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  • May 13, 2020Medicaid Planning

    Shana Siegel, a Member of law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., and Chair of its Elder Care & Special Needs Law Practice Group, will co-present the National Business Institute audio webinar, “Medicaid Planning.”

    About Medicaid Planning

    This webinar, designed for accountants, attorneys, financial planners, geriatric care managers, investment advisors, nursing home administrators, and paralegals, offers the most current and effective Medicaid planning best practices when dealing with increasing health and long-term care costs aging clients experience when seeking assisted care.

    Shana will present “Excluded vs. Countable Assets,” 9:30 – 10:45 a.m., regarding annuities, asset valuations, bank accounts, bonds, Community Spouse Resource Allowance, Earned Income Tax Credit, estate planning, government payment programs, household goods, income-producing property, insurance, loans, mutual fund shares, stocks, trusts, and vehicles. She will then present “Qualifying Asset Transfers: Which Techniques Work,” 12:30 – 1:45 p.m, which covers debt repayments and expense prepayments, exempt assets, gifts, IRAs and retirement accounts, life estate purchases, promissory notes and annuities, Reverse Half-Loaf Income Technique, reverse mortgages, spouse protection, and timing of transfers.

    Other discussion topics will include:

    • “Is Medicaid Right for Your Client?”
    • “Income Eligibility”
    • “Application Process, Appeals, and Post-Eligibility Issues”
    • “Liens, Estate Recovery, and Hardship Waivers”
    • “Legal Ethics”

    When: Wednesday, June 17, 2020

    9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

    Registration: nbi-sems.com

    The first registration costs $349 and each additional registration is $339. You may purchase the live audio webinar, on-demand audio, audio download, or audio CD.

    About Shana Siegel

    Shana Siegel concentrates her practice in the area of elder law, focusing on representing seniors, individuals with special needs, and their families in connection with life care planning, public benefits, trust and estate planning, and long-term care advocacy. As one of the few Certified Elder Law Attorneys (CELA) in northern New Jersey to be certified by the National Elder Law Foundation (NELF), she has extensive experience in probate and estate administration, asset preservation, supplemental and special needs trusts, planning for disability, guardianship and estate litigation, resident rights, health care decision making, Medicare, Medicaid, and health insurance appeals.

    Shana has been involved in health and long-term care issues for over 25 years. She is a past president of the New Jersey Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), where she regularly met with legislators and government officials on behalf of the elder law bar and their clients. In 2015, Shana was invited to join NAELA’s prestigious Council of Advanced Practitioners (CAP). Additionally, Shana is a member of the New Jersey Women Lawyers Association, the New Jersey State Bar Elder & Disability Law Section, and the Life Care Planning Law Firms Association.

    Posted in: Elder Care & Special Needs Law, Estate Planning & Administration, Events, Shana Siegel | Tags: , ,

  • Mar 26, 2020Tension Between Site Remediation and Expeditious Estate Administration

    When considering environmental liabilities in the context of an estate administration, property owners can take proactive steps to abate the risk, or at least make it more manageable for their heirs.

    Claims Against Estates 

    Environmental liabilities generally do not lend themselves to the typical resolution procedure applicable to non-environmental liabilities in estate administrations. Generally, a creditor of a decedent has nine months from the date of the decedent’s death to present a claim in writing to the executor or administrator of the decedent’s estate (collectively “Personal Representative”; N.J.S.A. 3B:22-4). If a creditor fails to present a claim within the nine-month period, the Personal Representative is not personally liable to the creditor with respect to any assets that the Personal Representative may have delivered or paid in satisfaction of any lawful claims, devises, or distributive shares. Id. After the expiration of the nine-month period and distribution of estate assets, creditors can still pursue their claims against estate beneficiaries under their Refunding Bonds (N.J.S.A. 3B:22-16).

    However, Personal Representatives of estates whose decedent held potentially contaminated real property, in his or her individual name or in a general partnership, face unique and difficult challenges in attempting to satisfy obligations under environmental law within the statutory framework discussed above. There are two distinct reasons for this difficulty: (a) environmental liabilities of estates often have not been quantified, an often-lengthy process; and (b) long-tail obligations may attach when an environmental remediation leaves contamination on-site and engineering and institutional controls are utilized.

