Estate Planning

Our estate planning practice offers advice to clients on all aspects of estate planning including minimizing the estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax burdens on our clients and their families. After evaluating fiscal and familial circumstances, we help our clients create estate plans that best suit their individual situations. We then create the documents (e.g., wills, revocable trusts, insurance trusts) necessary to carry out a client's estate plan to optimize the future financial potential of the client's assets.

We provide a careful analysis of the estate, gift, and income tax consequences of an estate plan. We plan for the orderly and tax-efficient transfer of assets while minimizing administrative overhead. The documents we design help ensure the interests of future beneficiaries.

We believe that in these times where the estate and gift tax laws are constantly changing, it is important to plan and draft with flexibility.

We also counsel clients on the implications of naming individuals, trusts, and/or charities as beneficiaries of retirement plan assets (e.g., IRAs, pension plans, and 401(k) plans).

Representation of Beneficiaries of Trusts and Estates

We advise beneficiaries of trusts and estates regarding their rights and entitlements. We review accounts and receipt, release, refunding, and indemnification agreements for beneficiaries to ensure that the fiduciaries performed their roles honestly, fairly, and in the beneficiaries' best interests. We also counsel beneficiaries of estates on the tax consequences of disclaiming assets.

Estate and Trust Administration; Representation of Executors and Trustees

We counsel executors in connection with the probate and administration of estates, and trustees in connection with the ongoing administration of trusts. We assist executors in the preparation of probate papers and advise executors in connection with the collection and distribution of assets and in the preparation of estate tax returns. We advise trustees on all aspects of the administration of lifetime and testamentary trusts including (i) interpreting the trust instrument, (ii) the trustee's potential liability for entering into a transaction on behalf of the trust, and (iii) the preparation and settlement of their accounts.

We also practice in the Surrogate's Court. We represent trustees and beneficiaries of trusts in connection with the appointment of additional and successor trustees and the resignations of trustees.

Health Care Proxies/Living Wills and Durable Powers of Attorney

We prepare heath care proxies/living wills and durable powers of attorney for our clients so that their financial and health care needs can be handled efficiently and effectively during any period of disability.

A health care proxy is a document that names an individual to make health care decisions for you in the event of your inability to make such decisions on your own. A living will sets forth your wishes for medical treatment in the event you are not able to express your wishes to your doctors and health care professionals (e.g., if you are in a vegetative state with no reasonable expectation of recovery, this document would explain whether you would want artificial nutrition and hydration).

A durable power of attorney is a document wherein you name an individual or individuals to make financial decisions on your behalf if you are unable to take care of a financial matter on your own (e.g., because you are out of the country or you are under a disability).