Trust and Estate Planning

  • Jun 26, 2019James Costello and Nicholas Dimakos to Present on Probate and Trust Litigation

    James J. Costello, Jr., a Member of law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., and Co-Chair of its Trusts, Estates & Tax Law Practice Group, and Nicholas J. Dimakos, an Associate of the firm, will be featured speakers at “Probate and Trust Litigation: Real-World Insights for Both Estate Litigators and Planners,” sponsored by The National Business Institute (NBI), on Tuesday, July 9, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., at the Courtyard Princeton.

    The seminar will address practical ways to deal with common controversies. Presenters will explore a variety of ways to improve and build skills in handling will contest and trust fights, removing a fiduciary, handling disputes with accountings, settling disputes effectively, and learning to avoid conflicts of interest. New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania CLE credits are available. For more information or to register, please visit the NBI’s website at

    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 cohabitation 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.  He represents fiduciaries in 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.  He 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, his M.L.T. from Georgetown University Law Center, and his B.S., cum laude, from the University of Bridgeport.

    Dimakos focuses primarily on probate and fiduciary litigation.  His practice includes all types of contested trust and estate matters, including will contests and challenges to account beneficiary designations; accounting actions involving estates, trusts, and powers of attorney; contested administrations involving challenges to and defense of the actions of fiduciaries; and trust terminations and modifications.

    Dimakos’s practice also includes guardianship litigation.  He represents healthcare facilities and family members seeking guardianship and serves as court-appointed counsel for alleged incapacitated individuals.

    Dimakos received his J.D., magna cum laude, from Seton Hall University School of Law in 2011, where he was a member of the Seton Hall Law Review, served as a research assistant for two professors, and interned for the Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, the Honorable Garrett E. Brown, Jr. (Ret.).  After graduation, Dimakos clerked for the Assignment Judge of Bergen County, the Honorable Peter E. Doyne (Ret.).  He earned his B.S., magna cum laude, from The College of New Jersey in 2008.

    Costello and Dimakos are co-authors for the firm’s New Jersey beneficiary rights law blog, Guardians of Your Will.

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

  • Jan 11, 2019Norris McLaughlin Welcomes Elder Law Group

    The law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., is pleased to welcome Shana Siegel, as a Member of the firm’s Elder Law Group. Siegel, along with her team, Lori Kayne, Geriatric Social Worker, and Laura Ocskay, Medicaid Specialist, join Norris McLaughlin from WanderPolo & Siegel. Siegel will be based out of the firm’s Bridgewater office, but will also be available at 28 Valley Road, Suite 1, Montclair, NJ, 07042, to continue serving her clients in that area.

    “As the chapter of WanderPolo & Siegel comes to a close, I am excited to be bringing my innovative elder law and life care planning practice to Norris McLaughlin. This will be the best of both worlds for my clients as they will continue to receive the same level of personal attention they have come to expect, and I will also have the resources at Norris to better serve the full range of my clients’ needs,” said 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), Shana 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. 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, she was invited to join NAELA’s prestigious Council of Advanced Practitioners (CAP).

    Siegel earned her J.D. in 1994 from Georgetown University, honors, and her B.A. from Barnard College, honors, in 1989. She 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.

    “Shana’s practice will compliment and expand our Estate Planning & Administration practice, as elder care has become a big industry topic with the Baby Boomer generation. Shana has the client focus we value here at Norris McLaughlin, and we are pleased to welcome her and her team to the firm,” said John N. Vanarthos, Chairman of Norris McLaughlin, P.A.

    Kayne has been working in the healthcare field for over 20 years. In collaboration with client’s attorneys, she conducts Geriatric Assessments and develops detailed Life Care Plans to address any care, legal, or financial issues the client may have.

    Prior to joining the firm, Kayne was an Elder Care Coordinator at WanderPolo & Siegel. Kayne earned her M.S.S. from Bryn Mawr College in 1983, and her B.A., magna cum laude, from Bucknell University. She holds a Certificate in Elder Care from Stockton University, and a Certificate of Gerontology from Rutgers University.

    Ocskay specializes in preparing Medicaid applications, and acts as a coordinator and liaison between the attorney, client, and caseworker with regard to the Medicaid application process to ensure compliance with Medicaid rules and regulations. Prior to joining the firm, Ocskay served as a Medicaid Specialist at WanderPolo & Siegel. Before that, she was as a legal assistant for 12 years. She received her B.A. from Notre Dame College.

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