For Attorneys

We Take the Burden Off Your Firm for Valuation, Clean-Out, Chattel, Sales, & Much More

By Howard Morrel & Leslie Hirsch

Trustees and heirs often expect their estate attorney to help plan the sale or transfer of real estate (and art and jewelry and more)—but it’s a tough ask.

Properties may be tied up in probate while costs mount. Values are ever-shifting, and it’s crucial to keep track of all the related issues. Tax questions can be thorny and highly particular to a region. Estate monies may not be immediately available for fixing up properties to sell.

Tasks That Should Not Tie Up Law Firm Time & Staff

To move things along, law firms are often forced to ask staff members, paralegals, or even junior attorneys to engage on issues like property cleanouts, auctions, repairs, local tax planning, or other high-hassle tasks. You and your staff may be asked questions they are unequipped to handle, like: Can my brother move into that co-op or do we have to sell it? Should we sell the antique Steinway? If not, who gets it? And how can we move it?

Most Real Estate Agents Do Not Have the Required Expertise or Range of Services

Meanwhile, most real estate agents and brokers simply don’t understand the issues around trusts and estates and aren’t equipped for the complexities of these kinds of sales. Typical brokers want a quick transaction and have little patience for drawn-out discussions among heirs, lengthy probates, or digging into the tax implications of an immediate sale.

Christie’s Provides Unparalleled Support in Trusts & Estates Property Sales

The Trusts & Estates Division at Christie’s International Real Estate Group provides a unique set of services in this realm. The division is overseen by Morrel Hirsch & Advisors out of New York, where we’ve spent decades building a specific practice in trusts & estates property sales. We’ve worked with dozens of estate attorneys, trained an expert team, and maintain relationships with trusted vendors in all the required trades.

Complete Support in New York, the Nation, and the World

Our range of services is complete: from appraisals to cleanouts, repairs, staging, and auctions of goods. An engagement might include a full year of inventorying, helping heirs divide up chattel, timing a sale for maximum returns, and marketing to the right potential buyers. We partner only with the best service providers, and of course, we maintain close coordination with Christie’s Auction House.

Often, we can advance funds for this work at no interest.

Our expertise includes navigating the complications (and board negotiations) that may arise in co-op apartments, condominiums, and business properties—the full range. You will find that we are patient, meticulous, and here for the long term

The Morrel Hirsch & Advisors team is well-known for our work in New York and Brooklyn, but through Christie’s we handle properties across the U.S. and the world for trustees, heirs, and family offices—often over extended periods and in the most complex situations.

Howard Morrel is himself an attorney, as well as a fiduciary in Part 36 of the Surrogate’s Court of New York, certified for Guardianship sales—and we are often asked to work discreetly with celebrity estates.

Howard Morrel & Leslie Hirsch head up the team.

Let’s Discuss the
Needs of Your Firm

If you are an estate attorney, we invite you to take a look at our Services Page and read some of our case studies, below. Then, please contact us to discuss a specific matter–or simply to establish a relationship for the future.

We’d love to sit down with you and your team to understand how we could support your clients and your firm. Please give us a call at (212) 956-4823.

All the best,
Howard, Leslie, & Team
Attract Excellence  →  Deliver Perfection
Services to Attorneys & Families
Services to Guardians
Trusts & Estates Case Studies
Set Up a Meeting

Don’t waste your firm’s time and energy; let the experts get it done. Discretely. Efficiently. Strategically.

Firms We Have Worked With Include

  • McDermott Will & Emery LLP
  • McLaughlin & Stern, LLP
  • Meyer, Suozzi, Engl ish & Klein, P.C.
  • Pryor Cashman LLP
  • Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
  • Becker, Glynn, Mussly, Chassin & Hosinski LLP
  • Seyfarth Shaw LLP
  • White & Case LLP
  • Andersen Tax
  • Bousquet Holstein
  • Herrick Feinstein LLP
  • Reed Smith LLP
  • The Goldman Sachs Group
  • Withers Bergman Worldwide
  • Bank of America Private Bank
  • Kleinberg Kaplin Wolf & Cohen
  • Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, P.C.
  • Loeb Block & Partners LLP
  • U.S. Trust Corporation
  • Day Pitney LLP
  • Brown Brothers Harriman
  • Raoul Felder and Partners, P.C.
  • Duane Morris LLP
  • Baker McKenzie

Notable Work in Trusts & Estates Property Sales

Upper East Side Co-op

One Manhattan Square | 225 Cherry Street, New York | $18,000,000 | Sold by Morrel Hirsch & Advisors

CHALLENGE:

Two brothers inherited their parents’ Upper East Side co-op apartment, which had been occupied for over 50 years and contained a lifetime of belongings. One brother was a high-powered executive on the West Coast whose directive to our team was to “just take care of it and send the check.” The other brother lived locally and felt more of a personal attachment to his parents’ items.

