Barbara E. Shiers is co-Chair of our Estate Planning & Administration Group and has served on the firm’s management committee for many years.
Ms. Shiers represents high net-worth individuals, professionals, and entrepreneurs in domestic and international estate, gift, and income tax planning, estate and trust administration, IRS audits, and probate and tax litigation. She has extensive experience advising individuals and fiduciaries in sophisticated estate transactions. She also advises public and private charitable organizations in a wide range of matters, including selecting tax-efficient organizational structures, securing tax-exempt status, and developing and negotiating donor agreements.
Ms. Shiers is a member of the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee (NPCC), the Estate Planning Council of New York City, the New York State Bar Association, the New York City Bar Association, The Florida Bar and the American Bar Association. She currently serves as a member of the NPCC Government Relations Committee. Ms. Shiers has also served as a member of the New York State Bar Association Committee on Women in the Law, the New York City Bar Association Committee on Non-Profit Organizations, the New York City Bar Association Estate and Gift Taxation Committee, and the New York City Bar Association Trusts, Estates & Surrogate’s Courts Committee. Her representation of America Gives Back, Inc., the organization that helped “American Idol” raise more than $75 million for disadvantaged children, was the subject of an article in the Columbia Law School Magazine.
She is admitted to practice in New York and Florida.
awards & recognition
"Super Lawyer" for Estate Planning and Probate Work
Top Estate Planning Lawyers in Avenue Magazine
New York Times Magazine featured source for "ask Super Lawyers" article on charitable giving
New York City’s top women lawyers in Avenue Magazine
Best Lawyers in America for Trusts and Estates
Law360 leading "Female Powerbroker"
Tufts University (BA, summa cum laude, phi beta kappa, 1974)
Columbia University School of Law (JD, Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, 1980)
Upcoming Speaking Engagements
Past Speaking Engagements
Barbara Shiers at “Savvy Estate Planning” at the Harmonie Club
Barbara Shiers speaks at the Columbia Law School Association and the Kent Affiliates of the 1754 Society's event, "Savvy Estate Planning", taking place at the Harmonie Club.
October 15 2015
Hot Topics for Not-for-Profit Boards
Barbara Shiers is part of the Financial Women's Association "Hot Topics for Not-for-Profit Boards" event at Frankfurt Kurnit.
December 4 2014
Women, Wisdom and Wealth: How Women Can Create, Retain and Pass On Wealth
Barbara Shiers speaks at the Women, Wisdom and Wealth: How Women Can Create, Retain and Pass On Wealth luncheon at the Museum of Modern Art.
June 25 2014
Tax Code Changes and Your Estate
Barbara Shiers speak at the Tufts Alumni event: Recent Tax Code Changes and How They Affect You, Your Family, and Your Estate, at the Kirkland and Ellis offices in NYC.
September 11 2013
New York State Society of CPA’s
Barbara Shiers speaks to an NYSSCPA audience on recent tax law changes and their impact on estate planning.
October 19 2012
Columbia Law School Alumni Breakfast at Frankfurt Kurnit
Barbara Shiers hosts a Columbia Law School alumni breakfast, which features guest speaker Anika Rahman, President of The Ms. Foundation.
June 29 2012
news & press
New York Remote Document Execution Expires August 5th
New York State Executive Order 202.48, issued July 6, 2020, which extended New York’s remote document execution procedures, is set to expire on August 5, 2020. Read more.
New York Extends Remote Document Execution to August 5, 2020
By Executive Order 202.48 issued July 6, 2020, New York’s remote document execution procedures are extended through August 5, 2020. Read more.
New York State Surrogate’s Courts Continue to Reopen
After weeks of uncertainty regarding commencement of probate petitions and the admission of Wills to probate, the New York State (NYS) Surrogate’s Court system has taken steps toward reopening for both essential and non-essential matters. Read more.
Remote Document Execution: Current Rules in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut
For the past month, we have been supervising the execution of our clients’ Wills and related estate planning documents through the use of audio-video technology, allowing for the completion of planning projects while maintaining appropriate social distancing. We conduct these signing conferences through the use of various technological platforms, depending on clients’ preferences or limitations – and all coordinated with clients beforehand. Read more.
