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Education

  • J.D., American University Washington College of Law, 1988, magna cum laude
  • M.B.A., The George Washington University, 1976
  • B.A., University of New Mexico, 1967

Bar and Court Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Maryland

Anne J. O'Brien

Member, Washington, D.C.
(202) 862-5033
aobrien@capdale.com | v-card | PDF
Anne O'Brien is a well-regarded and highly-skilled trust and estate practitioner who joined Caplin & Drysdale as a Member in 2013.  

The cornerstone of Ms. O'Brien's practice involves advising domestic and international private clients on safeguarding their personal and business interests.  She offers counsel on matters relating to estate planning, trust and estate administration, and related areas of federal and state tax law. These areas include transfers of family wealth to succeeding generations, settlement negotiations in large estate controversies, family trust matters, and charitable tax planning. Additionally, Ms. O'Brien assists high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) and families in structuring their U.S. and global holdings, as well as the transfer of those holdings to family members, trusts, charitable organizations, and other entities.

Services

As a fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) and an academician of The International Academy of Estate and Trust Law, Ms. O'Brien is among an exclusive group of lawyers uniquely qualified to help clients preserve their assets on a global scale. Her noteworthy matters include:
  • Counsel various members of a wealthy multinational family with respect to structure and ownership of assets, premarital planning, expatriation issues and general estate planning.
  • Coordinate probate proceedings for and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) audit of a large estate with significant assets held in trusts involving multiple jurisdictions in both common and civil law countries.
  • Represent a large Washington, D.C., estate in an IRS audit involving conservation easement and valuation issues in connection with closely-held business assets.
  • Prepare private letter ruling request for trustee of large marital trust to address concerns that distributions from the trust will be treated as a disposition under Section 2519 of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • Represent U.S. beneficiary's interest in Swiss estate involving Swiss succession, Lichtenstein foundation and BVI trusts.
  • Prepare comments to proposed revenue ruling on private trust companies and meeting with IRS on behalf of private bank.
  • Counsel Isle of Man trust company in matter involving appropriate characterization of trust for which it was a trustee and contribution thereto.
  • Advise large Florida estate involving closely-held business assets with underlying real property interest subject to lawsuit initiated by nephews of decedent (settled by mediation).
  • Represent numerous wealthy estate planning clients, including multinational and U.S. families owning family holding companies (family limited partnership and family limited liability companies), closely-held businesses held through tiered corporate and partnership structures and real estate assets

Professional Activities

  • Academician, The International Academy of Estate and Trust Lawyers
  • Member, American Bar Association, Section of Taxation and Section of Real Property, Probate and Trust Law
  • Fellow, American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC)
  • State Chair, District of Columbia
  • Chair, International Estate Planning Committee
  • Chair, International Membership Committee
  • Member, DC Estate Planning Council
  • Member, Tax Management Estate, Gifts, and Trusts Advisory Board
  • Past Chair, Estates, Trusts and Probate Section, District of Columbia Bar
  • Founding Board Member, National Center for Family Philanthropy
  • Advisory Board Member, William Wendt Center for Loss and Healing

Awards & Rankings

  • Super Lawyers, Washington, D.C., 2007-Present, Top 50 Women, 2008
  • Best Lawyers in America, 2012 and 2014
  • Chambers USA, Leading Lawyer, 2011-2012, 2014
  • The Legal 500, Recommended, 2014
  • Expert Guides' Women in Business Law, 2013
  • Legal Week, International Trusts and Private Client Elite, 2012
  • The Washingtonian, Top Lawyers, 2004, 2007, and 2009; Best Lawyers, 2011
  • Expert Guides' Trusts and Estates Practitioners, 2009
  • Legal Times, Leading Lawyer, 2004

Recent Publications

  • "Maryland Estate Tax Exemption Set to Rise," Caplin & Drysdale, May 16, 2014
  • "2014 Estate Planning: Should I Take Advantage of Portability?," Caplin & Drysdale, December 23, 2013
  • "Letters of Wishes and Protectors as Devices to Further the Settlor's Purposes," A Guide to International Estate Planning, American Bar Association, 2nd Ed., January 1, 2013
  • "No Time Like the Present for Gifting: Tax Relief Act Planning Opportunities," Advisory, February 8, 2012
  • "Federal Estate and GST Tax Repeal," Advisory, January 19, 2010
  • "Wealth Transfer Strategies for Turbulent Times," Advisory, December 9, 2008

Click here for a full list of publications.