Cummings & Lockwood

Trusts and Estates

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Cummings & Lockwood's Trusts and Estates practice is one of the largest and most skilled practice groups of its kind in the country.  Our work goes far beyond wills, trusts and tax returns.  Though we complete hundreds of those each year, we have also designed thousands of wealth-preserving estate plans, created scores of charitable foundations and served as trusted advisors in the management and transfer of our clients' wealth.

Several families that were among the Firm's first clients are still Cummings & Lockwood clients.  Generations later, we represent descendants who reside in every part of the world.  We serve as a bridge between generations--ensuring that values, wishes and goals are maintained.  Technology has made our practice more efficient and more personal.  Computerized drafting and tax software, much of which was designed by Cummings & Lockwood attorneys, enables us to devote more time to counseling individuals and structuring legal instruments tailored to their needs.

We are particularly well-qualified to serve the needs of entrepreneurs, as we are able to coordinate personal and business planning when designing tax-efficient estate plans that deal with the succession of business ownership, intellectual property, environmental liabilities and other business issues in ways that benefit the family and the business.  In sum, we offer the experience that can be achieved through a group of attorneys practicing together, without forfeiting the personal service that has been our trademark as trusted family advisors.

Estate Planning and Settlement Services

While wealth preservation involves a wide variety of separate tasks and issues, most of the services that our lawyers provide involve the estate planning and settlement process, and the ongoing management of family trusts. A Cummings & Lockwood lawyer's representation of an estate planning client and his/her family typically spans a number of years, and that representation is likely to consist of some or all of the following:

  • Information Gathering and Objective Setting - Through an initial meeting or series of meetings, our lawyers gather information about the client's family and assets, as well as the specific goals and concerns that the client has regarding the distribution of his/her estate.
  • Estate Planning Education and Preliminary Recommendations - In these initial meetings, our lawyers also inform clients on the estate and gift tax system that often dictates much of the tax-planning structure of the estate planning process, as well as the other legal and non-legal issues that impact the formulation of a client's estate plan, including lifetime gift programs designed to minimize the impact of estate taxes on the family fortune, and plans designed to accomplish such results with minimum adverse current economic impact on the client.
  • Development of Customized Estate Plan - Based on the information gathered in these initial meetings, our lawyers present an estate plan to the client that includes all of the options available for meeting his/her stated objectives.  Using feedback from the client and after further discussions, our lawyers customize the estate plan to his/her individual needs and preferences.
  • Drafting of Estate Planning Documents - Once the client selects his/her desired estate plan, our lawyers draft the necessary documents (e.g., Wills, Living Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Deeds, etc.) needed to put the plan into effect.  An important part of this process involves ensuring that a client understands the meaning and effect of the documents he or she signs.
  • Ancillary Services - Over the years, our lawyers may perform a number of ancillary services, such as the preparation of income or gift tax returns or counseling the client regarding the role of life insurance in an estate plan.  In response to major changes in the law, in a client's financial or family circumstances and/or changes in the client's goals, our lawyers assist the client in making any necessary changes to his/her estate plan.
  • Estate Settlement - In the event of a client's death, our lawyers will assist the client's family in the sometimes complex process of estate settlement to help ensure a smooth and efficient transfer of the client's assets to the beneficiaries named in his/her Will.  This process includes guiding the client's family through the probate court system, filing tax returns, handling any audits with the IRS and local taxing authorities, dealing with creditors of the client's estate, and assisting with the sale of estate assets to raise cash or facilitate distribution to the beneficiaries.

Fiduciary Services

An integral part of our services to private clients involves counseling with respect to the management of inheritances received by beneficiaries.  The care of property for another is called "fiduciary" service.  Family members often lack the time, flexibility and expertise to take on these responsibilities alone and discharge such duties adequately.  In addition, friends and family members acting as fiduciaries expose themselves to personal liability, often without realizing it or taking appropriate measures to protect themselves.

We are often called on by individuals acting as fiduciaries to provide legal and administration advice in the discharge of their duties.  In addition, the Cummings & Lockwood attorney who has established a personal relationship with a client during the estate planning process may be a good choice as a fiduciary in certain situations.  The attorney also can serve as co-fiduciary with a responsible family member, other individual or institution and share responsibility for the administration of the estate or trust.  When serving as a Personal Representative/Executor or as a Trustee, Cummings & Lockwood attorneys would either retain the same investment advisers used by the client, or, when necessary, identify other appropriate outside investment advisers for investment and portfolio management advice.

