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David J. McCabe is senior partner and Chair of Willkie’s Nationwide Private Wealth Group.  He has significant experience in all aspects of estate planning and administration, with emphasis on the development of sophisticated plans for high-net-worth individuals and their families.

Dave's practice includes the preparation of complex wills, trust agreements and related instruments, the representation of clients in estate tax and gift tax audits, and general counseling of clients in all phases of the administration of decedents’ estates and trusts.

For more than 40 years, Dave has taken a holistic approach to his work, and he excels at guiding his clients through the complexities of estate planning and estate and trust administration.  At Willkie, he is able to call upon the experience of his colleagues in a myriad of practice areas (alternative investment management, asset management, corporate, litigation, tax, real estate, securities law, executive compensation and intellectual property) to address the many issues confronted by his clients. 

Dave is an integral member of Willkie’s dynamic cross-discipline Family Office practice. A longstanding advisor to single- and multi-family offices, including many of the firm’s more than 80 family office clients, he provides comprehensive solutions to the complex issues facing today's wealthiest families. Dave takes pride in his and his team’s ability to work collaboratively with a family’s other advisers to craft integrated plans that best serve the needs of each family.  Dave's approach has been tremendously successful for the firm’s clients.  His greatest source of new relationships are referrals from existing clients and their advisers.

Dave also has experience advising clients on international estate planning.  The majority of that work relates to advising non-resident and resident aliens on the U.S. tax aspects of their plans. However, he has often worked with counsel from around the world to resolve multi-jurisdictional issues for families.

In addition to representing families, Dave’s clients include banks and trust companies.  He advises fiduciaries on their duties and responsibilities in managing estates and trusts.  He also advises fiduciaries and beneficiaries in estate and trust litigation matters in Surrogate’s Courts and the Supreme Court of the State of New York.

A growing part of Dave's practice includes the representation of public charities, private foundations and charitable trusts. He has advised directors and trustees of philanthropic organizations on a variety of corporate and tax issues, and has formed numerous private foundations and public charitable entities.

Dave has been consistently ranked by Chambers High Net Worth as a leading lawyer in the area of private wealth. Clients tell Chambers that Dave is "very practical with a great estate planning mind” and note that his “insights from his tenure are invaluable.” A client also appreciates Dave's “ability to synthesize lots of information to an effective message for clients” (2023). Dave is also consistently ranked by Best Lawyers in America and Super Lawyers as a leading lawyer in Trusts and Estates.

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Experience

  • Chambers High Net Worth – Private Wealth Law, New York, National: Eastern Region (2019-2023)
  • Chambers USA – Private Wealth Law, National: Eastern Region (2010-2018)
  • Best Lawyers in America – Trusts and Estates (2012-2023)
  • Super Lawyers – Estate Planning (2006-2021)

Dave is a Fellow of the American College of Trusts and Estates Counsel and was formerly Chair of the Committee on Trusts, Estates and Surrogate’s Courts of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.  He was also elected to the Legal Board of Trustees of Iona College (until June 2019) and served as Vice Chairman of the Board. He is presently a non-board member of the Audit Committee.

Dave has written and lectured on estate tax planning for high-net-worth individuals and small business owners, and has co-authored "Is Estate Planning Expensive?," Trusts & Estates Magazine (2004), "There But for the Grace…," Trusts & Estates Magazine (2002), "Transfer of Wealth," New York State Bar Association (1993) and New York Limited Liability Companies: A Guide to Law and Practice, West Publishing Company (1995).  He has also appeared on CNN’s Your Money and MSNBC’s Abrams Report as a commentator on various estate planning issues.

Dave has lectured for:

  • Harvard Business School Global Families in Business Conference – participated in the Advisory Panel for Family Enterprises 
  • Columbia Business School – guest lecturer on the topic of Family Business and Tax planning as part of the course in Family Business Management
  • Association of the Bar of the City of New York - numerous occasions
  • New York State Bar Association - numerous occasions
  • The New York Archdiocese’s Planned Gifts, Bequests & Endowment Committee - numerous occasions
  • The American Bar Association - numerous occasions
  • Private Client Legal Forum - Villa d'Este Lake Como, Italy
  • American Bar Association Annual Meeting

Credentials

Education


Fordham University School of Law, J.D., 1983 Iona University, B.A., 1980

Bar Admissions


New York, 1984

Court Admissions


United States Tax Court, 2009