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Wills, Trusts, and Estates

NJ Estate Attorneys

The attorneys at Dughi, Hewit & Domalewski recognize that planning for one’s death can be a very overwhelming process. Similarly, estate administration can be a challenging time for the loved ones left behind. These are situations highly fraught with emotions, so it’s essential that you work with a team of experience lawyers who understand the enormous difficulties clients may face when navigating estate planning, estate administration, and related legal situations. Just as important though, is that your attorneys understand how to best prepare and utilize these documents to meet a variety of unique life situations. Dughi, Hewit & Domalewski’s team of estate attorneys has the knowledge, expertise, and compassion to assist you and your loved ones during the estate planning and administration processes. 

Estate Planning

With intuitive expertise, our firm’s attorneys will guide you through the estate planning process with a series of carefully planned questions designed to help you consider what kind of legacy you want to leave behind for loved ones and for organizations that are meaningful to you. This is your final opportunity to leave the people and causes you care about a final gift, one that represents who you are and what sort of future you envision. 

At the same time, this is an opportunity to take stock of your assets and determine what you will use and what you will set aside. It’s also an ideal time to make your final wishes clear in terms of end-of-life care, to delegate powers of attorney, and to appoint an executor. We can strategize the best way to organize your assets to make it as easy as possible for your estate plan to be administered after your death. 

Full-Spectrum Planning Services 

If you are concerned about how your interests will be managed in the event you become incapacitated, the estate attorneys at Dughi, Hewit & Domalewski are ready to meet your estate planning needs by drafting a living will or advanced-healthcare directive. We can also create your will and administer your estate plan. Our legal team works closely with tax professionals, accountants, and financial advisors to implement your strategies.

If you envision leaving behind a bequest or setting up an endowment for an organization you care about, we can provide you with advice and assist you in making the necessary arrangements, working closely with the organization(s) of your choice as well as your accountant and financial advisor. 

Family Businesses

If you own a family business, there are additional considerations to think about as you make your final plans. These situations can add a layer of complexity to what may already be a complicated arrangement. Because of our estate attorneys’ expertise in succession planning and transfer of ownership, we can provide you (and any other family members with an interest in the organization) with comprehensive guidance to ensure every aspect of your business’ future financial life is planned for in the event of your death or disability.

Our services include the following:

  • Estate planning
  • Simple and complex wills 
  • Living wills and advanced-healthcare directives
  • Family/individual business arrangements
  • Powers of attorney
  • Probate and trust administration
  • Asset protection
  • Charitable gifting
  • Lifetime gifting

Cost-Effective, Caring Expertise 

Our NJ firm’s estate attorneys focus on providing cost-conscious representation, advice, and other legal services with an emphasis on responsive accessibility. You can trust our team to be transparent, effective, and skilled in everything that we do, with a very client-centric approach that ensures your needs and expectations are always our first priority. 

With extensive experience in end-of-life planning and administration, our legal team provides compassionate, skilled guidance to clients from all types of unique situations, life stages, and financial circumstances. Whether you are planning for the future or have experienced the death or disability of a loved one, please contact us so we can help you through this challenging process with respect and compassion.

Probate Litigation

Our firm’s estate attorneys handle all facets of probate litigation, including the defense of executors and trustees accused of breach of their fiduciary duties and challenges to Wills based on undue influence, lack of competence, or improper execution. Our probate litigators understand that legal actions among family members over the validity, interpretation and administration of a love one’s Will or trust can tear families apart and cause deep emotional distress. We employ early negotiation and mediation when those approaches are best calculated to achieve our clients’ objectives, and we litigate aggressively where the facts and circumstances warrant such a strategy. We listen, and we implement probate litigation plans that are customized around our clients’ goals and objectives.

Many estates and some probate cases involve assets that do not pass according to the terms of a Will at all. Such non-probate assets include joint bank and brokerage accounts, pay-on-death (POD) accounts, transfer-on-death (TOD) securities, annuities and tax-deferred retirement accounts, including 401(k) plans and IRAs. The disposition of non-probate assets according to a formula that differs from the Will can result in disputes among beneficiaries, and those disputes breed litigation. Our firm’s probate attorneys pay careful attention to the effects of non-probate assets when formulating clients’ estate plans, and they have considerable experience successfully litigating those issues when they arise.

Attorneys’ fees are often a significant factor in trust and estate litigation, and probate cases are one of the few areas of the law where New Jersey’s statutes and court rules permit a client to obtain reimbursement of his individual attorneys’ fees. Attorneys’ fees awards are common in probate litigation involving undue influence or lack of competence, but they are seldom awarded in cases where the primary issue involves whether non-probate assets should have been distributed according to the Will. Our probate litigators are knowledgeable in this unique area of the law, and they leverage that knowledge to obtain successful outcomes.

Attorneys You May Be Working With

Charles M Radler Jr.

Partner

Mr. Radler, a partner with Dughi, Hewit & Domalewski who joined the firm in 1983, directs the firm’s business-law...

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