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Katherine E. Cauley

Partner; Tax Practice Area Leader; Trusts & Estates Practice Leader; Private Wealth Planning Practice Leader
  • New York

Canisius College, B.A., cum laude

University at Buffalo School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude

Kathy concentrates her practice in all aspects of tax and estate planning and administration, wealth preservation and charitable giving, trust administration, Canada/U.S. cross-border tax and estate planning, and business succession planning.

Legacy Planning

Using her 20 years of experience working with high net worth individuals and complex assets, Kathy crafts client-specific plans designed to maximize tax efficiency without sacrificing legacy objectives like family harmony, philanthropy and stewardship of family assets across multiple generations. 

Kathy favors a collaborative approach, working with the family’s other advisors, accountants and wealth planners to develop a comprehensive estate roadmap. 

Multi-State and Cross-Border Planning

Kathy counsels clients with ties to multiple jurisdictions.  Whether her clients want to change their domicile or preserve the family cottage, or they have children and grandchildren across the river, Kathy helps them navigate the tax complexities and jurisdictional “peculiarities” that can be a trap for the unwary.

Trust Modification, Decanting and Directed Trust Planning

Kathy helps her clients adapt existing, inflexible plans by using statutes in trust-friendly jurisdictions that permit non-judicial trust modifications, mergers and “decanting”. 

Further, using a combination of sophisticated planning techniques, she enables clients to push significant value and future growth to the next generation while maintaining control over investments and closely-held assets.

Charitable Giving

Kathy provides clients with expert and sound advice regarding the legal and tax issues associated with charitable giving. She provides guidance as to the structure and distribution of the charitable gift so that it comports with the donor’s intent and maximizes the tax and gift aspects of the donation.

Business Succession Planning

Family businesses present unique legal needs. Legal expertise is needed to maintain stability and unity among family members so as to assure the ongoing vitality of the family as well as the continued viability of the business entity.

Kathy develops applicable succession strategies, manages execution of the plan and devises methods to address changes effectively. She reviews tax and estate planning strategies in order to minimize the income tax and estate tax consequences of the transfer.

Due to the depth of her expertise, Kathy is a frequent speaker on trusts and estates topics at our firm’s annual Florida Residency Series. Throughout her career, she has also given presentations and seminars at the request of other professional organizations.

Kathy exclusively practices U.S. law and is admitted to practice in New York.


  • Listed, Best Lawyers in America (Trusts and Estates) 2012 - 2024


Presentations & Events

Community & Pro Bono

  • Member, Governance Committee, Former Board of Directors,: SPCA Serving Erie County
  • Board of Directors: Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences