Advanced Estate Planning


Complex Estate Plans

In many cases, a client’s situation (assets, business, family, etc…) calls for a more complicated plan than just basic wills, living wills and powers of attorney.  They might have a relatively high net worth, own (or are a partner in) a business, or have both children and grandchildren.  Children or other family members might be working in the business and they have more complicated concerns than just leaving all property to each other (typical “I love you” will arrangements).  They might want to leave property to children or grandchildren in trust.

HIPAA Compliant Estate Plans

If you are a doctor or other medical professional and are subject to HIPAA privacy laws, you have additional responsibilities in case of your premature death.  A HIPAA compliant will incorporates provisions that addresses the handling and distribution of patient files and other PHI (protected health information).  Patient files should be returned to them or their families or arrangements should be made to transfer their files to new practitioners.  There have been cases where doctors have been fined posthumously and their estate has been forced to fines for HIPAA violations and the doctor was admonished.  Families usually do not want to tarnish the reputation of their accomplished parent.

Charitable LLCs & Other Charitable Planning

If you are a high-net worth individual looking for additional tax savings AND you have charitable intentions, you can consider various charitable entities to meet your objectives.  One of the newly emerging areas is the use of LLCs (limited liability companies) in this area.  A “charitable” LLC is not actually a non-profit entity approved by the government.  Only a corporation can be an approved 501(c)(3) organization.  However, sophisticated planners are using LLCs to meet charitable objectives of their clients and avoid the constrictive and onerous rules imposed on nonprofit corps.  Certain wealthy individuals (Mark Zuckerberg has most recently made the news) are contributing money into an LLC and the LLC will manage and distribute to chosen charities.  The members of the LLC will not receive an income tax deduction until monies are actually paid to the charity.  But, if a group of individuals wish to pool their resources and have aligned goals and objectives, an LLC might be an easier way to set up the arrangement.

For those who want to “have their cake and eat it too”, consider an aggressive approach that combines the LLC with a partner-owner charity to obtain a current tax deduction and other tax benefits along with way.  Contact our office to further discuss these and other advanced techniques.

Eldercare Planning

As parents and other loved ones age, issues arise that should be addressed sooner than later.  Documents such as healthcare directives and powers of attorney, as well as updated wills and trusts (if necessary), should be signed before someone is too frail (especially in mind) to do so.  This might include transferring the personal residence to a trust while retaining a life estate.  And it might involve the use of other trust vehicles to protect assets from government taking.  For elderly parents, you might consider our DocuBank (link) service with an Emergency Access Card.

Asset Protection

If you have a relatively high network or you are in a professional (such as the healthcare field) that comes with additional exposure to liability, you should consider an estate plan that employs asset protection strategies that protects what you own from both creditors and “predators”.  “Predators” are people that purposely create situations to make you liable to them and seek money through lawsuits and insurance claims.  These types of plans might involve using trusts and other vehicles in various state jurisdictions and, perhaps, even in offshore locations.  It should also include appropriate insurance policies with proper levels of coverage.

New Jersey Probate

While the filing of probate or administrating is often a straight-forward process in New Jersey, it can be a drawn out experience involving filing of final income tax returns, inheritance waivers and the dealing with many financial institutions that your loved one accumulated during their lifetime.  Having an attorney involved can save you a lot of time and heart ache as you learn about the process “by accident.”