Areas of Practice

Estate Planning
Whether you need a simple Will or a complicated tax-sheltered Trust, we are here to help. The estate planning process begins with a personalized consultation where we can discuss your goals and existing planning (if any). Based on our consultation, we recommend the plan that is best-suited for your needs. We also believe in providing all clients with drafts of planning documents to ensure that the finished product best expresses their wishes and accomplishes their goals. We are committed to explaining your plan to you in a manner that you can understand. We are also pleased to work with your accountant and/or financial advisor, if you wish.

For clients with taxable estates, we can assist you in creating a plan to minimize estate taxes as your wealth passes on to your ultimate beneficiaries. For family business owners, we can also assist you with ensuring the smooth succession of your business upon your retirement or death while minimizing transfer taxes.

In addition to planning for the succession of assets upon death, we can assist you with executing documents (Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy, Living Will, etc.) to ensure management of your health and finances by trusted loved ones during your lifetime.

Estate & Trust Administration

Unfortunately, those close to us sometimes pass away. We are available to represent next-of-kin and nominated Executors with all legal matters incident to handling a decedent’s Estate. These services include Administration Petitions (appointment of a relative to manage the Estate), Probate Petitions (admission of the Will to probate and appointment of the named Executor), collection of assets, dealing with beneficiaries and creditors of the Estate or Trust, income and estate tax filings, tax audits, and final distribution of the Estate or Trust.

Surrogate’s Court Proceedings

In addition to the services listed above, we also represent Executors, Administrators, Beneficiaries, Distributees, and Creditors of Estates and Trusts when issues arise. These services include:

Representing the nominated Executor when an interested party challenges a Will. Representing interested parties in challenging a Will. Actions by family members and beneficiaries to remove an Executor, Administrator, or Trustee for misconduct. Motions by Administrators, Executors, and Trustees to resign Voluntary and Compulsory Accountings. Representing Executors/Administrators when attempting to recover the assets of the decedent. Representing beneficiaries when attempting to recover assets from an Executor, Administrator, or Trustee. Disputes between Trustees and beneficiaries concerning discretionary and mandatory payments. Kinship hearings to demonstrate an individual as a family member with inheritance or objection rights. Motions to create Supplemental Needs Trusts to preserve government entitlements for disabled beneficiaries.

Guardianship Proceedings

When a person becomes unable to make personal and financial decisions for him- or her-self, a guardianship proceeding may be the only available method to properly deal with their affairs. If the proceeding is successful, the Court will appoint a Guardian to manage the incapacitated person’s affairs.

We are available to represent Petitioners and Cross-Petitioners (those seeking to have a Guardian appointed) and Respondents (those who are alleged to be incapacitated) in both routine and contested guardianship proceedings. We are also available to represent Guardians and family members in ongoing matters long after the appointment of a Guardian.

Planning for Parents with Disabled Children

Parents who have disabled children, whether the children be minors or adults, have special concerns. In addition to the general estate planning services described above, these clients must consider both the identity of the caregiver upon their death and the availability of funds to finance that care. In addition, parents must consider whether an inheritance by their child could terminate government entitlement programs (such as Medicaid and SSI) which finance the lion’s share of the associated costs. Through the combination of careful planning and appropriate trusts (such as a Supplemental Needs Trust), these parents can ensure the best possible and funded care for their children.

We are also available to assist caregivers of disabled individuals after the death of a caregiver, parent, or family member.