    The enactment of the Site Remediation Reform Act (SRRA) in 2009 should have largely eliminated the first problem, since all properties with historical (pre-SRRA) contamination should already have been reported and investigated. Unlike the Industrial Site Recovery Act (ISRA) (which mandated remediation of only a subset of properties—generally properties with operating manufacturing, and certain warehousing and service businesses—and only upon their sale or closure), the SRRA required reporting of all properties with known contamination and set forth a strict schedule for completion of investigation (five years from the 2012 effective date, i.e., 2017) and remediation (10 years, i.e., 2022). Thus, by now, all contaminated properties existing in 2009 should have been identified, the investigation completed, and the remediation well underway.

    The reality, however, is different. Without a pressing transaction and the attendant infusion of funds, many owners of historically contaminated properties, especially those with no current productive use, simply have not complied with the SRRA’s mandates. Unlike ISRA matters, without a purchaser pushing for compliance and without an infusion of new funds, many owners felt neither the pressure to report nor the ability to fund an investigation and remediation; thus, their property remains unaddressed.

    However, upon the death of the property owner, the Personal Representative of the property owner’s estate now has the compliance obligation and should not risk sanctions for non-compliance. Naturally, the Personal Representative will face challenges in selling real property that needs to be liquidated for the payment of debts, expenses, and taxes, and for ultimate distribution to the beneficiaries. Where property is specifically bequeathed, the beneficiary is faced with the decision of whether to disclaim the property (a decision that must be made, pursuant to Internal Revenue Code Section 2518, within nine months of death to avoid U.S. Gift Tax consequences), or perhaps assert claims against the remainder of the estate for additional funds to investigate and remediate the contaminated property.

    Timing Challenges

    Personal Representatives face the timing challenges posed by the fact that the Preliminary Assessment, Site Investigation and Remedial Investigation (“PA,” “SI” and “RI,”) process can take several years. With the SRRA’s creation of the Licensed Site Remediation Professional (LSRP), the delay of seeking NJDEP approval at each step of the remedial process has been reduced. Nevertheless, inherent delays are associated with the process of preparing the PA, SI and RI. In addition, the finality of the “end” of the remedial process, the issuance of a Remedial Action Outcome (RAO), is subject to a three-year period during which NJDEP can audit and overturn the RAO.

    The other timing issue is that the obligations of the Responsible Party (RP) may never end. If contaminated soils are left in place under an impermeable cap (typically pavement, building slab, engineered greenscape, etc.), subject to a deed notice (often the only rational and cost-effective remedy), it is accompanied by a Soils Remedial Action Permit (Soils RAP). The RP is perpetually the permittee, although the then-current owner is a co-permittee. The Soils RAP requires inspection and maintenance of the cap, annual inspection, biennial report, annual fee, and perpetual establishment and maintenance of “hard” Financial Assurance (FA) in the form of a letter of credit, line of credit, or fully-funded trust in the amount of the net present value of performing the permit conditions.

    Matters involving groundwater contamination may require groundwater treatment, but even then, the very stringent State Groundwater Quality Standards (GWQS) are often not achieved.   In those fairly typical situations, the only remaining remedy is Natural Monitored Attenuation.  That means natural dilution and degradation processes are modeled, and a projection of the size and duration of the contaminated plume is calculated. The RP is obligated to periodically (typically annually, sometimes for 20 years or more) sample the groundwater plume for the calculated duration to ascertain that the GWQS have been achieved. If they have not, then the RP may have to extend the period of monitoring, or in some circumstances, implement additional remedial measures. These obligations are incorporated into a Groundwater RAP. As with a Soils RAP, the original RP is perpetually a permittee, with the current property owner a co-permittee. Unlike a Soils RAP, no FA is required.

    Dealing with Environmental Liabilities in Estate Administration

    Statutory liability for environmental liabilities is generally fixed, but the amount and timing of the payment obligation are uncertain, particularly where the investigative and remedial process is ongoing. In that circumstance, the Personal Representative would be ill-advised to distribute estate assets, even upon receipt of refunding bonds from all beneficiaries, without establishing an adequate reserve for environmental liabilities (See, N.J.S.A. 3B:22-11). But in the context of environmental liabilities, what amount will be adequate?

    Naturally the most conservative approach would be for the Personal Representative to keep the estate open and retain all assets available to satisfy the estate’s remedial obligations until completion. However, as indicated above, resolution may not come for many years after the decedent’s death, leading the Personal Representatives to seek alternatives to expedite distribution of estate assets to beneficiaries to the extent possible without exposing themselves to personal liability.

