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Estates, Trusts & Personal Planning

Our attorneys are highly regarded as being among the leading estate planning counselors in the region because of their experience, judgment and sensitivity in advising clients on important personal planning issues. They focus on careful planning and drafting to meet the individualized needs of our clients, helping to assure their property will be distributed to family members and friends upon their death the way they desire, planning for future nursing home and long-term care needs, and minimizing the loss of assets to estate taxes or for long-term care.

They also advise both institutional and personal fiduciaries on various estate and trust administrative issues such as document analysis, unitrust and power to adjust, and settlements. They have extensive experience in both revocable and irrevocable trusts, as well as family limited partnerships, and will provide clear-cut explanations on whether these documents are recommended and, if so, what they mean and will do for you.

Our attorneys admitted to practice in Florida also assist clients who make Florida their residence with personal financial planning relative to their change, including Florida-specific estate planning documents and representation in domicile audits.

Our attorneys also qualify not-for-profit charitable trusts with the appropriate taxing authorities, serve as trustees for a large community foundation, and work with business executives and owners to meet their business successorship and individual estate planning needs. In addition, financial institutions work closely with us in the drafting and administration of trusts. And, when necessary, our attorneys successfully litigate matters relating to probate and personal planning. Specific services include:

Estate Planning and Administration

  • Wills and trust planning and drafting
  • Estate and trust administration
  • Estate tax planning
  • Counseling executors from probate to final distribution
  • Development of health care proxies, living wills and powers of attorney
  • Guardianships
  • Litigation of estate and trust contests and guardianship matters
  • Business succession planning
  • Not-for-profit qualification
  • Preparation of state and federal tax returns

Long-Term Care

  • Medicare and Medicaid planning
  • Consulting on long-term care insurance coverage
  • Private medical insurance
  • Long-term care policies
  • Assistance regarding cost/availability of long-term care in Central New York

Family Legal Issues

  • Adoptions
  • Name changes
  • Prenuptial agreements


Anne B. Ruffer

Managing Partner

Ami S. Longstreet

Partner and Co General Counsel


Governor Cuomo’s April 7th COVID-19 Executive Order Makes Remote Will Executions a (Virtual) Reality

“Update:  Although offices can now be open and restrictions regarding in-person gatherings are starting to ease, the Governor has issued another executive order that extends the ability to do remote witnessing until August 5, 2020.” COVID-19 has brought estate planning to the forefront of the minds of many individuals, particularly at-risk populations such as senior…

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Ryan T. Emery and Samantha L. Millier Named Partners at Mackenzie Hughes LLP

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Ryan T. Emery and Samantha L. Millier have been elected to the partnership at Mackenzie Hughes LLP. Emery joined Mackenzie Hughes in 2006 and focuses his practice in the areas of litigation, estate planning and estate administration. Admitted to both the New York and Florida Bar, he serves clients residing in both…

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Attorneys from Mackenzie Hughes LLP named by Super Lawyers

SYRACUSE, NY – Mackenzie Hughes LLP is pleased to announce the partners that have been named as Super Lawyers in the 2008 edition of New York Super Lawyers Upstate magazine. The list includes: Stephen T. Helmer, Business Litigation; Carter H. Strickland, Business Litigation; Edward J. Moses, Business/Corporate; Ami S. Longstreet, Elder Law; Elizabeth A. Hartnett,…

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And Just Like That: No Estate Tax Changes for 2021 (But 2022?)

The much discussed proposed changes to federal gift and estate taxes has not materialized for 2021. Instead as the law now exists there are more planning opportunities available for 2000.  For 2022 the annual gift tax exclusion amount (the amount you can gift to a person without having to utilize the unified credit) will rise…

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Estate Tax Legislation – Where are we now?

In June I wrote that close attention and possibly quick action may be required for estate planning this year.  My message is still the same as we continue to watch the legislative negotiations in Washington develop. On September 13 the House Ways & Means Committee released proposals for over $2 trillion dollars in net tax…

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Unique Estate Planning Opportunities in 2020

The federal gift and estate tax exemptions (the amount an individual can give away during lifetime and at death before which there is a federal estate or gift tax) have varied wildly over the last few years.  Below is a chart demonstrating the drastic changes in the federal gift and estate tax over the years.…

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