Karen Schaefer

Karen Schaefer, Chair of Business Succession Planning

Chair of the Business Succession and Estate Planning Practice Group
Member of the law firm’s Management Committee

Associated Practice Areas: 

Business Succession Attorney

Estate and Trust Planning; Business Succession Planning; Tax Structuring and Planning; Trusts and Estate Administration; Elder Care Planning; and Business and Corporate Law

Trust and Estate Planning Services
Karen Schaefer represents clients in developing a comprehensive estate plan, which balances financial and tax implications with family and business objectives and realities. She counsels her clients on all aspects of trusts and estate matters including estate, gift and income tax planning; administering trusts and estates; preparation of wills, trusts (including revocable living trusts and a variety of irrevocable trusts), durable powers of attorney, health care proxies and beneficiary designations; restructuring and coordination of assets. Karen also aids clients in matters regarding prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, estate plan design, elder law issues, family limited partnerships and limited liability companies.

Business Law and Business Succession Planning Matters
Karen counsels business owners in addressing the myriad of legal and tax issues facing the business, including succession planning; tax planning; financial transactions; mergers and acquisitions; general business counseling; the formation and structuring of business entities including C and S corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships, professional corporations and other entities for licensed professionals; developing owner agreements, such as operating, shareholders’ and buy-sell agreements to achieve business and estate planning purposes.

Karen is committed to developing the best personal and business plan for her clients to meet their needs and objectives. She believes the key elements in this process are good communication, a strong knowledge base and a skilled understanding of the business and the needs of the business owner.

See Karen’s articles on business succession planning in the Rochester Business Journal:

Business Succession Planning as Strategy (June 23, 2017).  Read the article

Spousal Claims Against the Business (June 3, 2016).  Read the article

Business Transition in Crisis: Owner Agreements (June 5, 2015). Read the article

Business Succession Planning in NYS (May 16, 2014). Read the article

Business Planning: Permanent Uncertainty (May 17, 2013). Read the article

Business Succession Planning 2012 and Then, the Abyss...(May 18, 2012). Read the article

Business Succession Planning in 2011 and 2012 (April 21,2011). Read the article

Business Succession Planning in an Uncertain Tax Environment (May 21, 2010). Read the article

Business Succession Planning, Part II: Buy-Sell Agreements (April 24, 2009). Read the article

Succession Planning for the Closely Held Business (April 25, 2008). Read the article


Albany Law School (J.D., 1979)
Michigan State University (B.A., Economics, 1976)


New York State Bar
United States District Court, Western District of New York


Karen is listed in Best Lawyers of America for both Trusts and Estates and Corporate Law, and in Super Lawyers.  She was named one of the "Top Women in Law" by The Daily Record in 2014.

Best Lawyers Award Badge

Super Lawyers

Professional and Community Affiliations: 

Karen is a member of the Monroe County Bar, where she has served as Chair of the Trusts and Estates Executive Council and the Business Law Council. She is also a member of the New York State Bar Association, Trusts and Estates and Business Law sections. Karen is a member of the Estate Planning Council of Rochester, where she has served on its Executive Council, and she is also a member of the Greater Rochester Association of Women Attorneys.

Karen has been a speaker for numerous professional organizations, as well as community and educational groups including the Monroe County and New York State Bar Associations, universities and other educational institutions, adult education programs, financial planning organizations, alumni groups, public libraries, church and community organizations.

Community Service: 

Karen is a member of the Board of Directors of the Education Success Network, Inc., which supports the charitable and educational activities of the Norman Howard School (an independent school for children struggling to learn) and Encompass: Resources for Learning, Inc..  She is past President of the Board of Trustees of the School and served on its Executive Committee and Strategic Planning Committee. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of Encompass: Resources for Learning, Inc., where she serves as Chair.


Karen resides in Mendon, New York, with her husband, and has two grown children. She is an avid yoga practitioner and movie buff, and loves to read all sorts of fiction, including the classics and detective novels.