    One approach could be for the Personal Representative to seek an LSRP’s guidance to calculate an adequate reserve for environmental obligations and incorporate that reserve into an application for approval of a formal judicial accounting and discharge, putting the DEP on notice as an interested party. While liability may still exist for the beneficiaries under their refunding bonds, a discharge orchestrated in this manner should serve to exonerate the Personal Representative from personal liability for making distributions in excess of the reserve (See, N.J.S.A. 3B:17-8).

    The Personal Representative may also want to seek advice and direction from the court in certain situations before expending estate assets on environmental investigation, remediation and clean-up costs. For example, residuary beneficiaries and specific devisees of contaminated real property are likely to differ on the extent to which estate funds should be expended on environmental remediation costs, particularly where the liquid assets of the estate are not significant in relation to the potential exposure. An action for advice and direction gives all parties the opportunity to be heard and can protect the Personal Representative from potential breach of fiduciary duty claims.

    In sum, when considering environmental liabilities in the context of an estate administration, the adage “the best defense is a good offense” is apt. A review of the case law and statutes regarding environmental liability reveals that transparency is key. Property owners who know their property may be susceptible to environmental liability claims should be upfront with their executors, trustees, beneficiaries, and heirs to make them aware of potential issues facing properties that these people will come to own and/or manage. Transparency will also empower fiduciaries and/or beneficiaries to preserve the defenses available to them under state and federal environmental liability laws. For example, under both the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) (federal law) and the New Jersey Spill Compensation and Control Act (NJ Spill Act) (state law), the “innocent purchaser” defense is available to subsequent titleholders of contaminated property who are able to prove that they made reasonable and appropriate inquiry into the condition of the property, the past owners of the property, and previous uses of the property; and to those who have not contributed to the contamination. Without knowledge of a potential contamination problem, or the threat thereof, subsequent titleholders are not likely to engage in a high level of due diligence prior to taking title to a property.

    In addition to preserving defenses available to a subsequent titleholder, being transparent in acknowledging and investigating the source of the problem may also highlight any right to contribution from previous owners or dischargers that the property owner may have. Such defenses may be preserved and carried forward by the Personal Representative or heirs upon the property owner’s death.

    Finally, although there is no way to totally remove the specter of environmental liability issues cast upon fiduciaries, beneficiaries, and heirs, a property owner facing these challenges can take proactive steps to abate the risk or make it more manageable for those they leave behind.

    Edward A. Hogan is co-chair of the Environmental Law Group at Norris McLaughlin in Bridgewater. James J. Costello Jr. is co-chair of the firm’s Trust, Estate, and Individual Tax Group. The authors are grateful for the assistance of their colleagues, Nicholas J. Dimakos and Shauna M. Deans, who are associates at the firm.

    Reprinted with permission from the March 25, 2020, issue of the New Jersey Law Journal. © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. Further duplication without permission is prohibited. All rights reserved.

    Posted in: Edward A. Hogan, Environmental, Estate Planning & Administration, James J. Costello, Nicholas J. Dimakos, Shauna M. Deans |

  • Feb 26, 2020Shana Siegel to Speak on Elder Care and Special Needs Law

    Shana Siegel, a Member of law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., and Chair of its Elder Care and Special Needs Law Practice Group, will be speaking on elder care and special needs throughout the month of March.

    “I have dedicated my life to helping families facing aging, illness, and disability. It is imperative to take the time to learn your needs and goals and create individualized plans to give you peace of mind. By focusing on your goals, you can plan a holistic approach for both the unexpected and the inevitable,” said Siegel.

    About the Presentations

    On Tuesday, March 3, Siegel will present “Planning for Aging,” addressing getting one’s legal affairs in order and paying for long-term care, at the weekly Montclair Rotary Club lunch meeting. She will then discuss special needs planning for Hudson Milestones in Jersey City, which is an organization that offers a variety of programs to serve those who are intellectually or developmentally disabled at all stages of their life cycle, on Wednesday, March 18. These events are not open to the public, but for more information or to host a similar seminar, feel free to contact Siegel at ssiegel@norris-law.com.

    On Tuesday, March 24, Siegel will speak on health care decision-making at the “Five Wishes” workshop hosted by Westwood for All Ages in association with the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute’s “Conversation of Your Life” (COYL) program, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m., at the Westwood Community Center. This free workshop will cover making care decisions, medical treatment, and what loved ones should know. The event will help participants consider their personal choices for health care and end-of-life wishes and draft a document to effectively communicate those wishes. To register for this free workshop, please email ww4allages@gmail.com or call (201) 834-4192.

