” My favorite part of the day is working with clients. They are dealing with important and sometimes difficult issues, and must understand complex concepts outside their normal comfort zones. That moment when they get it, when they understand they are in control of what happens, it’s pure joy to me. And if we can enjoy a laugh or two along the way as we discuss life and death issues, that’s the icing on the cake.”
Bove & Langa
10 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02108
Estate Planner of the Year
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Melissa Langa has built a dynamic practice guiding individuals, families, businesses, and charitable organizations in designing and implementing customized tax-efficient structures to meet their particular estate planning, asset protection planning, business, and charitable needs. Her clients are local and international. As part of her practice, Melissa has assisted business owners who wish to pass a business to certain children while treating their other children fairly, has helped surviving family members navigate the legal and tax implications of a loved one’s death while preserving family harmony, has drafted customized shared use agreements for vacation homes enjoyed by multiple generations, has prepared complex trusts to provide for family members with special needs, has assisted international families navigate the US tax system, has counseled clients in marital planning with prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, and has designed complex gifting structures to meet specific family and philanthropic goals. Melissa’s practice encompasses not only that of a trusts and estates advisor, but also as a family advisor and sounding board for all matters legal which a family faces in the 21st century. Melissa serves as a trustee and personal representative when asked to do so by her clients. Prior to Bove & Langa, Melissa’s legal experience included advocating for civil rights on behalf of the United States in the U.S. Courts of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court — specifically protecting the employment rights of minorities, women, the disabled, and the aged. While taking time off from the law to raise her children, Melissa’s civic activities included leading a civil rights political action committee, spearheading the funding and building of a new elementary school playground, and serving as a town meeting member. Upon re-entry to the law, Melissa chose the field of Trusts and Estates as the ideal vehicle to allow her to continue her advocacy for clients’ personal rights and to help them build a better legal blueprint for themselves and their families.
- Advanced Estate, Gift, and Tax Planning
- Asset Protection Planning: Domestic and International
- International Estate and Tax Planning
- Trust, Estate, and Probate Administration
- Family Business and Succession Planning
- Charitable Giving
- Special Needs Trusts for Persons with Disabilities
- Trusts for the Beneficiary with Special Consideration
- Fiduciary Consultation
- Expert Witness
- Trustee Services
- Estate and Gift Tax Return Preparation
- Planning for Pets
- Organization of family limited liability company (LLC) to streamline wealth management, with subsequent creation of multiple grantor retained annuity trusts (GRATs) to receive leveraged gifts of LLC interests to minimize estate tax and pass wealth to younger generation
- Creation of charitable family private foundation to facilitate multi-generation impactful philanthropic endeavors
- Design and implement multi-tiered foreign asset protection structure for a client joining the board of directors of a publically traded company
- Design and implement domestic asset protection trust structure for a physician and her family
- Design and implement complex dynastic generation-skipping transfer tax trust which will avoid the estate tax for multiple generations, with the trust assets to serve as the “family bank” throughout the generations
- Use of “sale to grantor trust” device to transfer wealth to next generation where client has fully utilized gift tax exclusion
- Advise international family on the optimal structure for the purchase of US real estate for use of child attending college in Boston
- Adjunct Professor, Boston University School of Law, Graduate Tax Program, 2000-Present (Has taught courses in Estate and Gift Taxation and is currently teaching Estate Planning)
Books and Texts
- Chapter Five: Special Drafting Considerations for Asset Protection Trusts: The Offspring of Offshore Trusts. Asset Protection Strategies: Wealth Preservation Planning with Domestic and Offshore Entitles (American Bar Association 2005)
- Chapter Eight: Planning Bequests or Gifts to Grandchildren. Drafting Estate Plans (Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education 2006 – 2012) (co-author)
- The Trustworthy Advisor, a monthly column appearing in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly
- The Foreign Bank Account Bomb – How to Defuse It Estate Planning Magazine
- The Mechanics of Expatriation at the Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education’s Annual Estate Planning Conference
- The Great Escape: Charting the Course for the Vacation Home, Boston Bar Association
Prying the Cold, Dead, Fingers of the Decedent Off Of The Gun: Fiduciaries and Firearms Boston Estate Planning Council
- Cyberspace – the New Frontier of Estate Planning MA Bar Association 2nd Annual Probate Law Conference
- Asset Protection Guide for Financial Service Professionals, 50th Annual Harris M. Plaisted New England Conference of Financial Service Professionals
- The Massachusetts Estate Tax: What Is It, How To Calculate It, and How to Plan To Eliminate It, Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants
- Asset Protection Planning Up-Dates: Practical Strategies and Drafting Tips to Minimize Risk, ALI-ABA Live Video Webcast (Washington D.C.)
