East Brunswick, New Jersey is more than a lovely suburban community; it is a vital part of the New York City metropolitan area, rated A+ by Niche as one of the best places to live in the U.S. In this upscale community, where residents are tuned in to the importance of real estate investments, asset management, and wealth transition, those in the know turn to Merlino & Gonzalez for experienced guidance and legal representation.
Our practice has an office here in East Brunswick as well as one on Staten Island. We offer a broad range of estate planning and real estate services and are well-prepared to help ensure that your assets not only grow but remain carefully protected so they can pass smoothly on to the next generation. We will also help you with elder law concerns, such as planning for Medicaid eligibility, and assist you in matters of estate settlement.
Our skilled attorneys serve a diverse client base, well aware that planning for the future is critical whether you are building a business or career, contemplating retirement, planning for potential incapacity, or concerned with transferring your assets to your heirs. We will listen to you carefully so that we can tailor our advice to your unique circumstances and offer the best options for you and your family.
Will-Based Estate Planning in East Brunswick
A will serves several important purposes:
- Names your beneficiaries and what they will inherit
- Designates your executor, who will see that your final wishes are carried out
- Name a guardian for your minor children
- States your wishes regarding your funeral, burial/cremation, and memorial service
If you die without a will (intestate), you will have no say in how your assets will be distributed after you pass away. Instead, your accumulated assets will be distributed according to the intestate succession laws of New Jersey which are based entirely on bloodline, regardless of emotional ties.
As your will-based estate attorneys, we will make sure that:
- Your will and other pertinent documents are updated to reflect life changes like marriage, birth, or significant financial alterations.
- We take the proper steps to minimize your taxes so that your beneficiaries receive their maximum inheritance.
- You have all the documents necessary for unexpected incapacity, including a Health Care Proxy, Durable Power of Attorney, Living Will, and HIPAA release form.
- Any necessary business succession plans are in place.
Trust-Based Estate Plans in East Brunswick
Although will-based estate plans work very well for some of our clients, others, especially those with high-net-worth and complex estates, are better served by establishing trusts. Once we have had our initial consultation with you, we will be able to assess which type of estate plan will be most effective for you and your family. We will discuss various types of trusts with you — living, revocable, and irrevocable — and the differences between them, and then zero in on particular trusts that may be helpful in your situation (e.g. special needs trust, charitable trust).
A wide range of trusts are available to serve multiple purposes, such as:
- Protecting your assets from excessive taxation, cost, and delays of probate, creditors, lawsuits, and claims of divorced spouses
- Protecting special needs family members while maintaining their eligibility for government benefits
- Protecting spendthrift beneficiaries from squandering their inheritance
- Planning for incapacity while maintaining eligibility for Medicaid
- Planning for a secure retirement
- Planning for smooth business succession
- Establishing a charitable, educational, or artistic legacy
Settling Your Estate in East Brunswick
Settling an estate can be a complicated process. Whether you are considering estate settlement from the point of view of choosing an executor or have been named the executor of someone else’s estate, our knowledgeable lawyers will familiarize you with the court process of probate and the drafting and executing of other necessary legal documents. Most importantly, we will clarify the duties and fiduciary responsibilities of being an executor which include:
- Having the will validated by the court
- Opening an estate bank account
- Investing estate funds carefully to preserve and increase their value
- Gathering and inventorying assets, both tangible ones (e.g. real estate, vehicles, and collections) and intangible ones (e.g. digital assets, stocks, and bonds).
- Filing a final estate tax return
- Paying estate taxes if necessary
- Paying off debts and loans
- Distributing remaining assets to named beneficiaries or, if there is no will, according to the New Jersey laws of intestate succession
- Mediating disputes that may arise among beneficiaries, preferably without litigation
- Handling a will contest if necessary
Our attorneys are well-prepared to assist you if you have taken on the role of executor and to answer any questions you may have about particular tasks.
Dealing With Real Estate in East Brunswick
Much of real estate involves making effective connections. In this area, our real estate attorneys have a distinct advantage since we regularly connect and collaborate with respectable realtors, brokers, lenders, and title agencies.
Our extensive experience provides us with the ability to vary our perspective depending on yours. No matter whether you are a buyer, seller, or developer, we can provide helpful insight into the real estate matter confronting you. You can count on our advice on real estate issues to be well-thought-out, carefully researched, and in line with up-to-date information regarding:
- Current property valuations
- Land use and zoning issues
- Mortgage financing through banks, credit unions, other financial institutions, or private financing
- Real estate development
- Real estate transactions
- Regulatory compliance
- Title searches and insurance
- Transfer of real estate assets
Merlino & Gonzalez — the Wise Choice in East Brunswick
Our reputation for customized service and personal concern is well-deserved. Whatever your life stage, career path, wealth status, or family constellation, our experienced attorneys are here to help you meet your goals. Contact us now so that we can help you formulate a strategy that aligns with your chosen priorities in areas crucial to you and your loved ones.