law and Special Needs Law Journal, a publication of the Elder Law and Special Needs Law Section of the New York State Bar Association.

Split McAleer Ruling Leaves Attorney-Client Privilege Fiduciary Exception In Limbo

August 25, 2021

Richard Holzworth authored an article in JD Supra discussing the attorney-client privilege fiduciary exception in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

McAleer Highlights Division Regarding the Fiduciary Exception to the Attorney-Client Privilege

August 20, 2021

Richard Holzworth authored an article published in Philadelphia Estate Planning Council's 2021 Summer Newsletter discussing the fiduciary exception to the attorney-client privilege and the impacts of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling in In re: Estate of William K. McAlee.

New Law Gives Pennsylvania Executors Power Over Decedents' Social Media And Other Digital Content

January 22, 2021

Richard Holzworth authored an article in JD Supra discussing Pennsylvania's enactment of the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (RUFADAA).

Pennsylvania Permanently Allows Remote Notarization Of Documents

January 20, 2021

Richard Holzworth authored an article in JD Supra discussing Pennsylvania's decision to make remote notarization a permanent option.

The Clock Is Ticking on Estate and Gift Planning [Alert]

August 31, 2020

Lexie Fishman and Melissa Grossman outline how a Biden-Harris administration could impact your estate plan and what actions you should take now.

SECURE ACT — Notable Changes to Retirement Plan Benefits [Alert]

January 23, 2020

Dan Levine and Michael Corgan discuss how the SECURE Act may impact your estate plan.

Tax Update: The Impact of Newly Published Regulations on the Estate and Gift Tax Laws [Alert]

December 16, 2019

Alexia Fishman discusses recently published regulations impacting estate planning in 2019 and beyond.

Events & Seminars

Past Events

Case Law Update

May 13, 2022 -

New York-Florida Snowbirds

November 08, 2021 - Webinar

Wills

September 21, 2021 - Webinar

Power of Attorney Disputes

April 30, 2019 - Mechanicsburg PA

2018 Family Business Conference

October 04, 2018 - Philadelphia, PA

Baker Tilly Estate and Trust Conference 2018

June 01, 2018 - Society Hill, PA

In The News

Cozen O’Connor Continues to Build Its Private Client, Trusts and Estates Group, Adding Benjamin A. Friedman to Its New York Office

June 13, 2022

Friedman brings to the firm more than a decade of experience guiding domestic and international high-net-worth individuals, families, and family offices through the complex process of managing and transferring family wealth.

Cozen O'Connor Lands Proskauer Trusts And Estates Atty In Fla.

May 19, 2022

Margo Ceresney discusses her decision to join Cozen O’Connor’s Private Client, Trusts and Estates group in an interview for an article published on Law360. With more than ten years of experience in the field, she believes that this group will help her expand her expertise.

Cozen O’Connor Continues to Expand its Boca Raton Office, Adding Margo K. Ceresney to its Private Client, Trusts and Estates Group

May 16, 2022

Margo, who joins as a member, brings to the firm more than a decade of experience guiding clients through the complexities of estate and gift planning, trust and estate administration, tax, family law, and succession planning.

Ellen Morris Selected as an Honoree for Daily Business Review’s Florida Legal Awards

March 25, 2022

Ellen Morris has been selected as an honoree for the Daily Business Review’s annual Florida Legal Awards in the Innovator category.

Ellen Morris Selected as an Honoree in South Florida Business & Wealth’s 2022 Prestigious Women Awards

March 01, 2022

Cozen O’Connor is pleased to announce that Ellen Morris, member of the firm’s Elder Law Group, has been selected as an honoree in South Florida Business & Wealth’s 2022 Prestigious Women Awards.

The Estate Tax Increase Looms Amid Shortage of Qualified Lawyers

September 23, 2021

Stuart Morris discusses the need to recruit and retain trusts and estates attorneys in Florida with the influx of Americans relocating to the state and the Biden administration’s anticipated tax exemption looming in a Daily Business Review article.

Cozen O’Connor Expands Private Client, Trusts and Estates Group with Six New Attorneys; Opens New South Florida Office in Boca Raton

September 02, 2021

The attorneys, from the boutique firms Morris Law Group and Elder Law Associates PA, are Stuart R. Morris, Ellen S. Morris, Howard S. Krooks, Gregory S. Bloshinsky, Michael S. Gross, and Cassandra Jelincic.

