Katz, Smith & Chwat, PC is a firm forged out of years of experience and commitment to high standards of client service and professional excellence. The firm’s partners joined together to bring their experience to a firm that can provide a comprehensive package of services to clients to protect their legacy and plan for their future, the future of their families and their businesses.
We represent individuals and small, closely-held and family-owned businesses who are seeking sound legal advice from attorneys who can guide them through sensitive legal issues relating to tax, business transactions, estate and succession planning, elder law (including special needs planning, Medicaid, and guardianships), or probate and trust administration.
We pride ourselves on providing practical, hands-on, personalized advice to our clients and educating them about their legal needs to help them to reach their business and personal goals.
If you are:
- An individual or business taxpayer who is under audit by the IRS or NYS/NYC Tax Department, or owes taxes for previous years
- An individual or business looking for tax advice on a particular transaction
- Someone interested in developing an estate plan to preserve your legacy and protect your family’s future
- A child struggling with an elderly parent’s financial, legal or long-term care issues
- A parent anxious about the future care of your special needs child
- A business owner concerned about a smooth transition to the next generation of owners
- A family member of a deceased loved one seeking to understand what is needed to administer an estate
- An executor of an estate or a trustee of a trust overwhelmed with your fiduciary responsibilities
- An individual or group wishing to form a new business, seeking to acquire, merge or sell a business, or needing business agreements or business tax planning
We can help.
Neil D. Katz, Kim M. Smith and Lara R. Chwat started Katz, Smith & Chwat in 2017, joining forces to provide a suite of services for businesses and individuals to help them bridge the gap between the generations.
Neil began his legal career in 1991 when he joined his father, Robert Katz, and his partner, Ed Bernstein, at Katz & Bernstein, a firm known for its services in tax, estate and succession planning. Neil practiced in the areas of tax, estate planning and strategic business planning and transactions and broadened the firm’s corporate legal services. He later became the managing partner in the firm, which then became known as Katz, Bernstein & Katz, and continued to foster the firm’s analytical approach to problem solving.
Lara R. Chwat joined Katz, Bernstein & Katz in 2000, and helped to grow the firm’s practices even more. She provided technical expertise in all areas of Federal, New York State and New York City taxation, and her knowledge of complex business transactions allowed for further development of the firm’s small business transaction practice. Lara also handled many of the firm’s probate and administration matters with compassion and understanding of the needs of people facing a difficult time in their lives.
Kim M. Smith established her own elder law and estate planning practice in 2010, after leaving Burner, Smith & Associates, where she was a partner. Kim’s practice focused on elder law, trust and estate administration, and estate planning, including special needs planning and guardianships. Her background in the healthcare profession helped her to create plans to enable clients to preserve and distribute their assets during their life and at their death, assist in the care of loved ones unable to care for themselves, and guide clients through the complex array of requirements surrounding Medicaid and special needs planning and eligibility.
Kim’s practice was rapidly growing, while at the same time, Bob, Neil and Lara decided it was time to expand the services they offered to their clients, and the four began plans for a new firm. Unfortunately, Bob did not have the opportunity to see their plan come to fruition, passing in 2016 before the formation of the new firm could be completed.
When combined with Neil and Lara’s history of serving clients with their tax, business, estate planning and administration needs, Kim’s proven experience in elder law, special needs planning, guardianships and Medicaid, as well as estate planning and administration, completes the practice.
Together, through our new firm, we can provide clients with practical, down-to-earth advice and tools, as well as an array of services to meet our client’s tax, business and planning needs for themselves and their loved ones.
At Katz, Smith & Chwat, PC, our mission is to provide our clients with the highest standards of professional legal ethics and technical excellence, maximizing value and minimizing risks for clients in all of their tax, elder law, estate and succession planning, and business advisory needs. Our partners are intimately involved with our clients, their legal matters, and their businesses. With the support of our associates and staff, we help our clients analyze and work through difficult problems.
We take an integrated approach to representing our clients, forming a bridge between the generations and between the present and the future for our clients, their families and their businesses. We strive to establish excellent relationships with all of our clients, whether we are developing a succession plan for a family-owned business, working on a merger for a closely-held company, forming a new business venture or professional practice, negotiating a tax matter for a small business, or creating an estate plan for an individual.
Our clients’ diverse legal needs often call for knowledge in many different areas. For example, a client working on a business succession plan may find that the plan impacts on his or her personal estate plan as well; or a client with an estate tax issue may have a related income tax issue that needs to be resolved. Similarly, a client planning for the needs of a special needs child may simultaneously need help with Medicaid planning for an elderly parent.
Our experience with tax, estate planning and administration, elder law and business and corporate law gives us the ability to address and coordinate all aspects of our clients’ problems and the impact on other areas of their lives in one place.
Our Commitment to Education
Our attorneys have experience serving the legal community and the community at large as educators. We conduct seminars for accountants, lawyers and other professionals on tax, estate planning and business planning and succession, as well as present seminars on these topics for financial institutions, schools, hospitals, civic organizations, and the community. In addition, Neil is a Professor of Taxation at the Frank G. Zarb School of Business at Hofstra University, where he teaches in the undergraduate accounting program and the graduate tax program.
We bring that same educational mindset and commitment to our work with our clients, ensuring that they understand the process, the various options available to them, and how those options might affect them, their families and their businesses.
To learn more about our practice areas, click here.