Estate Planning and Administration

  • Aug 12, 2019Norris McLaughlin Expands Estate Planning and Administration Group

    The law firm of Norris McLaughlin, P.A., is pleased to welcome Shauna M. Deans as an Associate of the firm.  She joins the firm’s Estate Planning & Administration Practice Group.

    “Joining Norris McLaughlin is an exciting step in my career. I’m looking forward to working with such a great team and putting my knowledge and experience to use for the firm’s clients,” Deans said.

    Deans focuses her practice on estate planning and administration, including inheritance and gift taxation. She is experienced in preparing estate and inheritance tax returns, and responding to and resolving audits of the returns. Deans counsels beneficiaries and fiduciaries of estates and trusts on marshalling assets, issues regarding basis, and maximizing of tax savings.

    “With the addition of Shauna, we are expanding our team of estate planning and administration attorneys to better serve our clients and their needs. With her breadth of knowledge, Shauna will be a valuable resource to not only the group, but the entire firm,” stated James J. Costello, Jr., Co-Chair of the firm’s Trust, Estate, and Individual Tax Group.

    Deans is also certified by the State of New Jersey as a civil mediator, and has assisted parties in the settlement of special civil, small claims, and landlord/tenant matters on behalf of the Court.

    While attending law school, Deans served as a Senior Articles Editor for the Howard Law Journal, where her article entitled “The Forgotten Side of the Battlefield in America’s War on Infidelity: A Call for the Revamping, Reviving, and Reworking of Criminal Conversation and Alienation of Affections,” was published. During and after law school, she clerked for the Honorable Frederick J. Schuck, Superior Court of New Jersey, Camden County, Law Division.

    Deans received her J.D. from Howard University School of Law in 2010, and her B.A., magna cum laude, from Spelman College in 2007.

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  • Apr 04, 2019Robert Donatelli Reappointed to the City of Allentown Board of Ethics

    Robert E. Donatelli, a Member of law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., has been reappointed to the City of Allentown Board of Ethics, which is responsible to administer the City’s Code of Ethics. He was reappointed by Allentown Mayor, Ray O’Connell, with the advice and consent of Council. His second 3-year term will run through December 15, 2021.

    Donatelli has over 40 years of experience in estate administration, wills and trusts, and real estate law. He helps clients with all aspects of estate planning – will preparation, tax issues, guardianships, powers of attorney, living wills, living trusts, and special needs trusts; and to estate administration – the process of probate, valuing, and managing the estate, executing decisions on guardianships and conservatorship.

    In real estate law, he advises clients on matters of residential and commercial sales transactions, real estate contracts, mortgages, re-finances, foreclosures, eminent domain, title insurance, and title disputes. He handles land use, zoning, and permit matters.

    Donatelli is AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®. He is a former solicitor of the Register of Wills of Lehigh County; is active in the Bar Association of Lehigh County, where he served as President in 1985; and is a member of the Barristers Inn of Court, where he also served as President. Donatelli received his A.B. from Muhlenberg College in 1960, and his J.D. from University of Kansas School of Law in 1963.

    Posted in: Estate Planning & Administration, News, Real Estate & Finance, Robert E. Donatelli | Tags: , , , ,

  • Nov 07, 2018James J. Costello, Jr. to Present on Using Trusts in Estate Planning and Asset Protection

    James J. Costello, Jr., a Member of law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., and Co-Chair of its Trust, Estate and Individual Tax Group, will be a featured speaker at “Using Trusts in Estate Planning and Asset Protection,” sponsored by The National Business Institute (NBI).  The seminar will take place at the Courtyard Princeton on Thursday, November 15, and Friday, November 16, from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm.

    The seminar will address the effective use of trusts in estate planning and asset protection. Presenters will explore a variety of planning tools that will help tailor a trust that fits the client’s specific situation. CLE, CPE, IACET, and PACE credits are available. For more information or to register, please visit the NBI’s web site here.

    Costello focuses his practice on estate planning and administration, litigation and disputes among beneficiaries, general federal and state tax law and controversies, and the formation, dissolution, purchase, sale and mergers of all types of closely-held business entities.

