At a Glance
Robert W. Kessler is a retired Partner in the firm and member of the Family Wealth & Estate Planning Practice Group where he concentrates his practice in estate planning, charitable giving, estate administration, probate and estate tax law.
- Named a "Leader in Law" in 2014 by the Daily Record.
- Included in the current edition of “The Best Lawyers in America" and "Super Lawyers" magazine for his practice in the area of Trusts and Estates.
- Recipient of the Joe U. Posner Founders Award from the Rochester Area Community Foundation for his work on community philanthropy.
- Frequent lecturer on estate planning and estate tax subjects
Cornell University Law School, J.D.
Hamilton College, B.A
State of New York
Key Representative Matters
- Works with clients to develop the proper estate plan from simple estates with young children to large estates with complicated assets such as closely held businesses.
- Counsel clients daily on ways to reduce estate taxes and protect assets from claims of creditors and nursing home spend-down.
- Handled estate tax audits with closely held businesses and obtained significant discounts through use of family limited partnership and limited liability companies.
- Advised clients on generation-skipping tax issues to pass on the maximum exempt amounts to grandchildren.
- Advised wealthy clients on purchase of life insurance in irrevocable trusts to provide liquidity for family and estate taxes.
- Advised numerous clients on charitable giving plans to reduce estate taxes and still provide for family using outright charitable gifts, charitable remainder trusts, funds with charitable organizations, and private foundations.
- Trusts and Estates Section of the Monroe County Bar Association
- Estate Planning Council
- Planned Giving Council at the University of Rochester Medical School
- Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel since 1995
Past President of Board and member for 15 years for the Seneca Waterways Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
Former Chair of the J. P. Wilmot Cancer Center Advisory Board where he is also involved with the committee to raise funds for the Cancer Center and cancer research.
Former Chair and Board member for the Rochester Area Community Foundation.
- 9-14-20 Robert W. Kessler named Lifetime Achievement Award Honoree and David P. Shaffer named Leader in Law Honoree.
- 8-15-2019 Twenty-five Woods Oviatt attorneys named to the Best Lawyers in America List.
- 8-14-19 35 Woods Oviatt Attorneys Named to the 2020 Super Lawyers List
- 8-14-17 Twenty-Six Woods Oviatt Attorneys Named to "Best Lawyers in America"
- 8-18-2016 Five Woods Oviatt Attorneys Named "Lawyers of the Year" and Twenty-Six Attorneys Named to "Best Lawyers in America" List.
- 8-15-2016 Twenty-Four Woods Oviatt Gilman Attorneys Named to the 2016 Super Lawyers List
- Charitable IRA Rollover for 2015 - A Tax Benefit for People Over the Age of 70 1/2 Years Old
- Robert W. Kessler, Esq. Named as a "Leader in Law" by The Daily Record.
- Twenty-Four Woods Oviatt Attorneys Named to "Best Lawyers in America" List.
- Thirteen Woods Oviatt Attorneys Are Included on the 2014 Upstate New York Super Lawyers List and Three Attorneys Are Named 2014 Upstate New York Rising Stars.