Sarah Marks is a private wealth services attorney in Holland & Knight's Dallas office. Ms. Marks focuses her practice on estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax planning for high-net-worth individuals. She has experience drafting wills, revocable trusts and various estate planning documents.
Wealth Planning for High-Net-Worth Individuals and Families. With an appreciation for family dynamics, Ms. Marks works with ultra-high-net-worth families in designing, creating and executing complex structures to accomplish their wealth preservation, wealth transfer and philanthropic goals.
Domestic Estate Planning. Ms. Marks counsels clients and their advisors on the implementation of sophisticated estate planning techniques designed to increase, maintain and transfer wealth in a manner that is consistent with client's intended legacy. As part of this process, Ms. Marks creates estate plans and drafts a wide range of estate and tax planning instruments, including wills, revocable trusts, insurance trusts, dynastic trusts, grantor retained annuity trusts, charitable trusts and related instruments.
Pre-Liquidity Event Planning. Prior to a sale of a business or a major liquidity event, there are several wealth transfer opportunities that should be considered. Such strategies focus on passing potential wealth to future generations in a tax-efficient manner. Ms. Marks is often called upon to assist owners of businesses that are embarking upon such transactions to guide them in this critical pre-transaction planning process.
Estate and Trust Administration. Ms. Marks advises individual and corporate fiduciaries in the administration of complex estates and trusts. With the goal of avoiding litigation, she helps fiduciaries establish policies and procedures for proper estate and trust administration. With respect to litigation from beneficiaries, creditors or co-fiduciaries, Ms. Marks represents fiduciaries in preparing for and responding to potential and actual claims.
Family Governance Agreements. Family governance agreements allow families to plan for disruptive events, including death, divorce and the effects of a pandemic. Ms. Marks assists families to build proactive family governance agreements that minimize internal and external risks and uncertainty. While uncertainty will always be a part of life, an innovative family governance agreement will provide structure to the ongoing decision-making process.
Family Office Planning. Pooling family assets offers several advantages, including succession planning, access to investments that would otherwise be unavailable to certain family entities and individuals, centralization of asset management decisions and the resulting reduction of overall investment fees and potential creditor protection. Ms. Marks creates new entities to accomplish these goals and works with clients' investment advisers to ensure that appropriate investment policies are developed that focus on the overall asset mix, as well as the different investment objectives applicable to a client's taxable and nontaxable estate. She works extensively with general counsels of family offices and in-house general counsels of family trust companies to address each family's complex needs.
Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements. Ms. Marks advises individuals on asset protection in connection with matrimonial matters, including community property issues, and frequently structures prenuptial and postnupital agreements.
- Harvard Law School, J.D.
- University of Florida, B.A., cum laude
- State Bar of Texas
- State Bar of Texas, Tax Section, Estate and Gift Tax Committee Vice Chair
- Ones to Watch, The Best Lawyers in America guide, Dallas Trusts and Estates, 2021, 2022