About Janis

Janis Cowhey is a Principal in the Firm’s New York City office. She is a member of its Trusts and Estates Practice Group and the National Practice Leader of its Modern Family & LGBT Services practice group. Her focus is on complex estate, gift and income tax planning; estate and trust administration; planning for same sex couples and unmarried couples; individual and fiduciary tax compliance; and providing corporate counsel to clients.

Janis has refined a broad range of effective estate planning tools including QPRTs, GRATs, SLATs, CRUTs, CLATs, NIMCRUTs, and IDGTs. She works with high-net-worth individuals and families to assist them in developing comprehensive estate plans that minimize taxes while achieving their inheritance goals.

She has developed an expertise in working with domestic partners and non-traditional families including same sex married couples and unmarried couples. She provides income tax planning as well as tax return compliance, including filing amended returns based on the recent Supreme Court ruling in Windsor. She assists LGBT individuals, couples, and families navigate through the complex and rapidly changing tax and legal landscape of estate, gift, and income tax planning.

Janet works closely with owners of closely-held businesses and start-up companies. She advises clients on business strategies, succession planning, sale/purchase of their business, shareholder agreements and operating agreements.

Janet handles trust and estate administration and acts as the fiduciary’s trusted advisor handling all aspects of the process from inception to distribution. She prepares Court ordered as well as informal trust and estate accountings. She guides families and fiduciaries through the complex administration process.

Prior to joining the Firm in 2007, she was with a publicly-traded professional services company. Janet frequently lectures on topics related to estate and gift tax issues; estate planning strategies; and LGBT estate and income tax issues. She has appeared on TV and quoted in print media including the New York Times, as an expert on LGBT issues.

Professional & Civic Affiliations

  • New York State Bar Association, Trusts & Estates Section
  • New York City Bar Association, Member of LGBT Rights Committee
  • New York City Bar Association, Former Estate & Gift Tax Committee
  • Florida Bar Association
  • District of Columbia Bar Association

Articles, Seminars & Presentations

  • Same Sex Marriages: What You Need to Know in a Rapidly Changing Landscape
  • Tax & Legal Implications for Same Sex Couples After Windsor
  • Having the “Talk” With Your Company’s Owner Regarding Succession Planning
  • LGBT Panel – Same Sex Couples: Tax & Estate Planning Considerations
  • The New Estate & Gift Tax Legislation
  • Estate Planning 101
  • Interest Rates & Effects on Planning
  • The 709 Minefield
  • Shareholders Agreements, The Good, The Band & The Ugly
  • Income Taxation of Trusts & Estates
Practice Focus

Estate & Gift Planning
Modern Family & LGBT Services
Estate & Trust Administration
Individual & Fiduciary Tax Compliance
Business Transactions

Industry Focus

High-Net-Worth Individuals & Families
Same Sex Couples
Unmarried Couples
Closely-Held Business Owners
Start-Up Companies


Juris Doctor
St. John´s University, School of Law

Bachelor of Arts, Mathematics
State University of New York at Binghamton

Awards & Honors

Honored in the inaugural edition of “Notable Women in Accounting & Consulting” by Crain’s New York