Trusts, Estates, and Taxes

The firm's trusts and estates group provides a comprehensive range of legal services to assist our clients in the management of their assets and estates, including estate planning, tax consultation and business succession planning. We work closely with our clients to understand their specific needs and objectives and draft individualized documents, including wills trusts, healthcare proxies and power of attorneys, designed to meet their objectives and minimize or avoid taxes and expenses. We counsel our high net worth clients in sophisticated estate planning practices utilizing established and approved methods of minimizing estate taxes including, irrevocable life insurance trusts, charitable lead and remainder trusts, qualified personal residence trusts, grantor retained income and annuity trusts, dynasty trusts, family limited partnerships, family foundations and planned gifting programs. We also draft specialized trust documents to address the needs of individuals with disabilities or to preserve the estate assets in the event of prolonged illness or incapacity.

The firm also provides a full range of services for the probate and administration of estates. We represent our clients in their capacity as executors, administrators or beneficiaries of the estate. We are sensitive to the needs and issues that arise during this often difficult period and work to efficiently and professionally complete the probate process and resolve any issues or disputes that occur during this time. The firm also provides counsel and advice to clients regarding post mortem planning options that may meet their objectives or reduce taxes. We prepare when necessary all state and federal estate tax, and income tax, returns and represent the client if any of the returns are audited.

The firm offers other probate services including appointments of guardians or conservators, and approval of estate plans for individuals that lack the required legal capacity to execute these documents individually. We can also provide continuing administrative and accounting services for trustees, guardians and conservators. The firm also counsels fiduciaries of all types on their legal obligations including permissible investment practices.

If you have specific questions regarding our Trusts, Estates & Taxes practice's capabilities, please contact:

Donald L. Graham
617-479-5000
dgraham@mhtl.com

What's Happening @ MHTL?

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Neponset Valley Chamber of Commerce: Labor & Law Employment Update

MHTL attorneys Katherine Hesse and Kier Wachterhauser will be presenting information regarding important legal issues and developments in the Labor & Employment field at a Neponset Valley Chamber of Commerce (NVCC) event on Thursday, November 15th.  These presentations will include a comprehensive overview of major legislative/regulatory/case law developments, as well as best practices in navigating issues such as marijuana in the workplace and sexual harassment.

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Legal Updates

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Supreme Judicial Court Issues Important Decision Protecting Employers – Back Pay Awards Do Not Constitute “Wages” Under the Wage Act and Thus Are Not Subject To Trebling

In a recent decision, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC” or “Court”) declined to classify a court-ordered “back pay” award as “wages” under the Massachusetts Wage Act (“Wage Act”).   In response to a request for briefs from the Court, Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP (MHTL), on behalf of its public and private clients, submitted an amicus brief, supporting the defendant employer’s position.   The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and the New England Legal Foundation also submitted amici briefs.  This decision – a significant victory for employers – has far-reaching consequences and helps to protect employers from punitive and excessive penalties in many employment contexts.  Had the case been decided for the plaintiffs, it could have had significant ramifications for employers, extending the punitive damage scheme under the Wage Act (strict liability, treble damages, attorneys’ fees, individual liability, etc.) to a myriad of different employment contexts.

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