Cozen O’Connor: Private Client Services

Private Client Services

Recent News:

When Private Fights Over Millions Become Public (Things Get Ugly)

Amanda DiChello explains why an increasing number of estate disputes among family members are leading to legal action in The New York Times.

More

Cozen O’Connor’s Private Client Services Practice Group assists clients in all areas relating to wealth management, wealth transfer, philanthropic giving, and business succession planning. We counsel high net worth families and individuals both in the United States and abroad, and assist successful business owners and entrepreneurs. We provide advice on trusts, estates, tax strategies, business strategies, and estate disputes.

Decisions about passing wealth to the next generation or restructuring a closely held business involve deeply personal considerations about family, duty, and legacy. Our attorneys are not simply legal technicians — they are trusted family advisors. They provide steadfast counsel through life’s most significant transitions so that clients’ goals are realized.

Fundamental to this work is a high-level technical understanding of the tax code, trust and estates laws, securities regulations, and accounting procedures. The group’s attorneys bring intellectual rigor and perspective to the practice, which ensures that our clients are able to capitalize on opportunities and avoid unanticipated complications. We are adept at identifying tax-favorable solutions that fit the needs of each family.  

Cozen O’Connor also serves as litigation counsel to select clients in complex or high-value disputes. We represent executors, trustees, institutional fiduciaries, and beneficiaries in estate and probate litigation, will contests, trust disputes, and estate-related commercial litigation. Our aim is to achieve mutually agreeable negotiated solutions, but our abilities extend to successful trial advocacy, when necessary.

The group has more experienced private client services attorneys than almost any large law firm in the country, including numerous members who have been practicing for more than 30 years and a group of talented young lawyers. Our attorneys pair legal acumen with keen social intelligence. They know the law, and they know people. Establishing a sense of mutual trust and respect is critically important in the private client services field because of the personal nature of the issues involved. Our clients can talk in confidence, and we listen and advise without judgment.

 

SERVICES

  • Structure a full-range of trusts and wealth transfer instruments, including grantor-retained annuity trusts, asset protection trusts, insurance trusts, dynasty trusts, qualified personal residence trusts, grantor trusts, revocable trusts, special needs trusts, and private annuities
  • Advise business owners about succession management, asset protection, recapitalizations, gift programs, life insurance, benefit programs, and sales or restructuring opportunities
  • Establish family limited partnerships and limited liability companies
  • Further philanthropic goals through charitable lead and remainder trusts
  • Form private foundations and provide ongoing tax, operations, and compliance counseling
  • Handle all phases of estate and trust administration, including probate, taxes, and asset distribution
  • Draft powers of attorney and living wills
  • Advise clients on legal rights and wealth management around major life events
  • Counsel multinational clients on asset protection strategies in the United States and abroad
  • Represent executors, trustees, and beneficiaries in state and federal courts in disputes involving wills, trusts, and estates, including trust reformations and terminations, cy-pres and incapacity hearings, accounting proceedings, and tax controversies

CLIENTS

We advise families and individuals with substantial wealth both in the United States and abroad. We work closely with business owners and entrepreneurs.

TEAM

The members of Cozen O’Connor’s Private Client Services Group are among the most respected in their field and include four fellows of the invitation-only American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. Our attorneys have been asked to serve on state orphans’ court rules committees and estate law advisory committees, and have been elected to chair city and state bar association probate and trust law sections. The team includes a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, two certified public accountants, and three attorneys with LL.M.s in tax law. Several senior attorneys regularly lecture and publish articles about trust and estate law and related tax issues.

Very few large law firms in the United States have maintained trust and estate practices of the size and caliber of ours. Rather than cede our practice to the boutiques, Cozen O’Connor remains invested in the private client field. First, our attorneys serve as primary business advisers to numerous families with successful closely held multigenerational enterprises. Second, we believe private clients benefit from working with a full-service firm. Because of the nature of the relationship our attorneys enjoy with their clients, we are often the first point of contact on a huge range of legal matters, from probate procedures to patent infringement, corporate transactions to real estate transactions. As a full-service firm, Cozen O’Connor is able to act quickly to provide seamless and effective legal counsel.

Experience

Publications

Tax Update: Big Changes in the Estate and Gift Tax Laws Require Attention

January 22, 2018

Robert Friedman and Alexia Fishman discuss important changes to the estate and gift tax rules that likely will have an impact on your estate plan.

