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 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. Attuned to the latest trust and estate developments, we closely monitor issues throughout the United States to understand the potential impact court rulings have on our clients as well as provide insights about such issues on our blog At Your Bequest. 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

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

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

Total Impact Conference 2018

April 27, 2018 - Philadelphia, PA

The Power of Creative Planned Giving

February 15, 2018 - Media, PA

In The News

My loved one died without a will—now what?

June 01, 2020

Amanda DiChello discusses the implications of individuals dying without a will or estate plan, a growing issue during the coronavirus pandemic, in Fox Business.

Amanda DiChello Named Vice Chair, Probate Division of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Real Property, Probate, and Trust Law Section

May 08, 2020

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

Face it: This is a good time to make a will

May 05, 2020

Amanda DiChello discusses the importance of finalizing estate documents, even more so in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, in The Washington Post.

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.

Amanda DiChello Named a 2019 "Women of Distinction" by the Philadelphia Business Journal

October 31, 2019

Amanda DiChello, a member of Cozen O'Connor's Private Client Services Practice Group, has been selected as a Women of Distinction by the Philadelphia Business Journal.

Tom Petty's Estate Is In Chaos—And That's With A Will

June 05, 2019

Amanda DiChello discusses ongoing disputes with rock star Tom Petty’s estate in an article in Financial Advisor.

Most People Keep Important Data Online. Pa. Doesn't Have a Law Yet on How to Handle Those Accounts When Someone Dies

May 21, 2019

Amanda DiChello explains the challenges of dealing with digital assets of the deceased in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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.

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

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