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College of the Holy Cross, B.A., Cum Laude

Boston College Law School, J.D., Cum Laude

Catherine blends her deep knowledge of estate tax and trust income tax to develop creative plans and solutions for her clients. She works with a broad range of clients, including business owners, high net worth families, and families with U.S.-Canadian cross-border complexities, to address their individual needs.  

Unique Estate Plan Issues

Catherine is fluent in the techniques used to minimize estate tax and maximize the legacy that clients can leave to their intended beneficiaries. But estate planning is more than just tax planning, and frequently the most challenging and complex plans are driven not by estate taxes, but by family dynamics. Catherine works with each client to customize their will, trusts, and estate plan to the client’s unique family circumstances. Catherine advises clients on how to navigate estate planning for second marriages and mixed families, how to maximize protecting a child’s inheritance from a potential divorce, and how to preserve assets in “dynasty trusts” for generations to come.

Family Business Succession Planning

In addition, having grown up in a family business that is now in its third generation, Catherine understands the rewards and challenges of family businesses, and the planning and foresight it takes to transition the business down to the next generation.

Charitable Giving Planning

For clients who wish to incorporate charitable intent into their estate plans, Catherine provides advice with respect to the numerous options available, including private foundations, donor advised funds, and charitable trusts. As a member of the Exempt Organizations Practice team, Catherine advises private foundations and public charities on best practices for effective governance and IRS compliance.      

State Income Tax Planning for Trusts

Catherine has developed deep expertise in the area of state level income tax planning for trusts. She counsels clients and their accountants on how to use trusts to minimize state level taxes, and how to employ multi-state plans. Catherine is frequently asked to present continuing professional education classes on this topic, and she has published numerous articles on fiduciary income tax planning.

Surrogate’s Court Controversies

From time to time, factors including family discord, a poorly prepared estate plan, or an inept or criminal Executor or Trustee, can prevent an estate plan from being administered in the manner it was intended. When this occurs, Catherine leverages her many years of experience in Surrogate’s Court controversies to represent her clients in trust and estate litigation. Catherine has been successful in petitioning the court to remove Trustees, fighting contested accounting proceedings, and in one of her proudest professional moments, recovering assets that a Trustee had embezzled from a trust so that the funds could be paid to the intended charitable beneficiaries.

Honors

  • Listed, Best Lawyers in America (Trusts and Estates) 2018, 2019
  • Listed, Upstate New York Super Lawyers Rising Stars, 2013 - 2017
  • Leadership Buffalo Class of 2016
  • Order of the Coif, Boston College
  • College of the Holy Cross Athletic Hall of Fame (Rowing)

Presentations

Publications

Social Media

Catherine contributes to Hodgson Russ's Noonan's Notes Blog. Her entries include:

May 15, 2019

Professional Associations

  • New York State Bar Association
  • Bar Association of Erie County
  • Ontario Bar Association

Community & Pro Bono

  • Nativity Miguel Middle School of Buffalo Board of Trustees