Our firm provides legal services to individuals and businesses in a number of areas, some of which are listed below and described more fully in the sections of this page that follow.

However, as a preface, we wish to state that It is our goal to be highly competent in what we do. We do not attempt to do things beyond our competence. If one of our clients has a problem that falls outside our areas of expertise, we do not hesitate to refer that client to one or more other lawyers reputed to have the level of competence required.

Lifetime and Estate Planning

Our lifetime and estate planning skills include the preparation of living trusts, health care documents, wills and other documents, as well as the creation of family partnerships and other entities used in lifetime and estate planning. The planning process, however, is absolutely dedicated to our understanding fully the client’s wishes and priorities, and then being focused on accomplishing those goals.

While tax savings is usually an objective with a high priority and is one in which we maintain the highest level of technical expertise, it must be addressed within the scope of the client’s desires. It is essential that the applicable documents to be prepared maintain the client’s priorities for the management and ultimate distribution of his or her property, the ultimate control of that property, the benefits to be created for family members, and the protection of such property for financial security.

Estate and Trust Administration

he process of managing and ultimately distributing an estate or trust is called “administration” and involves considerations of many matters, including family financial and tax planning. The person who carries out this management process might be called an “executor,” “administrator,” or “personal representative” in the case of an estate; the “trustee” in the case of a trust; a “guardian” or “conservator” in the case of a minor or incapacitated adult. The term “fiduciary” is often used to refer to all persons or institutions acting in these various management positions (i.e., to the person or institution doing the managing whether it be an estate, a trust, a guardianship for a minor, a guardianship for an incapacitated adult.)

We assist fiduciaries and the family members or other beneficiaries involved in understanding the legal and practical requirements of administering these various types of entities, and in delegating the numerous tasks involved in a manner calculated to minimize costs. In many cases, we are able to identify tax planning opportunities which might be missed by those less experienced in the process. Our skills in creatively managing the tax planning issues and the questions which arise in estate tax audits or fiduciary income tax audits frequently produce savings which far exceed the costs of administering the estate, trust or guardianship involved. We also help coordinate the efforts of the family’s accountant, investment advisor, insurance counselor, and other professionals to realize the best possible result.

Life Insurance Planning

The creative use of life insurance products sometimes offers unparalleled opportunities for creating tax free estate liquidity as well as various lifetime planning goals for individuals and in certain business contexts.

For example, in the case of an individual, the purchase of insurance may provide the least costly method of “paying” estate taxes which cannot otherwise be avoided. In the business context, life insurance can often be used effectively to provide for deferred compensation and other benefits for key executives or the business itself.

The effective selection of insurance products is often confusing, and the law governing the taxation of the transactions involving life insurance is frequently dependent on obscure technicalities. We are uniquely equipped to assist clients with these opportunities and issues.

We do not sell insurance products, but we maintain active membership in the most prestigious insurance industry organizations and are frequently sought to teach courses and lecture on techniques for the creative use of insurance products. With such expertise, we are especially well qualified to design and implement plans involving the use of insurance and to assist individual and business clients in reviewing the design of, and negotiating the procurement of, those insurance products which best suit the need at hand.

Inter-Generational Wealth Transfer Planning

Inter-generational wealth transfer planning has taken on significant importance under recent tax laws. When our clients are ready to begin shifting family wealth to younger generations, it is vital that we determine whether they are prepared to shift control of the assets along with the economic benefits. We frequently design and implement specialized transfer vehicles such as family partnerships, special trusts which permit the grantor to retain certain income and control rights, and qualified personal residence trusts. Additionally, our lawyers maintain a high level of proficiency in identifying and planning for challenges presented by the onerous generation-skipping tax.

Counsel and Planning for Private Business Owners

Owners of closely-held businesses have unique estate planning needs which require special attention and expertise. The business entity is frequently the primary source of the family’s wealth, and it can also be the vehicle for preserving that wealth for future generations. Formulating the management succession plan, providing for a continued stream of income for a retired owner and a surviving spouse, treating children equitably in the process, and planning for liquidity needs are challenges which we tackle daily. In this multi-faceted area, our ability to unify the areas of business law, compensation planning, tax law, and estate planning is especially effective. We frequently are called on to devise plans for passing the business to a younger generation while minimizing gift and estate taxes and preserving an income stream for the older generation.

