Edward J. Beckwith

Partner

Washington, D.C.
T +1.202.861.1646
F +1.202.861.1783

Overview

Nationally recognized for his skill and commitment as counsel to high net worth families and charities, Ed Beckwith advises families, family offices and their professionals on the tax-efficient accumulation, management and distribution of personal wealth. His experience includes the legal and administrative specialties required to establish and guide the operations of charitable and educational organizations, healthcare institutions and trade associations. 

His advice often is sought with respect to the governance and "best practices" of organizations and the maintenance of their tax-exempt status, as well as the tax and practical aspects of contributions and other financial support programs to support such organizations. A significant aspect of Ed's practice involves the application of tax laws to family and business financial arrangements, including the preparation of related documents to conserve and transfer wealth, the administration of such arrangements, and the representation of clients before legislative, judicial and regulatory branches of government at all levels.

For his entire professional career, Ed has lectured throughout the United States and has written extensively, including articles and speeches for the American Law Institute and the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC). He frequently chairs continuing education programs for private wealth professionals and has been an adjunct tax professor at the Georgetown University Law Center for 37 years, where he currently teaches and coordinates a graduate-level certificate program in Advanced Estate and Charitable Planning.

Select Experience

  • Frequently retained as a family legacy planner to evaluate and update existing plans, documents and related arrangements, particularly when a potential client, client's family office or team of advisers no longer feel they have an adequate grasp of what is in place or what they are required to do to ensure that a current plan is successful.
  • Serves as primary legal counsel to multigenerational families. Provides continual advice associated with all aspects of a family's overall success, including business structures and business succession planning, executive compensation and retirement planning, the avoidance and defense of tax controversies, fiduciary representation and defense of both individual and corporate fiduciaries, estate and trust administration and settlement, and family law matters including premarital planning. Also provides advice with respect to trust administration, including federal and state tax planning, the selection of the proper location for the administration of a given trust, modifying and fixing existing trusts, and all manner of related regulatory issues.
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Experience

  • Frequently retained as a family legacy planner to evaluate and update existing plans, documents and related arrangements, particularly when a potential client, client's family office or team of advisers no longer feels they have an adequate grasp of what is in place or what they are required to do to ensure that a current plan is successful.
  • Serves as primary legal counsel to multigenerational families. Provides continual advice associated with all aspects of a family's overall success, including business structures and business succession planning, executive compensation and retirement planning, the avoidance and defense of tax controversies, fiduciary representation and defense of both individual and corporate fiduciaries, estate and trust administration and settlement, and family law matters including premarital planning. Also provides advice with respect to trust administration, including federal and state tax planning, the selection of the proper location for the administration of a given trust, modifying and fixing existing trusts, and all manner of related regulatory issues.
  • Often serves as a family's eyes, ears and voice in Washington, D.C. Clients at the highest levels, their families and their business interests often need representation to address the D.C. regulatory and legislative environment. A client's regulatory concerns may be tax-oriented, but frequently they also involve securities regulations, multiple federal agencies, the regulation of international trade or political campaign activities, or even white collar investigations and prosecutions.
  • Provides common sense advice in all aspects of philanthropy and the creation and management of charitable organizations. Designs structures suited to a given client's planning needs and charitable goals that do not rely on the risky or doubtful charitable ventures often marketed to wealthy families.

Recognitions and Memberships

Recognitions

  • Chambers HNW: Private Wealth Law in Washington, D.C. (2016 to present)
  • Chambers HNW: Private Wealth Law in the Eastern Region (2014 to present)
  • The Best Lawyers in America© (1999 to Present)
    • Washington, D.C.: Litigation – Trusts & Estates
    • Washington, D.C.: Tax Law
    • Washington, D.C.: Trusts & Estates
    • Washington, D.C.: Non-Profit / Charities Law
      • Best Lawyers "Lawyer of the Year" (2012, 2018)
  • Martindale-Hubbell: AV Preeminent
  • Euromoney's Expert Guide’s Guide to the World’s Leading Trust & Estate Practitioners
  • The Washingtonian "Top Lawyers: Trusts and Estates"
  • Washington, D.C., "Super Lawyer" (2007 to present)

Memberships

  • American Bar Association
  • District of Columbia Bar Association
  • American Law Institute: Life Member
  • American Bar Foundation: Fellow
  • ACTEC: Fellow, with service as: 
    • Regent of the College
    • State Chair, District of Columbia
    • Financial Management Committee: Chair
    • Philanthropy Study Committee: Chair
    • Committee on Charitable Planning and Exempt Organizations: Chair
    • ACTEC Foundation: President
    • Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity Committee
    • Mid-Atlantic Fellows Institute: Chancellor
  • Washington, D.C., Estate Planning Council

News

News

Community

  • Jewish Federation of North America
    • Senior Advisory Council, Founder
    • National Professional Advisory Council, Founder
    • Charitable Giving and Tax Incentives Sub-committee, Co-chair
  • Pennsylvania State University
    • Alumni Association
    • Giving Planning Advisory Council, Founder
  • Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church, Virginia

Industries

Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Tax Court
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, District of Columbia
  • District of Columbia, 1975

Education

  • LL.M., Georgetown University Law Center, 1983
  • J.D., Georgetown University Law Center, 1974
  • B.S., Pennsylvania State University, 1971