Kelley Drye

Attorneys & Professionals 

Carolyn R. Caufield

Partner Email vCard
New York
Phone: (212) 808-7625
Fax: (212) 808-7897

Carolyn Caufield chairs Kelley Drye’s Private Clients team, and co-chairs the firm’s Nonprofit Organizations practice group. She counsels individuals, closely held businesses, corporate fiduciaries and financial institutions on matters relating to multigenerational estate and gift planning, trust and estate administration (including litigations), business succession planning, and charitable giving strategies.

In advising her clients, Ms. Caufield draws upon her extensive experience in designing and implementing sophisticated lifetime gift giving and estate tax planning strategies as part of a multigenerational and tax-efficient approach to wealth preservation. She counsels clients on planning for major life events, disability or incompetence, the succession of family-owned businesses, as well as the valuation of assets for estate and gift tax matters. In addition, Ms. Caufield resolves fiduciary income tax issues, disputed matters involving fiduciaries, and other related conflicts including mediation when appropriate. Furthermore, she represents individual and institutional clients in Surrogate's Court litigation matters. She has also represented clients in federal and New York estate tax and gift tax valuation proceedings, and proceedings involving federal and New York income taxation of estates, trusts and beneficiaries.

Ms. Caufield is dedicated to working with her clients to define their legacy and ensure their often unique vision for the future. In her fourth decade of practice, she is both highly responsive and uniquely qualified to navigate clients beyond the complicated and technical aspects of estate planning, probate law and guardianship. Ms. Caufield is highly regarded for her ability to establish immediate credibility with clients and their other professional advisors as needed.

Ms. Caufield is a member of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Trusts, Estates & Surrogates Courts Committee. As an active member of that committee, she participates in legislative efforts that contribute to the formation of new laws and guidelines that better reflect the complexities of practicing in this venerable area of the law in the digital age.

Representative Experience

Represented four generations of family members in estate planning, estate administration, trust administration, investment management, construction projects, real estate issues, alternative energy issues, family business succession, charitable giving, and other matters for more than three decades.

Represented the estate of a significant American art collector, including the successful conclusion of valuation disputes with the Internal Revenue Service concerning works of art and ongoing advice as to family holdings.

Represented European citizens who were the remaindermen of U.S. trusts, resulting in the implementation of a strategy designed to effect transfer and continued ownership of the trust estate while minimizing transfer and income taxes.

Represented British and American beneficiaries of the estate of a New York decedent in a contested probate proceeding in which the will was executed abroad.

Represented the international estate of a substantial musical box and automata collector, including placement of the collection through the client’s not-for-profit corporation, negotiation of a gift agreement, and continuing oversight of the collection and endowment.

Represented a major U.S. music conservancy in a cy près proceeding involving expansion of restricted endowment use and recipients.

Represented major New York-based charities in contested probate and accounting proceedings.

Represented major New York corporate fiduciaries in disputed proceedings regarding the removal of individual trustees.

Represented a major New York corporate trustee in contested accounting proceedings brought by dissident beneficiaries seeking trustee removal and money damages.

Represented a donor of a closely-held share in a family company in contested IRS proceedings to value the gift at the company’s subsequent and substantially higher sale value with an advantageous outcome for the donor.

Represented two major New York banks in connection with the accountings for judicial settlement and termination of common trust funds established pursuant to the New York Banking Law.

Memberships & Associations

Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Trusts, Estates and Surrogates Court Committee

New York State Bar Association, Trusts and Estates Law Section

Professional Activities

The Lutece Foundation, president

The Morris Museum, Guinness Collection Committee

Community Activities

Law Women, NYU School of Law

Honors & Awards

The Best Lawyers in America© (Woodward/White, Inc.), Trusts and Estates and Trusts & Estates–Litigation, 2010-2017.

Listed in New York "Super Lawyers," 2009-2012 and 2014-2016.

Pro Bono

Represented several pro bono clients in insurance and family disputes arising from damage caused by Superstorm Sandy.

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