Estate & Family Wealth Planning

At Mullen & Henzell, we have one of the oldest and largest estate planning and administration practices in the Santa Barbara area. Our practice is personal - emphasizing the individual needs of our clients ­ and covers all types of wealth, including active business interests, agricultural interests, real estate, securities portfolios and retirement benefits. Mullen & Henzell's estate and administration group has both technical and practical knowledge and experience. We work closely with our clients to enable them to make informed decisions in order to achieve their family, business and tax objectives.

PRACTICE FOCUS

Basic Estate Planning

Our services include preparation of Wills, Will Substitutes (such as Revocable ("Living") Trusts) and Durable Powers of Attorney, and coordination of life insurance and retirement assets with the estate plan. Our goal is to carry out personal and family objectives in the management and transfer of family wealth.

Charitable Gift Planning

Consideration of various forms of charitable gifts for tax and charitable purposes, including outright charitable gifts, Charitable Remainder Trusts, Charitable Lead Trusts, and formation and integration with the overall estate plan of "Public Charities," Private Foundations and Supporting Organizations.

Integrated Wealth Transfer Planning

Evaluation of techniques to reduce the overall transfer tax (i.e., gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer taxes) burden on the transfer of family wealth through various forms of lifetime transfers. This includes outright gifts, gifts to Grantor Retained Income Trusts, gifts to Qualified Personal Residence Trusts, gifts to Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts, Private Annuities, and Installment Sales to Grantor or Nongrantor Trusts, and the preparation of Gift Tax Returns.

Tax and Business Planning

Consideration of the tax and business impact of multigenerational transfer of wealth on business entities, including analysis, and consideration of the selection of entity at formation (such as C corporation, S corporation, limited liability company (or LLC), general partnership, or limited partnership). We also advise on the restructure or recapitalization of an entity to accommodate efficient wealth transfer and to anticipate the need to use the assets and income of the business to ultimately pay the transfer tax.

Valuation Planning

Selection and application of the various valuation standards as they apply to the client's assets including family business interests, with a view to position the family wealth for favorable valuation adjustments for transfer tax purposes.

Succession Planning

Consideration of the unique issues relating to family business interests in terms of continuity of management, valuation planning, and positioning the owner's estate for favorable transfer tax provisions applicable to business interests (e.g. "special use valuation," qualified family owned business interest deduction, and installment payment of estate tax).

Post Death Administration

Representation of executors, trustees and beneficiaries with respect to the tax, financial and business planning, as well as administration, involved with the transfer of a decedent's wealth. This is accomplished through a formal probate administration of a Will or through the decedent's Revocable Trust and includes the preparation of required Estate Tax Returns.

Trust Administration

Representation of both professional and non-professional trustees and beneficiaries with respect to all types of tax and non-tax matters involving continuing or terminating trusts.

Estate and Trust Litigation

Resolution of disputes among executors, trustees, beneficiaries and creditors of a decedent; guardianships; and conservatorships.

Tax Controversy

Resolution of disputes between a taxing agency and a taxpayer, such as an audit of a Gift Tax Return or an Estate Tax Return, or representing the taxpayer at the appellate administrative level or in Court (such as Tax Court or District Court).