David A. Holstein

“My clients expect that I will devote whatever time and effort it takes to answer a pressing question or move an important project forward.”

Individuals seeking to preserve their wealth, pass down a family business, or maximize the value of their companies need intelligent planning that reflects in-depth knowledge of business, tax  and estate law—and the certainty that the professional providing this sensitive level of service can be trusted. For over 30 years, individuals and businesses have trusted David Holstein to protect and position their assets for optimal growth, minimize their tax liabilities, and listen, understand and respond to their concerns.

David creates highly sophisticated wills, trusts and pre-marital agreements for his Estate Planning clients, allowing him to personalize these documents in accordance with each client’s specific wishes. David’s unique depth and breadth of expertise, his attention to detail, and his constant attention to the newest planning strategies and to developments in the law, gives him the skills to successfully guide his clients in all areas of estate planning.

Wealth Preservation often involves the establishment and management of trusts, the creation and transformation of entities holding business or investment assets, and the transfer of interests in these entities in tax-favored ways for the benefit of current and future generations.  David’s knowledge obtained from years of experience utilizing tax saving wealth preservation techniques helps protect, preserve and grow the wealth his clients have worked so hard to create.

David provides unparalleled Estate and Trust Administration services to his clients with the prowess gained from acting as a personal trustee for trusts and as an outside legal advisor to other trustees, and from his years of practice in estate and trust administration and in the preparation of gift, estate and fiduciary income tax returns.Business owners who need business, compensation and tax advice, or who want to purchase complementary businesses, sell their companies, or finance growth, can benefit from David’s skillful counsel as both a lawyer and business manager.  As part of his Business Law practice, David advises clients with his extensive knowledge of  partnership, corporate, tax and finance laws; and his years of experience advising manufacturing, retail, professional service, technology and agricultural clients.

“I am a passionate preserver of client confidences. Clients know that they can trust me to keep their most private information confidential.”

Estate Planning, Wealth Preservation and Estate and Trust Administration

For estates of all types and sizes, David will assemble a team of highly experienced professionals to create and implement a plan that makes the most sense for you and your successors, which may include:

• estate, retirement, estate tax, income tax and business succession planning
• family wealth preservation, utilizing gifts, sales, wills, trusts and estate freezing strategies
• post-death estate and trust administration and tax planning
• trust administrative services, including representing trustees and personally serving as a trustee for individual clients and their families
• charitable giving, including establishing and advising charitable foundations
• asset protection planning, including pre-marital and post-marital agreements and the establishment and funding of domestic asset protection trusts

Business Law

An exceptionally insightful advisor to his business clients, David has a deep understanding of what it takes to manage people and business operations. With the goal of providing the best advice to, and solutions for, his clients, David is focused on staying current with the constantly changing laws and decisions that impact his clients.  David’s clients include many successful manufacturing, retail, food production, high technology and professional service businesses, and  some of the largest dairy farms in New York State.

If you own a business, David can help you with:

  • executive compensation, including bonus, incentive and phantom stock plans
  • buy-sell and business succession issues
  • structural, transactional and tax-related matters
  • mergers, acquisitions, divestitures and sales of business assets and entities
  • negotiation and closing of financial transactions
  • the private offering of securities

In the sale of their businesses to third parties, including public company acquirers, David has represented companies as diverse as high-tech businesses in the utilities, software and telecommunications industries, a multi-state wine distributorship, a paging service provider, a specialty machine tool maker, an industrial pipe fabricator, a liquor outlet, a pharmaceutical manufacturer, a multi-state warehousing company, and numerous other businesses, large and small.  This breadth of experience provides the expertise necessary to represent you and your company in the negotiation and sale of your business to a third party.

If you need help in starting or growing your company, in establishing business and professional relationships with persons and companies crucial to your success, in reviewing or negotiating employment, independent contractor, financing, vendor, supplier, licensing, lease and other commercial agreements, in planning for business succession, or in the purchase of additional business assets or complementary business units and the financing of such a purchase, David will strategize, advise, review and negotiate on your behalf, whether it is with suppliers, vendors, employees, sellers, other equity holders, financial institutions, private investment funds or others.

