Norv Brasch leads the Probate & Trust Controversy team from Denver, representing professional and family fiduciaries as well as beneficiaries of trusts and estates. He works collaboratively with all parties to find creative solutions, often outside the court system, and spearheaded the development of the firm’s early dispute resolution initiative for trusts and estates.
When disputes cannot be resolved, Norv provides extensive courtroom experience to his clients. Among his more unusual cases was his representation of Alcor Life Extension Foundation, one of two U.S. firms that offer cryonic preservation services.
In Alcor v. Estate of Mary Robbins, a retired nurse had sought Alcor’s services to have herself cryonically preserved after death, hoping that future technologies could bring her back to life. When she died, her family contended that she had renounced her wish to be cryopreserved by executing an insurance form changing the beneficiary from Alcor to her children.
The case hinged on whether Ms. Robbins’s long-standing written desire to be held in cryosuspension would be honored over the family’s objections.
Following a full-day emergency hearing, the Court delivered an unmitigated victory to Alcor, including this memorable line: [T]he governing task for the Court is to discover and make manifest Mary’s intent, which was for cryonic suspension of her last remains, and that wish shall not be put asunder.
The case was widely covered by regional, national and international print, internet and television media.
Litigation experience also guides Norv’s estate planning practice, where he works with individuals and families on their traditional planning (wills, trusts, powers of attorneys and medical directives), estate & gift tax minimization techniques (marital, charitable and insurance arrangements) and strategic guidance for closely-held businesses.
Applying his technical background, Norv specializes in modeling proposed plans and transactions, and developed a will-drafting process for the firm. In 1992, he left to head a legal technology company.
As president of Jurisystems Corporation, Norv led the development advanced compliance systems focused on state-by-state documentation and forms. Commerce Clearing House, CT Corporation, Ford Motor Credit and Lexis-Nexis were among the company’s clients. Jurisystems’ Exempta division assisted nonprofit and governmental entities in maximizing their sales-tax-exemptions benefits.
Later, a two-year term as the executive director of a fully-endowed foundation allowed Norv the chance to work closely with David McKinney, then president of the Metropolitan Art Museum and family board members. This unique opportunity with the Thomas J. Watson Foundation matched Norv’s passion and skills with the deep commitment that the IBM founder’s family has for creative philanthropy. As part of his role, Norv guided the selection process of Watson Fellows, selected from 50 liberal arts colleges, who were awarded grants for independent study abroad.
Bar and Court Admissions
United States Tax Court
University of Denver, J.D., 1983
Colorado College, B.A., Phi Beta Kappa, 1978
PC Magazine - First law columnist
Speeches and Seminars
Legal Tech, ABA Techlaw, the British Society for Computers & Law and the Université de Paris
Civic Involvement and Honors
Da Vinci String Quartet Association, Immediate Past President
The Thomas J. Watson Foundation, Providence, RI, Fellow