Trusts & Estates

Ranked by U.S. News & World Report Tier #1, the Meltzer Lippe Trusts & Estates Practice Group is chaired by Avi Z. Kestenbaum and Mary P. O’Reilly and includes some of the most experienced Trusts & Estates practitioners in the Northeast.

Containing several American College of Trust & Estate Council Fellows, Best Lawyers, Super Lawyers, Law Professors, American Bar Association section chairs, and attorneys trained in practice at some of the nation’s largest and most prestigious law firms, our Trusts & Estates team is global in scope. The attorneys are leaders in their field, lecturing at prestigious conferences to other estate planning professionals throughout the country and publishing articles in leading national publications.

The Meltzer Lippe Trusts & Estates practice embraces all aspects of estate planning and administration with an emphasis on the development of sophisticated plans for high net worth individuals, charitable organizations and closely held businesses, including general estate planning, personal tax planning, tax planning for life insurance and charitable trusts, family partnerships, business succession planning, and asset planning, protection and restructuring, and estate and trust administration.

The Trusts & Estates Practice Group is complimented by our Trusts and Estates litigation practice. The Trusts and Estates Litigation practice group represents corporate and individual clients in matters such as will contests, compulsory accounting proceedings, contested accounting proceedings, claims against an estate or trust, will and trust construction cases, discovery and turnover proceedings, conservatorships and guardianship matters and other miscellaneous proceedings.

The group also has a very substantial personal tax planning practice representing families worldwide and creating many offshore trust and estate plans vehicles.

In addition, our trusts and estates lawyers work closely with colleagues in our Corporate /Business and Tax & Tax Controversy practice groups and advise clients on the estate planning components of employee compensation programs and investment funds.

Department Chair(s)
Avi Z. Kestenbaum / akestenbaum@meltzerlippe.com
Mary P. O’Reillymoreilly@meltzerlippe.com

ATTORNEYS 

Avi Z. Kestenbaum
Avi Z. Kestenbaum

Partner

 
Practice Groups: Trust & Estates, Tax Exempt Organizations, Tax & Tax Controversy, Wealth Preservation & High Net Worth Planning
 

Avi co-chairs our Trust & Estates Practice Group, nationally ranked Tier 1 by U.S. News and World Report, and chairs our Tax Exempt Organizations Practice Group. He is also a partner in the firm’s Tax & Tax Controversy and Wealth Preservation & High Net Worth Planning practice groups

Avi provides creative and sophisticated domestic and international tax, estate planning, and asset preservation counsel to CEOs of major corporations, ultra high net worth individuals, multinational businesses, and large charitable organizations. He has also successfully represented many clients, including individuals, trust and estates, businesses and charitable organizations with IRS and state tax audits.

 

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Mary P. O'Reilly
Mary P. O’Reilly

Partner

 
Practice Group: Trust & Estates
 
Areas of Focus: Trust & Estates, Tax, Tax-Exempt organizations
 
Overview: 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.
 

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David A. Bamdad
David A. Bamdad

Partner

 
David A. Bamdad is a partner in the firm’s Trusts & Estates Practice Group. David focuses his practice on estate and trust litigation. In his practice, he regularly counsels fiduciaries and beneficiaries in contested probate, administration and accounting proceedings, discovery and turnover proceedings, and proceedings to remove fiduciaries. Prior to joining Meltzer Lippe, David was […]
 

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Andrew L. Baron
Andrew L. Baron

Counsel

Practice Groups: Trust & Estates, Tax & Tax Controversy

Areas of Focus: Estate and income tax  planning, business succession planning and estate and trust administration. 

Overview: Andrew counsels his clients regarding their estate planning and the gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer tax considerations of their plans while keeping their non-tax objectives a top priority.