    About Shana Siegel

    Siegel concentrates her practice in the area of elder law, focusing on representing seniors, individuals with special needs, and their families in connection with life care planning, public benefits, trust and estate planning, and long-term care advocacy. As one of the few Certified Elder Law Attorneys (CELA) in northern New Jersey to be certified by the National Elder Law Foundation (NELF), she has extensive experience in probate and estate administration, asset preservation, supplemental and special needs trusts, planning for disability, guardianship and estate litigation, resident rights, health care decision making, Medicare, Medicaid, and health insurance appeals.

    Prior to joining Norris McLaughlin, Siegel was with WanderPolo & Siegel for over 10 years, five of which were as principal. She has been involved in health and long-term care issues for over 25 years. Siegel is a past president of the New Jersey Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), where she regularly met with legislators and government officials on behalf of the elder law bar and their clients. In 2015, she was invited to join NAELA’s prestigious Council of Advanced Practitioners (CAP).

    Siegel is a member of the New Jersey Women Lawyers Association, the State Bar Elder Law Section, the Life Care Planning Law Firms Association, and the Bergen and Essex County Bar Associations. She earned her J.D. from Georgetown University, with honors, in 1994 and her B.A. from Barnard College, with honors, in 1989.

    Posted in: Elder Care & Special Needs Law, Estate Planning & Administration, News, Shana Siegel | Tags: , ,

  • Feb 25, 2020NeedQuest – Business Networking for Special Needs Professionals

    Join us for business networking for professionals who serve the special needs community in New Jersey!

    Norris McLaughlin, P.A., invites you to join us for a breakfast networking event. Come meet other professionals who serve the special needs community in New Jersey. Make new friends, meet new colleagues, and get referrals.

    When: Thursday, March 5, 2020

    9:30 – 11:00 a.m.
    Light breakfast will be served.

    Where: Norris McLaughlin

    400 Crossing Boulevard, 8th Floor
    Bridgewater, NJ 08807

    Registration: Eventbrite.com

    About Norris McLaughlin

    Our experienced elder care and special needs law attorneys go beyond traditional planning to address the needs of seniors and individuals with disabilities by assisting them in long-term care planning and advocacy, guardianships and conservatorships, and end-of-life planning. We have deep expertise and personal experience with special needs issues, including the transition to adult services, and can provide guidance far beyond simply setting up a special needs trust.

    Shana Siegel, Chair of the Norris McLaughlin Elder Care and Special Needs Law Practice Group, concentrates her practice in the area of elder law, focusing on representing seniors, individuals with special needs, and their families in connection with life care planning, public benefits, trust and estate planning, and long-term care advocacy. She has extensive experience in probate and estate administration, asset preservation, supplemental and special needs trusts, planning for disability, guardianship and estate litigation, resident rights, health care decision-making, Medicare, Medicaid, and health insurance appeals.

    About NeedQuest

    Families with children with special needs know the struggle to find special needs programs and services in New Jersey. NeedQuest connects families with children and adults with special needs in New Jersey to providers including special education schools for special needs students, special needs schools, special needs camps, special needs lawyers, advocates for children with special needs, special needs sleepaway camps, special needs YMCA camps with inclusion and summer programs, after school programs for children with autism spectrum disorder and other special needs, speech therapists, pediatric occupational therapists, DDD approved agencies and programs, and special needs events.

    Posted in: Elder Care & Special Needs Law, Estate Planning & Administration, Events | Tags: , ,

  • Feb 24, 2020Norris McLaughlin Welcomes Two New Members to Pennsylvania Office

    The Pennsylvania office of law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., is pleased to welcome Christopher R. Gray and the Honorable Rebecca L. Warren (Ret.) as Members of the firm. Gray joins both the Tax, Trust, and Estates Practice Group and the Business Law Practice Group, while Warren will be a part of the Labor & Employment, Litigation, and Business Law Practice Groups.

    “We are grateful to have these two established attorneys join our team and look forward to enhancing our multiple practices at Norris McLaughlin. Our clients will benefit from the additional experience Chris and Rebecca are bringing,” said S. Graham Simmons, III, Administrative Partner of the firm’s Pennsylvania office.

    About Christopher Gray

    Gray focuses his practice in the areas of estate planning, estate administration, and income tax planning.

    In addition, Gray is experienced in corporate matters, business transactions, non–profit issues, health care governance, elder law, and general litigation. He represents high net-worth clients and their businesses in developing estate, gift, income tax, and succession planning strategies.

