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Trusts and Estates

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Estate Planning

We work with individuals and families to develop flexible, sophisticated, and comprehensive estate plans, including Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, and Health Care forms. We help our clients reduce the impact of taxation on wealth and preserve family-owned businesses and assets for the next generation.

Since tax savings are not always the primary reason for crafting an estate plan, our attorneys are sensitive to issues such as family conflict, divorce, remarriage, disability, illness, and differing interests and goals.

It is our practice to work in concert with our client’s accountants, financial planners, financial advisors, brokers, insurance agents, and business associates. We also consult with our own colleagues, as our firm is a full-service firm offering corporate guidance and real estate expertise among our diverse practice areas.

Estate Administration

We work with individuals and families to administer the estates of deceased loved ones. Our concern for the well-being of surviving family members motivates us to promptly implement the decedent’s plan, while handling all aspects of the estate efficiently and compassionately.

We represent executors and trustees in setting investment goals pertaining to the estate and trust assets. Offering counsel to these often-inexperienced fiduciaries on how to manage these assets is a main focus of our practice. To ensure the seamless administration of estates and trusts, we work alongside our client’s accountants, brokers, financial planners, and advisors. We prepare all relevant state and federal estate-tax forms, as well as draft estate and trust accountings on behalf of the fiduciaries.

Working with the surviving family on post-mortem estate planning enables us to restructure the decedent’s plan and concentrate on omissions should new facts arise after death.  Ensuring that the surviving family has a proper estate plan in place to continue the legacy of the decedent is of utmost importance. In the rare instance that a disagreement results among family members, we offer our expertise in the area of surrogate litigation.

Charitable Planning

Leaving a lasting legacy is important to many of our clients. Our Trust and Estate attorneys have the experience to help you meet your philanthropic goals in a number of ways, from the preparation of a charitable trust to creating a family foundation, public charity, or industry association.  Arranging for family members to discuss the importance of charitable giving and to address why the family chose to create the foundation is part of the caring approach we bring to our practice. We can also advise you regarding the tax benefits of planned-giving vehicles and the merits of creating both lifetime and testamentary charitable trusts.

Elder Care and Disability Planning

Relatives of family members with disabilities deal with extreme difficulties every day. We work with these clients to develop personalized plans to deal with aging and disability issues, while bringing a sympathetic ear to the discussions. By listening to your concerns, fears and goals we are able to guide you in the proper direction and develop the plan that best suits your needs. We strive to ease the process by developing both estate and care plans that guarantee a secure future for your disabled loved one.

We can assist you in exploring long-term options such as home-based care, assisted-living facilities, and nursing homes. We coordinate our efforts with local agencies on your behalf assisting with Medicaid and/or SSI applications as part of the planning process.  We also specialize in the drafting of special-needs trusts, the essential tools used to preserve assets for the care of a disabled person.

When loved ones who have not planned are in crisis or can no longer care for themselves, we can help you bring a Guardianship Proceeding, walking you through each stage of the process from the petition to the annual accountings. We are able to effectively represent family members in contested guardian proceedings.