The International Academy of Estate and Trust Law


Anne J. O'Brien

Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered
One Thomas Circle, NW, Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20005

Phone: 202 862-5000
Fax: 202 429 3301

Anne O'Brien is a well-regarded and highly-skilled trust and estate practitioner who joined Caplin & Drysdale as a Member in 2013. The cornerstone of Ms. O'Brien's practice involves advising domestic and international private clients on safeguarding their personal and business interests. She offers counsel on matters relating to estate planning, trust and estate administration, and related areas of federal and state tax law. These areas include transfers of family wealth to succeeding generations, settlement negotiations in large estate controversies, family trust matters, and charitable tax planning. Additionally, Ms. O'Brien assists high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) and families in structuring their U.S. and global holdings, as well as the transfer of those holdings to family members, trusts, charitable organizations, and other entities.
As a fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) and an academician of The International Academy of Estate and Trust Law, Ms. O'Brien is among an exclusive group of lawyers uniquely qualified to help clients preserve their assets on a global scale. Her noteworthy matters include:
  • Counsel various members of a wealthy multinational family with respect to structure and ownership of assets, premarital planning, expatriation issues and general estate planning.
  • Coordinate probate proceedings for and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) audit of a large estate with significant assets held in trusts involving multiple jurisdictions in both common and civil law countries.
  • Represent a large Washington, D.C., estate in an IRS audit involving conservation easement and valuation issues in connection with closely-held business assets.
  • Prepare private letter ruling request for trustee of large marital trust to address concerns that distributions from the trust will be treated as a disposition under Section 2519 of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • Represent U.S. beneficiary's interest in Swiss estate involving Swiss succession, Lichtenstein foundation and BVI trusts.
  • Prepare comments to proposed revenue ruling on private trust companies and meeting with IRS on behalf of private bank.
  • Counsel Isle of Man trust company in matter involving appropriate characterization of trust for which it was a trustee and contribution thereto.
  • Advise large Florida estate involving closely-held business assets with underlying real property interest subject to lawsuit initiated by nephews of decedent (settled by mediation).
  • Represent numerous wealthy estate planning clients, including multinational and U.S. families owning family holding companies (family limited partnership and family limited liability companies), closely-held businesses held through tiered corporate and partnership structures and real estate assets
Professional Activities
  • Academician, The International Academy of Estate and Trust Lawyers
  • Member, American Bar Association, Section of Taxation and Section of Real Property, Probate and Trust Law
  • Fellow, American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC)
  • State Chair, District of Columbia
  • Chair, International Estate Planning Committee
  • Chair, International Membership Committee
  • Member, DC Estate Planning Council
  • Member, Tax Management Estate, Gifts, and Trusts Advisory Board
  • Past Chair, Estates, Trusts and Probate Section, District of Columbia Bar
  • Founding Board Member, National Center for Family Philanthropy
  • Advisory Board Member, William Wendt Center for Loss and Healing
Awards & Honors
  • Listed in the 2013 Guide to the World's Leading Women in Business Law
  • Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business 2011-2012 for Wealth Management: Eastern Region
  • Named to Legal Week's 2012 International Trusts and Private Client Elite
  • Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers 2012 for Estate Planning & Probate
  • The Best Lawyers in America 2012 for Trusts and Estates
  • Washingtonian's "Best Lawyers" 2011 for Trusts & Estates
  • Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers 2011 for Estate Planning & Probate
  • Euromoney's Guide to Women in Business Law 2010: included as an Expert in Trusts and Estates
  • Euromoney's Guide to the World's Leading Trusts & Estates Practitioners 2009
  • Washingtonian's "Top Lawyers" 2004, 2007 and 2009 for Trusts & Estates
  • Listed as Estate Expert in Washingtonian's "Finding Good Financial Help" article, January 2009
  • Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers "The Top 50 Women" 2008
  • Legal Times' "Leading Lawyers in Trusts and Estates"
  • Fellow, American College of Trust and Estate Counsel
Recent Publications
  • Letters of Wishes and Protectors as Devices to Further the Settlor's Purposes, A Guide to International Estate Planning, American Bar Association, 2nd Ed. (2013)
  • No Time Like the Present for Gifting: Tax Relief Action Planning Opportunities, February 2012
  • Federal Estate and GST Tax Repeal, January 2012
  • Wealth Transfer Strategies for Turbulent Times, December 2008

Practice Areas
  • Private Client
  • J.D., American University Washington College of Law, 1988, magna cum laude
  • M.B.A., The George Washington University, 1976
  • B.A., University of New Mexico, 1967
  • Bar and Court Admissions
  • District of Columbia
  • Maryland

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