We are proud to announce that Justin LeBlanc has been named Portland, Maine 2019 Trusts and Estates Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers. Each year Best Lawyers selects one Lawyer of the Year in each specialty area. Since its inception in 2010, a LeBlanc & Young lawyer has received this honor six times!

Chambers and Partners has once again ranked LeBlanc & Young as a “Band 1, Leading Firm” in its High Net Worth Guide in its latest issue, with Elizabeth High receiving a Band 1 leading individual recognition, and Jay Young a Band 2 recognition.

We are delighted to welcome Kristin Barry to our team of lawyers. Kristin is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Georgetown Law School, and practiced previously in Washington D.C. She has been with us for several years as a Trusts and Estates Administrator and has decided to continue her legal career with the firm. We are lucky to have her stay with us and continue to help clients with their estates and trusts as well as advise clients about their estate planning needs.

Jay Young has become “senior counsel” to the firm effective this January after a legal career of more than 40 years. He will maintain a steady presence and set of hours in the office but is scaling back his practice. Many clients have worked with other lawyers in the office with Jay as he has remained engaged. Please do not hesitate to call with any questions you might have.

Finally, we are busy reviewing plans to accommodate the increase in the federal estate and gift tax exemption. As you may be aware, the federal exemption increased to $11.4 million effective January 2019. Maine’s estate tax exemption, however, is no longer coupled with the federal exemption, and is currently approximately $5.7 million. Both the federal and state exemptions are indexed annually for inflation. Many estate plans should be reviewed and potentially revised to reflect technical changes, as well as changes in the required level of tax planning. Clients will want to consider the amount that they wish to leave in trust, as for many clients, the tax incentives to create more complex trust plans have been reduced or eliminated. Finally, clients of substantial wealth who can consider giving away their federal exemption amounts during their lifetime (that is an amount approaching $11.4 million) will want to discuss this with us as the high level of exemptions are unprecedented and it is unclear that they will remain at these high levels indefinitely. We fear that you may need to use it, lest we lose it! The estate tax changes are more thoroughly discussed in our newsletter, which can be found here or under “Client Resources.”