Five Estate Planning Tips of Which Benjamin Franklin Would Approve [New Jersey Business Magazine]

October 02, 2017

Amanda DiChello, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Private Client Services Practice Group, discusses five estate planning tips that can minimize the legal and logistical upheaval that death may cause a family in New Jersey Business Magazine.

Trump's Tax Reform Proposal Answers Questions but Raises Many More [The Legal Intelligencer]

May 11, 2017

Amanda DiChello, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Private Client Services Practice Group, discusses President Trump's tax reform proposal in The Legal Intelligencer.

Repeal of Estate Tax: Practical Questions in Uncertain Times [The Legal Intelligencer]

February 14, 2017

Amanda DiChello, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Private Client Services Practice Group, discusses the potential repeal of estate tax in The Legal Intelligencer.

New Jersey Repeals Estate Tax [Private Client Services Alert]

October 21, 2016

Judd A. Serotta discusses new legislation in New Jersey that eliminates its estate tax as of January 1, 2018. Under the new law, New Jersey will tax all assets of a decedent’s estate in excess $2 million for deaths occurring on or after January 1, 2017, and the tax will be eliminated entirely for deaths occurring on or after January 1, 2018.

IRS Proposed Regulations Attack Valuation Discounts for Family Transfers [Private Client Services Alert]

August 05, 2016

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the IRS have just issued anticipated proposed regulations that, if made final, would severely limit the ability of taxpayers to transfer interests in family limited partnerships and similar entities using valuation discounts.

Valuation Discounts at Risk [Private Client Services Alert]

July 09, 2015

The IRS has now indicated that it intends to proceed without legislation by announcing new regulations, expected this summer or early fall. These regulations would seek to significantly curtail or eliminate the availability of valuation discounts by prohibiting valuation firms from considering certain restrictions applicable to interests in family-controlled entities.

NYS Estate Tax Savings Opportunity [Private Client Services Alert]

February 12, 2014

Since the implementation in 2011 of federal legislation increasing the federal estate and gift tax exemption to $5,000,000, many New York residents have been making large lifetime gifts in order to substantially reduce their New York estate tax. Recently proposed legislation, if passed, will eliminate this tax reduction strategy by pulling back into the New York taxable estate at death lifetime gifts made by New York residents after March 30, 2014.

The Fiscal "Curb" [Private Client Services Alert]

January 03, 2013

For gift and estate tax purposes, the much feared "fiscal cliff" turned out to be more like a "fiscal curb" as Congress has now enacted legislation largely leaving in place the tax rules which have been in effect for the last two years.

Clock is Running on Gifting Opportunities [Private Client Services Alert]

May 01, 2012

Clock is Running on Gifting Opportunities - Private Client Services Alert - As you may know, the exemption for both gift tax and estate tax purposes for the balance of this calendar year is $5,120,000 per person.

Act Now On Favorable Gift and Estate Tax Planning Rules [Private Client Services Alert!]

October 21, 2011

Act Now On Favorable Gift and Estate Tax Planning Rules - Private Client Services Alert! - Estate, gift, and GST exemptions were increased to $5,000,000 for 2011 and are scheduled to increase to $5,120,000 in 2012 due to an inflation adjustment. Also, the transfer tax rate was reduced to 35 percent. However, the 2010 Act contains a “sunset provision” which will reset the exemptions to $1,000,000 and the tax rate to 55 percent effective January 1, 2013 unless Congress takes further action.

Important Estate, Gift and Generation Skipping Tax Changes [Private Client Services Alert!]

December 22, 2010

Important Estate, Gift and Generation Skipping Tax Changes - Private Client Services Alert! - Congress has passed the 2010 “Tax Relief Act” which includes enormously important provisions affecting the federal estate tax, gift tax and generation-skipping tax. This legislation impacts the tax laws in effect for 2010, 2011 and 2012, and has a sunset provision of December 31, 2012

2010 End-of-Year Estate Planning: Planning Ahead to Confront Uncertainty [Private Client Services Alert!]

November 08, 2010

2010 End-of-Year Estate Planning: Planning Ahead to Confront Uncertainty - Private Client Services Alert! - It is now common knowledge that the federal estate tax and the generation-skipping transfer tax (GST) are repealed for 2010. Along with the repeal, the federal gift tax rate for 2010 is decreased to 35%, a significant reduction from the prior top rate of 55%. The provisions of the law creating the repeal and the reduced gift tax rate will “sunset” on December 31, 2010.