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Stephen M. Breitstone
Stephen M. Breitstone

Partner

Practice Groups: Tax Law, Business Law, Real Estate, International Law, Estate Planning, Trust & Estates, Tax-Exempt Organizations

Areas of Focus: Private Wealth & Taxation

Overview: Steve is counsel to many of the firm’s wealthiest and most prominent clients, providing sophisticated tax and estate planning advice for several large New York real estate families, private equity funds, Wall Street investment bankers, fund managers, corporate executives, large estates and others. He has pioneered many novel tax planning techniques – some combining his broad knowledge of partnership taxation and estate planning. Steve’s style of practice is personal, not institutional; and his client’s goals and objectives are his priority. 

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Howard M. Esterces
Howard M. Esterces

Partner

Practice Groups: Trust & Estates Tax & Tax Controversy and Wealth Preservation & High Net worth Planning

Areas of Focus: Estate Planning and estate administration, tax planning and controversies, IRA / pension distribution, and elder law. 

Overview: “Howard has over 40 years of experience in Estate Planning & Administration and experience planning estates for the heads of some of the largest corporations listed on the NYSE. Howard has published over two dozen articles in various national tax journals, is an expert in pension & IRA distributions, and in business succession.”

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Jeffrey A. Galant
 
Jeffrey A. Galant

Counsel

Practice Group: Trust & Estates, Tax & Tax Controversy, Tax Exempt Organizations and Wealth Preservation & High Net Worth Planning

Areas of Focus: Tax-Exempt Organizations,  Estate and Charitable Planning, Trusts & Estates Law

Overview:  Jeffrey has more than 30 years of experience in tax, trusts and estates, and tax-exempt organizations law; he has extensive experience in sophisticated tax and estate planning matters involving family owned and other privately owned enterprises including operating businesses, investment vehicles and family foundations; as well as the tax and estate planning issues that concern artists and collectors.

 

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Allison A. Gatoff
Allison A. Gatoff

Associate

Allison A. Gatoff is an associate in the firm’s Trusts & Estates Practice Group concentrating in trusts and estates litigation.  Allison counsels clients in all phases of Surrogate’s Court matters, including probate contests, contested accountings, discovery proceedings, construction proceedings, and other miscellaneous proceedings. She is certified to serve as a court-appointed Guardian ad Litem to represent individuals who cannot protect their own rights and interests. [..]
 
 

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David C. Jacobson
David C. Jacobson

Counsel

Practice Areas: Tax & Tax Controversy, Trust & Estates, Tax Exempt Organizations, Wealth Preservation and High Net Worth Planning

Areas of Focus: Complex tax and estate planning; estate and trust administration; charitable giving; and representation of public charities and private foundations, as well as state and federal regulations compliance.

Overview: David’s practice encompasses all aspects of estate planning, with an emphasis on the efficient transfer of assets among several generations of a family. He has considerable expertise in minimizing the impact of transfer taxes upon the death of senior family members. He specializes in the structuring and implementation of sophisticated estate plans for both U.S. residents and non-residents.

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Joseph Katz
Joseph Katz

Counsel

Practice Groups: Trust & Estates, Tax, Wealth Preservation and Partnerships

Areas of Focus: General estate planning, personal tax planning, tax planning for life insurance and charitable trusts, estate tax motivated partnership, and asset planning, protection and restructuring. 

Overview:  Joe has more than 30 years of experience in the practice of the law of trusts and estates; is an expert in general estate planning, personal tax planning, tax planning for life insurance and charitable trusts, estate tax motivated partnership; and asset planning, protection and restructuring.

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Christine K. Kitson
Christine K. Kitson

Counsel

 
Practice Groups: Trusts & Estates, Tax & Tax Controversy and Wealth Preservation & High Net Worth Planning

Areas of Focus: Estate planning; wills, trusts & estates; and estate and trust administration.

Overview: Christine prepares wills, various types of trusts, durable powers of attorney, and health care proxies. In addition to tax planning, Christine tailors each client’s estate plan for his/her specific needs and goals, including planning for minor children, second marriages, and family members with disabilities and/or special needs. She also negotiates pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements.