    Prior to joining Norris McLaughlin, Gray has worked both in private practice and with a financial strategies company advising affluent private clients on business investments, multigenerational estate preservation, and wealth planning.

    A long-time resident of Pennsylvania, Gray is a past officer of the Lehigh Valley Estate Planning Council, and currently serves on the Northampton Community College Foundation Board of Directors, where he is also Chair of its Planned Giving Committee.

    With 25 years of experience, Gray frequently presents on tax law and initiatives, estate planning tools and techniques, and asset protection.

    Gray received his J.D. from Thomas M. Cooley Law School, cum laude, in 1993 and his B.A. from Franklin and Marshall College in 1987. He also earned his LL.M. in Taxation from Georgetown University Law Center in 1994.

    “Our Practice Group has witnessed recent and robust growth. We are delighted to welcome Attorney Gray to join our Team at this auspicious time. Chris is a fine asset to our firm and to our clients,” said Judith A. Harris, Co-Chair of the Tax, Trust, and Estates Practice Group.

    About Rebecca Warren

    Warren devotes her practice to labor and employment, business and corporate matters, and general liability litigation.

    As a former in-house corporate attorney and having counseled businesses for over 25 years, Warren is acutely aware of the unique and varied legal needs of business clients. She has created thousands of customized legal documents for corporations, partnerships, LLCs, and sole proprietors. Warren is also well-versed in providing legal strategy and guidance regarding daily business issues and concerns ranging from employment matters to third-party disputes.

    As a former prosecutor, Warren is well-positioned to counsel clients in crisis management, internal and governmental investigations, and regulatory and business compliance. She has represented prominent clients in high-stakes and multi-million-dollar cases at the county, state, and federal levels in multiple states.

    In addition, Warren has extensive experience in insurance defense, white-collar crime, election law, health care, commercial law, estate practice and administration, family law, and real estate.

    Warren handles all aspects of litigation for her clients, having appeared in court on thousands of hearings, proceedings, arbitrations, jury and non-jury trials, and appeals. She was formerly appointed Solicitor for various non-profit organizations and government agencies and had regularly served as a county Arbitration panel member and Chairperson.

    Prior to joining Norris McLaughlin, Warren founded a multi-county law firm and real estate closing company and was a partner in a Philadelphia firm.

    Warren was elected as the first female District Attorney of Montour County by a 3:1 margin. In that role, she designed and implemented an intensive, personalized victim rights program; created the Multi-Disciplinary Investigative Team for child abuse cases to minimize trauma for minor victims; and collaborated with agencies to provide services and treatment for offenders.

    Warren received her J.D. from The Dickinson School of Law in 1991 and her B.A. with honors from Bloomsburg University in 1988.

    “We are excited to see growth within the firm and I am proud to be able to extend our team’s reach in Pennsylvania by adding Rebecca’s many years of experience. Having her in-house perspective, as well as her service as a District Attorney, will be a great addition to our group,” said Patrick T. Collins, Chair of the Labor & Employment Practice Group.

    Posted in: Business Law, Christopher R. Gray, Elder Care & Special Needs Law, Estate Planning & Administration, Hon. Rebecca L. Warren (Ret.), Labor & Employment, Litigation, News, Taxation | Tags: , , , , , , ,

  • Feb 05, 2020The Secure Act and Its Impact on Your Estate Plan

    As the festivities of the New Year have waned and we approach Tax Season, we bring you news of a recent legislative development that warrants your attention and may require changes to your estate plan. During the final weeks of 2019, Congress enacted federal tax legislation known as the “SECURE Act.”

    The SECURE Act

    The law makes important changes to the federal tax code that will impact distributions from retirement accounts such as 401(k)s, 403(bs)s, IRAs, and tax-qualified annuities (referred to in this legal advisory collectively as “Retirement Accounts”). Those changes may affect you during your lifetime and may also affect the way Retirement Accounts are distributed to your beneficiaries after your death. Consequently, the law may also limit your ability to protect retirement accounts from your beneficiaries’ creditors in a tax-efficient manner.

    This legal advisory summarizes the key aspects of the SECURE Act, which is effective as of January 1, 2020, that may affect your estate plan. We hope you find it helpful in understanding certain major changes enacted by this legislation and how they might affect you. However, bear in mind that the law will affect everyone differently. Therefore, we strongly urge you to contact our office to arrange a time for us to discuss this new law in detail, so that we may act to make any necessary revisions to your estate plan as soon as possible.

