Eric M. Kramer focuses on estate and business succession planning for high-net-worth individuals and families. He advises clients on wills, trusts and the tax implications of the various methods of transfer of closely held businesses. Eric represents clients before federal and New York State Tax Authorities. He has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Newsday and AARP The Magazine on estate tax issues.
What are your clients’ typical goals?
While each client is unique, they share a common goal: to minimize estate taxes so they can pass on assets to their children or to charity. Working together, we create a strategy to reduce their estate tax in the simplest, most efficient way possible. Typically, I’ll sit down with the clients. We discuss the family dynamics, particularly if there is a business involved: Who is in charge? Who should eventually run the business? Do the children get along? Should we consider employment contracts? Voting and nonvoting stock? Generally my clients are proactive planners; many are also charitably inclined because they realize their children are already financially stable.
“Farrell Fritz is successful for one reason: the people. We have the smartest people who work hard to keep our clients happy and to provide the best advice possible on an efficient basis.”
How does your experience help your clients achieve their goals?
Learning from the past always benefits the future. We use the experiences of what worked for clients. Some clients initially focus on giving as much of their estate as possible without realizing that they are leaving very little for themselves. Most clients also still want to retain control of their assets. We focus on those two aspects: giving away as much as they can, but enabling the client to keep control while they’re alive.
What’s been your greatest career success?
To me, success is evidenced by client referrals. A client who refers you to a family member or friend means they are happy with your work. So I would say my greatest success has been the trust my clients place in me.
What are some ways you give back to the community?
I am a summer parent for the Fresh Air Fund. There is one child of whom my family has grown particularly fond. We host her every summer. The rest of the year, she lives in a house with 20 other people; each family has one bedroom. The Fresh Air Fund lets her take a break from that. I’m also active with the Interfaith Nutrition Network (INN), which helps the hungry and homeless on Long Island. I was the honoree at their 2012 golf outing. We raised several hundred thousand dollars. That was very gratifying. I am also on the estate planning committee for the INN and North Shore Hospital.