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Lloyd Leva Plaine has held nearly every national and local leadership role in trusts and estates practice, including president of the D.C. Estate Planning Council and virtually every office of the American Bar Association’s Real Property, Probate, and Trust Law Section, including chairing the section. Plaine, 56, is best known for her tax expertise, particularly relating to planning the transfer of wealth in a family from one generation to another. But, clients say, the D.C. lawyer, who also has the titles of lecturer and author before her name, is most appreciated for her service. For client Agnes Wolf, Plaine is the lawyer to call if there is a new development in the family that would have legal implications. Wolf, a resident of McLean, Va., says her lawyer’s interaction with her is personal. “She really deals with you like a friend,” Wolf says. “She feels that way about her clients, I think.” Plaine, a partner at Sutherland Asbill & Brennan and head of the individual tax planning practice, has been a member of the firm since her graduation from Georgetown University Law Center in 1975. Plaine says her practice at Sutherland is fairly broad. She helps clients to plan their pre-mortem and post-mortem estates, while minimizing their tax liabilities. “It’s both planning for [the clients'] welfare during their lives and planning for their families or their loved ones after their deaths,” says Plaine, who represents entrepreneurs and professionals, as well as individuals who inherit substantial wealth. Plaine and her colleagues in the planning practice at Sutherland have an active practice before the Internal Revenue Service, working on IRS rulings and tax audits. In the tax area, Plaine is most often noted by her peers for her expert knowledge of the generation-skipping transfer tax, one of the three main federal taxes on asset transfers that skip a generation from the giver to the giver’s grandchildren or future generations. The generation-skipping transfer tax, created in 1976, coincided with the start of Plaine’s career and has been a significant part of her practice ever since. Plaine co-wrote a treatise on the tax which she updates twice a year. She says one of the challenges of her practice is “finding out what people want to do.” Discovering and understanding clients’ goals and ensuring that the estate plans fit into the goals while minimizing taxes is the core of her practice. The trick, Plaine says, is “to make sure you’re really getting the whole story.”

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