House Approves 10-Year Minimum for GRATs [Private Client Services Alert!]

April 12, 2010

House Approves 10-Year Minimum for GRATs - Private Client Services Alert! - The Small Business and Infrastructure Jobs Tax Act of 2010, approved by the House, includes a provision which sets a minimum 10-year term for Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (GRATs).

Estate Tax Repeal (or Not) [Private Client Services Alert!]

January 08, 2010

Estate Tax Repeal (or Not) - Private Client Services Alert! - s many of you will recall, the federal estate and gift tax system was significantly modified in 2001. Many of the modifications of the 2001 Tax Act were to be phased in over a number of years.

End-of-Year Estate Planning [Private Client Services Alert!]

December 07, 2009

End-of-Year Estate Planning - Private Client Services Alert! - As we move quickly toward year end, consider the following for this year and for 2010"End-of-Year Estate Planning".

End-of-Year Estate Planning [Trusts & Estates Alert!]

November 19, 2008

End-of-Year Estate Planning - Trusts & Estates Alert! - As we march quickly through the last quarter of 2008, consider
the following for this year and for 2009.
2008 ANNUAL EXCLUSION GIFTS - $12,000
2008 AND 2009 CHARITABLE DONATIONS FROM IRAS
2009 ANNUAL EXCLUSION GIFTS - $13,000
2009 INCREASE IN COMBINED ESTATE AND GIFT TAX
EXCLUSION TO $3.5 MILLION PER PERSON

New Pennsylvania Trust Law, New Notice Obligations for Trustees [Trusts & Estates Alert!]

October 03, 2008

New Pennsylvania Trust Law, New Notice Obligations for Trustees - Trusts & Estates Alert! - On July 7, 2006 the Pennsylvania legislature changed the landscape of Pennsylvania trust law by enacting the Pennsylvania Uniform Trust Act (“Act”). The Act includes many provisions that update, clarify and codify the Pennsylvania law of trusts, taking much of the uncertainty out of
the creation and administration of trusts. The Act also introduces a new requirement for Pennsylvania trustees. The Act requires
trustees to advise the trust beneficiaries of

Summer 2007 [Business Law Observer]

July 10, 2007

Summer 2007 - Business Law Observer -

Events & Seminars

Upcoming Events

Power of Attorney Disputes

April 30, 2019 - Mechanicsburg PA

Adam Reid leads a presentation on power of attorney disputes at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute’s program, “Litigating in Orphans’ Court.”

Past Events

2018 Family Business Conference

October 04, 2018 - Philadelphia, PA

Baker Tilly Estate and Trust Conference 2018

June 01, 2018 - Society Hill, PA

Total Impact Conference 2018

April 27, 2018 - Philadelphia, PA

The Power of Creative Planned Giving

February 15, 2018 - Media, PA

International Estate Planning

June 23, 2016 - Edison, NJ

Asset Protection Trusts

February 25, 2016 - San Diego, CA

Introduction to Estate Planning 2015

December 08, 2015 - New York, NY

The Impact of ATRA on Marital Deduction Planning

September 19, 2013 - New York, NY

AIA 2012 Annual Conference

May 01, 2012 - Las Vegas, NV

In The News

When Private Fights Over Millions Become Public (Things Get Ugly)

February 08, 2019

Amanda DiChello explains why an increasing number of estate disputes among family members are leading to legal action in The New York Times.

Family Discord May Break Up a Valuable Art Collection

February 05, 2019

Amanda DiChello discusses a series of lawsuits involving art heiress Belinda Neumann-Donnelly and her family in an article on WealthManagement.com.

126 Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Named to the Best Lawyers in America

August 22, 2018

One hundred twenty-six Cozen O’Connor lawyers from 20 of the firm’s national offices have been selected for inclusion in the 2018 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

3 Tax Breaks That May Be Better in the Long Run

August 10, 2018

Amanda DiChello, a member of the firm’s Private Client Services Practice, discusses the advantages and disadvantages of the new estate and gift tax exemption in The New York Times.

IRS mulls rules for estates and trusts after tax law

July 26, 2018

Amanda DiChello, a member of Cozen O’Connor’s Private Client Services Practice, discusses the IRS and the Treasury’s plan to issue regulations around estates and non-grantor trusts under the new tax code in Accounting Today.

