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Karen E. Yates

545 Long Wharf Drive
Ninth Floor
New Haven, Connecticut 06511
Phone:  203.672.3208
Mobile Phone:  203.506.5238
Fax:  203.672.3234


Karen’s practice is focused on wealth planning. She works with trusts and related business structures to preserve, protect and grow family wealth. Karen regularly advises individuals, families and family offices, providing legal advice on tax planning, family governance and fiduciary administration.

A significant portion of Karen’s practice involves restructuring trusts to increase efficiency, address changed circumstances and better suit the needs of the families they benefit.

Speaking Engagements

  • "Fundamentals of Post-Mortem Administration," American Bar Association, Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law, April 27, 2017 and March 15, 2018 
  • “Whose Trust Is It Anyway?” Presentation for the Connecticut Estate & Tax Planning Council, Inc., February 16, 2016
  • “Estate and Gift Planning and Compliance,” Surgent Professional Education, November 5, 2015
  • “Mismatch Rematch: Realigning the Estate Plan to Avoid Unexpected Pitfalls,” Federal Tax Institute of New England, October 30, 2015
  • “Enhancing Your Client’s Estate Planning by Using Trusts Created by Their Parents,” 41st Annual Notre Dame Tax & Estate Planning Institute, September 27-28, 2015
  • "The Latest Estate Planning Ideas and Strategies,” Surgent McCoy CPE, May 2014
  • “Set it, But Don't Forget It - Pitfalls to Avoid in Administering Estate Planning Techniques,” Connecticut Bar Association Estates & Probate Section, April 2014
  • "Planning For Today: Estate Planning," Janney Montgomery Scott, June 2010
  • "Individual and Business Tax Update: Estate Tax," Tucker-Jacobs C.P.E., December 2009
  • "Reunited (And It Feels So Good): Death and Taxes in Connecticut," Connecticut Estate & Tax Planning Council Inc., November 2009
  • "Why Smart Women Finish Rich: Strategies for the Savvy Professional Woman," Women's' Business & Professional Network, March 2008
  • "Crossing State Borders in Trust and Estate Law: Connecticut," New York City Bar Association, December 2007
  • "Estate Planning in a Time of Uncertainty," AICPA Practice Report, October 2005
  • "Installment Sales to Defective Trusts, Dispelling the Myths, Spelling Out the Opportunities," November and January 2004

Published Works

  • “2015 Changes to Connecticut Estate Taxes,” Connecticut Bar Association Estates & Probate Newsletter, June 2015
  • "IRS Voluntary Disclosure Regime Expands Maximum Penalty Bracket," Accounting Today,, January 30, 2015
  • "Better Not Pout - Like it or Not, U.S. Citizens Owe U.S. Taxes," Trusts & Estates,, December 2014
  • “New York Tax Law Changes,” Connecticut Bar Association Estates & Probate Newsletter, December 2014
  • “IRS Attacks Common Estate Planning Technique in Estate of Woelbing,” Connecticut Bar Association Estates & Probate Newsletter, June 2014
  • "IRS Blesses Decanting?", May 2014
  • "The single family office structure: Will it stand the test of time?" Family Business Agenda 2010, November 2010
  • "The Preferred Partnership GRAT - A Way Around the ETIP Issue?" 35 ACTEC Journal 289, Winter 2009
  • "Disregarded But Not Forgotten," Trusts and Estates magazine, October 2009
  • "Charitable Lead Annuity Trusts - A Primer," Taxation of Exempts, Volume 19/Issue 1, July/August 2007

Legal Experience

  • LeClairRyan, New Haven, Connecticut, 2015 – Present
  • Withers Bergman LLP, New Haven and Greenwich, Connecticut, 1999 – 2015

Memberships and Affiliations

  • The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC): Fellow
  • Connecticut Bar Association: Executive Committee, Decanting Subcommittee, Estates and Probate Section; Member, Tax Section
  • New York State Bar Association
  • American Bar Association: Member, Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section; Member, Taxation Section
  • Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP)
  • Connecticut Estate and Tax Planning Council


  • AV-Preeminent rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Recognized by Law & Politics magazine as a Connecticut "Super Lawyer" - Estate & Probate, 2017-2018. 


  • J.D., Cornell Law School, 1996
  • B.A., Political Science, magna cum laude, American University, 1993

Bar Admissions

  • Connecticut
  • New York
  • District of Columbia
  • Pennsylvania
  • Massachusetts

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Tax Court