    Changes Affecting You

    One component of the SECURE Act that will affect many people during their lives is a change in the age at which a person must begin taking distributions from a Retirement Account. Prior to the SECURE Act, most people (except those who were not yet retired) were required to begin taking distributions from Retirement Accounts by April 1st of the year following the year in which they reached age 70 ½. Under the SECURE Act, the age is increased to 72 for those who were not yet required to take distributions under the old law.

    Also, the SECURE Act removes the age cap for funding traditional (non-Roth) IRAs, meaning that qualifying individuals over age 70½ are now eligible to make deductible and nondeductible contributions to a traditional IRA (and may, in some instances, present additional opportunities for funding a Roth IRA).

    These changes involve additional detail and nuance beyond the summary provided in this Alert and may present an opportunity for some to take further advantage of the tax-deferred savings offered by Retirement Accounts. Feel free to reach out to any member of the Norris McLaughlin Trust, Estate, and Individual Tax Law Practice Group to discuss those opportunities in coordination with your accountant or financial advisor.

    Changes Affecting Your Beneficiaries

    Perhaps the most significant changes concerning estate planning brought about by the SECURE Act regard how Retirement Accounts are distributed after the account holder’s death to avoid penalties while continuing to defer taxes. Under prior law, it was possible to “stretch” the distribution of inherited Retirement Accounts over the life expectancy of a beneficiary. Beneficiaries were required to take a required minimum distribution each year based on their life expectancy and the undistributed balance of the Retirement Account could continue to grow income tax-free. Better yet, leaving the balance of a Retirement Account to a trust, properly drafted to meet IRS requirement, for the benefit of a beneficiary, could protect retirement benefits from the beneficiary’s creditors and ensure that those benefits remain in the family upon the beneficiary’s death, while still benefiting from income tax-free growth for the undistributed portion of the Retirement Account.

    The SECURE Act has changed those rules so that most beneficiaries will be required to receive the full amount of an inherited Retirement Account within 10 years of the death of the person who funded the Retirement Account. Certain beneficiaries, including your spouse; your minor children (but not grandchildren); and beneficiaries who are disabled, chronically ill, or no more than 10 years younger than you, are exempt from the 10-year rule and are still permitted to take distributions over their expected lifetimes (although, children who are minors at the time of inheritance must now take the full distribution within 10 years of reaching the age of majority). However, Retirement Accounts left to those beneficiaries in trust might not qualify for the life expectancy payout, depending on the terms of the trust. Even special needs trusts might require review, as they must be structured narrowly to ensure that the stretch is preserved. Provisions that allow the trust to benefit another individual might be problematic.

    The good news is that the SECURE Act does not change the method of designating your beneficiaries to receive Retirement Accounts. If you have existing beneficiary designations in place, those designations are still valid. However, the SECURE Act does introduce a host of new considerations that must be taken into account when structuring your estate plan to maximize the benefit of Retirement Accounts and best protect your beneficiaries.

    Unfortunately, Congress gave us little warning that these changes were imminent. Accordingly, estate plans that previously offered a sound approach to planning for Retirement Accounts may no longer provide a good solution.  For example, some of you may have plans in place that leave Retirement Accounts to a trust known as a “Conduit Trust.” All distributions from Retirement Accounts paid to a Conduit Trust must be distributed directly from the Trust to the beneficiary. That might have been a good approach under the old law since distributions could be stretched over the expected lifetime of the trust beneficiary. However, under the SECURE Act, that same Conduit Trust might now require distribution of the entire Retirement Account to the beneficiary within 10 years of the death of the account owner or upon a minor child reaching the age of majority. Depending on the circumstances, under the SECURE Act, other planning techniques might better serve the goals those plans are meant to achieve.

    Take Action

    With the implementation of the SECURE Act effective January 1st of this year, we recommend that we review your estate plan as soon as possible to ensure that it disposes of your Retirement Accounts in keeping with your objectives.  We welcome the opportunity to discuss these changes with you, answer any questions you may have, and make recommendations specifically for you. Please contact our office to arrange a meeting or phone conference at your earliest convenience so that we can help you find the best planning solutions to meet your needs and those of your family.

