David L. Starbuck

Partner

Denver
T +1.303.764.4107
F +1.303.861.7805

Overview

David Starbuck counsels individual and closely held business clients regarding private wealth planning. In serving his clientele, David designs tax-advantaged trust structures and advises on sophisticated business succession techniques, including family limited partnerships, sales to grantor trusts, intra-family asset sales and buy/sell agreements. He assists his clients regarding choice of entity planning; real estate transactions; charitable giving; incentive trust analysis; life insurance planning; corporate, partnership and limited liability company restructures; and fiduciary matters. David also represents financial institutions, advising them on trust administration, taxation and reformation matters.

David maintains an active lecturing schedule, speaking both locally and nationally in the areas of family limited partnership planning, generation-skipping tax planning, and estate and business succession planning. David is listed in The Best Lawyers in America© and is a member of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. He served as the Tax Group coordinator for the firm's Denver office from 2000 to 2010.

Select Experience

  • Counsels multiple families, many with a net worth in excess of $100 million, on family and complex tax planning, utilizing such techniques as family limited partnerships, family limited liability companies, sales to grantor trusts, grantor retained annuity trusts, family dynasty trusts, private trust companies, charitable trusts and similar arrangements.
  • Serves as family communicator for multiple high-net-worth families for the purpose of facilitating sensible succession planning designed to serve the best interests of lower-tiered generations. For example, successfully guided a family whose planning structure included more than 300 trusts and 50 partnership structures through a contentious set of negotiations that ultimately led to the establishment of a family council that continues to govern family business operations.
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Experience

  • Counsels multiple families, many with a net worth in excess of $100 million, on family and complex tax planning, utilizing such techniques as family limited partnerships, family limited liability companies, sales to grantor trusts, grantor retained annuity trusts, family dynasty trusts, private trust companies, charitable trusts and similar arrangements.
  • Serves as family communicator for multiple high-net-worth families for the purpose of facilitating sensible succession planning designed to serve the best interests of lower-tiered generations. For example, successfully guided a family whose planning structure included more than 300 trusts and 50 partnership structures through a contentious set of negotiations that ultimately led to the establishment of a family council that continues to govern family business operations.
  • Represents families after the death of a family member with regard to the administration of the decedent’s estate, including valuation matters; estate, gift and generation skipping tax matters; funding and administering testamentary trusts; and distributing assets in accordance with testamentary documents. For example, recently oversaw the administration of a $200 million estate that included 1,600 well heads in multiple jurisdictions, including an Internal Revenue Service estate and gift tax audit, negotiation of a complex stipulated settlement among estate and trust beneficiaries, and the use of a privately appointed judge (appointed through the Colorado Supreme Court) to obtain formal administration approval.
  • Serves as primary legal counsel to institutional trustees in connection with complex trust administrations. For example, recently represented an institutional trustee in connection with the successful negotiation of a complex trust modification plan that involved the consolidation of 5 ancestral family trusts, each with multiple family beneficiaries, into 3 modified trusts designed to separate the interests of the 3 primary family groups.
  • Counsels high-net-worth families through complex family and closely-held succession planning. For example, negotiated a complex closely-held business buy/sell agreement that involved both family and non-family owners; life insurance policies with aggregate death benefits in excess of $300 million are maintained and administered to ensure funding for shareholder buy out strategies in the event of a shareholder’s death.

Recognitions and Memberships

Recognitions

  • Chambers HNW: Private Wealth Law in Colorado (2016, 2017)
  • The Best Lawyers in America©
    • Denver: Tax Law (2018)
    • Denver: Trusts and Estates (2010 to 2018)
      • Best Lawyers® "Lawyer of the Year" (2018)
  • 5280 Magazine: Top Colorado Lawyer, Estate Planning (2016)
  • Martindale-Hubbell: AV Preeminent

Memberships

  • American College of Trust and Estate Council
  • American Bar Association: Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section
  • Colorado Bar Association: Trusts and Estates Section
  • Rocky Mountain Estate Planning Council

Community

  • Denver Foundation: Professional Advisory Counsel
  • Children’s Hospital Colorado Foundation: Legacy Planning Advisory Council

Admissions

  • Colorado, 1983

Education

  • LL.M., University of Denver, 1987, Graduate Tax Program
  • J.D., University of Denver Sturm College of Law, 1983, Order of St. Ives
  • B.A., Western State Colorado University, 1977, magna cum laude