The ScottHulse Estate Planning, Probate & Asset Protection practice group advises high and mid net worth individuals and families in estate planning, living or revocable trusts, irrevocable trusts, wills, transfer taxation, asset protection, and closely held and family business matters.

“When you have a plan for your person and your assets, you are providing peace and order for your family. You are taking care of what is an inevitable part of life, rather than forcing your family to resolve issues in your stead. A plan also avoids leaving your assets in the hands of the state by default.”

Glenn Davis
Attorney & Shareholder

Testimonial Glenn Davis

They also advise clients regarding charitable giving, including deferred and leveraged giving. Attorneys within this group also have extensive experience related to probate and trust administration, will contests, will construction suits, and other fiduciary litigation matters.

Our estate planning attorneys also assist high net worth individuals with the creation of complex multi-generational wealth transfer estate and wealth preservation plans that utilize multiple techniques. These include comprehensive, custom plans that go beyond standard credit shelter or bypass trust and marital deduction trust planning that is the foundation for any estate plan. These plans also include, when appropriate, full utilization of an individual’s exemptions from the generation-skipping transfer tax with a view towards creating true “dynasty trusts” that extend for multiple generations, if not into perpetuity.

The Firm’s location in El Paso, Texas, and Las Cruces, New Mexico, along the U.S./Mexico border, has enabled this practice group to develop substantial experience in advising high net worth individuals with assets on both sides of the international border. These individuals often have special planning and tax issues because of the location and nature of their assets, and their status as non-U.S. citizens, non-U.S. residents, or both.

Lifetime transfers are also an important part of multi-generational planning. ScottHulse lawyers have prepared specialized trusts and business entities to receive lifetime transfers designed either to avoid or reduce transfer taxation or to maximize available exemptions from such taxation. Examples of lifetime specialized trusts and business entities include:

  • Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts, also called ILITs;
  • Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts, or GRATs, and Grantor Retained Unitrusts, or GRUTs;
  • Charitable Remainder Trusts and Charitable Lead Trusts, also called CRUTs and CLATs;
  • Children’s Trusts; and
  • Family Limited Partnerships (or FLPs) and Family Limited Liability Companies (or FLLCs)

When used in combination, these trusts and family business and investment entities can achieve a high degree of control and flexibility for the Firm’s clients, provide significant asset valuation discounts for transfer taxation savings and leverage, and preserve the privacy of accumulated wealth as it is passed efficiently with appropriate restrictions and incentives from generation to generation.

Incapacity and Disability Planning

Planning for incapacity and disability is another important aspect of ScottHulse’s Estate Planning, Probate & Asset Protection practice. The firm uses carefully designed provisions for Living Trusts to minimize the need for legal proceedings in the face of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Many times, an elderly person will not realize he or she needs help because of his or her deteriorating condition, and then resents a child’s offer of help. The Firm’s Living Trust provisions require the client to address this real concern at the time the planning documents are drafted and ease the transition to successor trustees when help is needed.

Third-Party Special Needs Trusts can be very important for mid net worth married clients and parents of minor or adult children who are disabled or otherwise eligible for government benefits like Medicaid. ScottHulse believes that virtually every trust should have the potential for becoming a Special Needs Trust, or Supplemental Needs Trust, as necessary to avoid disqualification from receiving such benefits. Wills and trusts prepared by ScottHulse lawyers contain special language that allows the special or supplemental needs trust provisions to be “turned on” only when needed. For mid net worth married clients, this “toggle feature” can protect the surviving spouse’s potential eligibility for government benefits and yet preserve up to one-half of the couple’s lifetime savings that would otherwise be lost to nursing home and medical care expenses.

Probate and Estate and Trust Administration

Probate and estate and trust administration are other significant aspects of ScottHulse’s Estate Planning, Probate & Asset Protection services. Our estate planning attorneys in this group advise individual and corporate fiduciaries regarding administration and taxation issues affecting trusts, estates and family owned businesses.

As part of the probate process, ScottHulse prepares United States Estate Tax Returns (Forms 706) and advises accountants for the Firm’s clients regarding such returns. The practice group also handles the IRS audit or examination of United States Estate Tax Returns and works in opposition to IRS regional Estate Tax Attorneys to resolve valuation and other complex issues raised by IRS upon examination of Forms 706. Most of the examinations handed by the Firm have resulted in only minor changes or no changes after completion of the examination process. ScottHulse attorneys also prepare Form 706-NA and Form 706-QDT for the estates of non-U.S. citizen, non-U.S. resident decedents with substantial assets in the U.S., and have obtained both partial interim and final IRS Transfer Certificates for purposes of freeing assets of such clients from the IRS estate tax lien. The firm has extensive experience dealing with legal counsel from Mexico, the United Kingdom and other foreign countries in handling such matters.

Glenn Davis, also a shareholder, is an estate planning attorney who offers a unique perspective and skill set to clients. He was previously a litigator in the firm’s employment and commercial litigation sections for 11 years, and is well qualified to represent clients in any litigation or threats of litigation that might arise.