Estate Planning Opportunities During the Pandemic
The pandemic’s effect on the economy has led to reduced valuations for many privately-owned and publicly-traded businesses, as well as reduced valuations for real estate and other assets. At the same time, interest rates remain at historically low levels. This unique economic environment can create estate planning opportunities for certain individuals and families. Read more.
Executive Order 202.14 Allows Audio-Video Witnessing for Execution of Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Health Care Proxies, and Appointments of Agent for Disposition of Remains
On April 7, 2020, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order No. 202.14, which allows for audio-video witnessing of Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Health Care Proxies and Appointments of Agent for Disposition of Remains. Read more.
Super Lawyers - New York Metro Top Women for 2020
The New York Times distributed the Super Lawyers list of the New York Metro Area's Top Women for 2020. Fourteen Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys made the list: Wendy Stryker (Employment Law), Victoria Cook, Lisa Davis & Jean Ward (Entertainment Law), Barbara Shiers (Estate Planning & Probate), Catherine Farrelly (Intellectual Property), Amelia Brankov, Kim Maynard & Maura Wogan (Intellectual Property Litigation) Candice Kersh & Terri Seligman (Media and Advertising). Sasha Levites (Entertainment Law) Danielle Maggiacomo & Rachel Santori (Intellectual Property Law) are listed as "Rising Stars."
SECURE Act Signals Significant Changes for Estate and Retirement Planning
The SECURE Act (which stands for “Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement”) was enacted at the end of last year and makes several significant changes to the laws governing retirement accounts. The changes will have consequences for both retirement and estate planning. Read more.
Increased Exemption for 2020 Creates Estate Planning Opportunities
The Federal estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax exemption amounts have increased in 2020, to $11.58 million per individual. Read more.
Thirty-three Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named to Super Lawyers Metro List for 2019
Super Lawyers magazine lists thirty-three Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2019 NY-area edition. Read more.
Thirty-six Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named in Super Lawyers Magazine for 2018
Super Lawyers magazine lists thirty-six Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2018 edition. Read more.
The Best Lawyers in America 2019
We are pleased to report that Best Lawyers — the oldest and one of the most respected peer reviewed lawyer recommendation services — continues to recommend Frankfurt Kurnit. Read more.
Is Now the Time to Revisit Your Estate Plan?
On December 22, 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the "Act") was signed into law. The Act temporarily doubles the estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer ("GST") tax exemption amount. Read more.
The Best Lawyers in America 2018
Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms" ranked Frankfurt Kurnit nationally in "Tier 1" in Advertising, Copyright, Entertainment - Motion Pictures and Television, and Trademark Law, "Tier 2" in Litigation - Intellectual Property, Media Law, and Trusts & Estates Law, and "Tier 3" in Commercial Litigation and Regulatory Read more.
Frankfurt Kurnit Assists With ‘Fun-Raising’
The New York Law Journal spotlighted our role in the wonderful Red Nose Day initiative, which raises millions of dollars for children’s causes. (Article behind paywall) View Article
Thirty-six Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named “Super Lawyers” for 2016
Super Lawyers listed thirty-six Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2016 edition. Read more.
IRS Proposes Rules to Deny Estate and Gift Tax Discounts for Family Businesses
There's important news for family business owners and their heirs. Read more.
The Best Lawyers in America 2017
In its 2017 edition, Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms" ranked Frankfurt Kurnit nationally in "Tier 1" in Advertising, Copyright, Entertainment - Motion Pictures and Television, and Trademark Law, "Tier 2" in Litigation - Intellectual Property, Media Law, and Trusts & Estates Law, and "Tier 3" in Commercial Litigation and Regulatory Enforcement Litigation. Read more.
In the Spirit of ‘Fun-Raising’
Recent Estate Tax Changes Create Planning Opportunities
On April 1, 2016, the New York State ("NYS") estate tax exclusion amount increased to $4,187,500, further narrowing the gap between the NYS estate tax exclusion amount and the Federal estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer ("GST") tax exemption amounts ($5,450,000 as of January 1, 2016). Read more.