SOLUTION:

Morrel Hirsch & Advisors met with the local brother and our highly skilled estate moving advisory partners to devise a plan to stage the apartment for sale using existing furniture while simultaneously sorting all personal items for family members, donation and disposal.

RESULT:

The brother on the West Coast was pleased to have the process fully managed. The family was very satisfied with the result, and the apartment sold for $3.2 million, a premium price for the building. In addition, while reviewing the parents’ belongings, the team uncovered a box of the father’s WWI war medals and other items that were meaningful to the family and would likely have been discarded with a less thorough approach.

Upper East Side Townhouse

The Halston House | 101 East 63rd Street, New York | $18,000,000 | Sold by Morrel Hirsch & Advisors

CHALLENGE:

The attorney for a family office that owned a large Upper East Side townhouse and a 6-acre oceanfront compound in the Hamptons required extensive assistance with the valuation, appraisal, and sale of the real estate properties and a thorough assessment of the market value of all of the personal property in both locations. The latter included significant artwork, sculptures, antique furniture, and collectibles requiring specialized knowledge.

SOLUTION:

Morrel Hirsch & Advisors tapped into our extensive network of experts to ensure the right talent was in place. In addition to providing an astute valuation of the Manhattan townhouse and Hamptons estate, we arranged and supervised visits and evaluations conducted by Heritage Auctions, Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and Bonhams.

RESULT:

By creating an organized presentation of all items to the executor, attorney, and family, they could easily make decisions on what to do with the belongings after the sale. The Hamptons property sold for over $40 million, and the Manhattan townhouse sold for $8.9 million.

The Halston House

Hamptons Family Office

Mansion | 317 Murray Place Southampton, New York | $57,500,000 | Sold by Morrel Hirsch & Advisors

CHALLENGE:

The Executor and the Estate’s attorney required local know-how and expert advice in representing a client who had inherited a piece of protected wetland in East Hampton many years prior. The town of East Hampton was in the process of purchasing wetland parcels from individual owners. However, the estate attorney required guidance to propose a purchase price to the township for the unique property.

SOLUTION:

Morrel Hirsch & Advisors provided a thorough comparative market analysis as well as a formal appraisal to use in determining a fair market price for the land.

RESULT:

The Executor was able to use our valuation to negotiate a sale with the town of East Hampton. The Family Office was happy to liquidate an otherwise unusable piece of land. Both parties have since referred multiple Estate clients to us.

East Village Guardianship Sale

Penthouse | 5 Tudor City Place, New York | $6,750,000 | Sold by Morrel Hirsch & Advisors

CHALLENGE:

The court-appointed legal Guardian of a world-renowned Wall Street executive needed specialized assistance in managing the sale of the executive’s East Village home. Due to the owner’s fame, the transaction necessitated discretion and sensitivity. Although the apartment was situated in a highly desirable location, it was in severe disrepair and uninhabitable. Adding to the challenge, the seller passed away during the sale process.

SOLUTION:

Due to the Morrel Hirsch & Advisors team’s sterling reputation, the Guardian entrusted us to work with absolute discretion and privacy. To prepare the property for sale and achieve the best price for the estate, we handled all the logistics, electrical work, repair of extensive water damage in the kitchen and bathroom, furniture staging, cleaning, and more.

RESULT:

The resulting sale set a new record for the building. We were able to find a cash buyer who was willing to accept the property in as-is condition, which prevented the Estate from having to invest in more costly renovations. Moreover, the entire transaction was conducted with the privacy and care that the Guardian required. The Guardian has since referred over a dozen clients to us.

Work With Us

Morrel Hirsch & Advisors is a tightly knit group of strategically handpicked, multilingual experts, collectively dedicated to the needs of their clients.