Emilee K. Lawson Hatch

Emilee practices in the Trusts and Estates area. She is a native of the Rocky Mountains, where she grew up in Evergreen, Colorado.  Since settling in Syracuse, Emilee has developed a broad and sophisticated client base.

Emilee concentrates her practice in the areas of estate planning, trust and estate administration, and estate and gift taxation. Offering the assurance of complete confidentiality and responsive service, Emilee can put a client’s mind to rest on all matters relating to trusts and estates law, as she helps them draft a comprehensive, strategic and highly-personalized plan that addresses their goals and wishes.

As a previous author of the Syracuse Law Review’s Trusts and Estates Survey of New York Law, Emilee stays on top of recent changes in the law that affect her clients, while maintaining a practical approach to addressing their legal issues.

Wills and Trusts

It is important to Emilee to consider each client’s values and background as she helps them decide which type of estate plan will best fit their needs.  She can help you prepare documents that take into consideration:

  • Tax and family management issues
  • Planning for asset transfers to children, grandchildren and charities
  • Future inheritance
  • Elder law
  • Medicaid planning
  • Special needs and disability planning
  • Pet trusts
  • Revocable v. irrevocable trusts

Whether you have a large estate or relatively few assets, someone will have to address the distribution of those assets in the future. That process is never simple, but without proper planning—which includes taxes, family issues, beneficiary designations, and more—it can turn into a complicated web of problems for your heirs.

End-of-life Decision Making

Emilee assists her clients in navigating their end-of-life choices.  When possible, many individuals want some sort of control over their final moments.  Emilee can help ease your mind and simplify your options for you.

Probate and Estate Administration

Emilee will carefully guide you through the probate process, and can help you with gift and other tax returns, the transfers and funding of testamentary dispositions, and any probate litigation you might face.  Emilee works with families on the following matters:

  • Probate of will or appointment of administrator
  • Collection of assets and determination of their value
  • Payment of debts and administration expenses
  • Calculation and payment of estate taxes
  • Preparation and filing of estate tax returns
  • Audits of estate tax returns
  • Accounting to the beneficiaries of the estate
  • Distribution of the estate
  • Estate litigation

Probate and Trust Litigation

It is common for a probate or trust matter to become contested.  This can lead to heightened emotions, and family discord.

When disputes arise, Emilee works with her clients on creative, technical, and practical solutions to resolve emotionally charged and complex legal and financial issues.  These issues may include:

  • Disputes about the validity or terms of a Will or Trust
  • Asset transfer and ownership disputes
  • Disputes between beneficiaries and trustees
  • Questions about the competence or honesty of a fiduciary, whether executor, administrator, trustee, or guardian
  • Claims for an accounting
  • Questions about the need for a guardianship, or its proper scope or duration
  • Disputes over actions taken under a financial or medical power of attorney
  • Actions to replace fiduciaries such as trustees or guardians

Concierge Legal Services

Clients frequently come to Emilee when they do not have family members or friends they can comfortably rely on to assist them.  For those clients, additional legal assistance may be required.

In addition to drafting documents and providing estate and tax counsel, Emilee also offers more focused legal services and life management assistance.  In certain circumstances, she acts as trustee and/or executor for her clients, as well as agent under a power of attorney or health care proxy.

For clients who want an assured level of privacy and organizational assistance, Emilee is often called on to manage a variety of matters, such as:

  • Care coordination (in-home, nursing level, institutional)
  • Personal finances and tax planning
  • Life management assistance

If you would like assistance with your personal affairs, please call Emilee directly at 315-701-6419.

