Robert W. Kessler


At A Glance

Robert W. Kessler is a 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.


Cornell University Law School, J.D.

Hamilton College, B.A

Bar Admissions

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.

Professional Affiliations

  • 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


  • 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.
  • Published “Ten Common Estate Planning Mistakes and Solutions.

Community Involvement

  • Board member for the Seneca Waterways Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
  • Former Chair of the J. P. Wilmot Cancer Center where he is also involved with the committee to raise funds for the Cancer Center and cancer research.
  • Former board member for the Rochester Area Community Foundation.
  • bob kessler