Jennifer L. Zegel
Jennifer L. Zegel is a partner at Kleinbard and is the Practice Leader of the Firm’s Trusts and Estates Group. She focuses her practice on the representation of clients in the areas of trusts and estates, business law, and real estate. She handles a wide range of trusts and estates matters including the drafting of wills, trusts, special needs trusts, powers of attorney, and health care powers of attorney documents at all levels of complexity. In addition, Jennifer assists clients in estate, trust, and guardianship administration, and business succession planning. She regularly advises fiduciaries with respect to their duties and obligations in connection with the administration of estates and trusts, and serves as outside counsel to several corporate fiduciaries.
A significant portion of Jennifer’s trusts and estates practice is devoted to asset distribution while minimizing potential tax liability on asset transfers, as well as formulating creative plans for unique family situations and dynamics. Jennifer advises clients on all aspects of estate and tax planning, including estate tax, generation-skipping transfer tax, gift tax, state death taxes, and fiduciary income taxes. Jennifer is also a trained mediator and has worked with multiple families in contentious estates to reach an amicable resolution on the distribution of assets without the need for judicial intervention.
Her experience also includes entity formation, drafting and negotiating commercial contracts, shareholder, partnership and operating agreements, and analyzing business structures for legal, liability, and tax issues while providing cost-saving business solutions to clients. In addition, she handles real estate matters for both residential and commercial clients and has vast experience remedying tangled title disputes.
Jennifer also has a special focus in estate planning and the estate administration of digital assets, which is becoming a fast growing and increasingly complex area. She is at the forefront of this emerging section of property transfers, which also overlaps and intersects with technology, privacy, and accessibility considerations. Jennifer regularly advises clients on how to incorporate digital asset planning into an estate plan or business succession plan.
Jennifer is a sought-after speaker, thought leader, and media source on the topics of estate planning, with a special focus on digital assets, cryptocurrency, and blockchain technology. She has been featured in a number of publications, including Forbes and Bloomberg Tax. She is also the co-author of “Digital Asset Entanglement: Unraveling the Intersection of Estate Laws & Technology,” a book published in 2022 by LexisNexis that explores the ways technology has disrupted the traditionally paper-based estate industry and provides a practical framework for global advisors and clients alike to incorporate digital assets into the estate planning conversation. In addition, by working with two other Philadelphia attorneys, Jennifer co-created and co-hosts the Digital Planning Podcast, which is dedicated to exploring all things digital in connection with estate planning, business planning, and estate administration. In addition, she is a Fellow of The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), an international organization of approximately 2,400 lawyers peer-elected to membership by demonstrating the highest level of integrity, commitment to the profession, competence, and expertise in the preparation of wills and trusts, estate planning, probate, trust administration and related practice areas.
- Serves as outside counsel to several corporate fiduciaries in various and complex trusts and estates matters.
- Represents families with complex structures and dynamics and helps find creative solutions to ensure a balanced plan is in place to carry out long-term goals and intentions.
- Represents several real estate developers and has helped form series of entities to hold various real estate interests to minimize liability issues and to enable the transfer of interests to loved ones through gifting strategies overtime.
- Represents a very large estate in which the decedent held over twelve entity interests (some very active), and was tasked with overseeing operations and navigating the transition of management and ownership for these entities during the estate administration, as well as handling complex tax and partnership issues.
- Represented the founder and principal of company in a sale of the closely held corporation for $40M. Also, personally represented the principal of the company in connection with estate planning, and through complex planning was able to shield over $15M of assets from estate and inheritance tax inclusion at the principal’s death.
- Represented a co-Trustee of a Dynasty Trust with a value of $60M when issues developed with the other co-Trustee, and successfully negotiated a global settlement between the parties that avoided protracted litigation of the matter, implemented mechanisms to avoid future administration issues, and ensured that the competing interests of the lifetime beneficiary and the remainder beneficiaries of the trust were balanced.
Fellow, The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC)
Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioners (STEP)
- TEP Designation
- Co-Deputy and Committee Member, STEP’s Digital Assets Global SIG International Steering Committee
Pennsylvania Bar Association
- Council Member, Real Property, Probate, and Trust Law Section
- Committee Member, E-Wills Task Force
Philadelphia Bar Association
- Chair, Legislative Committee, Probate & Trust Section
- Technology Committee, Probate & Trust Section
Diversity in Blockchain (DiB)
- Secretary of the Board, National
- Director, Philadelphia Chapter
Member, Philadelphia Estate Planning Council
Recognition & Accomplishments
- Bar Star, Probate and Trust Law Section of the Philadelphia Bar Association (2020)
- Rising Star, Pennsylvania Super Lawyers (2014-2021)
- Lawyers on the Fast Track, The Legal Intelligencer (2015)
- Participant, Good Shepard Mediation Training Course (2018)
- Eliza Shirley Pro Bono Award (2018)
- Volunteer, Philadelphia VIP
- Volunteer, Homeless Advocacy Project
- Volunteer, Philly Reads
- Advisory Committee, The Philadelphia Academy Charter School