SCHILLER LAW ASSOCIATES advises professionals and small businesses in the areas of estate planning, taxes, retirement plans, group practice and professional corporations.​


WILLS AND TESTAMENTARY TRUSTS:


A well-drafted, current will is the centerpiece of every estate plan.  However, with changing tax laws and changing personal circumstances, many people have wills that are out-of-date.


Using our “Estate Planning Questionnaire”, we can analyze your finances and proactively address potential tax problems that could occur upon your death or the death of your spouse.  Since there is the possibility of a liability claim, one primary goal in planning is asset protection, and this goal is incorporated into the estate plan. Once we meet with you to determine how you would like your property distributed and family cared for upon your death, we can draft a will that meets your needs with the intent of minimizing taxes and other expenses. 


A will that is drafted as part of a careful estate plan will often include a testamentary trust – a trust written and incorporated into the will.  Depending upon your current goals and particular estate tax situation, one or more of the following kinds of trusts might be appropriate for inclusion in your will:

  • Unified Credit Trust
  •  Marital Trust
  •  “QTIP” Trust
  •  Sprinkle Trust


We explain the different options to you, advise you as to which might be best in your own circumstances, and prepare the will and testamentary trust accordingly.  In addition, we can provide guidance and support in the selection of the proper executors and trustees.


ALLOCATION AND CHOICE OF ASSETS:


Lifetime ownership of property can have a substantial impact on taxes and costs.  How should you and your spouse allocate ownership of your property?  When is joint ownership preferable, and when will it result in additional taxes and other costs?  What investment strategies best serve your estate plan and what kind will undermine it?  In giving estate planning advice, Schiller Law Associates will help you to take a complete look at your circumstances and assist you in these matters.


ESTATE PLANNING WITHIN YOUR PENSION PLAN:


For most people, their retirement plan contains the greatest concentration of their wealth.  We can assist you in designing your retirement plans with your estate plan in mind.  This means careful consideration of your beneficiary designation, whether to name a spouse, another person or persons, a trust, or some combination of a person and trust.  In addition, this means, where appropriate:

  • Review of payout options on retirement
  • Design of plan with a view toward disability payments
  • Coordination of several plans (IRA, 401-K and insurances)
  • Appropriate spousal waivers


LIFE INSURANCE PLANNING:


We can assist you in objectively reviewing how much and what kind of life insurance to buy.   Since we do not sell insurance, our interests are aligned with yours in simply determining what is best for you.  In addition, we can look at ways to minimize the death taxes that can be due on life insurance proceeds.  This centers on careful consideration of the proper designation of “owner” of the policy and “beneficiary”.  Some people are best suited simply by naming a spouse as owner or beneficiary, while others are better served by setting up a special trust for insurance.  Only a careful review of your own estate will show which alternative is best for you.


LIFETIME TRUSTS AND TRUST EQUIVALENTS:


Many people need to plan for their children’s education.  Others need to assist their elderly parents in some fashion.  There are several different ways to accomplish these goals. Some of these arrangements can also help to shift income.  Gift and estate tax savings can also be achieved.  Schiller Law Associates can review your financial and other goals and take steps to help you accomplish them, including drafting appropriate documents and taking actions such as: 

  • 529 College Savings
  • Trusts for minors
  • Outright transfers
  • Uniform Gifts to Minors Act custodial accounts
  • S corporations
  • Family partnerships
  • GRATs or other trusts


ESTATE PLANNING DURING AND AFTER A DIVORCE:


It is important for your estate to be carefully monitored during the divorce process to minimize loss of assets and unnecessary taxes.  Schiller Law Associates can assist you and your divorce counsel by helping with tax advice in negotiating divorce agreements; and preserving the value of your retirement plan in divorce proceedings and drafting qualified domestic relations orders.


After divorce often estate planning goals change; this is especially true if there are children from the marriage.  We can assist you with:

  • Trusts for children from a prior marriage
  • Prenuptial agreements
  • Revise beneficiary designations
  • Advice on insurance and asset allocation


ESTATE ADMINISTRATION AND POST-MORTEM ESTATE PLANNING:


There are a number of actions required of your executor upon your death. Some should be done immediately; others are not required for months, even years.  In addition, there are a number of important choices to be made, many of which can have an enormous impact on taxes.  For instance, should the executor select a special valuation date for the estate’s property?  Are certain deductions to be taken as income tax or estate tax deductions?  Should retirement plan proceeds be drawn out over time, rolled over or taken out as a lump sum?  Should any of the survivors exercise the right to disclaim a bequest and let it pass to the next person in line?  
As counsel to the executor, Schiller Law Associates can advise ways to further minimize taxes and other costs impacting your estate. In addition, we will guide the executor through the maze of tax returns and other necessary documents that have to be filed.


COORDINATING A SMALL BUSINESS AND ESTATE PLAN:


Your business is often one of your most valuable assets.  That value can wither within months after your death.  For your estate to receive the fair market value from the sale of your business, the sale should be arranged while you are alive.  Schiller Law Associates can assist in this area by helping to set up or arrange for:

  • Buy-sell agreements among co-owners of a business
  • Cross-purchase agreements between solo practitioners
  • Special instructions for executors
  • Valuation of a business
  • Special insurance arrangements
  • Representation during the sale or Partial sale of a business

PERSONAL PLANNING:


Executing a durable power of attorney is now a necessary ingredient in estate planning.  Although executed presently, it often is drafted to become effective upon your disability and allows your designee to act on your behalf.
Schiller Law Associates typically addresses “death with dignity” letters of instruction and organ donor options to ensure appropriate provisions are incorporated into estate plans.  Whatever your estate planning needs, Schiller Law Associates can provide high-quality service and personal attention to ensure your assets and family are protected and cared for, uphold your dignity, and avoid unnecessary taxes and costs that could impact your wealth.






ESTATE PLANNING SERVICES