Trustees Grapple with Balancing ESG Investing and Fiduciary Duties

June 29, 2018

Amanda DiChello, a member of Cozen O'Connor’s Private Client Services Practice, discusses trustees’ growing interest in sustainable investing in Private Wealth.

What Can Advisors Learn from the Stan Lee Elder Abuse Allegations?

June 21, 2018

Amanda DiChello, a member in the firm’s Private Client Services Practice, is quoted in a wealthmanagement.com article discussing financial elder abuse and ways in which advisors can help prevent it.

Amanda K. DiChello Elected as Secretary of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Real Property, Probate, and Trust Law Section

June 12, 2018

Amanda K. DiChello, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Private Client Services Practice Group, has been elected to serve a one-year term as the Secretary of the Real Property, Probate, and Trust Law Section of the Pennsylvania Bar Association.

Fifty-four Cozen O’Connor Attorneys Named 2018 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

June 12, 2018

Super Lawyers has named 54 Cozen O'Connor attorneys to its 2018 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists.

Roger Corman’s Sons Sue to Block Sale of Film Library

April 10, 2018

Amanda DiChello, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Private Client Services Practice Group, discussed in Wealth Management the recent lawsuit involving Roger and Brian Corman.

2018 U.S. News & World Report – Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms" Ranks Cozen O’Connor

February 01, 2018

In the 2018 U.S. News - Best Lawyers® "Best Law Firms, Cozen O’Connor is ranked nationally in 17 practice areas and regionally in 64 practice areas.

Private Client Services Group Continues Expansion

January 22, 2018

Marc Selden Brings to the Firm a Solid Track Record in Asset Protection Planning

Attorney Amanda K. DiChello Joins Cozen O’Connor’s Private Client Services Practice Group

January 02, 2018

Amanda DiChello will join the firm’s Philadelphia office as a member and will counsel high and ultra-high net-worth individuals and families on estate and trust administration and planning, as well as estate, trust, and fiduciary-related litigation.

Cozen O’Connor welcomes Melissa Grossman to its Private Client Services Group

September 14, 2017

The Group Assists Clients in All Areas of Wealth Management, Wealth Transfer, Philanthropy, and Business Succession Planning.

100 Cozen O’Connor Lawyers Named to the Best Lawyers in America

August 23, 2017

Lawyers were selected for inclusion in the 2018 edition based on a rigorous peer-review that has been developed and defined for more than 30 years.

Cozen O'Connor ranked in 2017 U.S. News & World Report – Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms"

November 23, 2016

Firms included in the 2017 "Best Law Firms" list are recognized for professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers.

Five Cozen O’Connor Lawyers Named 2017 “Lawyers of the Year” by Best Lawyers in America®

August 16, 2016

Cozen O’Connor is proud to announce that five of the firm’s lawyers have been recognized as “Lawyers of the Year” in their respective practices by The Best Lawyers in America, one of the oldest and most highly regarded peer-review publications in the legal profession.

Sixty-Two Cozen O’Connor Lawyers Named to the Best Lawyers in America

August 15, 2016

Sixty-two Cozen O’Connor lawyers from 13 of the firm’s national offices have been selected for inclusion in the 2017 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

Judd A. Serotta Joins Cozen O’Connor’s Private Client Service Team in Philadelphia

May 05, 2014

Judd A. Serotta recently joined Cozen O’Connor’s Philadelphia Office, as a member of the Private Client Services Practice Area. Previously focusing his practice in commercial litigation, Serotta worked at Blank Rome, LLP, for more than10 years, and left to join Cozen O’Connor in May of 2014

Contacts

Robert I. Friedman

Co-Chair, Private Client Services

rfriedman@cozen.com

(215) 665-4180

Helene S. Jaron

Co-Chair, Private Client Services

hjaron@cozen.com

(215) 665-4657

Margaret Gallagher Thompson

Vice Chair, Private Client Services

mthompson@cozen.com

(610) 941-2370

People

Related Practice Areas

Upcoming Event:

Power of Attorney Disputes

Mechanicsburg PA 04/30/2019

Adam Reid leads a presentation on power of attorney disputes at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute’s program, “Litigating in Orphans’ Court.”

Event Details