Trusts & Estates
The attorneys of Hornberger Fuller Garza & Cohen have the depth of experience and employ a practical approach to help clients plan for the future through the preparation of wills, trusts, and other estate planning documents from simple wills to the most complex estate plans. We also assist clients in probate, including filing wills for probate and counseling individuals and corporate fiduciaries who administer estates to comply with fiduciary duties and responsibilities.
Often disputes arise involving wills, trusts, or probate matters. When that happens, we have an experienced litigation team that can handle simple or the most complex matters, including will contests and representation of individual and corporate trustees and trust and estate beneficiaries in suits for breach of fiduciary duty and related matters.
TRUSTS & ESTATES LITIGATION
The firm’s trust and estate litigation team represents clients who need expert and experienced representation to handle disputes in the area of trusts and estates. These disputes include will contests, fiduciary litigation, trust actions, and other contested matters that arise during probate. Our litigation team also is experienced in handling contested guardianship matters.
Many of these disputes are filed in one of the two statutory probate courts in Bexar County where our trust and estate litigation team has a great deal of experience representing clients before those courts. Our litigation team also handles these cases in courts all across South and Central Texas.
PROBATE & TRUST ADMINISTRATION
The firm has experienced attorneys to counsel executors, trustees, heirs, and beneficiaries in matters involving estates and trusts. We counsel individual and corporate fiduciaries regarding the general management and administration of estates and trusts and compliance with their fiduciary duties and responsibilities and, when necessary, we handle judicial proceedings to modify or terminate trusts. We prepare and counsel clients regarding federal estate tax returns and represent our clients in proceedings regarding the audit of such returns. Our goal is to assist executors and trustees in fulfilling their duties and responsibilities while minimizing potential liabilities and to assist trust and will beneficiaries in receiving distributions to which they are entitled.
All probate matters in Bexar County are filed in one of the two statutory probate courts. The firm’s probate attorneys are very experienced in appearing before those two courts and handling all variety of matters that would be filed there. We also practice in other courts all across South and Central Texas.
ESTATE & TAX PLANNING
Our estate planning attorneys counsel and assist clients regarding the preferred choice of entity, and help formulate plans that ensure an orderly transfer of business and personal assets with minimum transfer tax liability. Care is taken to coordinate the desired disposition of assets, including retirement plans, IRAs, annuities and life insurance, with minimum transfer tax and income tax liability, and with a view towards minimizing the potential for will contests or other litigation. These plans generally involve the preparation of documents to effect lifetime and testamentary dispositions. Such documents often include:
- Management Trusts
- Trusts for children and grandchildren
- Life Insurance Trusts
- Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts
- Charitable Remainder Trusts
- Family Limited Partnerships
- Limited Liability Companies
- Asset protection planning
Care is also taken to assist our clients in planning for incapacity with the use of Powers of Attorney, Medical Powers of Attorneys and Declarations of Guardian Before Need Arises. We assist those who place a priority on charitable giving by establishing and assisting with the operation of private foundations, including non-profit corporations. Finally, our estate planning attorneys are prepared to assist our clients with pre-marital agreements and often provide counsel regarding marital property issues.
The firm’s attorneys are experienced in advising and representing taxpayers before federal, state and local taxing authorities and in all federal and state courts in which tax disputes are litigated.
Our attorneys have a depth of experience handling tax controversies including:
- Substantive tax expertise on a wide array of sophisticated tax issues,
- Comprehensive understanding of the nuances of tax procedure and the tax controversy process,
- Extensive knowledge about, and experience dealing with, the IRS, the Department of Justice and state taxing authorities, and
- A proven track record of successfully litigating unresolved tax claims.
Our tax controversy practice covers the full spectrum of substantive tax issues involving income, estate and gift, employment, excise taxes and tax-exempt entities. They arise in all phases of the tax controversy process, from the beginning of the tax audit, to the preparation of tax protests and negotiation with IRS Appeals, to litigation in the United States Tax Court, the Federal District Courts, and the Court of Federal Claims.
Whether we are engaged at the beginning of a controversy, or called in after other attempts at relief have failed, we know how to explore every approach to achieving the best resolution for the client.