Trusts & Estates

Trusts & Estates

We advise clients in creating various types of trusts to further their estate plan and their lifetime giving plan. In this capacity, we work closely with clients to implement arrangements that, first and foremost, meet the client’s long-term goals for him or herself and for his or her chosen beneficiaries, while maintaining the maximum amount of flexibility in order to accommodate unforeseen changes in the client’s circumstances or goals. We emphasize plans that also provide income tax and transfer tax advantages, to maximize the value of the benefit the client confers on his or her chosen beneficiaries. The types of trusts we regularly assist clients in creating include:

  • Revocable trusts (“living trusts”)
  • Charitable trusts, including private foundations, charitable remainder trusts (“CRT”), and charitable lead trusts (“CLT”)
  • Life insurance trusts (“ILIT”)
  • Grantor-retained interest trusts, including grantor retained annuity trusts (“GRAT”) and qualified personal residence trusts (“QPRT”)
  • Special purpose trusts, including medical and educational trusts and special needs trusts
  • Statutory gifts, such as custodianship accounts and tax-advantaged tuition payment plans
  • Generation-skipping trusts (“dynasty trusts”)
  • Testamentary trusts
  • Intentionally defective income grantor trusts


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Sub Practice Groups

  • Asset Protection Planning

    We counsel both individuals and organizations about state, federal and international laws affecting asset protection.

  • Charitable Planning

    Our firm advises clients on various charitable giving techniques. We counsel our clients in simple or sophisticated charitable giving plans based on each client’s goals, and we assist clients in creating charitable organizations and in negotiating agreements with existing charitable organizations to best effectuate those goals.

  • Estate Planning

    As part of our firm’s comprehensive services for multi-generational wealth planning, we offer sophisticated and tailored solutions for our clients.

  • Family Foundations

    Schneider Smeltz Spieth Bell LLP has a long history of assisting and representing family foundations.

  • Fiduciary Representation

    In recent years, claims and lawsuits filed in court against fiduciaries have increased significantly. Often in such disputes, disappointed beneficiaries seek damages from fiduciaries based on allegations of misconduct, mismanagement, or breach of duty.

  • Gift, Estate, and GST Tax Planning

    Our firm has particular depth of experience with Estate, Gift and generation skipping transfer tax planning.

  • Income Tax Planning

    Careful consideration of the income tax consequences can make good planning even more effective.

  • Probate and Estate Administration

    In general, probate and estate administration is the process by which assets owned or controlled by a decedent are transferred to the beneficiaries upon death, after paying all debts and taxes.

  • Trust, Estate, and Probate Litigation

    We have extensive experience in handling many types of trust and estate litigation, including Will contests, Will and Trust construction cases, defense and prosecution of fiduciaries for breach of fiduciary duty, accounting actions, and defense and prosecution of claims by and against estates.

  • Trusts and Trust Administration

    Our attorneys have experience serving in many different roles relating to trusts. For many clients, we advise and draft trust documents and aid them in the proper administration of their trusts.

Awards & Recognition