Mary Pokojny O’Reilly is Co-Chair of the firm’s Trusts & Estates Practice Group and a partner in the Business & Real Estate Taxation, Private Wealth & Taxation, Trust & Estate Litigation and Tax Exempt Organizations, practice groups at Meltzer Lippe.
Mary assists individuals and families in the preservation and transfer of wealth. Her clients include family business owners, real estate developers, investment bankers, private equity fund managers, physicians, inventors, entertainers, business professionals, retirees, non-resident aliens, domestic partners and those of inherited wealth.
Understanding that all family situations are different, Mary establishes an estate plan tailored to each client’s needs and tax objectives. Her estate planning expertise includes drafting wills and revocable trusts to ensure the client’s succession plan and tax goals are maintained beyond the client’s life; establishing trusts during the client’s life for residences, minor children, disabled children, life insurance and wealth preservation; developing a business succession plan for family businesses; creating family companies to preserve control over family assets; counseling individuals on charitable giving, including establishing and administering family foundations, donor advised funds, charitable trusts and conservation easements.
Mary’s practice includes estate and trust administration. She represents executors in probating wills and administering estates and understands the delicate nature of losing a loved one and its impact on the estate administration process. She handles will contests, prepares and files estate tax returns, and represents fiduciaries in estate tax audits. Mary also advises trustees in their administration of trusts, including amending and decanting existing irrevocable trusts; migrating trusts to more favorable tax jurisdictions; advising trustees on the investment and distribution of assets; and settling accounts of individual and corporate fiduciaries.
Mary has expertise with non-profit organizations. She assists tax-exempt organizations in formation and counsels them in their administration and day-to-day operations, including fundraising, grant making and compliance with corporate and tax requirements.
A frequent lecturer to other estate planning professionals, Mary has spoken at prominent national legal conferences such as the American Bar Association’s Real Property, Trusts and Estates Section’s Spring Symposia and Practicing Law Institute’s Annual Estate Planning Institute. Mary was named a Rising Star in Super Lawyers—a recognition which only 2.5% of attorneys receive—and continues to be recognized by Super Lawyers and has also been sighted for several years as a Who’s Who In Women in Professional Services.
Prior to joining Meltzer Lippe in January 2011, Mary practiced for over seven years in the Trusts and Estates Group of the international law firm of Fulbright & Jaworkski, in New York City, where she represented ultra high net worth individuals and families.
Mary received her LL.M. (Masters of Law) in Taxation from New York University School of Law in 2007. She received her J.D., cum laude, from St. John’s University School of Law in 2003, where she attended law school on a full academic scholarship and served as Managing Editor of the St. John’s Law Review. She received her BA, cum laude, from SUNY Binghamton in 1998.
Prior to attending law school, Mary lived abroad in Madrid, Spain for two years where she taught English to adults and became fluent in Spanish. Mary is a dual citizen of both the United States and Ireland and spent many summers of her childhood with her extended family in County Donegal, Ireland.
During her free time, Mary is a certified Zumba instructor. She also enjoys being with her family. She and her husband Brian, who is also an attorney, have two wonderful children—Brian Jr., who is 11 years old, and Brigid, who is 9 years old. They live on Long Island surrounded by their extended family whom they all see and spend time with each week.