Trust and Estates

TRUST AND ESTATES EXPERIENCES

TRUST AND ESTATES EXPERIENCE

Although traditionally viewed as an area of law dealing with the disposition of property after death, estate planning encompasses far more. It is a dynamic process that takes into account personal and family goals throughout a client’s lifetime as well as after death. Furthermore, while clients still have estate plans to provide for their families, more often they are also engaging in estate planning to protect assets for their own use, whether pre-retirement, post-retirement or in preparation for a period of incapacity or illness.

FROMBERG EDELSTEIN FROMBERG provides a broad range of services that include the organization and development of estate plans, assistance in the administration of trusts and estates, and working with clients step-by-step through the probate process. We combine experience, knowledge and the practical applications of estate, trust, business and tax laws with innovative approaches designed to meet clients’ needs and objectives.

Our experience and backgrounds, along with patience, understanding and a listening ear are the qualities that highlight our approach. We take the initiative to educate our clients about the options that are available to meet their goals, working closely with them through the various personal, financial and tax changes that affect their estate plans over time. Our clients, with whom we build close and lasting relationships, include a wide range of individuals, families, entrepreneurs and businesses requiring sophisticated estate, trust and tax-related legal services.

GOALS FOR ESTATE PLANNING

GOALS FOR ESTATE PLANNING

At FROMBERG EDELSTEIN FROMBERG, we have three primary goals: planning for disability and death; protecting assets through life and for future generations; and minimizing negative tax consequences through careful plan structuring. Without proper estate planning, state laws can dictate the parties responsible for medical and financial decision-making, as well as to whom property and other assets will pass upon death. When there is no estate plan in place, the state’s desire for efficiency in this process usually overrides the decedent’s wishes and desire for control over the disposition of assets, as well as who is in charge of these lifetime and postmortem decisions.

We guide clients as they plan for potential future disability and death, helping them make decisions that will preserve their assets for loved ones and organizations about which they care deeply. As part of this process, we regularly partner with clients’ financial and investment advisors, accountants and insurance representatives to ensure an integrated approach to asset protection.

A vital aspect of creating a customized estate plan is structuring it to suit a client’s specific financial and medical circumstances and those of the client’s intended beneficiaries. In doing so, our attorneys are able to anticipate potentially harmful tax implications of each estate planning decision and structure the client’s plan to best avoid those implications.

ESTATE AND TRUST LITIGATION

ESTATE AND TRUST LITIGATION

FROMBERG EDELSTEIN FROMBERG attorneys value advanced planning when it comes to the intricacies of carrying out clients’ wishes, or those of their loved ones, upon death. We carefully anticipate possible points of interpersonal and financial conflict through both the planning and administration processes. These can include issues of competency, undue influence or questionable changes to estate planning documents.

When disputes arise, we are therefore able to initiate and defend claims of the estate, trust or guardianship, as well as executors, guardians and trustees representing those entities. We also are well-versed in representing beneficiaries of estates and trusts in their disputes with other beneficiaries, or in claims of alleged breaches of fiduciary duty.

BUSINESS SUCCESSION PLANNING

BUSINESS SUCCESSION PLANNING

FROMBERG EDELSTEIN FROMBERG offers a full-service business law practice and, in the estates and trusts arena, advice with regard to business succession planning. We understand that an owner’s interest in a closely held business or professional practice may be his or her largest and most important asset. As a result, we work to ensure proper documentation is in place to protect business owners’ assets and interests.

To prepare for future ownership transition, our attorneys analyze the business’s needs and existing ownership structure, as well as the goals and desires of its current and potential future owners. In addition, we advise clients on advanced planning related to tax structures, plans for future ownership and management, as well as dispute resolution agreements. We are adept at navigating the family dynamics often associated with the process of business succession planning and working with business owners to avoid unnecessary conflicts.

FROMBERG EDELSTEIN FROMBERG assists business owners in three vital, aspects of business succession planning. First, we provide viability analysis to assess the entity’s current and long-term risks and opportunities for success. Second, we provide assistance to ensure that the family, business and estate plans are handled in a coordinated manner. Third, through our network we are able to provide business valuation services through which we are able to estimate the value of an owner’s interest in his or her business.

STANDARD PLANNING SOLUTIONS

STANDARD PLANNING SOLUTIONS

FROMBERG EDELSTEIN FROMBERG guides clients through the development of planning solutions that build strong foundations for lifetime and post-death planning. These solutions help our clients plan for the distribution of their property and other assets while avoiding unnecessary state and federal taxes such as income, inheritance, estate, gift, and transfer taxes to which estates and trusts may be subject. These strategies also shield our clients’ assets from future claims by creditors.

During this introductory phase of estate planning, our attorneys assist clients in creating a will with an optional revocable trust. We customize these documents to address clients’ anticipated needs as well as their personal estate planning goals. Our attorneys also draft medical directives (including living wills) to protect clients’ wishes at a time of disability or incapacity. In addition, we guide clients through the often difficult process of selecting appropriate financial and medical agents. FROMBERG EDELSTEIN FROMBERG also offers counsel in the selection of beneficiaries for life insurance policies, retirement accounts and other assets as well as the most appropriate method of holding title to various assets.

To ensure their estate plans remain current and relevant, we encourage our clients to meet with us periodically to review and update their estate planning documents. Throughout the entire process, our attorneys remain sensitive to clients’ personal values and religious beliefs as they relate to difficult end-of-life planning.

ESTATE AND TRUST ADMINISTRATION

ESTATE AND TRUST ADMINISTRATION

FROMBERG EDELSTEIN FROMBERG attorneys are experienced advisors and advocates in the process of estate (known as “probate”) and trust administration, also called probate. We counsel and defend fiduciaries throughout this process. We understand this is often an emotional and unfamiliar process, so we do all we can to ensure our clients can confidently and efficiently comply with their legal responsibilities as fiduciaries.

We help fiduciaries to administer the will and/or trust, to determine the forms and timing of distributions, whether in-kind or cash, and to follow administrative and legal filing requirements for deeds, transfer documents and estate tax returns. Our attorneys are experienced advisors to fiduciaries as they collect, inventory and appraise assets; comply with tax filings; make tax selections; satisfy creditors and pay bills; and transfer assets to properly identified legatees and beneficiaries. If, during this process, conflicts arise between fiduciaries and beneficiaries, we have the ability to help resolve them.

ASSET PROTECTION

ASSET PROTECTION

At FROMBERG EDELSTEIN FROMBERG, we work side-by-side with clients to develop estate plans that allow them to grow their assets while minimizing opportunities for tax liability or creditors’ claims. We structure estates to protect clients’ wishes for the distribution of their assets – during life and after death.

In helping our clients meet their estate needs, we advise them about titling their assets and designating appropriate beneficiaries. Through careful understanding of each client’s unique circumstances, we are able to recommend a best approach to sustaining wealth for future generations while protecting the current generation.

Another aspect of asset protection includes creating pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements to resolve issues related to marital property. These agreements seek to identify each party’s existing property at the start of the marriage and to set forth the parties’ consensus of how to divide property earned or otherwise acquired subsequent to the marriage should the marital relationship end in divorce. Such agreements often also provide for the disposition of assets on a spouse’s passing in situations such as a second marriage where the spouses have children from prior marriages.