Whether acting as fiduciary, co-fiduciary or legal counsel to other fiduciaries, the attorneys in Cummings & Lockwood's Trusts and Estate's practice, together with our dedicated fiduciary accountants and paralegals, can meet all of the legal, tax and accounting requirements of the trust or estate.

Cummings & Lockwood - The Choice for sophisticated legal counsel.

Name Title Practice Group Office Phone Email vCard
Associate Private Clients Group Stamford, CT 203.351.4417 Download vCard
Principal Private Clients Group Stamford, CT 203.351.4194 Download vCard
Principal Private Clients Group Greenwich, CT 203.863.6590 Download vCard
Principal Private Clients Group West Hartford, CT 860.313.4930 Download vCard
Principal Private Clients Group Naples, FL 239.649.3196 Download vCard
Principal Private Clients Group West Hartford, CT 860.313.4936 Download vCard
Principal Private Clients Group Bonita Springs, FL 239.390.8062 Download vCard
Principal Private Clients Group Greenwich, CT 203.863.6554 Download vCard
Principal Private Clients Group Stamford, CT 203.351.4298 Download vCard
Principal Private Clients Group Naples, FL 239.649.3180 Download vCard
Principal Private Clients Group Greenwich, CT 203.863.6501 Download vCard
Principal Private Clients Group Commercial Real Estate Group West Hartford, CT 860.313.4931 Download vCard
Principal Private Clients Group Greenwich, CT 203.863.6511 Download vCard
Associate Private Clients Group Greenwich, CT 203.863.6577 Download vCard
Principal Private Clients Group Greenwich, CT 203.863.6503 Download vCard
Principal Private Clients Group Commercial Real Estate Group Greenwich, CT 203.863.6518 Download vCard
Counsel Private Clients Group Bonita Springs, FL 239.390.8086 Download vCard
Principal Private Clients Group Palm Beach Gardens, FL 561-214-8508 Download vCard
Principal Private Clients Group Bonita Springs, FL 239.390.8067 Download vCard
Counsel Private Clients Group Greenwich, CT 203.863.6591 Download vCard
Principal Private Clients Group Bonita Springs, FL 239.390.8068 Download vCard
Principal Private Clients Group Stamford, CT 203.351.4317 Download vCard
Principal Private Clients Group Naples, FL 239.649.3157 Download vCard
Principal Private Clients Group Naples, FL 239.649.3178 Download vCard
Counsel Private Clients Group Bonita Springs, FL 239.390.8060 Download vCard
Principal Private Clients Group Palm Beach Gardens, FL 561.214.8503 Download vCard
Associate Private Clients Group Stamford, CT 203.351.4198 Download vCard
Firm Chairman Commercial Real Estate Group Corporate & Finance Group Private Clients Group Stamford, CT 203.351.4100 Download vCard
Principal Private Clients Group Stamford, CT 203.351.4343 Download vCard
Associate Private Clients Group Stamford, CT 203.351.4195 Download vCard
Principal Private Clients Group Greenwich, CT 203.863.6504 Download vCard
Associate Private Clients Group Bonita Springs, FL 239-390-8083 Download vCard
Principal Private Clients Group West Hartford, CT 860.313.4919 Download vCard
Associate Private Clients Group Bonita Springs, FL 239.390.8069 Download vCard
Principal Private Clients Group West Hartford, CT 860.313.4933 Download vCard
Principal Private Clients Group Greenwich, CT 203.863.6551 Download vCard
Principal Private Clients Group Naples, FL 239.649.3106 Download vCard
Associate Private Clients Group Stamford, CT 203.351.4121 Download vCard
Principal Private Clients Group Stamford, CT 203.351.4656 Download vCard
Principal Private Clients Group Greenwich, CT 203.863.6542 Download vCard
Associate Private Clients Group Naples, FL 239.649.3158 Download vCard
Principal Private Clients Group Stamford, CT 203.351.4164 Download vCard
Associate Private Clients Group Stamford, CT 203.351.4395 Download vCard
Principal Private Clients Group Stamford, CT 203.351.4308 Download vCard
Counsel Private Clients Group Stamford, CT 203.351.4692 Download vCard