Estate Planning (Wills, Trusts, Business Succession)

Planning for the distribution of your estate contemplates two primary objectives: 1) transferring your assets in a manner that is consistent with your personal preferences; and 2) minimizing the impact of federal and state death and transfer taxes.  We can help you achieve your goals and give you the sense of reassurance that your estate will pass in the manner in which you intend.

Important Estate Planning Documents

  • Will and Trust. The will and trust are the cornerstone of any estate plan. It sets forth basic instructions for the disposition of assets at death and identifies who will administer your assets after death. You can also identify individuals who will serve as guardians of minor children. We also draft trusts with providing for children as the primary objective.  Often we will use a trust in conjunction with a will to avoid probate and protect our clients’ privacy.
  • Power of Attorney. At a certain point in our lives, we rely on the people closest to us to make important life decisions if we are incapacitated or unable to make informed decisions. A power of attorney provides the legal authority to someone you choose to administer your affairs while you are still living. It is important to have such a document in place in case a sudden incapacitation occurs.
  • Health Directives. Similar to the power of attorney, the health directive provides clear guidance to a trusted representative to make significant health care related decisions that they can feel confident are consistent with your wishes.

Estate and Gift Tax Strategies

We have expertise in estate, gift, generation-skipping, inheritance and other death tax matters. We have drafted thousands of wills and trusts, and have the knowledge and experience to plan for the efficient succession of property in light of the taxes imposed by the federal and state governments.

Some of the more sophisticated estate and gift planning techniques which we implement include:

  • Family Limited Partnership Gifting
  • Annual Exclusion Gifting
  • Credit Shelter Trusts
  • Intra Family Loans
  • QTIP Trusts
  • Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts
  • Qualified Personal Residence Trusts
  • Educational Trusts
  • Family Business Succession gifting
  • State Estate Tax Plans: New Jersey is one of the few states to have an estate tax and an inheritance tax. It also affects a far larger number of individuals than the federal estate tax. We have experience planning for the New Jersey estate and inheritance tax in conjunction with federal estate and gift taxes. Whereas Pennsylvania has only an inheritance tax which affects many testamentary dispositions.
  • Charitable giving, including Charitable Trusts

Administering estates

Estate administration is the process through which the assets of the deceased pass to their loved ones. Submitting wills to probate, locating assets, paying creditors, filing estate and inheritance tax returns, distributing assets and accounting to the Court are all part of the estate administration process.  Failing to properly address these tasks in a timely manner can be costly and may engender ill will among family members. We have administered many estates, both large and small, and have helped our clients avoid administrative problems and family disputes related to this process.

We also have experience regarding claims made against the estate by government agencies with respect to tax matters.

Business Succession planning

We often counsel multi-generational family owned businesses on the best way to pass the control of a company from one generation to the next while taking careful consideration of business and tax efficiencies. Additionally, we handle business dissolutions and transitions incident to the administration of a decedent’s estate.

Trust Accounting and Administration

We understand the fiduciary responsibilities of a trustee, and we have experience monitoring and administering trusts.