Affiliations and Acknowledgements

  • New York State Bar Association President’s Pro Bono Service Award for the 5th Judicial District (2015)
  • Certified Accredited Estate Planner (AEP) – Designated by the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils (NAEPC)
  • William Herbert Johnson Bar Association of CNY
  • CNY Business Journal, 40 Under Forty Award – 2014
  • Super Lawyers, Upstate NY Edition – Rising Star 2013 – 2017
  • Onondaga County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyer Project – 2014 Distinguished Service Pro Bono Award
  • New York State Bar Association, Elder Law and Trusts & Estates Sections
  • Estate Planning Council of Central New York
  • Massachusetts Bar Association
  • Finger Lakes Women’s Bar Association
  • Estate Planning Council of Tompkins County
  • Tompkins County Bar Association


Emilee is often invited to speak to community groups, professional organizations, churches, and companies.  If you looking for a guest speaker, please do not hesitate to reach out to Emilee directly.  Below is a partial list of completed presentations:

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  • Is a Trust Right for You?, Lifelong, Ithaca, NY (2018 and 2020)
  • Powers of Attorney, Disability and Elder Law Fair Finger Lakes Independence Center (2020)
  • Basic Planning, Disability and Elder Law Fair Finger Lakes Independence Center (2020)
  • Advanced Planning through the Aging Mastery Program, Lifelong, Ithaca, NY (2019 and 2020)
  • Take Care of Those you Love, Century Club, Syracuse, NY (2019)
  • Tax and Estate Planning for Physicians – Update, 6th District Medical Society Presentation, Ithaca, NY (2019)
  • Advanced Planning – Getting Your House in Order, The Ripple Effect Series, Cornell, Ithaca (2019)
  • Estate Planning for Singles and Child-Free Individuals, Cornell, Ithaca (2019) http://events.cornell.edu/event/estate_planning_for_singles_and_child-free_individuals
  • End-of-Life Planning sponsored by Frances House, Immaculate Conception Church, Fayetteville (2019)
  • You’ve been Meaning to Write a Will…Learn How to Get the Ball Rolling, Cornell, Ithaca (2019) https://events.cornell.edu/event/youve_been_meaning_to_write_a_will_-_how_to_get_the_ball_rolling
  • Institute for Caregivers, Session 2, Canton Woods Senior Center, Baldwinsville (2019)
  • Basic Estate Planning, Tomkins County Disability and Elder Law Fair, Ithaca, NY (2019)
  • Navigating Medical Decisions at End-of-Life, Tomkins County Disability and Elder Law Fair, Ithaca, NY (2019)
  • Charitable Planning sponsored by the Rescue Mission, Syracuse, NY (2019)
  • Estate Planning and Support, Parkinson’s Disease Support Group, Marshall Farms, Chittenango (2019).
  • End-of-Life Planning sponsored by Frances House, St. Joseph’s Church, Camillus (2019)
  • A Holistic Approach to Planning for Aging, Institute for Caregivers, Onondaga Free Library (2019) http://www.ongov.net/aging/documents/PlanningforAgingFall2019.pdf)
  • Peace of Mind Estate Planning, Institute for Caregivers, Onondaga Free Library (2019) http://www.ongov.net/aging/documents/PlanningforAgingFall2019.pdf)
  • Estate Planning for People without Heirs, Lifelong, Ithaca, NY (2018)
  • Health Care Decision Making, End-of-Life Symposium hosted by Frances House (2018)
  • Take Control of your Time, Talent and Treasure, Century Club, Syracuse, NY ( 2018)
  • Estate Planning Overview, New York State Bar Association CLE (2018)
  • Extremis Screening and Panel Discussion, hosted by Ithaca College Gerontology Department, Cinemapolis, Ithaca (2018)
  • Planning for Aging Panel, Soule Branch Library (2017)
  • Protecting Assets from Long Term Care Costs, DeWitt Seniors Presentation, DeWitt, NY ( 2017)
  • End-of-Life Decision Making, Elder Law Fair, Syracuse, NY (2016-2017), Ithaca College Gerontology Institute, Tompkins County Office of Aging, Ithaca, NY (2017), Lifelong, Ithaca, NY (2017)
  • Trusts, Estates, and the Legal Documents Every Woman Should Have, Lubin House, Syracuse University (June 13, 2017)
  • Basic Estate Planning, Elder Law Fair, Syracuse, NY (2011-2017)
  • Demystifying Trusts, Century Club, Syracuse, NY (2017)
  • Get your Estate in Order, DeWitt Seniors Presentation, DeWitt, NY (2016, 2017); Century Club, Syracuse, NY (2016)
  • Legal Ethics in Elder Abuse Cases, Elder Abuse Conference, Syracuse, NY (2016, 2017)
  • Take Care of Those You Love, Dewitt Seniors Presentation, Dewitt, NY (2017); Century Club (2016)
  • LGBT Legal Concerns, Elder Law Fair, Syracuse, NY (2014)


