Areas of Practice

US estate & gift tax planning

At the Law Office of Joan Davenport, we provide income, gift, estate and generation-skipping tax planning and advice for individuals and families. These include high net worth clients such as business owners and executives, professionals, retired people and persons who have inherited wealth.

We work closely with our clients. In each case, this begins with us taking the time to fully understand their priorities and goals, allowing us to build up an in depth picture of the family situation, philanthropic interests, and legacy wishes. We make financial and estate planning recommendations, advise on the tax effects of each scenario, prepare the documents necessary to implement the plan, and review it periodically to ensure that it continues to fulfill its purposes.

In addition, we advise on lifetime gifts, inter vivos and post mortem estate plans, and issues related to the management and taxation of inter-generational transfer strategies.

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US/UK tax planning

Cross border international income tax, estate and gift planning can be especially complex, requiring detailed knowledge and experience of different country’s laws. We focus on issues related to the US and UK, working with local experts, when appropriate, in those jurisdictions where we may not be admitted.

We provide cross border advice for individuals with respect to their interests in foreign estates and trusts, and assist with the creation and maintenance of trusts.  We also advise clients, together with US-UK accountants, on compliance with their annual US income tax filing requirements.

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Wills and trust preparation

This is an area often overlooked even by citizens living in their home country, so expert advice is even more essential when this is handled from overseas. We provide estate and trust planning, including all aspects of implementation such as Will and trust preparation. Additionally, we draw up ancillary US documents including deeds and beneficiary designations.

It is also vital, we believe, to give consideration to both the tax and the non tax concerns involved in this complex and creative area. We advise clients on choices regarding executors, trustees and guardians.

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Insurance trusts and planning

Insurance trusts are useful for efficient wealth and succession planning – providing they are properly set up and managed. We use US based insurance trusts to exclude the value of life insurance from a client’s US and UK taxable estates.

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Trust and beneficiary taxation

We advise on trusts and the tax impact on beneficiaries. This can include foreign trusts with US beneficiaries, planning for distributions to US beneficiaries and advising clients on the cross border aspects of trust planning.

We work with a broad range of clients, including professional and individual trustees, executors, administrators, banks and beneficiaries.

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Estate and trust administration

Estate settlement is as complex and important as estate planning. We provide all aspects of representation and services, including attention to the prompt and efficient settlement of estates. Families need experienced and sensitive counsel during difficult transitions. An example would be in the months following an individual’s death when numerous cross border decisions will need careful guidance. A primary aim is to reduce the death taxes and income tax burden on the beneficiaries.

Controversies often arise from the many issues that may affect the financial well being of a family or its members. We provide advice and representation on these issues, including the interpretation and reformation of Wills and trusts, post mortem tax planning and disputes regarding the probate of Wills. We also advise on the review and allowance of estate and trust accounts and the resolution of disputes regarding accountings, and technical matters regarding the assessment and allocation of taxes.

We continually deal with the international aspects of probate and succession, especially in cases involving cross border tax issues.

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Estate and gift tax returns

We can assist with the preparation of all federal and state income, gift, estate and generation-skipping tax returns, and application for release of US funds through the IRS. We also provide representation in administrative proceedings involving tax authorities, and advise on the cross border implications of US individuals who died while long term resident in the UK, married to a non US person, or owning UK property. We work with their UK professionals, advising on the US impact on UK inheritance tax.

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Renunciation of US citizenship is a serious and irrevocable act, and the decision to renounce US citizenship can be difficult. As this decision has significant income, estate and tax planning ramifications, it should be carefully considered, and it is crucial that clients seek advice prior to making a decision regarding whether or not this renunciation is appropriate for them.

We advise clients on the short term and long term tax and estate planning consequences of expatriation and assist them with evaluating whether or not expatriation is the right decision. For those who wish to expatriate, we also assist with preparation and submission of the renunciation package, as well as prepare clients for their expatriation appointment at the US Embassy.

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