Barclay Damon
Barclay Damon

Trusts & Estates

Barclay Damon's Trusts & Estates Practice Area delivers custom, tailored legal solutions to suit the varying needs of individuals, families, and major financial institutions’ trusts departments.

To provide the most comprehensive services to our clients, our Trusts & Estates Practice Area frequently teams with attorneys in our Commercial Litigation, Corporate, Tax, and Restructuring, Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights Practice Areas on matters involving contested trusts and estates; business planning; international tax planning; complex estate, gift, and income-tax issues; and asset-protection planning.

In addition to considering the legal, financial, and logistical aspects of each matter, our team always accounts for the substantial emotional component of situations involving the care of family members and protecting their futures, treating each client’s unique needs with the same level of attention and respect we would hope to receive in our own legal matters connected to these sensitive topics. Whether a client’s goal is to protect, incentivize, or assist their heirs, we work with them to efficiently deliver creative solutions that not only meet their specific needs but also minimize their tax consequences.


Our team counsels clients on the full range of personal estate-planning matters designed to pass wealth between generations as smoothly and effectively as possible, including:

  • Preparation and execution of wills, trusts, living wills, health care proxies, prenuptial agreements, and powers of attorney
  • Special-needs planning, including supplemental-needs trusts
  • Asset-protection planning, including prenuptials, crisis Medicaid planning, transfer tax and income tax-based planning structures such as trusts for the benefit of charities
  • Elder law and Medicaid
  • Asset valuation, including stocks, bonds, bank accounts, vehicles, real estate, insurance policies, retirement plans, deferred-compensation agreements, employee benefit plans, and closely held business interests
  • Charitable donations, including charitable-remainder trusts, charitable-lead trusts, and private foundations
  • Estate plan development and implementation, including analyzing and implementing gifting programs
  • Gift planning
  • Insurance planning
  • State and federal tax issues

Business Succession Planning 

Our attorneys have a deep understanding of the complex intersection of the legal, financial, accounting, and tax issues that arise in business-succession-planning matters. Whether a family-owned or closely held business, we provide clients with the necessary advice and solutions to help keep their businesses intact for generations to come. Working with our corporate and tax attorneys, we explore techniques to reduce future estate taxes on the business and to help ensure a seamless transition to the next generation.

We assist our clients with business-succession-planning issues that include:

  • Creating family limited partnerships and limited-liability companies to discount the value of the interests and reduce taxes
  • Establishing methods of funding cross-purchase and stock-redemption agreements, including life insurance
  • Establishing methods of equalizing shares for family members who do not participate in the business
  • Negotiating and preparing stock-restriction agreements, cross-purchase agreements, and stock-redemption agreements
  • Solving transfer-of-ownership and management problems


We assist our clients with administration issues that include:

  • Trusts and estates administration, including federal and state estate, gift, and income-tax issues as well as all aspects of estate settlement
  • Supplemental-Needs Trusts
  • Solving transfer-of-ownership and management problems
  • Article 81, Article 17, and Article 17-A guardianships


We litigate matters that include contested probate and accountings, investment performance of trusts and estates, disputes involving closely held corporations or shareholder agreements, and the rights of a surviving spouse. Our attorneys handle estate-related matters in Surrogate’s courts, the Appellate Division and Court of Appeals of New York, US Tax Court, and the US Supreme Court.

We additionally assist our clients with the following litigation matters:

  • Will contests
  • Disqualification
  • Construction and reformation
  • Accounting issues
  • Electronic-discovery issues
  • Capacity
  • Contested and uncontested Article 81 guardianships

Jen Flannery
p: 716.858.3701
f: 716.768.2701
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Marcy Robinson Dembs
p: 315.425.2740
f: 315.703.7389
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Karen Schaefer
p: 585.295.4473
f: 585.295.8437
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Case Studies