Estate Planning Overview

Estate Planning, Retirement, Trusts, Wills, and Estate Administration

Estate Planning

Many people hear the words “estate planning” and believe that it is for wealthy individuals only, but in truth, it is an essential step that everybody should take in order to ensure that their final wishes regarding their property – as well as their own health care — are carried out. Having a well-thought out and properly executed estate plan provides answers for loved ones at the time of your death, and also ensures that all of your assets are distributed in the way that you want them to be. An estate plan can save you taxes, expenses, aggravation and avoid disputes among family members. Every individual needs a Will, a Durable Power of Attorney and an Advance Health Care Directive or as it is more commonly referred to, a Living Will. As every individual has different circumstances and desires, sometimes trusts or other Estate Planning documents may also be necessary or advisable.

Whether you are simply in need of a Will a Durable Power of Attorney and a Living Will, or have more extensive needs, the estate and trust attorneys at the law firm of Gerstein Grayson Cohen & Melletz are knowledgeable and experienced in meeting the estate planning needs of their clients and are able to provide you, at a reasonable cost, with a customized plan that will provide you, with peace of mind.

Mitchell T. Grayson, Esq. is our leading estate and trust attorney. He has a law degree, masters of law degree in taxation, and is a licensed certified public accountant. He has over 30 years of experience in planning estates ranging from more modest size estates to those in excess of one hundred million dollars.

Wills, Powers of Attorney, Living Wills and Revocable Living Trusts

A Will is an essential document that provides instruction for your survivors at the time of your death. It establishes who will be in charge of the distribution of your assets and how those assets will be divided. It is meant to be a reflection of your values and wishes and to provide clarity for your survivors. Though some choose to simply provide a Will, which is effective at the time of their death, others choose a Revocable Living Trust that is put into effect during their lifetime. This document generally retitles a person’s assets while allowing them to retain control of them, and provides the opportunity for a gradual distribution.

A Durable Power of Attorney is a document in which and individual appoints another individual to act for another person in case the individual is to become disabled or incapacitated , and cannot make financial decisions for him or herself.

An Advance Care Directive also commonly known as a Living Will and is a document in which an individual appoints another individual to make medical decisions for that individual if he or she should become disabled or incapacitated. This is the document that expresses a person’s desire if he or she is terminally ill not to remain hooked up to machines and kept “alive” for an undetermined amount of time. As very few individuals ever want to put their loved ones through this sorrowful, emotionally draining and expensive process.

A Living Will or Advance Care Directive is an essential estate planning document that prevents that from occurring. The estate planning attorneys at Gerstein Grayson Cohen & Melletz will ask you the right questions so that we fully understand your wishes, and will then make recommendations regarding the most appropriate documents and estate plan for your needs.

Probate, Estate Administration

In addition to assisting clients with Wills , Power of Attorneys and Trusts, the law firm of Gerstein Grayson Cohen & Melletz offers comprehensive estate administration and probate services. Having to probate a Will and administer an Estate or Trust can be emotionally challenging, confusing, and time consuming. The Estate and Trust attorneys at Gerstein Grayson & Cohen can relieve you of that burden and guide you in performing your legal obligations as the Executor, Trustee or Administrator. The Estate and Trust attorneys at Gerstein Grayson Cohen & Melletz will prepare any necessary Federal and New Jersey Estate, Inheritance and Estate Income Tax returns for you to the extent such returns are required to be filed and we will obtain the required waivers so that you may have access to the decedent’s funds.

Will Contests

The Estate and Trust Attorney as well as the Trial attorneys at Gerstein Grayson Cohen & Melletz are also available to advise and represent individuals who wish to contest the validity of a Will because they believe that a Will does not accurately reflect the intent of the testator or that the testator was unduly influenced by another person. Undue influence of a testator happens in many different contexts. In view of these circumstances, the knowledge and experience the Estate Trust attorney of Gerstein Grayson Cohen & Melletz can help you obtain the funds and property to which you are entitled.

Causes of action also arise when the holder of a Power of Attorney wrongly uses his or her power under a Power of Attorney and acts for his or her own financial benefit and not that of the person for which he or she is acting for. Many times causes of action arise after a person dies because the Executor or Trustee fails to follow the Will or Trust or fails to make the required distributions.

For prompt attention to your Estate Planning needs, please complete our contact form.

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