Avi Z. Kestenbaum
Special Professor of Law
B.S. in Political Science, summa cum laude, Touro College
J.D., Brooklyn Law School
LL.M. in Taxation, University of Miami School of Law
Professor Kestenbaum is co-chair of the Trusts and Estates Department at Meltzer, Lippe, Goldstein & Breitstone, LLP, for which the firm is nationally ranked Tier 1 by U.S. News & World Report, and is a partner in the Tax and Tax-Exempt Organizations departments. He provides creative and sophisticated domestic and international tax, estate planning and asset preservation counsel to CEOs of major corporations, ultrahigh net worth individuals, multinational businesses and large charitable organizations. He is often quoted in Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, USA Today, Investor's Business Daily and other major publications, and is a prominent national lecturer and author in leading tax journals. He is also an ACTEC Fellow and a former adjunct tax professor with the Baruch MBA Program, and is listed in Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers in America. He is also a member of Trusts & Estates Magazine editorial and advisory board, where he is chair of The Modern Practice Committee. His practice places special emphasis on domestic and international tax and trust planning, “big picture” philosophy, family business succession planning and effectively dealing with estate disputes. His diverse client base is located in New York City, Long Island and many other states and countries.
Over the years, his practice has continued to rapidly expand into several additional complex and sophisticated areas in which he advises many clients, including, but not limited to, international tax and wealth preservation planning; family business succession planning; tax and estate controversies; corporate and partnership business structuring; and income tax planning for closely held businesses and real estate clients. Additionally, he serves as legal advisor to many prominent charitable organizations and has developed a niche practice in the complicated area of charitable planning and the structuring and operations of nonprofit organizations under federal and state laws dealing with complex issues including, lobbying, advocacy, unrelated business income tax, joint ventures, avoiding excise taxes, and foreign charities. He is also co-founder of STEP Long Island and has a substantial international tax and estate planning practice.
He has also published numerous articles in leading national tax, estate planning and tax-exempt organization publications, including, among others, Estate Planning Journal, Trusts and Estates, Leimberg’s Newsletter, Practical Tax Strategies, Journal of Taxation of Exempts, and The New York Law Journal, Special Trusts and Estates Sections (see firm website for some of these articles). He is a prominent national lecturer for and to prestigious professional organizations including, but not limited to, the Notre Dame Tax and Estate Planning Institute, Ed Slott’s Master Elite Program, the American Bar Association, Estate Planning Council of New York and the New York State CPA Society, Annual Estate Planning Conference, and several national insurance companies and nonprofit institutions.
Over the last few years with estate litigations on the rise, he has lectured and written articles in leading journals on this subject and is pursuing a national platform advocating all estate planning attorneys better understand their client’s unique situations to create individually tailored plans to mitigate the potential for and effects of estate litigations, in addition to avoiding costly income and estate taxes. Additionally, he helps many families with business succession planning, which is another complex area requiring individually tailored philosophy and documents to ensure family businesses can achieve success and longevity.
Prior to joining Meltzer Lippe, he obtained complex tax and estate planning experience with prestigious law firms in New York City, New Jersey and Florida and as a trust administrator for Smith Barney/Citigroup Private Trust Company. He received his Bachelor of Science from Touro College, summa cum laude, Juris Doctor from Brooklyn Law School and Master of Laws in Taxation from the University of Miami School of Law. He received academic scholarships for his high achievement at each of these institutions and is admitted to practice in New York and New Jersey.