About Us

Bigger is not always better. RLK practices only in the areas of trust and estate law. Other firms offer diverse services to clients. RLK does not. As a boutique firm, our clients receive a better service because we focus only on trusts and estates. However, within this legal niche, RLK ranks among the top firms in Las Vegas.

RLK understands that a law firm is a service-based industry. To be successful, clients must come first. The attorneys at RLK focus on our clients’ objectives while taking into consideration their concerns. Whether the legal work involves planning, administration, or a dispute, we believe our primary role is to educate our client so they are aware of the various options available (including the risks and rewards of each option), and can therefore make well-informed decisions.

There is no substitute for experience. The attorneys at RLK have over 80 years of combined experience. During this time, RLK’s attorneys have developed invaluable experience and proficiency with trusts and estates. By practicing in all aspects of this legal niche, we are able to view all legal issues from multiple angles (e.g. from a planning, litigation, and administration point of view). This creates a synergy that is difficult for other firms to match, which results in a higher quality of service to our client.

For example, RLK’s approach to estate planning is strengthened by the fact that we litigate issues regarding estates and trusts (often because someone else did not create an effective estate plan). Thus, we know how to structure an estate plan to avoid the issues we often litigate. Our trust/estate administration and litigation practice is enhanced by our understanding of the planning process. We know the underlying purpose certain provisions are included in an estate plan and can take action to defend such intentions. Attorneys who are just planners, or just litigators have a difficult time matching RLK’s depth of understanding in all aspects of trust and estate law.

In addition to having some of the best trust and estate attorneys in town, RLK believes in providing a quality service at a reasonable price. Our attorneys bill at or below the rate of our competitors. Additionally, we do not bill the client for many office administrative tasks. Unlike other firms, we do not charge for photocopies (i.e. our copy machine is not a profit center for us), facsimiles, parking, mileage, and long-distance calls.

As a boutique trust and estate law firm, RLK has three main areas of focus:

Estate Planning:

The primary goal of estate planning is to see that your assets will be managed and distributed according to your desires during your life and after your death. Most people focus on having a will or trust that meets the minimum legal requirements, but for a truly effective estate plan, the minimum legal requirements are usually not enough. An effective estate plan is one that truly accomplishes your objectives and that balances competing objectives according to your priorities.

RLK prepares all types of estate-planning documents, from the basic to the complex, including wills, revocable living trusts, irrevocable trusts, charitable trusts, Nevada asset-protection trusts, and private foundations. We can collaborate with other attorneys in the preparation of estate-planning documents, and we can provide a second opinion as to the validity of Nevada estate-planning documents.

Estate and Trust Administration:

For many people, handling a trust or estate after the death of a loved one is a new experience and can be overwhelming and confusing. The attorneys at RLK provide step-by-step guidance to ensure executors and trustees fulfill their duties and properly administer an estate. Such guidance provides or clients with the peace of mind they deserve while honoring the wishes of their loved ones.

Trust and Estate Litigation:

Our Trust and Estate Litigation Practice offers clients a team of attorneys widely recognized as being among the most distinguished, experienced, and successful litigators in the field of trusts and estates in Nevada. Many law firms involved in trust and estate litigation assign these cases to attorneys who are fundamentally estate planners with limited or no experience handling a major contested matter in the probate courts. Other firms rely on civil litigators with little or no experience in the field of trusts and estates.

We are unique because we offer seasoned trial attorneys with many years of experience in Nevada’s probate courts. The trial attorneys at RLK have in-depth knowledge of the substantive law and unique procedures applicable to probate and trust disputes. For this reason, we are often the firm of choice to represent corporate fiduciaries (including large financial institutions), charitable beneficiaries, and individual fiduciaries and beneficiaries in the most significant disputes involving trusts and estates. We handle disputes over the meaning of estate planning documents, arguments involving personal representatives or trustees, and challenges to documents based on lack of capacity or undue influence.

RLK is comprised of six attorneys: Layne Rushforth, Kennedy Lee, Daniel Kiefer, Matthew Park, Brendan Bybee, and Joseph Powell. Layne, RLK’s founder, is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, and is a past chair of the Probate and Trust Law Section of the Nevada State Bar. RLK has consistently been ranked as a Best Law Firm for trust and estates by U.S. News & World Report, and the attorneys have received numerous peer recognition honors, including:

ACTEC

The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) is a national organization of approximately 2,600 lawyers elected to membership by demonstrating the highest level of integrity, commitment to the profession, competence, and experience as trust and estate counselors. ACTEC is often considered the most elite organization for trust and estate attorneys.

Martindale-Hubbell AV Rating

Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings are often considered the gold standard in attorney ratings. These ratings are based on a combination of achieving a high ethical standards rating and a high legal ability rating.

US News

The U.S. News Best Law Firms rankings are determined by client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process.

Super Lawyers

Super Lawyers selects attorneys based on a combination of peer nominations and independent research. Each candidate is evaluated on 12 different criteria of peer recognition and professional achievement.