Family Wealth

Coblentz has been serving high wealth families in the Bay Area for over 125 years. Our clients benefit from our intimate and collaborative approach to planning the transition of their wealth for future generations.

Our attorneys have built a national reputation for providing a personalized, precise guidance on our clients’ most sensitive and complex matters. Having immediate access to the resources of our firm’s other practices—corporate, tax, real estate, litigation—we provide comprehensive service to our clients.

Estate Planning

We handle all aspects of an individual’s estate and gift tax planning. Our goal is to help our clients analyze and implement strategies that will efficiently maintain and transfer wealth, while minimizing income, gift, and estate tax consequences for them and their families.

Trusts and Estates Administration and Fiduciary Representation

We represent both institutional and individual fiduciaries with regard to post mortem trust and estate administrations, as well as the administration of irrevocable, continuing trusts established by our clients. We assist in all aspects of administration, including property tax; estate, gift, and generation-skipping tax filings and compliance; satisfaction of trustee duties concerning investment, management, and disposition of trust assets, as well as discretionary funding and distribution decisions.

We coordinate with financial advisors, CPAs, appraisers, and other professional advisors to ensure that our clients receive the most comprehensive service possible.

Closely Held Business Planning

To assist our closely held business clients in achieving their wealth transfer objectives, we coordinate the estate plan with entity succession; liquidity planning; insurance planning for principal/key person redemption or buy/sell arrangements; and structuring family entity transactions.

Trusts and Estates Litigation

Trust and estates litigation matters are among the most sensitive we handle at our firm. We take great care to look for nonjudicial opportunities to resolve disputes. However, when settlement or mediation does not work, we litigate aggressively to achieve our clients’ goals, and we have done so in a wide range of disputes, including will contests and actions alleging negligence or other breach of fiduciary duties.

Tax Controversy

Effective tax planning requires careful consideration of estate and gift tax issues, analyzing how they integrate with income tax issues to achieve the desired result for our clients. Working hand-in-hand with our tax attorneys, we offer comprehensive solutions to our clients’ most challenging tax concerns.

One of the unique strengths of our tax practice is the breadth of knowledge and experience our attorneys have in all phases of taxation: income, gift, estate, and generation-skipping planning and transactions.

We have successfully represented clients in many complex estate and gift tax audits and in litigation before the US Tax Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Private Foundation and Charitable Planning

In addition to the obvious personal and societal benefits of philanthropy, charitable transfers have the potential to generate substantial federal income and estate tax savings. Whether it is a private foundation, a charitable remainder trust, charitable lead trust, or other charitable giving strategy, we have the experience to create the right vehicle for our clients’ planned giving.