T.W. Lewis & Co., LLC is a New York law firm that offers legal advice and representation in the following areas:

355 LEXINGTON AVE., 20th Fl.
NEW YORK, NY 10017
(b/w 40th and 41st streets)

TEL: (212) 785 7600
Fax (212) 967 7633


Trusts and Estates

We have significant experience with estate planning and the administration of estates and trusts over the years.  Many of these have presented unusual issues, including same-sex couples, valuation of closely-held stock, and liquidity issues for estates made up mostly of real estate or personal property.  We also enable our clients to obtain government benefits while preserving their assets to the maximum extent possible.

Estate Planning
We have vast experience in sophisticated estate planning and wealth management.  We draft highly individualized wills and trusts in light of each client’s personal and family needs.  We formulate complex estate plans accounting for a wide range of income, estate, generation-skipping and gift tax issues that arise from the ownership and transfer of property by gift, trust, inheritance or charitable contribution.  We adopt a holistic approach to consider the client’s income tax position, current and retirement income needs, federal and state estate and gift taxes, family relationships and needs, and charitable goals.  When appropriate, we petition for a guardian to be appointed for a minor child or incapacitated person and handle the administrative tasks related to the duties of the guardian.

We prepare estate, gift and income tax returns with an eye towards maximum tax savings concurrently with minimized risk of disputes with the IRS, NY state and any other states or localities that may be implicated in a multi-jurisdictional estate.  Estate planning does not end at death.  Using our expertise along with that software, we provide post-mortem tax advice concerning disclaimers and distribution of retirement plan and other sources of tax-deferred income.

Estate planning often involves closely-held and family businesses or works of art, which present unique issues of valuation and succession planning for a business and its shareholders.  Those values are often contested by taxing authorities, and we work with qualified appraisers to support our clients’ claim as to the value of an asset.

We also represent clients in “kinship” proceedings in the New York Surrogates’ courts, which are required when a client wishes to establish their status as the closest living relative of a decedent and thus entitled to all or part of the decedent’s estate.  Some of our cases to date have involved genealogy research in Egypt, Poland and Israel.

Charitable planning may involve the use of charitable pledges, contributions, trusts, donor advised funds and private foundations.  Numerous issues arise concerning the deductibility of charitable contributions, such as the type of property contributed; the degree of control that a donor may exercise in connection with a contribution; and the private foundation operating rules and excise tax regime.  We work with in-house lawyers at charities when necessary to form a cooperative plan to achieve the goals of both the client and the charity.

Sample Matters

  • Prepared and implemented comprehensive estate plan for foreign entrepreneurs residing in the US including life insurance selection and trust structures
  • Assisted Canadian resident to plan for disposition of US assets and addressing Canadian “departure tax”
  • Revamped estate plan for professional couple including adjustment to inheritance for advances paid for one child’s education

Estate and Trust Administration

We represent executors, administrators and trustees in connection with the probate and administration of estates.  We prepare probate documents, accountings and various other Surrogate’s court filings.  We also advise and represent fiduciaries and beneficiaries in connection with disputes that may arise with respect to the administration of an estate or trust.  We also perform estate administration functions in Massachusetts and other jurisdictions with the assistance of local counsel.

We also prepare individual, partnership, trust, estate, gift, corporate and exempt organization tax returns and handle any controversies that may arise with respect to such taxes.

Sample Matters

  • Acted as administrator and attorney for estate of Yemenese individual that included a $1,200,000 wrongful death claim and several parcels of real estate
  • Obtained appointment of guardians for minor children in Yemenese family
  • Settled claim asserted by ex-spouse of decedent for improperly structured pension division documents and incorrect beneficiary designations
  • Prepared estate tax returns and supervised probate of a decedent’s estate in New York, Florida, North Carolina and Jamaica involving multiple parcels of real property and contentious beneficiaries
  • Prepared and filed claim of contractor against estate of individual homeowner who died during construction
  • Successfuly resolved a claim asserted by the ex-spouse of a decedent to a portion of pension and death benefits based on an improperly drafted divorce settlement from 1985
  • Negotiated and obtained court approval for deed in lieu of foreclosure for two properties of an estate, allowing the beneficiaries to retain the net proceeds from a third property
  • Settled Medicaid lien imposed against the estate of the mother of three beneficiaries, on the basis that the City took over two years to present the details of its claim, depriving the administrator of the ability to timely review and contest the validity and amount of the claim

Medicaid, Disability Planning and Guardianships

With the skyrocketing cost of medical and nursing care, it has become all the more important to be proactive in planning for government benefit eligibility.  New York has a generous Medicaid program and numerous quality care providers that accept Medicaid for their services.  We help clients to plan for appropriate asset transfers, trusts, annuities and other techniques to preserve as much of their wealth and income as possible within the confines of the complex Medicaid eligibility rules.  Often our elderly clients have accumulated significant home equity, and we do our best to protect at least part if not all of its value from claims for reimbursement from governmental agencies.  Once the time comes, we assist our clients and their families to compile the voluminous documentation required to apply for Medicaid benefits and ensure that the Medicaid application will be approved quickly without any requests for supplemental data or documentation from the screening agencies.  Similar planning can be used to supplement the basic services provided to a disabled individual under various government programs.

Often a loved one will become incapacitated and require someone to manage his or her property and/or person.  We prepare guardianship applications, annual accountings, terminations and similar matters.  Timothy Lewis, Lissett Ferreira and Iven Taub are all certified Article 81 guardians in New York State, and also sit on the panel of Guardians Ad Litem in the New York City Surrogate’s Courts.