Our knowledgeable and experienced team will work with you to address your individual needs and create a customized plan to protect you, your interests, and your loved ones.
Disability & Special Needs Planning
Planning for the care and quality of life of a loved one who has disabilities requires the assistance of someone with sensitivity to the unique needs of those individuals and their families. Our attorneys are experienced with qualifying and applying for government benefits, creating trusts to provide for supplemental needs while protecting means-tested eligibility, locating local services and support organizations and assisting with guardianship and powers of attorney. Our team can help families to maximize resources and enhance the quality of life for their loved ones through the use of asset planning techniques, trusts, and the coordination of public and private resources. Our attorneys will address your needs specifically and individually to create peace of mind and financial certainty.
Medical Assistance (Medicaid) / Government Benefits Planning and Qualification
One of the greatest concerns when planning for the future is how a family will pay for medical costs. When it is no longer practical for an individual to live independently or for family members to care for their loved one on their own, the expense associated with hiring domestic help or moving into a facility can quickly deplete a lifetime of savings and can, ultimately, become a burden on the extended family. Consideration for the well-being of a spouse of someone in need of care must also be taken into account. Careful planning can help protect an individual's assets through gifting, establishing irrevocable trusts and arranging, in advance, to pay for Medical Assistance costs. In addition, despite the availability of financial assistance through government programs, negotiating the legal requirements and government red tape can be extraordinarily difficult. Our attorneys are here to help. We will work with you to analyze your loved one's financial situation and expected long-term needs, and recommend strategies to provide for long-term care all while respecting his or her dignity.
Estate Planning & Wealth Preservation
Life is full of uncertainty. Providing security long term for yourself, your family, and your loved ones requires well-informed decision-making and planning to carry out those decisions. Naming a guardian for your minor children and a personal representative to administer your estate, making specific bequests of property to individuals and directing the disposition of the balance of your assets at the time of your death, and designating trusted persons to make financial and medical decisions for you in the event you become incapacitated can all be accomplished through a comprehensive estate plan. Our attorneys will work with you to create an individually-tailored plan to meet your particular needs. The importance of periodically reviewing your assets, insurance coverage, beneficiary designations on brokerage and retirement accounts cannot be stressed enough. Carefully drafted documents that utilize strategies to reduce or eliminate tax liabilities, including wills, trusts, powers of attorney and advance health care directives, will ensure that your goals are met.
Probate and Estate Administration
When dealing with the loss of a loved one, the complex task of settling his or her affairs can be overwhelming. The terms of a will or a trust direct the personal representative or the trustee with regard to disposition of the decedent's assets, but if the decedent died intestate (i.e., without a will), the disposition of his or her assets is determined by state statutes. And, even though the decedent may have a will or a trust, the administration of a decedent's estate is governed by state law and local regulations. The personal representative (aka executor) of a probate estate must adhere to specific deadlines for reporting estate assets and filing accountings, notifying creditors, paying debts, and filing final tax returns. Regardless of the value of the estate, our attorneys can help you navigate the system and avoid unnecessary expense and liability. Whether we are serving as the personal representative, counsel to a probate or trust estate, or trustee, our team will work with you to alleviate the inherent stress and assist with the orderly distribution of property.
Trust Formation and Administration
Trusts are useful tools in many situations. Whether you want to provide for minor children, elderly parents or individuals with disabilities, incorporate charitable giving into your estate plan, reduce or eliminate tax liability, or simply want to own a vacation home and avoid ancillary probate proceedings in another jurisdiction, you may want to consider a trust. Our attorneys will work with you to identify and evaluate your needs, and draft a trust instrument to achieve your objectives. Our experienced team can assist in the administration of the trust and the management of trust property, filing of annual tax returns and compliance with then-current rules and regulations.
Tax issues are always considered by our attorneys in estate, trust, business and probate and estate administration matters. Our team is experienced with utilizing asset protection strategies as part of a comprehensive plan to reduce current and future tax liabilities. We also assist our clients with various tax related elections after a death has occurred as well as with the preparation and filing of tax returns (personal, corporate, gift and estate), preparation for audits and negotiation of settlements to resolve outstanding tax debt. Our attorneys can provide practical, knowledgeable advice based on years of experience.
Business Succession Planning
Entrepreneurs spend significant time and energy translating ideas into successful businesses. But all too often they leave themselves and their business interests exposed and at risk. Properly drafted agreements among business partners that address the obligations and responsibilities of each upon death, disability, retirement, and termination events are essential to ensure a smooth transition and often to properly fund an estate plan. Our attorneys will work with you to develop business plans that protect your current interests and the future interests of your family.
Prenuptial Agreements, Postnuptial Agreements, and
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are not solely relevant to divorces. These agreements, and joint trusts, can provide comfort to a spouse in knowing that he or she can provide for his or her loved ones in the event the unfortunate occurs. The most common example we come across arises when spouses enter into a marriage with children from prior relationships. A spouse in the situation may not have a lack of love for his or her stepchildren, while still feeling his or her own children are in more serious need of assistance. These agreements and trusts can create a baseline for protecting against these potentially divergent long-term interests and spouses can, and often do, provide for each other contrary to these agreements. While prenuptial agreements can be seen as a bad omen to a new relationship – so long as both spouses are amenable to discussing their rights – these discussions can take place after marriage and addressed in postnuptial agreements and / or joint trusts.