    Costello represents individuals in all aspects of general and sophisticated estate planning, including drafting wills, lifetime and testamentary trusts, powers of attorney, health care directives, prenuptial agreements and co-habitation agreements, employing sophisticated strategies when warranted matters include family limited liability companies (“LLCs”), sales to intentionally defective grantor trusts, spousal lifetime access trusts (“SLATS”), dynasty trusts and charitable trusts.  His representation of fiduciaries covers all aspects of estate and trust administration, including preparation and filing of federal and state estate and income tax returns; representation in IRS and New Jersey Division of Taxation audits; litigation and disputes among beneficiaries; preparation and filing of federal and state estate and inheritance tax returns; and defending those returns on audit.

    Costello has published articles and lectured extensively to civic and professional groups on estate planning, elder law, and tax law topics.  He is a former Trustee and Advisory Board Council member of Alzheimer’s New Jersey (formerly known as the Greater New Jersey Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association), and a former Trustee and Secretary of the Bernardsville Library Foundation, Inc. and currently serves on the Vestry of the Church of St. John on the Mountain in Bernardsville. Costello earned his J.D. from Western New England College School of Law and his M.L.T. from Georgetown University Law Center.

    Posted in: Estate Planning & Administration, James J. Costello, News | Tags: , , , , , , ,

  • Oct 01, 2018Jill Lebowitz to Present at American College of Trust and Estate Counsel Workshop

    Jill Lebowitz, a Member of law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., will present “Practical Aspects of Administration of Trusts Two Years After the Enactment of the Uniform Trust Code” as part of a panel discussion for the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) workshop.  The workshop, open to ACTEC Fellows and invited guests only, is being held on Tuesday, October 2, at the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick.

    ACTEC is a national organization of approximately 2,500 lawyers elected to membership by demonstrating the highest level of integrity, commitment to the profession, competence and experience as trust and estate counselors.  Fellows are peer-elected based on specific criteria, including having extensive experience in the practice of estate planning, trust and estate administration and probate law, an outstanding reputation, exceptional skill, and substantial contributions to the field through writing, teaching and bar association leadership activities.  ACTEC Fellows work locally and nationally to improve and reform estate, trust and tax laws, procedures and professional responsibility.

    Lebowitz devotes her practice to estate planning, trust and estate administration, and counseling tax-exempt organizations.  She is experienced in drafting sophisticated estate planning instruments and counseling individuals and families regarding estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax issues.  Lebowitz advises clients on the development of complex estate plans, philanthropic planning, and business succession issues.  She drafts estate planning instruments, including wills, revocable living trusts, insurance trusts, dynasty trusts, charitable trusts, grantor retained annuity trusts, qualified personal residence trusts, shareholders agreements, limited liability company operating agreements, durable powers of attorney, and advance directives for health care.

    Additionally, Lebowitz handles all aspects of trust and estate administration, as well as fiduciary litigation and guardianship matters.  She prepares federal and state estate and inheritance tax returns and federal gift tax returns.  She is knowledgeable in drafting disclaimers and agreements regarding post-mortem planning, informal distribution agreements, judicial fiduciary accountings, and handling court proceedings to effect the final distribution of estates and trusts.  Lebowitz also counsels individuals and financial institutions regarding their fiduciary duties as personal representatives and trustees, including advising on legal and tax issues, as well as issues in connection with administering trusts.  She also assists individuals, families, and fiduciaries with all aspects of fiduciary litigation.

    Lebowitz regularly advises tax-exempt organizations regarding federal tax exemption issues, state charitable registration filings, and governance issues.  On behalf of tax-exempt organizations, she drafts nonprofit corporation documents and prepares federal applications for tax-exempt status, state charitable registration filings, and state property tax and sales tax exemption applications.  She has extensive experience advising individuals, family and corporate foundations, and tax-exempt organizations on nonprofit corporate governance, private foundation excise taxes, domestic and international grant-making, executive compensation, excess benefit rules and intermediate sanctions, unrelated business income, scholarship programs, and fundraising issues.

    Lebowitz is the Immediate Past Chair of the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Real Property, Trust & Estate Law Section and continues to serve on the Section’s Board of Consultors.  She is also the Immediate Past President of the Greater Middlesex/Somerset Estate Planning Council and she continues to serve on its Board of Trustees.

    Lebowitz has also been selected for inclusion on the list of New Jersey Super Lawyers in the Estate & Probate section.

    Lebowitz earned her LL.M. in Taxation from New York University School of Law, her J.D. from Rutgers University School of Law—Newark, and her B.A. from New York University.

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