John S. Kiely


John Kiely concentrates his practice in the areas of trust and estate planning, administration, and litigation. He advises clients on matters such as:

  • preparation of wills, revocable living trusts, life insurance trusts, and other types of irrevocable trusts
  • decanting of irrevocable trusts
  • gifts to spousal lifetime access trusts
  • sales to grantor trusts
  • administration of estates, including the preparation of estate tax returns
  • challenges to wills and lifetime transfers based on claims of undue influence or lack of capacity
  • admission to probate of improperly executed wills
  • reformation of wills
  • advice on gift reporting obligations and the preparation of gift tax returns
  • defense of estate tax audits
  • resolution of claims against estates, including tax claims
  • deferred payment of estate tax liability
  • tax planning related to expatriation

While in law school, John served as a legal extern to the Honorable Anita Florio of the Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department, of New York.

He has written articles for the New Jersey Law Journal about estate litigation, in particular about undue influences, lack of capacity claims, improperly executed wills, and reformation of wills based on probable intent.

John frequently lectures on estate planning topics, such as estate planning for digital assets, income tax planning aspects of estate planning, options for illiquid estates with significant estate tax liabilities, and about proposed legislative and regulatory action that would affect estate planning.

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  • 2017, Blank Rome Pro Bono Hero Award
  • 2014 and 2017, New York “Rising Star” in Estate Planning & Probate, listed in Super Lawyers®


Professional Activities

John has provided pro bono assistance to multiple federal inmates seeking amnesty through the Clemency Project, and for non-U.S. citizens seeking amnesty for New York State convictions that will result in deportation. John also regularly provides pro bono advice to low-income artists. In addition, John has provided pro bono assistance to an animal rescue organization.

John is a board member of the CUE Art Foundation, which operates a nonprofit gallery that provides career and educational opportunities to under-recognized artists. He is also a member of the Young Professionals Board of the Pajama Program, a charity which provides pajamas and books to impoverished children, and chairs the governance committee of the board.

In addition, he is an active member of The Junior Associates of The Museum of Modern Art (“MoMA”), the Contemporaries at the Whitney Museum, and serves as the vice-president of his co-op.



  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • New Jersey
  • New York


  • Fordham University School of Law, JD
  • New York University School of Law, LLM
  • Washington and Lee University, BA