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Practices & Industries

Estate Planning & Administration

We invite you to review our White Papers, Trustees and Their Duties and Executors and Their Duties, which outline the rights and responsibilities trustees and executors have over trusts, trust beneficiaries, and in the administration of a decedent's estate.

Our trust and estate planning attorneys are counselors to our clients, providing advice on all legal aspects of their business and personal affairs, including corporate counseling, tax matters, employee relations, and trusts and estate and tax planning.

Many of our closely held business and estate planning clients rely on us as their principal advisors and confidantes. Our clients benefit by the one-on-one relationships they develop with our estate planning attorneys, such as those you would expect to develop in a smaller firm, but with all the advantages of a large, sophisticated, full-service firm.

The effectiveness of our Estate Planning and Estate Administration Group is due in large part to its strong tax orientation. The careful planning that is critical in light of the ever-changing gift, estate, generation-skipping and income tax rules requires the expertise of experienced, tax-oriented attorneys. Our proficiency in taxation allows us to effectively utilize innovative tax planning for our clients, particularly in personal income, tax and estate planning for entrepreneurs and high net worth individuals. We have particular expertise in assisting family business clients in their business succession planning.

Riker Danzig enjoys the distinct advantage of estate law attorneys with decades of dual expertise in tax, trusts and estates and probate litigation.  This combination of extensive probate litigation experience, a very particular area of litigation requiring specific knowledge, with tax, trusts and estates expertise proves invaluable to achieving a client’s objectives, whether in litigation or estate planning.  For more information on this area of expertise, go to Probate Litigation.

The estate planning attorneys in our department work on a highly personalized level with our clients to be responsive and counsel them at all the critical stages of their lives. This individual approach, with an emphasis on thoroughness and attention to detail, allows us to plan with the client for the least possible tax burden and administrative expense during the disposition of their estates, while maintaining maximum flexibility to realize each client's unique objectives. We provide continued business and personal counseling to assist our clients in meeting their individual and family goals, while balancing business and tax considerations.

Our clients range from entrepreneurs and family businesses to corporate executives, and include world-renowned individuals of significant worth as well as clients with more modest estates. Always cognizant of tax consequences and legal costs, we provide a high degree of sophistication in preparing the requisite legal instruments to implement wills and trust agreements, gift programs, corporate benefit plans and retirement plans. The firm's clients benefit from our resourcefulness in identifying tax savings, and have come to rely on our expertise in dealing with taxing authorities.

Our department's services to our clients include extensive experience in:

  • Estate planning
  • Multi-generational family asset planning
  • Succession Planning for Family Businesses
  • Revocable and irrevocable trusts
  • Charitable gifts, trusts and foundations
  • QPRTs, GRATs, and intentionally defective grantor trust planning
  • Estate and trust administration
  • Estate, gift, generation-skipping, income and inheritance tax returns
  • Probate litigation
  • International estate planning

In addition, we are well versed in the representation of beneficiaries and fiduciaries in estate and probate litigation, including will contests, questions of interpretations of wills and trusts, and guardianship proceedings.

Our Estate Planning and Administration Practice Group makes extensive use of available technologies to efficiently generate a high quality work product for our clients. Our custom-designed computerized estate planning document assembly system is state-of-the-art. Our estate administration lawyers use online resources to obtain estate tax values, which transport directly into death tax returns. Our tax research is done largely through online providers so that we have access to the most current information available.

In recent matters, estate planning attorneys in our group have been successful in saving substantial sums of money through careful estate planning, and we have advised other clients with closely held business interests in arranging for the management of their business and other non-liquid assets to facilitate a smooth transition upon the client's death. We also frequently serve as local counsel in New Jersey probate and tax matters for nonresident decedents estates.

As is true with the other practice areas of the firm, attorneys from other practice groups are readily available to lend their own expertise in areas as needed on specific matters.

Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances.

Our Team

Stephen J. Pagano

Stephen J. Pagano

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