Since the firm's early years, Duane Morris has provided estates, trusts, asset planning and related litigation services to individuals, business owners, charitable organizations and fiduciaries. Today, we serve these constituencies with a distinct Duane Morris approach.

For each client, we serve as a counselor with the goal of listening to business and personal needs and understanding what the client desires in order to achieve the necessary peace of mind. During the process, we probe deeply to understand the important motivations and nuances of a client's situation. Based on specific goals, we tailor a plan and apply appropriate and sophisticated tax techniques as required. We are known for our conservative approach.

Throughout each relationship with our clients, we work to minimize tax exposure and implement creative strategies to preserve capital and transfer resources within the client's family and to next generations.


For Individuals

General Services

We advise individuals on all aspects of personal tax planning, including income, estate and gift taxes and charitable giving. Depending on a client's personal situation, our services may include:

  • Estate planning, including will and trust drafting and related services
  • Settlement of decedents' estates
  • Administration of trusts
  • Fiduciary income tax matters
  • Counseling on family matters
  • Dealing with the Internal Revenue Service
  • Gift planning
  • Advising on and creating charitable foundations
International Services

For U.S. clients moving overseas and non-U.S. citizens in the United States, we help them relocate in the most tax-efficient manner. Our services include assisting clients with international needs in structuring worldwide assets and effectively transferring wealth through vehicles such as:

  • Forming international trusts
  • Creating wills for multijurisdictional situations
  • Advising on the purchase of foreign life insurance before relocating to the United States
  • Assisting in real estate and illiquid investments

For Business Owners

We counsel business owners on all areas of tax and estate planning. We have particular experience in working with individuals with significant or unique business assets.

In addition to general planning and counseling assistance, some of our specific services include:

  • Planning for management succession and asset conservation through multiple generations at a minimum tax cost
  • Counseling on recapitalizations, gift programs and other techniques for shifting value during an owner's lifetime or separating control from value
  • Assisting business owners in allocating benefits among their children regardless of their involvement in the business
  • Structuring life insurance and benefit programs to minimize tax costs
  • Planning for liquidity in the event of an owner's death
  • Preparing buy/sell, restrictive stock and employment agreements
  • Developing and implementing exit strategies from the business for inactive family members
  • Counseling on the short- and long-term estate implications of selling a business or restructuring it

For Charitable Organizations

We work with a number of publicly and privately supported charitable organizations, including several large grant-making private foundations. For many of our clients, we also assist in creating, structuring and the ongoing funding and administration of private charitable foundations.

In these types of situations, our services range from counseling on the appropriate structure to advising on the more complex tax implications an organization faces. Some of our services for charitable organizations include:

  • Counseling on nonprofit status and related issues
  • Aligning investment and operating strategies to comply with mandated guidelines
  • Advising on day-to-day operational and legal issues
  • Handling IRS-related matters, such as annual reporting and audits
  • Counseling on high-end development programs

For Fiduciaries

Banks, trust companies and individuals who serve as fiduciaries work with us to properly and fully discharge of their responsibilities. For example, we counsel, advise and assist fiduciaries in a wide range of matters such as:

  • Day-to-day duties and responsibilities
  • Tax planning and tax return preparation
  • Distribution planning
  • Trust and estate accounting
  • Investment responsibilities and planning
  • Bank compliance
  • Beneficiary requests and disputes

In areas where fiduciary litigation arises, we provide pretrial and trial assistance in every respect. For example, we are known for our experience handling matters such as:

  • Surcharge claims
  • Fiduciary compensation
  • Will contests
  • Will and trust interpretation disputes
  • Tax audits
  • Professional malpractice claims
  • Estate and gift tax controversies
  • Valuation controversies

For Investment Management, Financial Planning and Tax Preparation and Compliance Services

When and as needed, our clients can retain our affiliate, Wescott Financial Advisory Group LLC, for investment management and financial planning services. Services in this area include:

  • Asset allocation analysis and recommendations
  • Managed investment recommendations
  • Ongoing portfolio performance measurement and tracking
  • Quarterly reporting, which includes an analysis of the entire investment portfolio

Wescott provides fee-only financial planning and investment management services and does not sell any investment or insurance products.

With clients' tax preparation needs and the tax climate constantly changing, our clients also benefit from the services of our Tax Accounting Group, which is a talented group of certified public accountants who assist with tax return preparation and tax compliance.

For Additional Information

For more information, please contact Amy J. GussDavid S. Kovsky or any of the practice members referenced in the Attorney Listing.