Michael K. Rubenstein

Partner

CONTACT
Phone: 713-735-8531
Fax: 713-785-2091
Email: mrubenstein@ssbplaw.com
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PRACTICE AREAS
Estate Planning, Probate and Guardianship

Profile

After spending the first 20 years of his legal career developing his estate planning skills at a major downtown law firm, Michael decided to join SSBP in 2003. It has been a great match for both the firm and Michael from the beginning. Michael is a gifted attorney and is extremely personable. Estate planning is all about people and relationships. Clients regularly comment that Michael is not only friendly, caring and knowledgeable, but also good at explaining complex issues in a clear and concise manner.

Michael has a wide range of clients, including high net worth families, successful business owners, entrepreneurs, professionals, real estate developers, clients with significant life insurance, clients with blended families, and clients with aging parents and adult children. His experience includes wills, trusts, family limited partnerships, estate tax and income tax reduction, family business dynamics, charitable giving strategies and asset protection planning. When Michael meets with new clients, he discusses a thorough list of family, financial, and tax-saving issues to insure that all of his clients’ objectives are addressed.

Michael’s Practice Includes

Wills and Related Documents
Wills
Revocable Living Trusts
Medical and Financial Powers of Attorney
Living Wills

Estate Tax and Income Tax Reduction
Life Insurance Trusts
Spousal Access Trusts
Lifetime Gifting Strategies
Deflecting Income to Children
Funding Grandchildren’s Education

Asset Protection Planning
Pre-Marital and Post Marital Agreements
Texas Exemption Planning
Family Limited Partnerships
Asset Protection Trusts

Charitable Planning
Donor-Advised Funds
Private Foundations
Charitable Remainder Trusts
Lifetime Giving Strategies
Gifts in Wills

Family Business Planning
Family Dynamics
Succession Planning

Caring for Aging Parents
Tax Reduction Planning
Discussion of Medicaid Planning
Discussion of VA Benefits

Education

University of Texas at Austin
B.S., Plan II Honors Program, 1981, magna cum laude
Phi Beta Kappa

University of Texas School of Law
J.D., 1983, with honors

New York University Law School
L.L.M. in Taxation, 1985

Representative Matters

  • Assisted the owners of a successful family business with estate planning both for the founders and their adult children, including transferring company stock to various trusts prior to the company’s significant appreciation and eventual sale for more than $300,000,000. Michael also assisted the family in establishing a charitable foundation and developing strategies to help ensure that the family’s future generations would be responsible stewards of both the family wealth and the foundation.
  • Guided the founder of an energy company in transferring stock to trusts for his wife, children, and siblings several years before the company’s IPO.
  • Helped a client with very significant business liability exposures to better protect his liquid investments through the use of a partition agreement, a family limited partnership, a “spousal access trust,” and revisions to his company’s bylaws.
  • Crafted a plan to meet clients’ charitable objectives, while maximizing income tax and estate tax savings through the use of current gifts of appreciated stock to a donor-advised fund, a private foundation and a charitable remainder trust.
  • Designed a plan for a successful technology entrepreneur with a blended family that provided both for his new wife and for his young adult children from his first marriage. This entailed setting up trusts for his adult children to own a portion of the business in order to reduce estate taxes and protect assets from potential creditors, including possible divorces, while using his liquid assets, life insurance and homes to provide for his wife.
  • Helped numerous clients understand and address the many issues that arise in caring for aging parents, including Medicaid eligibility, special needs trusts, Veterans benefits, Social Security, life insurance, long-term care insurance, healthcare documents, home healthcare issues, and the selection of assisted living and nursing homes.  This often included collaborating with or referring a number of specialists to help clients implement these plans.

Memberships and Affiliations

State Bar of Texas, 1984

Community Involvement

  • Houston Jewish Community Foundation, Board Chair 2008 – 2011
  • Jewish Federation, Executive Committee 2001 – 2007
  • Anti-Defamation League
  • Holocaust Museum Houston Foundation
  • Jewish Community Center
  • Emery-Weiner School
  • Shlenker School
  • Congregation Emanuel
  • AIPAC
  • Vita-Living

Recognitions and Awards

Rating in Martindale Hubbell “AV” (highest)
H Texas Magazine’s Top Lawyers of Houston
2016 – 2017

Personal

Michael enjoys playing golf, traveling, staying fit, participating in charitable and political organizations and spending time with his wife, Cheryl, and his daughter, Sydney.