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Wills, Trusts and Estates Practice Area

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The firm advises clients with respect to all aspects of estate planning.

This includes consultation and preparation of basic estate planning documents, such as wills, trusts, medical powers of attorney and general powers of attorney. For larger estates, the firm provides assistance with federal estate tax planning, as well as planning and charitable giving techniques. The firm also assists clients with the estate administration process in counties throughout West Virginia.

In addition to estate planning, Robinson & McElwee attorneys have represented clients in will contests, will construction litigation and breach of fiduciary duty claims. We draft irrevocable life insurance trusts, charitable remainder trusts, and have developed techniques for the efficient transfer of ownership of closely held businesses from one generation to the next with the lowest possible tax impact.

For further information, contact David K. Higgins at 304-347-8312 or dkh@ramlaw.com

Participating Lawyers

Mr. Higgins limits his ADR practice to disputes involving will contests, trust interpretation and disputes among shareholders, partners or other owners of businesses. Because of his extensive experience in the area of state and federal taxation, Mr. Higgins is often able to suggest ways to settle disputes with due consideration to applicable tax considerations.
Mr. Higgins routinely assists clients with forming business entities including related planning with regard to the death, disability or retirement of owners in the future. He has experience with mergers and asset sales both from the standpoint of the seller and from the standpoint of the buyer. Mr. Higgins advises clients with regard to the proper operation of their business to ensure that the personal liability exposure of owners is kept to a minimum. He has experience in the area of trademark litigation, appraisal rights, and enforcement of restrictive covenants against competition and confidentiality agreements. Another area of his practice relates to asset protection and methods by which investments and property can be legally protected from creditors. Mr. Higgins also has considerable knowledge in the area of securities law compliance and has represented clients defrauded in their investments.
Mr. Higgins provides extensive document review assistance in connection with commercial and private lending and has been involved with economic development financing provided by various state agencies. He has experience in “work out” situations including refinancing, re-structuring and liquidation sales. Because of his banking law background, Mr. Higgins also assists clients with letters and lines of credit, stock and asset pledges of collateral and loan guaranty agreements. Mr. Higgins also has extensive experience in the performance of due diligence on behalf of business purchasers with corresponding contract protections. Because of his experience in the area of taxation, he also assists clients in “spin offs”, “split ups” and other types of reorganizations.
As a former member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, Mr. Higgins has “floor privileges” and a unique perspective on the committee system and its operations. In addition, he served for eight years as a member of Charleston City Council. In these areas, Mr. Higgins can often provide insight and recommendations on persons to contact and procedures to use.
Mr. Higgins has represented physicians in civil and criminal health care fraud and abuse investigations. He also has experience in structuring transactions to ensure compliance with certificate of need requirements before the West Virginia Health Care Authority. Mr. Higgins also assists health care providers with practice formation and related licensing requirements.
Mr. Higgins routinely prepares estate planning documents with related tax planning for clients. He also has experience with the creation and operation of private trusts and probate and estate administration. In the area of will contest litigation, he has successfully defended estate planning documents in litigation commenced by disinherited family members. Mr. Higgins also customarily handles federal estate tax returns and litigation involving the proper interpretation of wills and trusts.
Ms. Schmitt has more than 18 years of experience in real estate, including certifying and running land and mineral title searches, preparing title commitments and insurance policies as an agent of Chicago Title Insurance Company, conducting closings, performing foreclosures, and preparing legal documents in connection with both residential and complex commercial transactions. She is also involved in all aspects of property acquisition, financing, and development, and additional areas of expertise include corporate transactional work and estate/probate matters. She currently manages the firm’s Wheeling Office. Ms. Schmitt received a Bachelor of Arts degree (French, summa cum laude, with distinction) from Bethany College, a Masters in Business Administration degree from Wheeling Jesuit University, and a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from West Virginia University.
Ms. Schmitt has more than 18 years of experience in real estate, including certifying and running land and mineral title searches, preparing title commitments and insurance policies as an agent of Chicago Title Insurance Company, conducting closings, performing foreclosures, and preparing legal documents in connection with both residential and complex commercial transactions. She is also involved in all aspects of property acquisition, financing, and development, and additional areas of expertise include corporate transactional work and estate/probate matters. She currently manages the firm’s Wheeling Office. Ms. Schmitt received a Bachelor of Arts degree (French, summa cum laude, with distinction) from Bethany College, a Masters in Business Administration degree from Wheeling Jesuit University, and a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from West Virginia University.
Ms. Schmitt has more than 18 years of experience in real estate, including certifying and running land and mineral title searches, preparing title commitments and insurance policies as an agent of Chicago Title Insurance Company, conducting closings, performing foreclosures, and preparing legal documents in connection with both residential and complex commercial transactions. She is also involved in all aspects of property acquisition, financing, and development, and additional areas of expertise include corporate transactional work and estate/probate matters. She currently manages the firm’s Wheeling Office. Ms. Schmitt received a Bachelor of Arts degree (French, summa cum laude, with distinction) from Bethany College, a Masters in Business Administration degree from Wheeling Jesuit University, and a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from West Virginia University.
Mr. Michael Ogline focuses his practice in the areas of estate planning, probate, business planning, business formation and succession planning. His practice includes the use of sophisticated planning techniques, drafting of tax sensitive documents, and representation of clients before the IRS. He is certified as a specialist in Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Law by the Ohio State Bar Association.
Mr. Thomas Moushey’s practice emphasizes estate planning, probate, business law, and real estate. He is certified as a specialist in Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Law by the Ohio State Bar Association, and previously served as Magistrate of the Stark County Probate Court.