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Team Opportunities

Family Wealth Planning Associate, Buffalo  More

In The News

Sharon L. Wick Comments on Importance of Estate Planning  More

Sharon L. Wick Listed as 2011 Five Star Wealth Manager  More

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Press Releases

Phillips Lytle LLP Earns “Top Listed” Ranking in New York State in Commercial Litigation and Product Liability Litigation – Defendants on The Best Lawyers in America® 2015 List  More

Fifty-One Phillips Lytle LLP Attorneys Named to the 2014 Upstate New York Super Lawyers® List  More

Phillips Lytle LLP Adds Attorney Mary L. Barrow as Special Counsel to Its Rochester Office  More

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Speaking Engagements

“Recent Case Decisions in Trusts and Estates,” Bar Association of Erie County’s Practice & Procedure in Surrogate’s Court Committee Meeting, February 2012  More

“Tax Implications of Family Wealth Transfer,” New York State Bar Association’s Estate Planning Seminar, October 2011  More

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“Tax Act of 2010 Changes the Ground Rules for Estate Planning,” Phillips Lytle Family Wealth Planning Client Alert, February 2011  More

“Family Health Care Decision Act,” Phillips Lytle Family Wealth Planning Client Alert - April 2010  More

“Repeal of Estate and Generation Skipping Transfer Tax Impacts Existing Estate Plans,” Phillips Lytle Family Wealth Planning Client Alert - January 2010  More

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Family Wealth Planning

Family wealth planning and estate and trust administration can seem overwhelming and complex without the right guidance. Fortunately, Phillips Lytle offers a complete range of trust and estate services to individuals, as well as to traditional and non-traditional families. We provide advice and guidance regarding personal and closely held business planning, as well as estate and trust administration matters. We also represent and advise fiduciaries and beneficiaries regarding all aspects of trust and estate administration and litigation. Our expertise includes:

  • Estate planning
  • Disability and elder law planning
  • Estate and trust administration
  • Tax
  • Litigation

Many of our attorneys have held high positions in trust and estate sections of state and local bar associations, and are current members of national organizations dedicated to estate and trust law. They have substantial experience speaking to lay groups, professional organizations and other attorneys on all aspects of trust and estate matters. Our attorneys also teach courses at colleges and universities on estate planning and administration.

Estate Planning

At Phillips Lytle, our attorneys prepare wills, trusts and other estate planning documents. We provide tax advice and planning on the disposition of all assets, including retirement benefits and life insurance proceeds. We work with attorneys in other Phillips Lytle practice areas to provide coordinated and thorough plans for our clients.

We prepare a variety of lifetime and testamentary trusts. These include:

  • Trusts that utilize estate tax credits and the marital deduction including credit shelter trusts, qualified terminable interest property trusts (QTIP) and qualified domestic trusts (QDOT)
  • Revocable (living) trusts as a “Will substitute”
  • Trusts used for generation skipping transfer (GST) planning
  • Trusts for minors
  • Irrevocable life insurance trusts (ILIT)
  • Grantor trusts (such as GRAT, GRUT and IDGT)
  • Qualified personal residence trusts (QPRT)
  • Charitable trusts, including charitable remainder trusts (CRT) and charitable lead trusts (CLT)

We provide succession-planning advice and counsel to owners of closely held businesses. This includes developing plans to integrate and compensate key employees who are not family members and providing equitable arrangements for family members not involved in the business.

We also advise families on the disposition of vacation homes and cottages, and the means to maintain such homes and cottages for future generations.

Disability and Elder Law Planning

We counsel clients to plan for disability through use of powers of attorney, health care proxies, living wills, guardianships and a variety of trusts including supplemental needs trusts. We guide clients in the analysis and planning of elder law issues including asset preservation and management through various techniques such as gifting and eligibility for Medicaid benefits.

Estate and Trust Administration

The administration of estates and trusts constitutes a substantial portion of our practice and includes advice to individual and corporate fiduciaries, as well as beneficiaries. We work with fiduciaries in preparing accountings of administration and all necessary documents to complete the fiduciary’s responsibilities.


We prepare estate, gift, generation skipping and income tax returns for individuals and fiduciaries, and we represent clients in audits or other disputes over these returns. We also work with fiduciaries and beneficiaries to prepare proper post-mortem plans essential for estate and trust administration.


We represent fiduciaries and beneficiaries in a variety of litigation matters such as the contested probate of wills, discovery and accounting proceedings, spousal right of election matters, and proceedings for the construction and reformation of documents. Our experience in estate planning and the administration of trusts and estates enables our attorneys to provide the advice necessary for the resolution of disputes prior to trial and the successful outcome of matters that proceed to trial. Attorneys in our Litigation Group regularly assist in these matters.

Sharon L. Wick
Sharon L. Wick

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