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Taxation, Estate and Business Planning; Asset Protection

Ferris & Britton's tax department puts a special emphasis on income and estate tax issues unique to businesses and their owners.

Ferris & Britton's tax department has extensive experience in:

  • Choice of entity and other tax structuring decisions for both initial start-up and later-stage companies;
  • Structuring of major corporate and commercial transactions, including mergers, reverse triangular mergers, spin-offs, leveraged buyouts, intra-family transfers and stock or asset sales;
  • Planning and executing various real estate transactions, including sale-leasebacks, like-kind exchanges, condemnations and structuring of transactions to avoid a "change of ownership" which would cause property taxes on real property to increase;
  • Prosecuting tax litigation, as well as tax compliance and collection issues, and successful negotiation of favorable compromises of large tax liabilities;
  • Reducing liability for sales or use taxes through careful structuring of transactions;
  • Preparation of "non-qualified" deferred compensation arrangements, including structuring qualified and non-qualified incentive stock option plans and phantom stock plans and other equity-based compensation arrangements;
  • Lessening the impact of income and estate taxes on the family-owned or closely held business, and shielding those assets from liability;
  • Employee benefits, including helping both large and small businesses install, structure, restructure and administer their employee benefits programs in a manner to minimize net costs by maximizing tax benefits;
  • Structuring and re-structuring a business for maximum advantage through successive generations, To reduce the assets includable in the estates of the senior generation;
  • Estate freezes, including using established methods to shield assets from creditors, such as family limited partnerships and family LLC's, and value freezing techniques; and
  • Documenting the estate decisions of clients, including wills and trust preparation, including trusts of a simple nature designed for the single person or small family to more complicated tax oriented trusts, and including testamentary trusts, living trusts, revocable and irrevocable trusts; pre- and post-nuptial agreements; powers of attorney for property management; and durable powers of attorney for health care, and directives to physicians.

Where family or other closely held businesses are involved, the Ferris & Britton estate planning and tax lawyers work closely with the business department in order to create a well-structured, integrated business and estate plan. The tax department has pioneered methods which, despite a generational shift in ownership, allow the senior generation to continue to control the operations of the business. Also, fundamental to the practice is the protection of the assets of the business and its owners from creditors.

For more information about the firm's Estate Planning and Litigation practice see the Primerus web page.