Being There When it Matters Most
An Interview with Sasha Bass of Loeb & Loeb
Being there for people during life's greatest challenges to lift some of their burden is a gift. That's how Sasha M. Bass, J.D., sees her role as a trust and estate lawyer.
A graduate of Fordham University School of Law and an associate at Loeb & Loeb in the firm's trust and estate practice, Sasha focuses on everything related to trusts and estates that don't require litigation, including planning, tax planning, succession planning for businesses, charitable foundation work and creating charitable foundations. We recently sat down with Sasha to hear more about her story and what she and her firm are doing to get ahead of new laws, respond to emerging trends and support the arthritis community.
Arthritis Foundation: What drew you to this profession?
Sasha Bass: I didn't grow up wanting to be a lawyer. My father was an entertainment lawyer for 17 years. After graduating from college, I wanted to get a Ph.D. in art history. My father said that sounded great but asked if I wanted to be able to pay rent or eat. He said I'd like being a lawyer. I went to law school and found out he was right. After my second year in law school, I was a summer associate at Shearman & Sterling in New York, but I still didn't know what I wanted to do. I was able to pick from a list of 13 practice groups to work in during the summer. I picked the two I'd never heard of, one of which was their trust and estates group. I fell in love with the work and knew it was the place I wanted to end up.
Arthritis Foundation: What do you enjoy most about the work you do?
Sasha Bass: My work is really about being there for people at times when they are most vulnerable and having incredible difficulties. Being in trust and estates often means that someone has just lost a member of their family who's extremely close to them. There's something very rewarding in being able to say to someone, "I've got this. All the paperwork, all the filings, I'm on top of it. All you have to think about is yourself, your family and getting through this." Helping people structure their lives how they want it to be structured and taking worries and burdens off of people's plates is a great way to practice law.
Arthritis Foundation: Speaking of helping people, you've supported the Arthritis Foundation for years and have served as a member of our planned giving advisory board. How has arthritis impacted your life?
Sasha Bass: Both my parents have arthritis. My mother's arthritis is severe and has a significant impact on her ability to move around her home, especially during the past six months. I have a three-year-old son, and we visit my parents every weekend. She has always been a very engaging and active grandmother, but she's no longer physically able to go outside and play in the yard with him. I'm helping out more with the cooking and cleaning because it's difficult for her to hold pots and pans. It's hard to watch somebody's body impede their ability to do what their mind and their heart want to do, especially then they've always been an active, outgoing and engaged person. That's one of the reasons supporting the Arthritis Foundation is important to me.
Arthritis Foundation: What trends are most impacting your practice today?
Sasha Bass: The new tax law has changed the way we think about mortgage deductions, especially for people in California, New York and other places where property taxes are high. Specifically, it has changed how we think about the benefits of owning versus renting for clients who have kids in their 20s and 30s. We used to find that it would be cheaper for them to own a home. That's not necessarily the case anymore.
Additionally, the new standard deduction that eliminates the utility of the charitable deduction has had a big impact on smaller donors and lower income donors. We're talking to a lot of clients about this issue because many have younger members of their family who've been relying on the deduction for charitable gifts for a long time.
More broadly, the biggest change has been the increased estate tax exemption. The 2026 sunset of that larger exemption amount has given people a lot more room to think more seriously about transferring interest in businesses in terms of succession planning. An increased exemption amount is not great for nonprofits. People are no longer as concerned as they were about making sure they are within that exemption amount. And they're not as concerned about leveraging charitable gifting, and that's unfortunate.
Arthritis Foundation: With ongoing changes, what are you doing to ensure your practice stays vibrant?
Sasha Bass: People are always going to need estate planners and everybody who has money and a family member needs a will. To ensure we add additional value to our clients, we're working to better coordinate with family offices. Many of our clients are part of large families and have a business manager who coordinates all the family trusts. We've been working with our firm's real estate group and several other practice groups to build a coalition of lawyers who are intimately familiar with issues that family offices deal with. We've also strengthened our litigation group. The goal is to be more full-service so that people who have problems in their life call us because they know our team can solve them.
Arthritis Foundation: What's the best professional advice you've received?
Sasha Bass: Never be afraid to say that you don't know something. Never try to BS your way through anything. If you're open, engaged and always learning, you will be much better equipped to deal with new problems as they come in.
Arthritis Foundation: What's something interesting that most people don't know about you?
Sasha Bass: I love heavy metal music.
Arthritis Foundation: What's on your playlist right now?
Sasha Bass: I'm listening to Rob Zombie, Mindless Self Indulgence and DeLuca.
Arthritis Foundation: What are you watching right now?
Sasha Bass: I'm currently binge watching "Midsomer Murders," which is a series of dark and grisly murders in the English countryside. It has been really enjoyable.
Arthritis Foundation: What's the best book you've read lately?
Sasha Bass: I'm currently reading "The Merry Spinster" by Mallory Ortberg. It's a collection of short stories that retell classic fairytales in a dark, modernist, vaguely feminist way. It's really interesting and enjoyable.
Have a Question?
Our planned giving team would be happy to speak with you in confidence, with no obligation.