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Avi Z. Kestenbaum

Partner, Meltzer Lippe

Avi co-chairs our Trust & Estates Practice Group, nationally ranked Tier 1 by U.S. News and World Report, and chairs our Tax Exempt Organizations Practice Group. He is also a partner in the firm’s Business & Real Estate Taxation, Trust & Estate Litigation and Private Wealth & Taxation groups. Avi provides creative and sophisticated domestic and international tax, estate planning, and asset preservation counsel to CEOs of major corporations, ultra high net worth individuals, multinational businesses, and large charitable organizations. He has also successfully represented many clients, including individuals, trusts and estates, businesses and charitable organizations with IRS and state tax audits. His practice places special emphasis on domestic and international tax and trust planning, “big picture” philosophy, family business succession planning and effectively dealing with estate disputes. His diverse client base is located in New York City, Long Island and in many other states and countries. Over the years, Avi’s practice has continued to rapidly expand into several additional complex and sophisticated areas including, but not limited to: international tax and wealth preservation planning; family business succession planning; tax and estate controversies; corporate and partnership business structuring; and income tax planning for closely held businesses and real estate clients, all of which require an individually tailored philosophy and customized documentations. Avi serves as legal advisor to many prominent charitable organizations and has developed a niche practice in the complicated area of charitable planning and the structuring and operations of nonprofit organizations under federal and state laws dealing with complex issues including, lobbying, advocacy, unrelated business income tax, joint ventures, avoiding excise taxes and foreign and philanthropic charities. Avi is also co-founder of STEP Long Island and has a substantial international tax and estate planning practice. Over the last few years Avi has been pursuing a national platform advocating all estate planning attorneys to better understand their client’s unique situations to create individually tailored plans to mitigate the potential for and effects of estate litigations, in addition to avoiding costly income and estate taxes.

Avi has also published dozens of articles in leading national tax, estate planning and tax-exempt organization publications, including, among others, Estate Planning Journal, Trusts and Estates, Leimberg’s Newsletter, Practical Tax Strategies, Journal of Taxation of Exempts, and The New York Law Journal, Special Trusts and Estates Sections (see firm website for some of these articles). He is a prominent national lecturer for and to prestigious professional organizations including, but not limited to, “The NYU Tax Institute,” the “Notre Dame Tax and Estate Planning Institute,” the “New York State Bar Association,” “Ed Slott’s Master Elite Program,” the “American Bar Association,” “Trust and Estates Magazine,” the “American Bankers Association,” the “Estate Planning Council of New York” and “The New York State CPA Society, Annual Estate Planning Conference,” “STEP,” and several national insurance companies and nonprofit institutions. He is often quoted in Forbes, Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, USA Today, New York Post, Investor’s Business Daily, and other major publications. Avi is also a member of Trusts & Estates Magazine editorial and advisory board, where he is Chair of The Modern Practice Committee. He is also an Adjunct Tax Professor at Hofstra University School of Law(and formerly with the Baruch MBA Program). He is an ACTEC Fellow and is recognized in Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers in America. Prior to joining Meltzer Lippe, Avi obtained complex tax and estate planning experience with prestigious law firms in New York City, New Jersey and Florida and as a Trust Administrator for Smith Barney/Citigroup Private Trust Company. Avi received his Bachelors of Science from Touro College, summa cum laude, Juris Doctor from Brooklyn Law School and Masters of Law in Taxation from the University of Miami School of Law. Avi received academic scholarships for his high achievement at each of these institutions and is admitted to practice in New York and New Jersey. Avi enjoys spending time with his wife Laurie and their six lively children.


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