Counsel and Advice as to Business Entities

As advisors to many business owners, we are regularly engaged in the formation and operation of partnerships, joint ventures, corporations and limited liability companies. With our personal understanding of the owner’s individual objectives and priorities, we can effectively design and prepare shareholder buy-sell agreements, employment contracts and deferred compensation plans. We are also well equipped to advise clients on the tax implications of choosing the correct entity for the operation of the business and coordinating those issues with the client’s personal estate planning desires.

Executive Compensation and Benefits Planning

The law has progressively restricted the ability of the business owner to utilize tax qualified plans for the benefit of business owners and executives. We maintain a high level of expertise in designing flexible benefit plans which may be utilized for the exclusive benefit of the business owner and management employees, while still offering extremely attractive tax benefits. Within this field, the firm has developed particular expertise in designing such plans for senior management executives of non-profit tax exempt employers.

Protection of Assets from Claims

In an increasingly litigious society; our clients are more and more concerned about protecting their assets from creditors and spurious litigation. In addition, they are frequently concerned about passing the family wealth to children and grandchildren in a manner which protects it from the effects of failed marriages and business reversals. We are equipped to advise clients regarding legal and appropriate ways to structure their affairs to minimize these risks. Where appropriate, we have access to international entities and other sophisticated devices.

Planning and Advice Regarding Charitable Gifts, Trusts and Foundations
The creative use of charitable trusts, charitable foundations and other methods of making charitable gifts sometimes offers extraordinary financial and tax benefits in exchange for the support of charitable endeavors. We are experienced in helping clients explore these opportunities and understand the complex alternatives available.

Through the use of proprietary computer software which we have developed for this purpose, we can provide detailed analysis of the effect of such transactions on the family’s income stream and estate planning objectives.

Planning and Advice Regarding Charitable Gifts, Trusts, and Foundations

PLanning and Advice Regarding Charitable Gifts, Trusts, and Foundations

Planning for the Affairs of Minors and Incapacitated Adults

When necessary, we represent clients in the legal proceedings for establishing and maintaining a legal guardianship for minor children or incapacitated adults. We also provide advice concerning alternatives to such proceedings, such as living trusts, trusts for minors, trusts for incapacitated persons and those with special needs, powers of attorney, standby trusts, living wills and durable powers of attorney for healthcare. In addition, we offer expertise in consulting with the family regarding qualification for Medicaid or other public assistance benefits and the financing of long-term care requirements.

Litigation and Disputes Concerning Estates, Trusts, Guardianships and Their Beneficiaries
In some cases, things go wrong. Our lawyers have many years of experience in assisting families with the resolution of their disputes, whether they stem from an ambiguous Will, a disappointed heir, a misdeed by a fiduciary, controversy over property rights, or tax disputes. When necessary, we offer our unique experience in assisting our clients with litigation, arbitration and other dispute resolution proceedings involving fiduciary issues, and we are not restrained from handling unusual or difficult cases.

Litigation and Disputes Concerning Estates, Trusts, Guardianships and Their Beneficiaries

Litigation and Disputes Concerning Estates, Trusts, Guardianships and Their Beneficiaries

Non-Judicial Dispute Resolution Services

When necessary, we offer our experience in assisting clients with representation in arbitration, mediation and other dispute resolution proceedings. We also have the capacity to accept appointment as a mediator, neutral evaluator or arbitrator in non-judicial dispute resolution contexts.

Real Estate and Commercial Loan Transactions Involving Individuals, Businesses and Commercial Lenders
We represent both individual and business real estate owners, as well as a number of commercial lenders and borrowers.These clients are regularly engaged in various types of real estate and commercial lending transactions, either through the conduct of their business or the management of their wealth. Many of the estates and trusts which we represent include substantial and diverse real estate holdings.

We analyze a client’s needs and objectives in such transactions, so that the client fully understands his or her alternatives, along with the costs and benefits associated with them.

We are frequently asked to negotiate real estate and commercial lending transactions on behalf of our clients, and to prepare contracts, leases, joint venture or partnership agreements, and other documentation involved in such matters, and conduct closings.

When our client is a lender in real estate transactions, we regularly handle the perfection of security interests and the enforcement of debt collection, including foreclosure, eviction and bankruptcy case

Real Estate and Commercial Loan Transactions Involving Individuals, Business and Commercial Lenders

Real Estate and Commercial Loan Transactions Involving Individuals, Business and Commercial Lenders