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Private Client Services Law Firm | High Net Worth Estate Planning | Lawyers for Trusts & Estates - Wilchins Cosentino & Novins LLP

Private Client Services

Estate Planning

The Estate Planning Attorneys at Wilchins Cosentino & Novins’ Trust & Estates Group provide high net worth individuals with legal and tax planning advice for their estates, trusts, business activities, investments and insurance. At the core of these private client law firm services is a close, confidential relationship with our clients through which we learn and understand their goals and objectives for transferring wealth to future generations. This wealth transfer takes place either outright or via managed trusts, preserving wealth by minimizing income, estate, gift and generation skipping transfer taxes, and directing the disposition of assets during life and after death, while protecting assets from creditors.

We pride ourselves on developing effective and comprehensive estate plans in close consultation with our clients, using trusted estate planning techniques that are most consistent with the client’s goals and objectives. We assist clients in trust and estate planning by preparing the necessary core documents, including wills, revocable and irrevocable trusts, minors trusts, durable powers of attorney, health care proxies, realty trusts, as well as asset transfer documentation and beneficiary designations for retirement accounts and insurance policies.

Where appropriate, Wilchins Cosentino & Novins' attorneys counsel clients on more complex and sophisticated estate planning techniques, utilizing plans that may involve closely held family entitites, qualified personal residence trusts, defective grantor trusts, grantor retained annuity trusts, private foundations and/or charitable trusts. Clients frequently designate members of the firm to serve as personal representatives and/or trustees of various trusts or to otherwise serve in a fiduciary or advisory capacity.

In addition to the members of our Private Client Services Group, our firm has a multi-disciplined team of attorneys who provide personalized advice in areas that touch on our clients’ estate planning as the need arises — including the areas of estate and probate litigation, real estate, corporate law and family law. We also work closely with the other members of our clients’ professional advisory team (such as accountants, financial planners, insurance advisors, appraisers and other valuation experts) to ensure there is an integrated estate planning strategy by which our clients address some of their most important, challenging and sensitive decisions.

We understand that estate planning is an ongoing process which requires adaptation and revision as circumstances change and as new laws (including tax laws) are enacted. We frequently and regularly communicate with our clients after documents have been signed or plans have been implemented to ensure they are up-to-date and continue to satisfy our clients’ estate planning goals and objectives.

Tax Planning

The estate tax planning attorneys at Wilchins Cosentino & Novins provide sophisticated tax and estate tax planning advice to individuals, partnerships, limited liability companies and closely held family businesses and companies. We also render advice on litigation matters, domestic relations matters and closely held entities. The firm provides sophisticated income, gift and estate tax planning to individuals and closely held businesses and develops estate planning strategies to reduce estate taxes. We also provide assistance on negotiating complex arrangements such as shareholder agreements, redemptions, employment contracts, buy/sell agreements, succession plans, estate plans and deferred compensation arrangements

Our tax planning attorneys frequently help clients to prepare and file an array of tax returns (including income tax returns, gift tax returns and estate tax returns) or work with their accountants on these filings.

Business Succession Planning

Wilchins Cosentino & Novins has extensive experience in business succession planning as well as in advising clients concerning family and closely held businesses. Our lawyers have developed an expertise in succession planning for family owned businesses. The owners of these businesses are confronted with numerous issues and opportunities when planning for the transfer of either the ownership interests or the control of the entity. Our attorneys’ extensive and varied experience in all aspects of family business succession planning, which includes drafting and implementing shareholder agreements, providing alternatives to funding such agreements, including insurance planning and structuring the transaction of sales and gifts of business interests, including utilization of valuation discounts.

The firm has extensive experience dealing with family business succession planning. The private client services group addresses family and business concerns and negotiates solutions for different members of the family or owners. The firm often provides consultation with owners and family members in attempting to balance the interest of the parties, while protecting the value of the business and by providing family members or business owners with the appropriate control and equity that is necessary or appropriate.

Estate & Trust Administration

The Trusts and Estates Lawyers at Wilchins, Cosentino & Novins provides complete services for probate, estate settlement and trust administration. The estate settlement process is often complex but also extraordinarily important. Our attorneys help clients file all necessary papers with the probate courts to allow wills and appoint estate fiduciaries, inventory and account for assets, deal with creditors, secure the court’s approval of accountings, file appropriate tax returns and bring estates to a close in a timely and cost-effective manner. Advice on post-death planning techniques is another critical aspect of our work in order to help our clients minimize estate tax obligations and maximize the benefits to the family members. Throughout these processes, we maintain regular contact with our clients to provide needed advice and address any personal or sensitive issues during what is frequently a difficult and trying period.

Similarly, Wilchins Cosentino & Novins’ attorneys regularly assist clients in trust administration, either by providing counsel or by actually serving as a trustee or other fiduciary by appointment of our clients. Trusts present unique tax, business, family and personal issues, and each type of trust can present its own set of particular benefits and challenges. Our group utilizes its extensive background, knowledge and skill in this area to help clients, including fiduciaries and beneficiaries, to learn about, evaluate and balance the financial, tax and personal considerations of these types of trusts. Some trusts we commonly establish and administer for clients include, irrevocable and revocable trusts, dynasty trusts, grantor retained annuity trusts, qtip trusts, and special needs trusts, among others.