  • Life After Death, New York State Bar Association Journal, May 2018, Vol. 90, No.4
  • Emilee K. Lawson Hatch, Trusts & Estates, 2010-11 Annual Survey of New York Law, 62 Syracuse L. Rev. 845 (2012)
  • Emilee K. Lawson Hatch, Trusts & Estates, 2011-12 Annual Survey of New York Law, 63 Syracuse L. Rev. 991 (2013)
  • Emilee K. Lawson Hatch, Trusts & Estates, 2012-13 Annual Survey of New York Law, 64 Syracuse L. Rev. 979 (2014).

Community and Involvement

Emilee is an advocate for lifelong learning. She believes in providing opportunities for all people to have access to education and legal services. Emilee demonstrates her commitment to our community through her work with the following organizations:

  • Adjunct Professor, Syracuse University College of Law – Estate Planning class
  • Board Member, Syracuse Community Connections, Southwest Community Center.  The mission of the Center is to work with individuals, families, and communities to promote health and well-being through prevention, intervention and education.
  • Board Member and Chair of Development Committee, Volunteer Lawyers Project.  VLP provides access to justice by identifying and meeting the unmet civil legal services needs of low income individuals in Onondaga County.
  • Board Member, Social Arts Club.  The Club focuses on the study and support of visual art.
  • Professional Advisor Council, Community Foundation of Central New York.  The Foundation encourages and fosters philanthropy.
  • Legacy Committee, Rescue Mission Alliance.  The Mission provides programs to end hunger and homelessness.
  • Book Buddies (Syracuse 20/20), Volunteer, Seymour Elementary School (2017)
  • Volunteer Delivery Driver, Meals on Wheels of Syracuse.  MOW provides nutritious meals, nutrition education, and resource assistance to people in need.
See More Community Involvement
  • Leadership Greater Syracuse, Class of 2015.  The mission of LGS is to inspire current and future leaders to make a difference in the community where we live and work.
  • Volunteer at the Surrogate’s Court Legal Clinic and the Crouse and Upstate Hospital Legal Clinic.
  • Volunteer at the Vera House Legal Clinic, which provides advice and legal information to individuals seeking assistance at Vera House. Vera House is a local community organization which provides shelter, advocacy, and counseling services for women, children, and men, as well as education and prevention programs. Emilee has been a volunteer with Vera House, in various capacities since 2005.
  • Legal Clinic Attorney Volunteer at the “Say Yes to Education” Legal Clinics, which offer free advice to parents and students of Syracuse Schools.
  • Former Board Member, Christ the King Retreat House.  The Retreat House exists to provide opportunities for spiritual, personal and professional growth, healing and peace.
  • Former Board Member at Child Care Solutions, Inc., a nonprofit organization that promotes early learning and healthy development for all children through education, advocacy and support for families and early childhood professionals.
  • Former Board Member at The Newland Center for Adult Learning and Literacy, a nonprofit organization providing free adult literacy tutoring.
  • Former Board Member at the Onondaga County Bar Association, an organization that fosters the growth of the science of law, and facilitates the process of justice.
  • Former Board Member at Prevention Network, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting healthy choices to prevent addictions.
  • Former Board Member at the Central New York Women’s Bar Association, a nonprofit organization committed to the education and empowerment of women in the legal profession and in the community at large.
  • Former Assistant Coach of Syracuse Law School’s Outlaw Moot Court Team, which competes at UCLA’s Williams Institute Moot Court Competition, a competition dedicated exclusively to the areas of sexual orientation and gender identity law.
  • Former Adjunct Faculty at Cazenovia College – Sexuality, Gender and Law class


L.L.M. in Estate Planning, University of Miami School of Law, 2009
J.D., Syracuse University College of Law, 2008
B.S., Metropolitan State College of Denver, 2005


New York

U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York

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