    Note:  The contents of this letter are for informational purposes only and are not intended to constitute legal advice or form an attorney-client relationship. For information and advice particular to your situation, please contact one of the following attorneys in our Trust, Estate & Individual Tax Practice Group:  A. Nichole Cipriani, James J. Costello, Jr., Shauna M. Deans, Nicholas J. Dimakos, Robert E. Donatelli, Victor S. Elgort, Michelle M. Forsell, Hon. Emil Giordano (Ret.), Christopher R. Gray, Judith A. Harris, Abbey M. Horwitz, Dolores A. Laputka, Jill Lebowitz, Kenneth D. Meskin, Michael T. Reilly, Shana Siegel, Milan D. Slak, Burt Allen Solomon.

    Posted in: A. Nichole Cipriani, Abbey M. Horwitz, Burt Allen Solomon, Christopher R. Gray, Dolores A. Laputka, Estate Planning & Administration, Hon. Emil Giordano (Ret.), James J. Costello, Jill Lebowitz, Judith A. Harris, Kenneth D. Meskin, Michael T. Reilly, Michelle M. Forsell, Milan D. Slak, Nicholas J. Dimakos, Robert E. Donatelli, Shana Siegel, Shauna M. Deans, Taxation, Victor S. Elgort |

  • Jan 06, 2020Dean Roberts and Abbey Horwitz to Present on Estate Planning and Trust Ownership for Co-op Shareholders

    Dean M. Roberts and Abbey M. Horwitz, Members of law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., will speak to the shareholders of Morningside Heights Housing Corporation. The presentation will take place Saturday, January 11, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m., and again on Thursday, January 16, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m., in New York City.

    About the Presentation

    Topics to be discussed include how estates are handled in the state of New York, what shareholders can do to create a more seamless process to protect their assets, and the forms and uses of trusts available to the shareholders of Morningside Gardens. Throughout the presentation, Roberts and Horwitz will answer questions from attendees.

    “Often, co-op shareholders forget the importance of including the cooperatives when thinking about their estate planning and trust administration, so I feel it is crucial to let them know that they have options and we’re here to help,” said Roberts. Horwitz added, “Estate planning and trust administration is much more complex than just making a will. It is essential to make people aware of what services are available to them.”

    About the Presenters

    Dean Roberts

    Roberts focuses on real estate litigation with a sub-specialty in the representation of cooperative housing corporations and condominiums. He has handled all facets of condominium and cooperative ownership from sponsor/purchase and conversion to representing well-established tenant-shareholder Boards of Directors. Roberts also represents cooperative corporations and moderate-income co-ops in all areas of litigation, including landlord/tenant litigation.

    Through his involvement with the Coordinating Council of Cooperatives, Roberts is active in court reform efforts and the cooperative movement. In his community, he works to promote affordable housing as a director of the Cooperative Development Fund Board of Advisors and other housing programs.

    Roberts earned his J.D. from Rutgers School of Law – Newark in 1987 and his B.A. from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Rutgers College, in 1982.

    Abbey Horwitz

    Horwitz practices primarily in the area of estate planning and administration.  She is experienced in preparing wills, revocable and irrevocable trusts, durable powers of attorney, advance directives for health care, and other estate planning documents.  She is also experienced in administering estates and trusts, including counseling executors and trustees; preparing estate, trust, and guardianship pleadings; preparing estate and trust accountings; preparing estate tax returns; handling estate tax audits; and preparing releases and waivers for distributions from estates and trusts.

    In addition, Horwitz has experience preparing corporate and LLC filings, including certificates of incorporation, articles of organization, bylaws, operating agreements, and IRC 501(c)(3) filings.

    Horwitz earned her LL.M. in Taxation from Villanova University in 2018; her J.D. from New York Law School in 2006; and her B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis in 2000.

    Posted in: Abbey M. Horwitz, Cooperative ("Co-op") and Condominium Law, Dean M. Roberts, Estate Planning & Administration, News | Tags: , , ,

  • Nov 14, 2019Shana Siegel to Present on End-of-Life Care Planning in Woodbridge, New Jersey

    Shana Siegel, a Member of law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., and Chair of its Elder Care and Special Needs Law Practice Group, will present “Just Do It: Planning for a Good Life and Death” at the New Jersey “Conversation of Your Life” (COYL) program. Hosted by the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, the free event will take place Friday, November 22, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., at the Berkeley College Atrium in Woodbridge.

    About the Presentation

    “Planning for end-of-life is difficult for many to think about and discuss, but it’s extremely important to plan in advance for end-of-life care,” said Siegel.