We regularly counsel clients in unfortunate cases of estate or trust disputes. Where litigation (or mediation or arbitration) is required or has otherwise commenced, our team of attorneys (including our trial attorneys) has the sophisticated experience to expertly represent our client’s interests throughout the process. This experience extends to a wide range of areas, such as probate litigation, contests of wills and trusts, allegations of undue influence or incapacity, disagreements over the suitability or conduct of proposed or existing fiduciaries, partitions of property, reformations of will and trust documents, instituting actions for fiduciary appointment or removal and intra-family conflicts.

Asset Protection Planning

The lawyers at Wilchins Cosentino & Novins’ provide proven asset protection strategies to protect a client’s assets from generation to generation. Asset protection is part of an overall wealth preservation and estate planning process that also includes investment advice, income tax planning and insurance planning. We provide asset-protection planning in many situations, such as planning for business owners of a closely held business, asset protection planning for business executives, officers and directors, individuals in high-risk situations, professionals, and family members, including the elderly and children.

We know that business litigation creates tremendous risk and exposure to our clients. As an option to litigation, we can assist clients in establishing an Asset Protection Trust. An Asset Protection Trust allows clients to retain an interest in the trust while removing it from the reach of future creditors and can protect assets from lawsuits. Current laws in several states have permitted this type of trust, which provides for the transfer of assets to an irrevocable trust. The trust incorporates spendthrift provisions in the trust document.

Elder Law & Long Term Care Planning

Wilchins Cosentino & Novins' elder law attorneys specialize in responding to the unique and sensitive elder law challenges related to aging and the possible need for long-term care. Our elder law attorneys help clients to understand and adapt to the complex and frequently changing rules about making gifts and protecting their home and other assets from long-term-care costs. Wilchins Cosentino & Novins's elder law lawyers work with clients to develop and implement practical solutions so that they can protect assets from nursing home costs and properly qualify and apply for Medicaid assistance to pay for needed health care and related services, whether they live at home, in assisted living or in a nursing home.

In addition to planning in advance of a long-term-care need, our long-term-care and elder law attorneys also have extensive experience in preparing and filing applications for Medicaid coverage, including subsequent dealings with caseworkers and hearing officers. We can also be a valuable resource for referring clients to qualified elder health professionals, such as geriatric care managers and private and public health care agencies.

Elder Law and estate planning for elders involves several special considerations because of the very specific rules that apply to long-term-care planning. The firm works regularly with elder clients to craft tax-efficient plans suited for their personal needs, including the use of certain types of irrevocable and revocable trusts, wills and testamentary trusts, life estate and special power of appointment deeds, intra-family agreements and transactions, caregiver contracts, long-term-care insurance, reverse mortgages, durable powers of attorney, health care proxies, advance care directives and other important documents.

Wilchins Cosentino & Novins’ conservatorship attorneys also have extensive experience helping clients file for guardianships and conservatorships when mental and/or physical disabilities prevent a person from being able to competently make decisions about their personal, health and/or financial affairs. Guardianship and conservatorship proceedings take place in the probate and family courts, where our team of elder law attorneys has extensive experience in both amicable and contested cases.

Special Needs Planning

Special needs planning for the care of a child is a priority for families with special needs children. Many parents worry about what will happen to their children, and who will take care of their children after they pass away. An important concern for parents of special needs children is securing government benefits like SSI and Medicaid for their children.

The special needs attorneys at Wilchins Cosentino & Novins provide representation to disabled persons and their parents, especially as it relates to estate planning and advocating for their educational and other legal rights. A special needs trust or supplemental needs trust is an excellent planning tool to address some of these concerns.

Our special needs planning attorneys regularly work with clients to put together estate plans that are tailored to the needs of a child or other beneficiary with special needs and considers how those special needs interrelate with the planning for other intended beneficiaries.

Many clients have questions and wonder what is a special needs trust and what are the special needs trust rules? A “special needs trust” is frequently an integral tool used in this planning, whether it be a third party “supplemental needs trust,” a first party “D4A trust” or a “pooled trust” that is created by a nonprofit organization.

These types of trusts enable disabled beneficiaries to inherit money, gifts, settlements, or other funds but yet still allow them to maintain eligibility for certain government programs, such as SSI and Medicare. The trusts are structured so the funds do not belong to the beneficiary when they are qualifying for public benefit programs.

We provide answers and information and advise clients as to the purposes and different uses for these special needs trusts, including advice as to appropriate funding of the trusts, and how to enable a disabled beneficiary to have access to trust funds for a wide variety of needs while still preserving eligibility for federal and state health care, as well as other benefits including Medicaid and SSI.

In addition to the more traditional uses, a particularly valuable use of the D4A-type of special needs trust is to use it to hold funds that a disabled person receives from the settlement of a personal injury or medical malpractice lawsuit, an unexpected inheritance or from a life insurance policy.

Charitable Planned Giving

Wilchins Cosentino & Novins’ charitable giving attorneys advise clients on charitable giving matters, including charitable gifts and bequests, the establishment of charitable remainder trusts, charitable remainder trust administration and the formation and administration of endowment funds, charitable private foundations, and other nonprofit corporations. Wilchins Cosentino & Novins serves as counsel to several nonprofit corporations, including hospitals, health care organizations and social service groups for which we assist in the review of probate and trust administration procedures and the development of charitable giving programs. The firm can assist in developing a charitable giving strategy and identifying the roles and responsibilities of trustees, family members, staff and donors and help our clients with donees and potential donees.