Estate Planning

The preservation and transfer of wealth is an important – and very personal – component of financial planning. To facilitate an orderly disposition of assets during life, after a divorce or any life changing event and upon death, individuals and their families require a legal advisor experienced in devising and implementing sophisticated estate planning techniques that maximize intergenerational wealth.
Maitlin Maitlin Goodgold Brass & Bennett estate planning attorneys have vast experience in all aspects of state and federal tax law, with a particular emphasis on the planning and administration of trusts and estates. Our attorneys will work with you and your family as well as with your financial and investment advisors to give you full protection for your assets and your family’s future. We recognize that this process involves not only financial and tax concerns, but emotional considerations as well and will assist you every step of the way
Our goal is to assure that assets pass to the intended beneficiaries at as little cost as possible, including minimizing state and federal tax burdens which may require the use of sophisticated and creative planning techniques. Our estate planning and administration services include:

Wills, Trusts & Healthcare Directives

There is a lot of misinformation circulating about wills, trusts and estate planning. Many think this type of planning is only needed for the wealthy, with the main objective of minimizing or avoiding estate and gift taxes. This could not be further from the truth. Most married couples, especially if they have minor children, should have wills, advance healthcare directives (also known as “living wills” or medical powers of attorney) and durable powers of attorney in order to be prepared for any unexpected happenings in their lives such as premature death, accident or illness. In the case of minor children, a parent’s will should contain a minor’s trust since these persons are not old enough to own property outright. Such trusts should stipulate when the minor gets income, when they get principal and what discretionary powers the Trustee shall have. These “personal” documents should be reviewed and updated at least every five years, or in the event of life-changing circumstances such as divorce, death, illness or relocation to another jurisdiction. If children have special needs due to handicaps or disabilities, “special needs” provisions should be included in the will and perhaps a separate “supplemental” needs trust should be created.

Probate & Administration

The trusts and estates attorneys at MMGBB are experienced in the probate process and the administering of estates. Whether the family requires representation through the probate process, either when there is a will or when the family member died without one, we can help. If the person (or “decedent”) died intestate (without a will), the court will appoint an Administrator and generally require this person to purchase a bond to protect against stealing of estate assets. Dying without a will complicates the probate process in that more formal filings will be required and legal fees will generally be higher.

The Executor, or Administrator as the case may be, is responsible for notifying the estate beneficiaries of their inheritances and provides them with a copy of the will. A beneficiary has 4 to 6 months (with some exceptions) from the date of notification to contest the will or probate.

What happens if your loved one died and you learn that there is a newer will that left you out of the will or left a large share of your family member’s estate to a stranger. You have the opportunity to contest the will or probate. This type of will contest requires experienced legal guidance through the process and an attorney who can work through the familial emotions get the best result possible for you.

Contact us for more information about probate and will contests in New Jersey.

Eldercare Planning

As seniors age, difficult decisions may eventually need to be made. If you or your elderly loved ones still have the capacity to deal with their financial, legal and healthcare affairs, legal planning for seniors should begin as soon as possible. If dementia later sets in, signing of any documents will not be an option. First of all, any documents more than 5 years old should be reviewed and perhaps redrafted. These include a Last Will & Testament, Advanced Healthcare Directive and Durable Power of Attorney. It might also be a good time to consider creating trusts to begin to transfer assets to children and grandchildren while still maintaining some control. You should also begin to review the rules around Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security planning and analyze the options regarding assisted living, nursing care, hospice care and passing of assets before and after death. Is now a good time to consider long-term care insurance?

For decades Medicare has provided important health services to millions of Americans. However, without planning for Medicare, long term care can have a tremendous economic impact that can quickly sap away a life’s worth of savings. In order to qualify, you cannot have assets in excess of a certain amount.

At our firm, we can help you create comprehensive estate and Medicare plans that help protect your assets, place your children and loved ones in financially beneficial situations, and offer you security and peace of mind. In these situations, it’s important to start planning as early as possible, so that you steer clear of tax penalties and related issues.

Our trust and estates attorneys can help you and your loved ones prepare for the next stage by providing smart, forward-looking Medicare and eldercare planning advice to individuals and their loved ones across New Jersey. At MMGBB, we have more than 50 years of combined experience in this area, helping our clients and their relatives for generations to come.

Tax Planning

Nobody likes to pay taxes. Tax Planning is following through with your right to do everything you can legally do to minimize your taxes. With a combination of estate planning, business planning and maximizing the credits and exemptions the government allows you to have, you can greatly reduce the amount of money you owe to Uncle Sam. We prepare a custom tax plan for each client.

MMGBB provides our clients with broad legal, tax, and business experience combined with an ability to act as a trusted family and business advisor and counselor.