Jim Ledley advises clients on estate planning issues, including wealth preservation, asset protection, multi-generational and international estate and succession planning, as well as estate administration. Jim also gives advice on the federal and state income tax issues of estates and trusts, a subject that has become important to many clients.



Jim’s clients vary in size from high-net-worth individuals and their families to ultra-high-net-worth families. He advises clients in a broad spectrum of businesses and professions, including many in the financial services industry, as well as public company CEOs and directors, entrepreneurs and major real estate owners. For some clients, Jim has become their personal “general counsel.”

Jim has been named a New York Metro Super Lawyer by Super Lawyers since 2007 and recognized by Best Lawyers® (Trusts & Estates) since 2018.


New York University (LL.M. in Taxation, 1975)

Columbia University (J.D. 1972)

Journal of Law and Social Problems, Associate Editor, 1970-1972

Bates College (B.A., 1969)

Bar Admissions

1974, U.S. Tax Court

1973, New York


Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, 1970-1972


Update: Ways and Means Committee Proposes New Legislation

October 6, 2021

Kleinberg Kaplan recently sent a Trusts & Estates Client Alert discussing potential changes to the tax law that were proposed by the House Ways and Means Committee (click here for the Client Alert). A recent report issued by the House Budget Committee regarding the proposals has important implications concerning the proposed provisions related to grantor…

Ways and Means Committee Proposes New Legislation

September 28, 2021

The House Ways and Means Committee recently released a draft of the tax portion of the proposed reconciliation bill. Some of the proposals affecting individual taxpayers, estates and trusts are described below. Termination of Temporary Increase in Gift and Estate Tax Exclusion Amount The gift and estate tax exclusion amount is presently $11.7 million (indexed…

Kleinberg Kaplan Attorneys Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® 2022

August 19, 2021

Premier boutique law firm Kleinberg Kaplan has been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America®  2022 edition. Several firm attorneys were listed in the 28th edition of The Best Lawyers in America and in the second annual Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch categories. The Best Lawyers in America® 2022 Philip Gross (Tax Law) Jeffrey B. Kolodny (Trusts…

15 Kleinberg Kaplan Attorneys Named as 2020 Super Lawyers or Rising Stars

November 17, 2020

We are pleased to announce that 15 of the firm’s attorneys were selected for inclusion in the 2020 edition of Super Lawyers®, a national legal ranking. Attorneys were nominated by their peers and recognized for their outstanding professional achievement in several legal practice areas including business/corporate, business litigation, estate & probate, mergers & acquisitions, real estate,…

Post-Election Trusts & Estates Planning Considerations

November 9, 2020

In the wake of the 2020 election, many expect that the Biden administration will seek to engage Congress to enact new tax legislation in order to raise revenue to pay the costs associated with the pandemic and other government programs. The administration’s ability to set policy will be impacted by the final results of several…

Kleinberg Kaplan Attorneys Recognized in Best Lawyers in America

August 21, 2020

Premier boutique law firm Kleinberg Kaplan has been recognized in the Best Lawyers in America 2021 edition. Several firm attorneys were listed in the Best Lawyers in America and in the inaugural Best Lawyers in America: Ones to Watch categories. Best Lawyers in America 2021 Philip Gross (Tax Law) Jeffrey B. Kolodny (Trusts & Estates) James R.…

Current Estate and Gift Tax Planning Opportunities

July 8, 2020

As the global economy continues to feel the disruptive effects of the COVID-19 crisis, now may be an appropriate time to consider potential estate planning opportunities: Low Interest Rates: The IRS prescribes minimum interest rates that taxpayers must charge on most loans (including installment sales) to avoid gift tax consequences. These IRS rates are now…

SECURE, CARES and Retirement Account Distributions in 2020

June 26, 2020

Both the SECURE Act enacted in December 2019 and the CARES Act enacted in March 2020 changed the rules governing distributions from retirement plans and IRAs. Under the SECURE Act, retirement plan participants and IRA owners no longer have to begin taking distributions until April 1 of the calendar year after they reach age 72…

SECURE Act Changes Key Retirement Plan and IRA Rules Alerts

December 30, 2019

Retirement benefits (such as pension, profit-sharing, 401(k) or IRA benefits) make up a substantial portion of many people’s assets. Congress recently passed, and the President signed on December 20, 2019, the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Act (the SECURE Act) as part of the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020. The SECURE Act made various…

Discounting Under Attack By IRS

August 31, 2016,

On August 2, 2016, the IRS issued proposed regulations for Section 2704 of the Internal Revenue Code, which would substantially impact the ability of taxpayers to discount the value of certain assets in order to reduce gift and estate taxes. The regulations specifically target the use of Family Limited Partnerships (FLPs) and Family Limited Liability…

Qualified Charitable Distributions from IRAs Extended for 2014

December 19, 2014

The Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014 extended the ability of certain IRA owners to make qualified charitable distributions (QCDs) for 2014. A QCD is a distribution to a public charity (other than a donor advised fund) from an IRA. Only IRA owners over age 70½ can make QCDs. The limit on QCDs for 2014…

Changes to NY Trust & Estate Tax Treatment

April 8, 2014

In February we alerted you that Governor Cuomo’s budget bill proposed important changes to the New York estate tax and the New York income taxation of certain trusts. The changes just enacted, described below, were scaled back from the original proposals, though still represent significant and important changes. Estate Tax Exclusion. The New York estate…

New Yorkers Take Note – Action May Be Needed By March 31

February 5, 2014

Governor Cuomo’s recently released budget bill proposes important changes to the New York estate tax and the New York income taxation of certain trusts. Proposed changes require high net worth individuals and trustees of certain trusts to consider taking action between now and March 31st. Taxing Gifts. One proposed change is to increase, for New…

Is it time to pay gift tax?

June 19, 2012

There may be only six months left before the lifetime gift tax exemption reverts from its present $5.12 million to $1 million and the gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer (“GST”) tax rates jump to 55%. Unless Congress enacts legislation providing otherwise, these changes will occur on January 1, 2013. Many clients have taken advantage of…

Time May Be Running Out – Congress To Act This Month

November 8, 2011

The Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (the “Committee”) is currently scheduled to announce its proposals on November 23, 2011. Rumor has it that among the proposals presently being discussed are changes to the current gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer tax laws. We believe two of these proposals merit your attention and possible prompt…

Current Estate Planning Topics of Interest

November 8, 2011

Planning for the future, yours and other’s, is very important in today’s environment. There are some current estate planning opportunities that may not be available in the future. TUESDAY APRIL 17th IS TAX DAY 2012 Did you take any actions in 2011 that could trigger the requirement to file a gift tax return? Examples of…