- The Rules of the Game: Transfer Tax Planning for the Non-Resident Alien, Boston Bar Association
- The Bankruptcy Act of 2005, Massachusetts Association of Public Accountants, Combined Institute of Federal and State Taxation
- New Developments in Generation Skipping Transfer Tax Planning, American Bar Association Joint Taxation and Probate/Real Property Meeting, San Francisco
- Preserving and Transferring the Principal Residence Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education Seminar
- Turning Asset Protection Into Asset Collection: A Creditor’s View. New Hampshire Estate Planning Council
- Federal and State Transfer Taxes; Uses of Insurance in Estate Planning; and The Art of Charitable Giving, Estate Planning Basics, Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education
- Offshore Trusts and The Mechanics of Establishing Them, 16th Annual Symposia, Real Property, Probate, & Trust Law, American Bar Association (Washington D.C)
- Special Considerations in Drafting Asset Protection Trusts, 15th Annual Symposia, Real Property, Probate, & Trust Law, American Bar Association (Seattle, Washington)
- Lifetime Asset Transfers and Section 529 Plans, Estate Planning Basics, Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education
- Common Estate Planning Errors, Boston Bar Association
- Ten Tax Tips, Massachusetts Women Lawyers Association
- Generation Skipping Transfer Tax Planning published in The Best of MBA-CLE, Massachusetts Bar Association
- Practicing with Professionalism Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education
- Ten Best Practices: Joining a Nonprofit Board Boston Estate Planning Council
- Valuations, Appraisals, & Tax Reports: An Estate Planner’s Guide Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education
- Quoted in “Pets: Who Would Care For Them If You Couldn’t?”, Animals Magazine
Presentations & Speaking Engagements
- “Asset Protection Planning” at the Norfolk & Plymouth Estate & Business Planning Council, Lantana’s Randolph, MA – March 23, 2017
- “Implementing & Funding Marital/Credit Shelter Trusts” at the Mass Bar Association 4th Annual Probate Law Conference, Four Points Conference Center, Norwood, MA – November 18, 2016
- “Practicing with Professionalism” MCLE – September 12, 2016
- “Prying the Cold, Dead, Fingers of the Decedent Off Of The Gun: Fiduciaries and Firearms” BEPC Roundtable at the Hilton Boston – June 2016.
- “Practicing with Professionalism” MCLE – May 2016.
- “Turning Assets Protection Into Asset Collection: A Creditor’s View” NH Estate Planning Council – Bedford NH – May 2015.
- A Webinar “Domestic Asset Protection Trusts: Effectiveness & Ethics from the View of Planners & Creditors” American Law Institute – May 2015.
- “Turning Assets Protection Into Asset Collection: A Creditor’s View” 17th Annual Estate Tax & Financial Planning Seminar of the All Saints Children’s Hospital Foundation – February 2015.
- “Cyberspace – the New Frontier of Estate Planning” MA Bar Association 2nd Annual Probate Law Conference – November 2014.
- “Essential Estate & Asset Protection Planning 101” BU School of Medicine – October 2014.
- “Post-Mortem Planning” MCLE – October 2014.
- “The Devil is in the Details” Sechrest & Bloom- September 2014.
- “Practicing with Professionalism” MCLE – September 2014.
- “Ten Best Practices: Joining a Nonprofit Board” BEPC Roundtable at the Henderson House – June 2014.
- “Turning Asset Protection Into Asset Collection: A Creditor’s View” Merrimack Valley Estate Planning Council – May 2014.
- “Valuations, Appraisals, & Tax Reports: An Estate Planner’s Guide” MCLE – February 2014.
- American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC): Fellow. Committees: International Estate Planning and Fiduciary Income Tax
- STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners): Founding and current Co-Chair of the STEP USA Boston Chapter
- Boston Estate Planning Council: President (2009-2010); Executive Committee (2006-2008); Board Member (2004 – 2006)
- American Bar Association: Co-Chair, Asset Protection Planning Committee. Former Chair, Generation Skipping Tax Committee 2007-2009 (Real Property and Probate Section – Income and Transfer Tax Planning)
- Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE): Member; Estate Planning Curriculum Advisory Committee
- International Tax Planning Association
- Massachusetts Bar Association
Honors and Awards
- Boston Estate Planner of the Year (2014). Boston Estate Planning Council
- Recognized since 2009 by Law & Politics and Boston Magazine as a New England Super Lawyer in the field of Trusts and Estates
- Recognized by Best Lawyers in America (Trusts & Estates) since 2012
- Recognized as a Top Women Attorneys in Massachusetts since 2012
- Speakeasy Stage Company: Board of Directors; Member, Executive Committee
- Brookline Community Foundation: Member, Board of Trustees. Former Chair of the Professional Advisors Committee
- Massachusetts Bar Foundation: Member, Board of Trustees
- President’s Alumnae Advisory Council, Colby-Sawyer College (N.H.)
- Massachusetts, 1982
- United States Tax Court, 2000
- District of Columbia, 1979
- United States Courts of Appeals for the Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Ninth Circuits, 1980
- Boston University School of Law – LL.M., Graduate Tax Program, May 1996. Class Rank: 5th
- Washington College of Law, The American University, Washington, DC – J.D. 1979 Labor Law High Achievement Award
- Douglass College (Rutgers University), New Brunswick, NJ – A.B. with honors, 1976. Eagleton Institute Honors Scholar
- Colby-Sawyer College, New London, N.H. – Associate of Arts, 1974. Social and Behavior Science Award