Estate & Trust Litigation
We have successfully represented clients in various types of estate and trust litigation and complex Surrogate's Court proceedings, including contested accountings, contested will and trust agreements, and proceedings to construe provisions of wills.
Litigation can be costly, painful and time consuming, and may result in divisions among family members. We strive to facilitate constructive dialogue between disputing parties. However, when the resolution of a dispute through voluntary settlement is not possible, we zealously litigate our client's position through all stages of litigation.
Business & Corporate Law
We represent owners of closely held family businesses, and counsel those clients on a variety of corporate matters. The matters include those related to daily operating issues as well as more complex and tax-driven transactions requiring specialized services. We prepare and negotiate shareholder agreements, operating agreements, employment agreements and numerous other business related agreements and contracts.
Estate & Tax Planning
We provide comprehensive legal representation on estate planning and wealth management matters to families and individuals, estates and trusts, family offices, closely-held businesses and foundations both internationally and in the United States.
We offer our clients a full spectrum of estate and wealth planning services. Whether assisting our clients in minimizing the impact of estate, gift, generation-skipping and income taxes or ensuring the proper transfer of wealth to the next generation, we offer our clients innovative planning strategies and practical solutions.
We recognize that we live in a litigious society. Our clients are concerned about the preservation of their planning goals after their death. We draw on our estate and trust litigation experience to craft estate plans to avoid litigation and the disruption of estates, so as to assist in ensuring that our client's wishes are carried out after their passing.
Wealth Protection Planning
In addition to traditional estate and wealth planning services, we counsel our clients on techniques to preserve and protect their wealth from potential legal risks. Such risks may arise from various circumstances, including failed business ventures, medical malpractice and personal injury claims, or the termination of marital or other personal relationships. We have developed sophisticated solutions for high-net-worth individuals and their families. Such solutions may include the use of family limited partnerships and limited liability companies and trusts established in the United States and foreign jurisdictions.
Business Succession Planning
Many of our clients are business owners. In some cases, one or more family members are involved in the business, while others are not. We offer innovative and practical methods to pass the family business onto the next generation and/or to key employees or business partners. We suggest methods to equalize inheritance to preserve familial relationships and to ensure that the business continues and thrives. Our experience and skills help our clients successfully navigate through tax issues, corporate issues, family issues and non-family relationship issues to create optimal results for them, their business and their family.
Our firm is dedicated to offering cost effective alternatives to litigation. As part of the firm’s practice, we offer mediation services for those who find themselves in interfamily, estate or corporate conflict.
Our mediators assist opposing parties in reaching creative solutions through conflict resolution. Led by a neutral mediator, we provide a confidential and non-adversarial environment where all parties have the opportunity to state their objectives and express their concerns. By empowering participants to be actively involved in the decision-making process, clients leave mediation sessions feeling confident that their needs have been addressed and their wishes met, while at the same time minimizing the emotional and financial costs of a protracted litigation matter.
Probate & Administration
Bouklas & Associates handles all stages of the administration of estates and trusts. We guide our clients through all phases of the administration process: the probate or administration proceeding in the Surrogate’s Court; collection of assets and resolutions of debts and claims; preparation of the estate tax returns; representation of the estate in tax audits; fiduciary accountings; and distribution of the estate assets to the beneficiaries. We also are experienced in post-mortem planning, including disclaimer planning and offering innovative techniques to “fix” wills or trusts which may not have been properly drafted to carry out the family’s tax and planning goals.
Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements
We have substantial experience in the preparation and negotiation of prenuptial and postnuptial agreements (as well as cohabitation agreements for unmarried couples), representing heterosexual and same-sex couples of modest to considerable wealth. Whether it is a young couple where one or both spouses are seeking to protect their business interests or a family inheritance, or a couple where one or both spouses have children from a prior marriage for whom they are concerned about protecting (while providing for their spouse), we draw on our experience and knowledge of tax law, wills, trusts and estates law and corporate law to produce a comprehensive and fair agreement to protect family wealth and identify potential issues. We recognize and are sensitive to the fact that these agreements are delicate issues for most couples. Therefore, our style is to zealously advocate for our client with an eye towards preserving the relationship of the couple.
Elder Law, Medicaid & Special Needs Planning
We help clients protect their assets in the event of a long term illness, while we address their tax and estate planning goals. Such planning includes irrevocable asset preservation trusts, special (or supplemental) needs trusts, and medical and financial advance directive documents. We also provide planning solutions for clients who may have family members with special needs, to help provide our clients and their families with peace of mind.
The Firm assists charitable organizations, including non-profits, benefit corporations and social enterprises, on compliance issues with New York State and Federal laws and regulations. Our clients range from small start-ups to large, national tax-exempt organizations. We advise clients from the early stages of obtaining tax-exemption from the Internal Revenue Service, to serving as general counsel for established organizations. We advise our clients on staying in compliance with their fiduciary obligations and board governance related issues, as well as drafting internal contracts, including agreements which deal with the day-to-day business affairs of the organization, as well as employment, conflict of interest, non-competition and non-solicitation, service and financing agreements.