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Lew Meltzer
Lew Meltzer

Chairman

 
Practice Groups: Government Strategies, Real Estate, Corporate / Business/ Tax & Tax Controversy, Trust & Estates, Wealth Preservation and High Net worth Planning
 
Areas of Focus: Tax, Corporate and Real Estate
 
Overview: Lew is Chairman of the firm. He seeks out, structures and acquires real estate investments for clients. Lew is active in public service, community organizations, and national and international politics. He is the Founder, Chairman and President of Long Island Foreign Affairs Forum; a developer of residential country club featuring a Gary Player signature golf course, marina and tennis complex. 
 

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John P. Proszak
John P. Proszak

Partner

Practice Group: Trust & Estates

Areas of Focus: Tax & Wealth Preservation 

Overview: John has over  30 years of experience in the trusts and estates field. He is an expert in all phases of estate administration, including probate, the preparation of estate tax and fiduciary income tax returns, and the settlement and accounting of estates, including contested proceedings.

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Richard Reichler
Richard Reichler

Counsel

 
Practice Group: Tax & Tax Controversy, Trusts & Estates and Wealth Preservation & High Net Worth Planning
 
Areas of Focus:  Trusts & Estates, Tax Exempt Organizations and Tax Law and heads the Employee Benefits Law Group.
 
Overview: Prior to joining the firm, he was Vice President for Tax Planning and Deputy General Counsel at the Long Island Lighting Company (LILCO). Most notably, he directed the tax planning involved in the $12 billion LILCO, LIPA, Brooklyn Union Gas transaction — one of the most complicated corporate tax transactions in recent times — including obtaining of the critical  IRS tax ruling needed to close the transaction.
 

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Michael J. Schaffer
Michael J. Schaffer

Partner

 
Practice Group: Trust & Estates and Wealth Preservation and High Net Worth Planning
 
Areas of Focus: Tax, Tax-Exempt organizations and Wealth Preservation 
 
Overview: Michael has been practicing estates and trusts law since 1992. During that time he has amassed a high level of experience in all areas of estates and trusts law, including domestic and foreign estate planning, generation skipping tax planning, estate administration and fiduciary income tax.
 

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Michael M. Schimel

Michael M. Schimel
Associate

 
Practice Group: Trust & Estates and Tax Exempt Organizations.
 
Michael M. Schimel is an associate in the firm’s Trusts & Estates and Tax Exempt Organizations practice groups.  Michael advises clients on a variety of estate planning, estate administration, and trust and estate litigation matters, including the preparation of wills and trusts, the administration and settlement of estates, and the representation of fiduciaries and beneficiaries in contested probate, accounting, and miscellaneous proceedings in the New York State Surrogate’s Court.  In addition, Michael counsels clients on the formation and governance of charitable nonprofit organizations.
 

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Marianna Schwartsman
Marianna Schwartsman

Associate

Marianna Schwartsman is of Councel to the Firm’s Trusts & Estates Practice Group. Prior to joining Meltzer Lippe, Marianna practiced law at the New York City law firm of Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, where she focused her practice on estates and trusts administration and domestic estate planning for high net worth individuals.

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Mordy Serle
Mordy Serle

Partner

 
Practice Group: Tax & Tax Controversy, Trusts & Estates, Tax Exempt Organizations and Wealth Preservation & High Net Worth Planning
 
Areas of Focus:Tax Planning, Estate Administration
 
Overview: Mordy concentrates his practice in estate and tax planning, estate administration, and wealth preservation and counsels clients on sophisticated planning techniques that have resulted in substantial tax-efficiencies and savings from federal and state gift, estate, generation-skipping transfer and income taxes.
 

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Joy Spence
Joy Spence

Associate

Joy Spence is an associate in the firm’s Tax & Tax Controversy, Trusts & Estates, Tax Exempt Organizations and Wealth Preservation & High Net Worth Planning practice groups. She focuses her practice primarily on tax law, wealth management, and trusts and estates.

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