    The presentation will cover the importance of advance care planning. Siegel will discuss planning for your health care needs, including medical power of attorney, health care proxy, and important documents; and planning for your financial needs. For more information, visit the COYL website.

    About Shana Siegel

    Siegel concentrates her practice in the area of elder law, focusing on representing seniors, individuals with special needs, and their families in connection with life care planning, public benefits, trust and estate planning, and long-term care advocacy. As one of the few Certified Elder Law Attorneys (CELA) in northern New Jersey to be certified by the National Elder Law Foundation (NELF), she has extensive experience in probate and estate administration, asset preservation, supplemental and special needs trusts, planning for disability, guardianship and estate litigation, resident rights, health care decision making, Medicare, Medicaid, and health insurance appeals.

    Prior to joining Norris McLaughlin, Siegel was with WanderPolo & Siegel for over 10 years, five of which were as principal. She has been involved in health and long-term care issues for over 25 years. A past president of the New Jersey Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), Siegel regularly met with legislators and government officials on behalf of the elder law bar and their clients. In 2015, she was invited to join NAELA’s prestigious Council of Advanced Practitioners (CAP).

    Siegel is a member of the New Jersey Women Lawyers Association, the State Bar Elder Law Section, the Life Care Planning Law Firms Association, and the Bergen and Essex County Bar Associations. She earned her J.D. from Georgetown University, with honors, in 1994 and her B.A. from Barnard College, with honors, in 1989.

    About Norris McLaughlin

    Norris McLaughlin’s experienced elder care and special needs law attorneys go beyond traditional planning to address the needs of seniors and individuals with disabilities. Services offered blend estate planning with long-term care planning. The firm’s estate planning & administration attorneys have vast experience in all aspects of state, federal, and international tax law, with a particular emphasis on the planning and administration of trusts and estates.

    Posted in: Elder Care & Special Needs Law, Estate Planning & Administration, News, Shana Siegel | Tags: , ,

  • Nov 08, 2019Shana Siegel to Speak on Advanced Care Planning in Somerset, New Jersey

    Shana Siegel, a Member of law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., and Chair of its Elder Care and Special Needs Law Practice Group, will present “Advanced Care Planning” at the New Jersey “Conversation of Your Life” (COYL) program. Hosted by the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, the free event will take place on Tuesday, November 12, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m., at the Franklin Township Public Library in Somerset.

    About the Presentation

    “One of the hardest things for people to talk about is planning for end-of-life care. Our programs cover topics beyond the ones people are even thinking about, and the COYL programs are the perfect outlet for us to be able to do so,” said Siegel.

    The presentation will cover the importance of advanced care planning. Siegel will discuss planning for your health care needs, including medical power of attorney, health care proxy, important documents, and planning for your financial needs. For more information, visit the COYL website.

    About Shana Siegel

    Siegel concentrates her practice in the area of elder law, focusing on representing seniors, individuals with special needs, and their families in connection with life care planning, public benefits, trust and estate planning, and long-term care advocacy. As one of the few Certified Elder Law Attorneys (CELA) in northern New Jersey to be certified by the National Elder Law Foundation (NELF), she has extensive experience in probate and estate administration, asset preservation, supplemental and special needs trusts, planning for disability, guardianship and estate litigation, resident rights, health care decision making, Medicare, Medicaid, and health insurance appeals.

    Prior to joining Norris McLaughlin, Siegel was with WanderPolo & Siegel for over 10 years, five of which were as principal. She has been involved in health and long-term care issues for over 25 years. Siegel is a past president of the New Jersey Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), where she regularly met with legislators and government officials on behalf of the elder law bar and their clients. In 2015, she was invited to join NAELA’s prestigious Council of Advanced Practitioners (CAP).

    Siegel is a member of the New Jersey Women Lawyers Association, the State Bar Elder Law Section, the Life Care Planning Law Firms Association, and the Bergen and Essex County Bar Associations. She earned her J.D. from Georgetown University, with honors, in 1994 and her B.A. from Barnard College, with honors, in 1989.

    About Norris McLaughlin

    Norris McLaughlin’s experienced elder care and special needs law attorneys go beyond traditional planning to address the needs of seniors and individuals with disabilities. Services offered blend estate planning with long-term care planning. The firm’s estate planning & administration attorneys have vast experience in all aspects of state, federal, and international tax law, with a particular emphasis on the planning and administration of trusts and estates.

    Posted in: Elder Care & Special Needs Law, Estate Planning & Administration, News, Shana Siegel | Tags: , ,

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