Philip J. Michaels

Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP

New York
United States
T:+1 212 318 3179
New York
United States
T:+1 212 318 3179
Philip J. Michaels

Philip J. Michaels



Phil Michaels is a partner in the New York office focusing on estate and tax planning, including estate and trusts administration, termination of trusts, settlement of estates and trusts and estate and gift tax matters.

Mr. Michaels provides advice on family succession, tax and charitable planning matters to families, entrepreneurs, executives and artists.

Since January 2000, he has been an adjunct professor at New York Law School teaching estate administration, business succession planning and advanced wealth transfers.

His recent significant matters include:

  • Structuring multi-generation split dollar agreements with PPLI
  • Representation of multi-national families and creation of both on-shore and off-shore trusts
  • Representation of a family trying to limit its tax consequences on two large trusts before the sale of the underlying assets. By switching the sites of the trusts from one state to another, Mr. Michaels was able to save the family $16 million
  • Representation of a family in an audit with the IRS regarding a $10 million transaction. After negotiations and filing a protest letter, the taxpayer prevailed on every point
  • Representation of an art dealer's estate with a large inventory in the disposition of his assets, avoiding costly tax ramifications
  • Representation of a holocaust survivor in the disposition of his $150 million estate, selling interests to his children and grandchildren, with no gift or estate tax
  • Pro Bono: Established 9/11 fund which was used to raise money for those in the municipal bond fund industry who perished

Professional experience

Expand all Collapse all

LL.M, Taxation, New York University School of Law, 1981
JD, New York Law School, 1976
BA, History, University of Notre Dame, 1972

Mr. Michaels was a member of the Moot Court Board and the Student Bar Association in law school.

He was admitted to practice law in New York in 1977 and before the United States District Court for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.

  • New York State Bar
  • New York Metro Super Lawyer, Estate Planning and Probate, Thomson Reuters, 2006 - 2020, 2022
  • The Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyers, 2015 - 2021
  • Best Lawyers - Trusts and Estates, Best Lawyers, 2022 - 2024
  • Co-author with Michael Liebeskind, "Property Structured Intergenerational Split Dollar Isn't a Gift," Trusts and Estates Magazine, April 18, 2016
  • Co-author with Brian G. Smith, "The Promise of a Tasty Dessert Cannot Replace a Healthy Entree: Why Portability Is Not a Substitute for Estate Planning", New York State Bar Association Trusts and Estates Law Section Newsletter, Vol. 46, No. 4, Winter 2013
  • Co-author with Brian G. Smith, "Protecting Life Insurance Proceeds From Tax and Other Legal Landmines," New York Law Journal, September 16, 2013
  • Co-author with Stephanie Heilborn, Joseph Sleeth, Jr. and Michelle Schwartz, "Tax Alert for Non-U.S. People Owning U.S. Property," Fulbright Briefing, June 26, 2012
  • Co-author with Meryl Finkelstein, Stephanie Heilborn and Brian Smith, "New York Decanting Statute," Fulbright Briefing, February 9, 2012
  • Co-author with Joseph Sleeth, Jr., Stephanie Heilborn and Lindsay Brown, "Tax Changes Effective as of January 1, 2012: Significant Implications For Estate Planning," Fulbright Briefing, January 20, 2012
  • Co-author with Stephanie Heilborn and Jaclyn Feffer, "The New York Marriage Equality Act and Its Impact on Estate and Tax Planning," Fulbright Briefing, September 1, 2011
  • Co-author with Michelle Schwartz, "Modifying an Irrevocable Trust: The Art of Decanting," New York Law Journal, July 22, 2009
  • Co-author with Laura M. Twomey, "Estate Planning for Qualified Personal Residence Trusts," The CPA Journal, December 2005
  • Co-author with Laura M. Twomey, "How, Why, and When to Transfer the Situs of a Trust," Estate Planning, January 2004
  • Co-author with Laura M. Twomey, "Qualified Personal Residence Trusts," New York State Bar Association, December 2003
  • Co-author with Laura M. Twomey, "State Income Tax: Not All Trusts Must Pay," New York State Bar Association, October 2001
  • "Fiduciary Tax Elections," The CPA Journal, September 1997
  • "Estate Planning Options for IRA's," The CPA Journal, September 1996
  • "New Estate Tax Rules for Non-U.S. Spouses," New York Law Journal, February 1993
  • "Drafting With the GST Exemption in Mind," New York Law Journal, August 1992
  • Co-author, "Wills, Estate and Surrogate's Practice," New York Law Journal, 1985 - 1992
  • "Estate Planning for the Second Marriage," The Journal of Taxation of Estate and Trusts, 1991
  • "Expanded Decanting Opportunities Under Revised EPTL," New York Bankers Association 66th Annual Trust & Investment Conference, October 2012
  • "An Introduction to Probate &f How to Avoid It," City Bar Center for CLE, November 2009
  • "Charitable Gifting," New York State Bar Annual Meeting, February, 2006
  • "Qualified Personal Residence Trusts - Situs of Trusts," Notre Dame Estate Planning Institutes, September 2003
  • "Will Drafting in New York," New York State Bar Association, New York, 1997
  • "Will Drafting," New York State CLE, 1990 - 1995; Practicing Law Institutes, 1990 - 1999; National Business Institute, 1994
  • "Estate Tax Planning for Spouses," City Bar Center for CLE, March 2010
  • "How to Avoid Probate," City Bar Center for CLE, March 2011
  •  "Trust Decanting Webinar" - National Business Institute CLE – August 2012
  • American Bar Association
    • Real Property Section
    • Probate and Trust Section
  • American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, Fellow
  • New York State Bar Association (Trusts and Estates Section)
  • New York Law School - Planned Gifting Committee, Co-Chairman
  • Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), Planned Giving Advisory Committee
  • One East Sixtieth Street Historical Foundation - Board of Trustees
  • American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra - Counsel