Tara Anne Pleat practices in the areas of special needs estate planning and administration, traditional estate planning and administration, long-term care planning, and elder law.
Tara is admitted to practice in New York, Florida, and Massachusetts as well as the United States Tax Court and the U.S. Federal District Court in the Northern District of New York. She graduated cum laude from Albany Law School and earned her undergraduate degree from the State University of New York at Albany.
After undergraduate school, Tara began working as an estate planning paralegal in Albany. She quickly realized that she enjoyed the connection with families that position provided her and wanted to develop further those skill sets. She graduated from Albany Law School in 2002 with honors in the estate planning concentration and was fortunate to begin her legal career already with six years of meaningful hands-on experience behind her.
“I began working with Ed in 2004, which offered me an introduction to special needs law. However, my passion for this area of the law was solidified when my son was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome (an autism spectrum disorder) several years ago.”
I feel very fortunate to have a practice that allows me to be a better mother to and advocate for my son. While no two family’s experiences will be identical, there are shared concerns. Understanding those concerns as a mother makes me a better lawyer.”
Dedicated to serving her community and helping others to navigate the complex world of special needs law, her many local, statewide and national affiliations include active membership on the Special Needs Planning Committee of the Elder and Special Needs Law Section of the New York State Bar Association (serving as co-Chair for the 2014/2015 year); member of the Special Needs Alliance, an invitation-only, national network of leading attorneys dedicated to the practice of disability and public benefits law; member of the Estate Planning Council of Eastern New York, Inc., (serving as President for the 2013/2014 year); and Member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.
In March of 2016, Tara was elected to Fellowship in the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC). ACTEC is a non-profit association of attorneys and law processors dedicated to Trust and estate practice. Attorneys are elected to be fellows based on outstanding reputation, exceptional skill and substantial contributions to the trusts and estates field. Tara currently serves as Secretary of the Elder Law and Special Needs Law Section of the New York State Bar Association. She also serves as co-editor of the Section’s quarterly law Journal.
She is a member of the Board of Directors of AIM Services, Inc., an organization that serves individuals with disabilities in Saratoga, Warren and Washington counties; a Member of the Board of Directors of the Wesley Foundation; and a Member of the Board of Directors of the Wildwood Foundation. Tara is a graduate of the 2006 class of Leadership Saratoga, sponsored by the Saratoga Springs Chamber of Commerce; and a Member of the Leadership Saratoga Advisory Board. She is a writer and presenter on numerous topics in her field and is “AV” rated by Martindale-Hubbell—the highest rating for expertise and ethics given by the independent rating service of the legal profession. In the fall of 2012 Tara was appointed as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Albany Law School, where she teaches a course on estate and financial planning for the elderly and individuals with special needs. In May Tara was honored as one of Saratoga County's 2015 Women of Influence by Saratoga Today.
You may see Tara around town running in charity races with members of the Wilcenski & Pleat "running team" as well as playing in scramble golf tournaments with colleagues, friends and family. Tara and her family roam the Adirondacks every chance they get. They hike during the spring, summer and fall months and ski in the winter. Tara hopes that she along with her son and daughter will finish their quest to become Adirondack 46ers in the next several years.
“About three years ago a friend gave me a book that she authored about the history of the women’s movement in Saratoga, Warren, and Washington counties. Her insignia to me read: ‘Remember, you’re a mother, a daughter, a wife, a sister, and a friend—and at the end of the day what we all really have and can rely on are our family, our friends, and our faith.’
That has stayed with me and in someone else’s words, sums up entirely what's most important to me.”