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Jeffrey W. Roberts, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP Photo

Jeffrey W. Roberts

Chair, Private Client Department; Executive Committee / Boston

Overview

Jeffrey W. Roberts chairs Nutter’s Private Client Department and serves as a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. His broad-based practice consists of estate planning for high net worth individuals; acting as counsel to executors, trustees and conservators; advising on tax planning and charitable giving; and negotiating prenuptial agreements.

Clients rely on Jeff’s experience to leverage transfers to future generations, including qualified personal residence trusts (QPRTs), grantor retained annuity trusts (GRATs), charitable lead trusts (CLUTs and CLATs), family LLCs and sales to defective grantor trusts (IDGTs).

Clients regularly engage Jeff to represent them in a wide variety of matters in the Massachusetts Probate & Family Court including reformation of trusts, complaints for instruction, declaratory judgments and will contests.

Numerous private trusts designate Jeff as a trustee and depend on his counsel in the management of investments.

Notable Experience and Client Impact

  • Represented three-quarters of the beneficiaries of a $700 million estate on questions surrounding tax apportionment, allocation of expenses, and funding of trusts.
  • Represented professional fiduciaries in connection with the creation of a $50 million family LLC for investment purposes.
  • Advised multiple generations in connection with planning opportunities surrounding the sale of a $300 million family business.
  • Represented fiduciaries of an estate involving a pre-Jewett disclaimer of a remainder interest in a trust and negotiations with the Office of Appeals for the IRS concerning resolution.
  • Completed a closing agreement with the IRS to resolve audit issues for an estate embroiled in fiduciary litigation.
  • Advised an executive of a publicly traded company in connection with estate planning opportunities with corporate stock subject to SEC reporting obligations, including lifetime QTIP trust for his spouse, charitable remainder trusts, a dynasty trust, and a charitable foundation.
  • Administered an estate involving valuation issues for a family farm and substantial art collection.
  • Currently serving as trustee of trusts totaling more than $250 million in assets and as an officer of a personal holding company with $90 million in assets.

Recent Publications and Events

  • Duties and Responsibilities of Trustees, November 2018, Annual Estate Planning Conference, Massachusetts Bar Association. Jeff discussed trustee compensation, trust funding, GST allocation, and fiduciary income tax basics.
  • Options for Closing Estates, October 2018, MUPC & MUTC Update 2018, Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education. Jeff presented on mechanics for allowance of accounts and closing of estates under the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code.
  • Winding Down and Terminating Estates and Trusts – The Ethical and the Practical, November 2017, Annual Estate Planning Conference, Massachusetts Bar Association. Jeff presented on issues legal and fiduciary issues associated with terminating estates and trusts.
  • Considerations in Estate Planning – The Ethics of the Usual and the Questionable, July 2017, American Law Institute Conference on Representing Estate and Trust Beneficiaries and Fiduciaries. Jeff presented on the ethical issues that estate planners face when representing multiple members of the same family, serving as a fiduciary, and referring work within a small network of allied professionals.
  • The Intersection of Estate Administration and Trust Administration, November 2016, Annual Estate Planning Conference, Massachusetts Bar Association. Jeff discussed funding of marital trusts, the right of recovery over marital and QTIP trusts and how they are each calculated, allocation of GST exemption and funding of GST Trusts, and conflicts of interest.
  • Estate Planning for Closely Held Business Owners, October 2016, Boston Bar Association. Jeff provided an overview of key issues and planning points that attorneys should keep in mind when engaging in estate planning for a business owner. The program included an overview of different tax structures (C corporations, S corporations and LLCs), other structural issues (women-owned businesses and business succession planning), and drafting considerations. It also included a discussion of planning options, including the use of discounted valuations, freezing techniques and liquidity issues.
  • Non-Judicial Settlement Agreements, May 2016. At an event sponsored by the Boston Bar Association, Jeff explained the mechanics of non-judicial settlement agreements and how they can be used to solve a wide variety of trust administration issues without the involvement of the Massachusetts Probate & Family Court.
  • Massachusetts Bar Association Annual Probate Conference, October 2015. As part of a panel on a range of trust administration issues, Jeff outlined different ways of charging for trustee compensation and the disclosure requirements under Massachusetts law for estate planning attorneys who might serve as a fiduciary for their clients.
  • Estate Planning Considerations for Parents of Special Needs Children, September 2015. At an event sponsored by the Brockton Area ARC, Jeff discussed with parents of special needs children different ways they might want to structure their estate plan in order to maximize the services and benefits available to their children.
  • Fiduciary Accounts, MCLE New England, September 5, 2012 (updated 2014 and 2017). This chapter in the Massachusetts Probate Manual explains how to prepare accounts. Covered topics include the filing of accounts, their presentation for allowance, the procedure for allowance, contests and the procedures for reopening of allowed accounts.
  • Trustee Compensation: What Is Reasonable?, October 2014. Jeff was part of a panel presentation before the Trust Administration Practice Group of the Massachusetts Bar Association discussing different ways of structuring and charging for trustee compensation.
  • Year-End Estate and Income Tax Planning, October 2014. Jeff presented year-end income tax and estate tax planning considerations for individuals to the Boston Philanthropic Advisors Roundtable. BPART is a study group comprised of a variety of professionals and philanthropists from both the for-profit and non-profit sectors in Boston.
  • Estate Planning Considerations for Parents of Special Needs Children, April 2014. As part of an all-day "Transition Conference" sponsored by South Shore Support Services for parents of special needs children about to turn 18, Jeff discussed with parents different ways they might want to structure their estate plan in order to maximize the services and benefits available to their children.

A leader in the legal industry, Jeff is involved in numerous professional organizations, including:

  • Boston Estate Planning Council, member
  • Essex County Estate Planning Council, member
  • Boston Probate Forum, member
  • Board of directors and Governance Committee member, Beverly Bootstraps. This organization provides access to food, housing stability, adult and youth education, counseling, and advocacy for residents of Beverly and Manchester-By-The-Sea, MA

Experience

Experience

  • Epoxy Technology Inc.

    Nutter advised Epoxy Technology, Inc., a leading manufacturer of high-performance specialty epoxy, UV, and hybrid adhesives, in its acquisition by Arsenal Capital Partners, a leading private equity firm that invests in middle-market specialty industrials and health care business services companies.

News & Insights

Honors

Honors

  • Massachusetts Super Lawyer Rising Stars, 2010-2012
  • The Best Lawyers in America, 2020

Education & Admissions

Education

Boston College Law School, J.D., cum laude
Boston College, B.A., magna cum laude

Admissions

  • Massachusetts

Industries

Notable Experience

Clients regularly engage Jeff to represent them in a wide variety of matters in the Massachusetts Probate & Family Court including reformation of trusts, complaints for instruction, declaratory judgments and will contests.

Noteworthy

  • Massachusetts Super Lawyer Rising Stars, 2010-2012
  • The Best Lawyers in America, 2020
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