David E. Stutzman, a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), is Counsel to Seward & Kissel LLP and a member of the firm’s Trusts and Estates and Charitable Organizations Group. For over 30 years, David has specialized in complex estate, trust and charitable planning and administration for high-net-worth individuals and families.
His clients are varied, ranging from hedge fund and private equity fund managers, executives and professionals, and family business and real estate owners, to inheritors, art collectors, artists, musicians and sports figures. He guides his clients through the estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax laws that impact them, their families and their estate and wealth transfer planning goals using sophisticated estate planning techniques, such as grantor retained annuity trusts (GRATs), transfers and installment sales to multigenerational (or GST exempt) trusts, limited liability companies and partnerships. David provides customized advice in setting up wills, revocable trusts, insurance and other irrevocable trusts, and related estate planning documentation, and counsels his philanthropic clients in creating and administering charitable split-interest trusts, and private grant-making and operating foundations.
David advises foreign and domestic clients on the interplay of U.S. and foreign transfer taxes for individuals and families with interests in multiple jurisdictions, including Canada and Europe. He has spoken and written on the impact of changes in the laws affecting same-sex couples, and advises his LGBT clients on estate planning issues of concern to them. In addition, David counsels his clients on premarital and postmarital planning.
An important part of his practice is his representation of executors and trustees in the administration of significant estates and trusts with complicated asset structures. He has extensive experience representing his clients in IRS and state estate and gift tax audits and in New York Surrogate’s Court and Connecticut Probate Court proceedings.
David is the co-author of the Tax Management Portfolio, Planning for Authors, Musicians, Artists, and Collectors, No. 815-3rd (Estate Planning Series), an interdisciplinary guide to representing creators and collectors, published in late 2018 by Bloomberg BNA. In January 2019 David received Bloomberg Tax’s 2018 Outstanding Portfolio Author of the Year Award for outstanding authorship in estates, gifts and trusts, in recognition of his co-authorship of the Portfolio.
Since 2018, David also has written for and overseen the Firm’s contribution as the author of the annual United States Chapter to Legal 500: Private Client Guide, a global guide addressing taxes, succession laws, wills, trusts and their structures.
David currently is the Chair of the Estate and Gift Taxation Committee of the New York City Bar Association. Over the years as a member of that Committee, David has spoken at and contributed to the Committee’s continuing legal education programs and reports on legislative developments and activities.
In addition to being a Fellow of ACTEC, the nation’s preeminent nonprofit association of peer-elected trust and estate attorneys (whose Fellows are elected based upon their outstanding reputation, exceptional skill, and substantial contributions to the field by lecturing, writing, teaching and participating in bar activities), David is also a full member (TEP) of STEP (formerly Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners), a U.K.-founded international network of experts in family inheritance and succession planning. As a member of the New York State Bar Association (Trusts & Estates Law Section), David has spoken and written on various topics in his practice area. Most recently, David has spoken at a continuing legal education program at the New York City Bar Association on “Estate Planning Misfires of the Rich and Famous 2021,” hosted by the Association’s Estate and Gift Taxation Committee. He is also a member of the Estate Planning Council of New York City and the American Bar Association (Real Property, Probate & Trusts Law Section).
David has earned Martindale-Hubbell’s highest rating, AV Preeminent, recognizing the highest level of professional excellence. He is recognized regularly in the areas of Estate Planning and Probate in New York Super Lawyers, and has been listed as a top trusts and estates lawyer by Avenue Magazine.
David serves on the Board of Directors of The Historic House Trust of New York City, a public-private partnership between the New York City Parks Department and the nonprofit boards of 23 historic houses and sites located within the City of New York, and is a member of the Professional Advisory Council of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and has provided planned giving guidance to both organizations. From 2001 until 2007 he served on the Board of Trustees of The HealthCare Chaplaincy, a nonprofit organization that provides spiritual and pastoral services in hospitals and other health care settings.
David is an active member of the Firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. He is admitted to practice in New York State, Connecticut, the District of Columbia and the United States Tax Court.