With more than 40 years of experience in estate planning, Thomas E. Peckham’s practice focuses on the areas of sophisticated estate planning for high net-worth individuals, estate and trust administration, and related tax and business planning. Tom has served as the Massachusetts State Chair of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and is a former member of the State Chairs’ Steering Committee.
Tom uses discount planning, estate freezing, and leveraged gifting techniques to help his clients make tax-efficient transfers. Since 2007, Tom has taught Advanced Estate Planning in the Boston University School of Law Graduate Tax Program. The Boston Estate Planning Council named Tom “Estate Planner of the Year” in 2013.
Prior to joining Morgan Lewis, Tom was a partner in the estate planning practice of another international law firm, where he served as head of the estate planning group.
Over a period of five weeks, met with a new client who was a citizen of an eastern European country, but was subject to US estate and gift tax laws; developed a structure for a plan resulting in eliminating payment of estate tax and creating potential for hundreds of millions of dollars to pass in trust for children, tax-free; met with client again to confirm details of plan; and drafted all required documents. This matter was especially time-sensitive because of the impending public offering by the client’s company.
Over a period of more than 20 years, worked with two generations of a family to design and implement a family foundation. A particularly satisfying part of this engagement has been the enhanced communication that developed between parents and children, and among siblings.
Mediated or acted as facilitator in numerous family disputes as well as disputes between trustees and beneficiaries and among trust beneficiaries
Designed a plan using a limited partnership to transfer a family vacation compound to children along with an income-producing office building to “endow” the vacation property
Led a coordinated effort to develop a sophisticated tax plan, resolve an employment law and minority shareholder issue, and reorganize a client’s closely held company while, at the same time, helping to bring closure to the client’s stalled divorce negotiations
Over the past several years, designed and implemented numerous Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (GRATs), resulting in the nearly tax-free transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars to children and trusts for children
Boston University, 1976, Master of Laws
Boston University School of Law, 1972, Juris Doctor
Brown University, 1969, Artis Baccalaureate
US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
US Court of Federal Claims
US District Court for the District of Massachusetts
US Supreme Court
US Tax Court
Awards and Affiliations
Band 1, Private Wealth Law, Massachusetts, Chambers High Net Worth (2016-2019)
Recognized, Trusts and Estates, Boston, The Best Lawyers in America (2008–2019)
Recognized, Massachusetts Super Lawyers (2004–2017)
Estate Planner of the Year, Boston Estate Planning Council (2013)
Fellow, American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, Chairman of the ACTEC Massachusetts State Committee (2013–2017)
Member, Boston Bar Association
Member, Massachusetts Bar Association
Member, American Bar Association
Member, Boston Estate Planning Council
Member, Boston Probate and Estate Planning Forum
Adjunct Professor, Advanced Estate Planning, Boston University Law School Graduate Tax Program (2006–2018)