Thirty-five Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named “Super Lawyers” for 2015
Super Lawyers listed thirty-five Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2015 edition. Read more.
The Best Lawyers in America 2016
Best Lawyers recognized our firm and 17 of our attorneys in their 2016 list. Read more.
Thirty-two Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named “Super Lawyers” for 2014
Super Lawyers listed thirty-two Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2014 edition. Read more.
Increased Exemptions Provide Estate Planning Opportunities
The current Federal estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax exemption amounts are projected to increase in 2015. Read more.
Best Lawyers 2015
Best Lawyers recognized our firm and 16 of our attorneys in their 2015 list. Read more.
New Law Significantly Impacts the New York State Estate and Gift Tax Regimes
On March 31, 2014, Governor Cuomo signed legislation to implement the New York State fiscal plan for 2014 - 2015. The legislation makes broad changes to the New York State estate and gift tax laws as well as some more technical changes to certain trust income tax rules. Read more.
Law 360 Powerbrokers
Female Powerbrokers Q&A: Frankfurt’s Barbara Shiers
Governor Cuomo Signs New York State Nonprofit Revitalization Act of 2013
On December 18, 2013, the "Nonprofit Revitalization Act of 2013" (the "Act") was signed into law by Governor Cuomo. The Act represents a major overhaul to New York's Not-for-Profit Corporation Law, the first of its kind in over 40 years. Read more.
Madeline and The Family Business
Frankfurt Kurnit in “Best Lawyers 2014”
In its 2014 edition Best Lawyers ranked Frankfurt Kurnit in "Tier 1" in Advertising, Copyright, Entertainment, Trademark, and Trust & Estates Law, "Tier 2" in Litigation (IP) and Media Law, and "Tier 3" in Commercial Litigation and Regulatory Enforcement Litigation. Read more.
Twenty-eight Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named “Super Lawyers” for 2013
Increased Exemptions Provide Estate Planning Opportunities
The current Federal estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer tax exemption amounts are projected to increase in 2014. Here are he projected adjustment, compared to 2012 and 2013. Read more.
Supreme Court Recasts Estate Planning for Same-Sex Spouses
As you probably know, two recent Supreme Court cases have altered the estate planning landscape. Here's a summary of what happened with the Defense of Marriage Act - and suggestions for how to proceed. Read more.
Frankfurt Kurnit Estate Planning Alert
As a result of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 signed by President Obama on January 2, 2013, the New Year has brought with it several permanent changes to the Federal estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer tax laws that are unexpectedly more favorable than those predicted in the closing months of 2012. Read more.
Nine Frankfurt Kurnit Women Honored As “Super Lawyers”
Nine Frankfurt Kurnit women appeared in The New York Times Magazine’s women "Super Lawyers" list for 2012. The list appeared on December 30th in a special section devoted to women attorneys in the New York metropolitan area. Read more.
Frankfurt Kurnit Top Ranked in Best Lawyers and Best Law Firms for 2013
Best Lawyers ranked Frankfurt Kurnit one of the "Best Law Firms" of 2013. Read more.
Twenty-four Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named 2012 NY-Area “Super Lawyers”
Super Lawyers listed twenty-four Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2012 edition. Read more.
Seventeen Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named 2011 New York-Area “Super Lawyers”
Super Lawyers named seventeen Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2011 edition. Read more.
Estate and Gift Tax Alert
The Tax Relief Act of 2010 was overwhelmingly passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama on December 17, 2010. The new law provides numerous tax benefits for businesses and individuals for the next two years. Read more.
2010 Year End Estate Planning
The end of 2010 brings more than the usual range of estate planning opportunities.As year-end approaches, so does the expiration of the Bush era tax cuts. The lame duck Congress' willingness to enact tax legislation before 2011 looks increasingly unlikely. Read more.
Estate Tax Update
By now, many of you have heard about the dramatic - and, many pundits would add, inexplicable - changes to the Federal estate tax law that became effective as of January 1, 2010 and will apply through the end of the calendar year. Read more.