“The goal is not only to create practical solutions to problems and implement the solutions to completion, but also to effectively communicate with my clients so that they understand and wholeheartedly adopt a plan that has been collaboratively designed exclusively for them.”


  • Lead attorney in a $55 million sale to a public company of a privately held international high technology business;
  • Principal attorney in the sales of a $20 million high technology business, a multi-state wine distributorship, a paging service provider, a specialty machine tool maker, an industrial pipe fabricator, a liquor outlet, a pharmaceutical manufacturer, and a multi-state warehousing company;
  • Business succession and tax planning for retail businesses, manufacturers, real estate developers and food processors, and for many major dairy operations, each with first and second generation participants involved in business operations;
  • Lead attorney in the establishment of a biodiesel processing and soybean-crushing facility;
  • Advisor to the trustee of a private foundation that is one of the largest in Central New York;
  • Advisor to clients establishing an endowed chair at a major university and to clients establishing a multi-million dollar fund at a regional community foundation;
  • Developer of gift and discounted sale transactions for numerous high net worth individuals;
  • Personal trustee and advisor to third party trustees of funded multi-generational dynasty and asset protection trusts;
  • Advisor to families with wealth preservation, generation-skipping, and estate tax concerns.

Affiliations and Acknowledgements

  • Best Lawyers in America (2018-2023) – Mergers and Acquisitions, Trusts and Estates
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Rated
  • Super Lawyers, New York Upstate Edition, Estate Planning & Probate 2015-2019; 2021-2023
  • New York State Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Florida Bar Association
  • American Health Lawyers Association
  • Estate Planning Council of Central New York

Community Involvement

  • Jewish Community Foundation of Central New York, Legal Counsel
  • Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science and Technology Foundation, Board Member
  • Everson Museum of Art, Board Member and Treasurer
  • ESF College Foundation, Inc., Board Member


Hi David,
I want you to know how much I appreciate everything you are doing for me. I know that it hasn’t been one of your favorite cases, but your work and efforts mean more to me than you realize. (Phil would (is) so grateful to you too.

Love, Alyse

Dear David,
Now that the dust has settled, both on the estate and the family dynamics, I’d like to thank you all for your careful attention to the financial and legal details of my father’s estate as well as your sensitivity and support during a stressful time. You held things together in a very even-handed way when it seemed that things were falling apart and helped me navigate through a complicated process according to my father’s wishes, and for that I am truly grateful.

Sincerely, Lynn

Thank you for your presentation at Friday’s Estate Planners Council lunch. It was a great summary of the current tax laws and will no doubt be very helpful to me as I talk with donors this year.

Best wishes,
Carrie Berse, CFRE, FAHP
President, Crouse Health Foundation

Now that the dust has settled, I want to thank you, personally, for the unbelievable level of effort that you put into this transaction.  I realize that the hours were billable.  I also realize that the amount of time that was required represents a significant sacrifice and disruption in your personal and professional life.  We needed you and you were there.  I will not forget your contribution and will always feel indebted. It was comforting to know that, while I was consumed by our VC’s and Tekelec management, that I could depend on each of you as if you were an extension of my management team (and even more importantly – me).  I did not have the time, or luxury to become as familiar with the complex nuances of the Merger Agreement.  However, I never once felt exposed. Thank you again.  I will always consider each of you to be invaluable colleagues that I can rely on when the challenge is peaking.

Regards, Rick Mace

The three of us want to thank you for your help and guidance throughout the buyout process.  We always felt we were in the hands of a professional! We think the buyer came away with the same feeling. It was especially important we get off on the right foot with the buyer and even though buyouts can stress relationships your handling of our end helped the relationship going forward.  We cannot thank you enough for that!

Frank & Diane Carioti Bill Haines


J.D., Harvard Law School, 1975
B.A., Harvard College, 1972


New York

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