Representative Matters
  • Designed multi-generational estate planning documents for a great-grandmother with a net worth of $7 million and her daughter, the grandmother, with a net worth of $40 million. The plan maximized both generations’ exemptions from the estate tax and the generation-skipping transfer tax to establish dynasty trusts for the family. The great grandmother’s plan also took into consideration that a portion of her estate would go to Mexican citizens and residents where there is no estate tax, thus preserving exemptions for the U.S. side of the family.
  • Designed estate plan for $100-million-plus net worth Mexican citizens and residents with U.S. property and children who are U.S. citizens. The plan establishes a dynasty trust exempt from estate taxes for the whole of the estate and a contingent provision applying traditional estate tax planning techniques in the event one or both clients decide to become a U.S. resident at some point in the future.
  • Established a rolling 2 year Grantor Retained Annuity Trust for $70 million net worth clients to transfer significant values of U.S. stock to children with no gift tax consequences.
  • Restated 17-year-old, irrevocable life insurance trust holding $7 million life insurance policy, preserving the generation-skipping transfer exemptions applied to the trust by utilizing regulations applicable to grandfathered GST trusts.
  • Established irrevocable trust to hold $1 million gift to ensure special needs treatment and prevent disqualification from government benefits for the beneficiary who is dependent on benefits for healthcare.
  • Regularly prepare living trusts and related documents for clients to maximize estate tax and generation skipping transfer tax exemptions and to provide creditor protection for children of clients. Living trusts also typically include special needs provisions for the surviving spouse and children that “turn on” only when needed. Clients for this type of planning typically range in net worth from $1.5 million to $10 million.
  • Regularly prepare living trusts designed to provide asset management in the event of incapacity and creditor protection for surviving spouses, especially in the context of long-term care issues. These trusts make extensive use of special needs provisions that “turn on” only when needed. Clients for this type of planning typically range in net worth from $250,000 and up.
Recent Presentations

David P. Hassler

2016, April (Upcoming). Asset Protection Planning. Lecture to be presented at the El Paso Estate Planning Council in El Paso, Texas.

2014, October. Business Succession Planning. Lecture presented at the Southern New Mexico Estate Planning Institute in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

2013, November. Drafting for Non-Citizens and Non-Residents. Lecture presented at the El Paso Estate Planning Council in El Paso, Texas.

2013, January. Drafting for Non-Citizens and Non-Residents. Lecture presented at the El Paso Probate Bar Association in El Paso, Texas.

2011, November. International Issues in Estate Planning. Lecture presented at the Southern New Mexico Estate Planning Institute in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

2011, June. Your Party Will Be Over – Who Will Turn Out The Lights or Keep Them Burning? Lecture presented at the State Bar of Texas Advanced Estate Planning & Probate Course in Fort Worth, Texas.

2011, March. Practical Trust Administration Issues. Lecture presented at the El Paso Estate Planning Council in El Paso, Texas.

R. Glenn Davis

2015, October 9. Powers of Appointment. Lecture and paper presented at 26th Annual Estate Planning & Probate Drafting Course of the State Bar of Texas in Houston, Texas.

2015, January 22. Basic Transfer Tax Planning Considerations. Lecture and paper presented at the UTEP Estate Planning Conference for Women in El Paso, Texas.

2015. Course Director for the 8th Annual New Mexico State University Estate Planning Conference for Women in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

2014, June. Administration of the Estate with Cross Border Issues. Lecture and paper presented at the 38th Annual Advanced Estate Planning & Probate Course of the State Bar of Texas in San Antonio, Texas.

2014. Course Director for the 7th Annual New Mexico State University Estate Planning Conference for Women in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

2013, October. The Nuts and Bolts of a New Mexico Will. Lecture and paper presented at the 21st Annual Estate Planning Institute of the Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

2013, March 5. International Estate Planning. Lecture and paper presented at Houston Attorneys in Tax and Probate Luncheon in Houston, Texas.

2013, January 24. Basic Transfer Tax Planning Considerations. Lecture and paper presented at the UTEP Estate Planning Conference for Women in El Paso, Texas.

2013. Course Director for the 6th Annual New Mexico State University Estate Planning Conference for Women in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

2012, December 19. Business Succession Planning. Lecture and paper presented at the El Paso Estate Planning Council Luncheon in El Paso, Texas.

2012, November 1. A Stroll Through the Uniform Probate Code. Lecture and paper presented at the 20th Annual Estate Planning Institute of the Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

2012, February. Course Director for the 5th Annual New Mexico State University Estate Planning Conference for Women in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

2011, November 3-4. Business Succession Planning. Lecture and paper presented at the 19th Annual Estate Planning Institute of the Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

2011, May 20. Estate and Trust Accounting Under the Uniform Probate and Trust Codes. Lecture presented at the 2011 Southwest Regional Conference of the American Society of Women Accountants in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

2011, April 27. Federal Estate Taxes. Lecture and paper presented at the 2011 Tax Considerations in Estate Planning Course of the State Bar of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

2011, January and February. Course Director for the 4th Annual New Mexico State University Estate Planning Conference for Women in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

2011, January 27. Legal and Practical Aspects of Estate Planning. Lecture at the 2011 University of Texas at El Paso Estate Planning Conference for Women in El Paso, Texas.


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“Death and incapacity touch everyone, in all walks of life. It’s important to plan for that, respect your mortality, and preserve your estate for the next generation. It’s an honor to help a family and to be able to relieve their fears during a life-changing event.”

Lauren Serrano
Attorney

Testimonial Lauren Serrano