Cozen O’Connor and Three Attorneys Recognized in the Chambers 2021 High Net Worth Guide

August 30, 2021

Cozen O’Connor is pleased to announce that the firm has been ranked Band 1 in the Chambers 2021 High Net Worth Guide under the category “Private Wealth Law.”

Helene Jaron and Calli Padilla chosen as Philadelphia Business Journal 2020 Women of Distinction Honorees

October 19, 2020

Cozen O’Connor is pleased to announce that Helene Jaron, co-chair of the firm’s Private Client Services Group, was chosen as a Philadelphia Business Journal 2020 Women of Distinction honoree and Calli Padilla, member of the firm’s Commercial Litigation Department, was named a Philadelphia Business Journal 2020 Women of Distinction Rising Star honoree.

Cozen O’Connor’s Helene Jaron Named a 2020 "Woman of Distinction" by the Philadelphia Business Journal

October 06, 2020

Philadelphia, October 6, 2020- Helene Jaron, co-chair of Cozen O’Connor’s Private Client, Trusts and Estates Group, has been selected as a 2020 Woman of Distinction by the Philadelphia Business Journal.

Cozen O’Connor Welcomes Pennsylvania Litigator Rick Holzworth to its National Private Client Services Team

August 05, 2020

Cozen O’Connor welcomed Pennsylvania trial attorney Rick Holzworth — a seasoned litigator who handles complex, high-value lawsuits on behalf of estate and trust administrators, individual beneficiaries, and corporate fiduciaries — to its Private Client Services practice. Holzworth, who joins the firm as a member, will reside in Cozen O’Connor’s Philadelphia office.

Cozen O’Connor Recognized As a Best Law Firm in 24 Practice Areas Nationwide, 106 Practice Areas Regionally

November 05, 2019

The U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations and peer review from leading attorneys in their field.

Contacts

Helene S. Jaron

Chair, Private Client, Trusts and Estates

hjaron@cozen.com

(215) 665-4657

Alexia M. Fishman

Co-Vice Chair, Private Client, Trusts and Estates

afishman@cozen.com

(215) 665-4743

Melissa M. Grossman

Co-Vice Chair, Private Client, Trusts and Estates

mgrossman@cozen.com

(215) 665-4641

People

Awards

Ellen Morris Selected as an Honoree for Daily Business Review’s Florida Legal Awards

March 25, 2022

Ellen Morris has been selected as an honoree for the Daily Business Review’s annual Florida Legal Awards in the Innovator category.

Ellen Morris Selected as an Honoree in South Florida Business & Wealth’s 2022 Prestigious Women Awards

March 01, 2022

Cozen O’Connor is pleased to announce that Ellen Morris, member of the firm’s Elder Law Group, has been selected as an honoree in South Florida Business & Wealth’s 2022 Prestigious Women Awards.

Cozen O’Connor and Three Attorneys Recognized in the Chambers 2021 High Net Worth Guide

August 30, 2021

Cozen O’Connor is pleased to announce that the firm has been ranked Band 1 in the Chambers 2021 High Net Worth Guide under the category “Private Wealth Law.”

Helene Jaron and Calli Padilla chosen as Philadelphia Business Journal 2020 Women of Distinction Honorees

October 19, 2020

Cozen O’Connor is pleased to announce that Helene Jaron, co-chair of the firm’s Private Client Services Group, was chosen as a Philadelphia Business Journal 2020 Women of Distinction honoree and Calli Padilla, member of the firm’s Commercial Litigation Department, was named a Philadelphia Business Journal 2020 Women of Distinction Rising Star honoree.

Cozen O’Connor’s Helene Jaron Named a 2020 "Woman of Distinction" by the Philadelphia Business Journal

October 06, 2020

Philadelphia, October 6, 2020- Helene Jaron, co-chair of Cozen O’Connor’s Private Client, Trusts and Estates Group, has been selected as a 2020 Woman of Distinction by the Philadelphia Business Journal.

Cozen O’Connor Recognized As a Best Law Firm in 24 Practice Areas Nationwide, 106 Practice Areas Regionally

November 05, 2019

The U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations and peer review from leading attorneys in their field.

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