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Practice Areas

Few things go well without planning! Indeed, failure to properly plan for the personal and business succession of assets can result in the premature sale of assets accumulated over a lifetime just to create sufficient liquidity to pay federal and state death taxes. Our practice emphasizes an orderly and smooth transition of family assets from one generation to the next, with an emphasis on reducing or eliminating taxes, the cost of probate, and the mitigation of disputes among family members and other beneficiaries once a family member loses capacity and upon death.
Our services include the following categories:
Traditional Estate Planning:Developing and implementing techniques for the minimization or elimination of Federal Estate taxes and State inheritance taxes; revising asset ownership between spouses to avoid tax ramifications of joint tenancy, tenancy in common and the like; living trusts; simple and complex wills; powers of attorney; living wills; irrevocable trusts; family limited partnerships; charitable giving; qualified personal residence trusts; private annuities; intra-family sales; dynasty trusts benefiting multiple generations; specialized trusts for minors; among many other customized techniques available to all estates large or small.

Life Insurance Planning: Working with life insurance agents and clients to provide additional tax-free life insurance benefits to families, charities and to provide for the payment of debts and taxes after death; these techniques include designing life insurance trusts for the payment of premiums and proper administration to maximize tax benefits, among numerous creative techniques.

Retirement Planning: Qualified retirement accounts and rollover IRA accounts now constitute a major portion of many families’ overall assets. Accordingly, it becomes absolutely crucial to understand and plan for the income and estate tax consequences regarding the choices that can be made on the eventual distribution of these funds not only at retirement but also in the event of death.

Proper planning for the payment and distribution of retirement plan death benefits to beneficiaries requires an understanding of the interplay between the Federal Estate Tax, the marital deduction, spousal rollovers and stretch out distributions to other designated beneficiaries who are named as such with respect to qualified retirement funds.

It is vital to coordinate maximum benefits for both income tax and estate tax purposes with respect to retirement plan death benefits. Otherwise, a combination of these two taxes can deplete retirement assets by 60 percent to 70 percent. The good news, however, is that there are planning options available to deal with these issues.

Creditor Protection:  Frustrate potential creditors from grabbing hold of assets to collect judgments through such techniques as insurance trusts; children’s trusts; foreign and domestic asset protection trusts; family limited partnerships; credit shelter trusts; bypass trusts and qualified terminable interest trusts; among other planning tools to enhance post-mortem estate planning choices.

Estate Planning Issues for Non-US Citizens: Non-citizen spouses require sophisticated estate planning techniques to preserve the marital deduction and provide non-citizen spouses the same estate tax planning benefits available to US citizens. Through using a Qualified Domestic Trust, property can be left to a non-citizen spouse free of current Federal Estate Tax.

Domestic Partnerships: Guidance and assistance with domestic partnerships, living trusts, health care powers of attorney; asset distribution; and minimizing disputes among potential beneficiaries.

Unique and Specialized Planning: We take great pride in designing plans that are unique to each individual and circumstance including baby boomers planning care of aging parents; young parents planning for the needs of minor children; avoiding controversies and ambiguity to deter later challenges to estate plans of blended families; pet trusts to pay for the care and living conditions of beloved animals; seniors planning to finance future needs through a combination of public and private benefits; among many other unique planning tools developed through years of estate planning experience.

Estate Administration: Counseling clients regarding the administration of estates, trusts and guardianships; preparation of Estate, Inheritance, Gift and fiduciary income tax returns, handling IRS audits and disputes; probate assistance; trust administration. Estate administration also includes developing a contingency plan where proper planning is vital to make the process at this difficult time easier for those you love.

Estate Litigation: Our team includes an Of Counsel relationship with an expert estate lawyer having extensive experience representing beneficiaries and heirs seeking to protect their interests during estate administration and probate litigation; these services include trust litigation representing both beneficiaries and trustees to prosecute or defend actions involving failure to make proper and timely distributions, improper investments, self dealing, excessive trustee compensation and interpreting ambiguous trust provisions as well as actions such as reformation or judicial amendment to best serve the original intent of the deceased.

Business Law: Our team represents corporations and businesses both large and small. We will strive for ideal terms for your business in order to ensure minimal conflicts. We will help you with advantaged transfers, including gifts of options, restricted stock, stock redemption plans, and special tax provisions available for qualified family owned or closely held businesses.

Incapacity Planning:Advance planning of a client’s affairs in the event they become disabled before death such as a parent with Alzheimer’s; planning for a child with special needs; among other unique situations requiring customized planning.

Elder Law and Medicaid Planning: Assisting families to qualify for government benefits and assuring that their assets are preserved in the process; life care planning to protect assets from having to be “spent down” in connection with entry into a nursing home; protecting money that might be used to enhance levels of care or receive a better quality of life; and planning in advance the details of medical, psychological, spiritual and social needs.

Financial Professionals’ Counseling: Comprehensive resource center regarding educational programs and ongoing advice for financial professionals covering traditional and advanced estate planning and taxation topics of concern.