WILL, TRUSTS, ESTATE AND TAX
Most attorneys have
the basic skills necessary to generate a "simple will," but few take
the time to explain all of the options available to a client, and
to ensure that the client's intentions are accurately reflected while
at the same time minimizing estate taxes whenever possible. Our attorneys
make an effort to become familiar with the client's family and financial
circumstances and, where appropriate, recommend and implement one
or more of the following:
Planning for Retirement Assets such as IRA's and
"Qualified Plans" - With a view towards maximizing the income tax
deferral available with respect to such assets.
Valuation Discounts in Gifting - Utilizing family
limited liability companies or family limited partnerships.
Living Revocable Trust - Designed to avoid probate,
if necessary, and to provide a clear road map as to the management
of the client's assets before and after death.
A client's Last Will and Testament
may require one or more of the following provisions:
- Credit Shelter Trust - Intended to preserve the "unified credit"
against estate tax.
- QTIP Trust - To take advantage of the marital estate tax deduction
while controlling the ultimate disposition of the Trust.
- Sprinkler Trust - Giving broad discretion to the Trustee in providing
benefits to a class of beneficiaries, such as young children.
- Generation Skipping Trust (often referred to as "Dynasty Trusts")-
Allowing the client to utilize the generation skipping transfer tax
exemption by benefiting grandchildren and more remote descendants.
- Supplemental Needs Trust - Providing benefits to a disabled beneficiary
without disqualifying the beneficiary from governmental assistance,
such as Medicaid and SSI.
- Charitable Remainder and Charitable Lead Trusts - An estate tax
savings tool intended to benefit the client's loved ones as well as
- Qualified Domestic Trust - To preserve the marital estate tax deduction
in the event the surviving spouse is not a U.S. citizen.
Other tax saving instruments which
we frequently recommend include:
- Irrevocable (Life Insurance) Trust - Enabling the client to exclude
life insurance proceeds from his or her gross estate for tax purposes,
while at the same time ensuring that the proceeds will benefit a spouse,
children or other intended beneficiaries.
- Qualified Personal Residence Trust (QPRT) - A mechanism for gifting
a future interest in one's residence or vacation home at deeply discounted
gift tax values.
- Contemplating marriage? We'll assist you with a Prenuptial Agreement
to protect assets in the event of death or divorce.
- In our view, a thorough understanding of the estate and income tax
laws, and the manner in which they interrelate, together with a personal
knowledge of the client's needs, is the foundation for a sound estate
The Firm counsels privately
held businesses of all types and sizes in order to successfully navigate
the critical issues and pitfalls posed by today's business environment.
- Choice of Entity: - The first question to be addressed, when starting
a business, is the form of entity in which the business will be conducted.
The ultimate decision should rest upon a careful analysis of the tax
and liability consequences involved with each alternative. Our attorneys
weigh the pros and cons, and explain the nuances, associated with
conducting business as a Limited Liability Company, Limited Liability
Partnership, Business Corporation (sub-chapter "S" and "C" corporations),
Professional Corporation, Sole Proprietorship, General Partnership
and Limited Partnership. We facilitate the organization of the entity
of choice, and advise the client as to the formalities which must
be followed in order to take advantage of the benefits that it affords.
Business Agreements - With practical
experience involving the issues presented, and many years of training
in contract drafting, the Firm's attorney's are able to tailor a broad
range of agreements necessary for successful business planning, including:
- Shareholder Agreements - Sometimes referred to as a "buy-sell" agreement,
these contracts govern the disposition of an owner's interest in the
business upon the happening of various triggering events, such as
death, disability, termination of employment and bankruptcy. Utilizing
restrictions on transfer, such as a "right of first refusal", a business
owner may ensure a level of certainty as to who his or her future
"partner" will be.
- Employment Agreements - Utilizing restrictive covenants and incentive
arrangements, such as stock option and stock bonus plans.
- Other Agreements - Including confidentiality agreements, licensing
agreements, distributorship agreements and uniquely tailored agreements
designed to address the particular concerns of a client.
- Business Sales and Purchases: - The attorneys in the Firm represent
buyers and sellers in various business sales transactions, and have
the experience necessary for the successful negotiation, contract
drafting and closing of both stock transactions and asset deals.
ELDER LAW AND DISABILITY
"Elder Law" is a broad term used to describe
legal services that are tailored to the unique needs of senior citizens.
The Firm's attorneys are experienced in addressing the particular concerns
of senior citizens and the disabled through comprehensive planning including:
- Long term health care planning
- Medicaid planning
- Arranging for Powers of Attorney and Health Care Proxies (often
referred to as a "Living Will")
- Guardianship proceedings
Many of our clients are faced with
the difficult task of providing for a disabled parent, spouse, child
or grandchild. We are able to address these concerns by implementing
various disability trusts, such as third party supplemental needs trusts
and pooled income trusts. Our attorneys also regularly assist other
attorneys in the preparation of special needs trusts for the benefit
of individuals entitled to personal injury awards or settlement proceeds.
AND TRUST ADMINISTRATION
We regularly guide clients
through the probate and estate administration process, including the
representation of fiduciaries, (i.e., Executors and Trustees) and beneficiaries
in all Surrogate Courts throughout New York and New Jersey.
The probate process
need not be expensive or time consuming. We take the time to de-mystify
the process for our clients, and we handle all aspects of the administration,
including the preparation of estate tax returns and estate and trust
accountings. We also advise our clients regarding "post-mortem" planning
(i.e., various methods to reduce estate taxes, even when the decedent
had not made estate planning arrangements).
Our services in this
area range from handling complex multi-million dollar estates, requiring
the valuation and disposition of sophisticated business, real estate
and "qualified" assets, to relatively small estates consisting of only
a few assets. We are proud of our reputation for concluding matters
in an efficient and expedited manner.
REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS
A commitment to due
diligence, precision in contract drafting and a reasonable but firm
negotiation strategy are the cornerstones of the Firm's real estate
Residential: Our attorneys
represent buyers and sellers of homes throughout New York and New Jersey
and are thoroughly familiar with the unique issues involved with cooperative
apartments, condominium units and single family homes. We believe in
a responsive "hands on" approach in counseling our clients through the
often stressful real estate transaction.
Commercial: For our
commercial clients, we have handled multi-million dollar sales and purchases
of large buildings and tracts of land in New York City, New Jersey and
Our representation in
commercial lease transactions has included industrial buildings, restaurants,
office space and retail establishments.
In all real estate transactions,
we focus upon, and guide our clients through, a myriad of issues including
environmental, title matters, surveys, engineering inspections, brokerage
agreements, Code compliance and mortgage financing issues.
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