At the end of your life, your assets will be distributed, and they may be taxed. The extent to which that distribution represents your wishes–and the amount of distributable value those assets retain after your death–both depend on having a well-thought-out estate plan. Partner with us to put a plan in place. Together, we’ll protect your financial assets, translating your wishes into directives while minimizing tax impact.

No matter what your family situation, it remains key to avoid the lengthy, cumbersome, expensive probate process by ensuring that your assets are properly held and their disposition clearly spelled out in binding legal documents. Competent advice helps you navigate labyrinthine taxation on all its levels–federal, state, estate and income–to best preserve the value of your assets. A well-thought-out estate plan can maximize the dollars to your loved ones and charitable organizations. The estate plan must adapt to changing tax laws, investment opportunities and personal circumstances. We keep family goals paramount and listen closely to our clients’ input. We coordinate with each client’s team of financial advisers along the way.

Estate Law involves more than just legalities and tax matters. It concerns people’s most personal issues–often, when they are emotionally overwhelmed. At the GKWW, we realize how sensitive these matters are and provide caring, confidential counsel for clients and their families.

We invite you to tap into our wealth of estate planning experience to protect your family’s future security. Contact Gardiner Koch Weisberg & Wrona for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Since our establishment in 1992, Gardiner Koch Weisberg & Wrona has brought a sophisticated, well-knit mosaic of expertise to bear in several practice areas. We are aggressive, ethical advisers who get things done.

To arrange a consultation with one of our experienced and knowledgeable staff, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

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Trust & Estate Administration

Personal Estate Planning

Business Succession
Planning

Litigation involving Powers of Attorney

Will Objections & Contests

Guardianship

Trust & Estate Administration

When a loved one dies, their final goals need to be legally effectuated–and the family is saddled with the burden of doing so. Gardiner Koch Weisberg & Wrona offers our clients estate administration, guiding families through the process and relieving them of the worry and confusion it can cause. This may include handling estate and gift tax matters, obtaining asset valuations, managing probate court filings and other related activities.

For trusts to be effective, assets must be titled in the name of the trust. The retitling of assets can often be a cumbersome and frustrating process for individuals. Corporate bureaucracies can make the retitling of even a small number of shares of stock exasperating. We handle transfers of assets into trusts every day.

All of the attorneys in the Estate Planning Department of the firm have been administering estates and trusts throughout their legal careers and have years of experience in all aspects of administering estates. See our blog for very helpful pertinent information.

PERSONAL ESTATE PLANNING

GKWW provides legal guidance in the full range of estate-planning matters, among them:

  • Trusts and Wills

  • Family Business Entities

  • LLCs and Family Limited Partnerships

  • Asset Protection

  • Marital Agreements

  • Charitable Trusts; Charitable Planning

  • Appreciated Assets

  • Installment Sales; Other Dispositions of Assets

  • U.S. Gift Tax Returns

  • Durable Powers of Attorney for Property

  • Durable Powers of Attorney for Health Care

  • Instructions for Disposition of Last Remains

This process is built on close, thorough communication. After we meet to discuss your goals and decide upon the documents to be created, we prepare the selected documents and review them with you in detail. Then, after any changes, we’ll finalize the documents for signing.

Business Succession Planning

No entrepreneur’s business deserves to wither simply because the person in charge dies or becomes disabled. Estate planning is a key to protecting assets and cash of a high net worth business owners when death occurs.

At GKWW, we employ an extensive toolbox when we design a pitch-perfect business succession plan. These instruments include the judicious deployment of gifting, insurance tools, funded trusts, staggered payouts, shareholders agreements, key man insurance and contributions to charitable organizations. We also specialize in helping to facilitate smooth, peaceful transfers of power from one generation to the next.

Litigation involving Powers of Attorney

Unfortunately, unethical persons often attempt to use Powers of Attorney to obtain funds from the elderly and the disabled. GKWW can block these attempts at the pass, advocating on behalf of the parties at risk.

Like wills and other estate documents, the law presumes that powers of attorney are valid. Powers of attorney can be challenged based upon fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, lack of capacity, mental incompetence, undue influence and a number of other factors that might come into play. Our civil and criminal experience places us in a strong position to challenge powers of attorney that have been improperly obtained (or are being improperly used).

Will Objections & Contests

When a will does not reflect the intent of the the party who made the will–or when that will is otherwise invalid–a formal objection must raised. For many years, GKWW has expertly represented our clients these matters, including probate contests and litigation involving fiduciaries.

There are a couple of major circumstances under which a will can be challenged, both of which have to do with the circumstances under which the will is signed. State law sets forth the requirement that a will must be signed in the presence of two persons who actually witness the signing of the will. When a person signs a will at his or her home–or in a hospital, or nursing home–without witnesses, and the witnesses sign at a later time, the will can be challenged. Wills can also be challenged if they were obtained through undue influence (when a person with power over another causes that person to sign a will). GKWW’s thoroughgoing expertise in estate law has successfully guided clients through these and many other related matters.

Guardianship

GKWW is uniquely experienced in guardianship: Susan Rogers is often appointed by the Court as a guardian for elderly persons, and Lynn Weisberg is often appointed as a child’s representative (to determine the best interests of a child in divorce or custody proceedings). Guardians may also be appointed for persons with disabilities–or persons who have received funds as a result of a settlement (or verdict) in an injury or medical malpractice area.

Our firm has experience in establishing guardianships for a wide variety of persons, in an extensive number of situations. We also challenge those guardians who do not engage their responsibilities appropriately.

Guardianship may also be appropriate for the children of parents who do not properly care for them. Our firm has experience in representing persons–often, other family members or grandparents–who seek to obtain guardianship for children who must be removed from the care of uncaring, drug-addicted, alcohol-dependent, or mentally infirm parents.