Estate Planning & Taxation

Estate planning is multifaceted, encompassing property, business, contracts, tax, and many other areas of the law. It also serves a number of important purposes – it can help you avoid probate, minimize or eliminate estate taxes, and provide instructions on how to manage your affairs during your incapacity and settle matters after your death.

The estate planning and tax attorneys at Moskowitz, LLP can help you develop a new estate plan or work with you on modifications to an estate plan that is already in place:

Basic estate planning

Basic estate planning documents include either a simple will or a pour-over will with a revocable living trust, durable power of attorney for asset management and advance health care directive (living will plus health care power of attorney) for healthcare decision-making in the event of your incapacity.

There are additional estate planning considerations for non-U.S. citizens and their spouses, including use of a qualified domestic trust (QDOT) to defer the harsh tax treatment often given to non-US citizens.

If you have children, you should also consider the benefits of a minor’s trust or special needs trust, to ensure that your children’s inheritance is properly managed and their assets protected.

Advanced estate planning

If the total value of your assets is over the estate tax exemption amount (currently $5.49 million per individual), you should explore the tax-saving benefits of a Marital Trust and Credit Shelter Trust, IRA Distribution Planning, as well as the possibility of incorporating an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust, Charitable Trust, Family Limited Partnership and/or LLC into your estate plan.

Individuals with extensive property and/or business interests can benefit from Conservation Easements, Family Business Continuation Plans, “Estate freezing” techniques, and our Wealth Management Services. An individual with business interests may also protect their assets from future creditors by establishing a Foreign Trust.

Estate administration

We work closely with executors, administrators, guardians, and trustees, helping them carry out their responsibilities in accordance with the law and the testator’s wishes. Our tax law and accounting teams advise the firm’s clients on how to properly distribute estate assets through probate proceedings or trust administration, and ensure the most tax efficient accounting and valuation of estate assets for purposes of the final income tax return and estate tax return preparation.

Estate tax audits and litigation

Since estate and gift tax returns are all individually reviewed, the likelihood of an audit is much higher than that of individual income tax returns. Our experienced attorneys routinely handle all types of tax audits and have litigated many estate, gift, and generation-skipping tax positions opposed by the IRS before the U.S. Tax Court, U.S. District Court, and U.S. Courts of Appeals.

California estate planning and administration services

Our estate planning and tax attorneys can save your loved ones considerable sums in probate fees and out-of-state estate taxes, as well as a great deal of aggravation. Contact our office today for a consultation.

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