Because we serve so many families from one generation to the next, we offer a range of high-quality legal services to meet our clients’ needs in various stages of life. From estate planning and elder-law to small-business planning and real-estate transactions, we bring specialized legal expertise to a variety of practice areas. Our small, tight-knit team of Westfield attorneys bring many years of combined experience together to work collaboratively for the benefit of our clients. You can review each of our services in detail by clicking on the links below.
Our lawyers work closely with clients to get to know their unique family circumstances and craft an estate plan that best fits their needs and wishes. PFO lawyers are responsive and intuitive in handling the difficult questions that individuals have to contemplate in drafting a Will.
Estate Planning Case Study
George and Georgina had been married 10 years when they first came to Phelan, Frantz & Ohlig. They had two children in elementary school and had no estate planning documents. The impetus for creating a plan now was a trip out of the country to celebrate their wedding anniversary and ailing parents. Phelan, Frantz & Ohlig was able to discuss guardianship and trust issues to address their concerns about their children’s future in the event something should happen to the two of them. Phelan, Frantz & Ohlig also was able to talk to them about how to plan for anticipated inheritances from an ailing parent. Phelan, Frantz & Ohlig was able to draft George and Georgina’s estate planning documents in a quick manner so that they could leave for their vacation without any concerns.
Estate Planning Case Study
Laura and Beth were the perfect definition of a modern family. The same-sex couple shared one child in common and each had one other child from a prior relationship who were teenagers at the time the couple came to Phelan, Frantz & Ohlig. Laura and Beth had unique concerns about how their respective assets would pass should something happen to either of them. The couple owned certain property together, that they wished to pass to the survivor, and other property in their individual names, that they wished to pass to their children. In addition, Laura and Beth were concerned that they were not legally married and that a hospital or doctor would not respect their relationship should a power of attorney or health care proxy be required. Phelan, Frantz & Ohlig was able to talk through their concerns and present them with the reality of inheritance tax consequences resulting from their relationship status. Laura and Beth were able to make informed decisions about how their estate planning documents should be drafted.
Our estate planning experts will work with the named executor, or appointed administrator when there's no Will, in implementing the decedent's estate plan by working with the family and heirs from the time of death through final distribution of the assets. PFO lawyers respectfully help families navigate the entire probate process during a difficult time.
Estate Administration Case Study
Mrs. B was a long-time client of the firm. She was a widow at a young age and had one child who suffered from some developmental disabilities. Phelan, Frantz & Ohlig helped her create an estate plan that would allow for her son to continue to live independently after she passed away while maintaining assets appropriately. When Mrs. B died after a long illness, Phelan, Frantz & Ohlig served as counsel to the executor of her estate. Mrs. B owned real property in 5 different states, which meant that 5 different sets of estate tax laws had to be evaluated and considered. In addition, the property held in those states had to be moved out of Mrs. B’s name and into the trust she established for her son. Because of the firm’s long-term relationship with Mrs. B, attorneys at Phelan, Frantz & Ohlig worked closely with Mrs. B’s son to explain the terms of the trust and helped him connect with social services that would teach him skills needed to pay bills and maintain the properties. It took over 2 years to settle Mrs. B’s estate and transfer all her assets into a trust for her son’s benefit. Phelan, Frantz & Ohlig continues to work closely with the trustee of the trust to ensure that Mrs. B’s wishes are respected and implemented.
Trusts are used in estate planning for a number of purposes including estate tax planning, providing confidentiality of terms, and providing long term management of wealth.
Trust Administration Case Study
Mr. and Mrs. V were in their mid-70s and healthy when they came to Phelan, Frantz & Ohlig. Mr. V was in the process of retiring from a consulting position and the couple was thinking about the legacy they would leave to their family. At the time, Mr. and Mrs. V had 2 adult children and 3 grandchildren. They owned two homes – one in a suburban residential neighborhood in New Jersey where they raised their family and one at the New Jersey shore. Their children and grandchildren spend a significant amount of time at the shore house and Mr. and Mrs. V want to make sure that it stays in the family for the use and enjoyment of many generations.
Mr. and Mrs. V also knew that if one or both of them were to require long-term health care, it could quickly deplete their assets. Further, they had heard that in order to qualify for Medicaid to supplement the cost of long-term health care, they would need to “spend down” their assets.
After an analysis of their total assets and a thorough discussion about their relationship with their children and their legacy desires, Phelan, Frantz & Ohlig lawyers recommended that Mr. and Mrs. V place their shore home in an irrevocable trust, naming their adult children as both the trustees and beneficiaries of the trust. By doing so, Mr. and Mrs. V essentially made a lifetime gift of the shore house to their children. Because Mr. and Mrs. V did not need to qualify for Medicaid until more than five years after the date of the gift, the shore house was not considered an asset for purposes of their Medicaid application. Accordingly, the shore house was able to stay in the family for years to come.
Our guardianship attorneys represent parties in guardianship proceedings who are seeking to assist loved ones who have become mentally or physically incompetent to handle their own affairs, or who are parents of disabled children who will need to become appointed as their child's legal guardian once that child turns 18.
Guardianship Case Study
Richard and Dorothy live in Westfield, New Jersey with their three children. Dorothy’s mother and disabled brother came to live with them shortly after Dorothy’s father passed away. Dorothy’s parents had obtained guardianship of Dorothy’s brother shortly after he turned 18. He was now in his mid-40s and Dorothy and Richard sought to have the Guardianship papers amended to reflect not only Dorothy’s mom as Guardian, but also Dorothy and Richard as co-guardians. Phelan, Frantz & Ohlig was able to submit an application to the Surrogate’s Court to have Dorothy’s father removed as guardian of his son and Dorothy and Richard named as co-guardians with Dorothy’s mother. Phelan, Frantz & Ohlig attorneys went to court with Dorothy, Richard and Dorothy’s mom to successfully argue that all 3 should be named co-guardian as each served a separate and distinct role in Dorothy’s brother’s life.
PURCHASE AND SALE OF REAL ESTATE
We will represent you in the purchase and sale of real estate from the time of listing a property, through contract negotiations, various types of inspections including structural and environmental, the mortgage and financing needs of our clients and the closing of title.
Residential Real Estate Case Study
James and Tanya moved to New Jersey from Texas after relocating for Tanya’s job. At the time of their first contact with Phelan, Frantz & Ohlig, James and Tanya were staying in an extended stay hotel with their 3 children and 2 dogs. They put in an offer which was accepted on a local home. James and Tanya were hoping to close in 30 days and move their family into their new home. Phelan, Frantz & Ohlig began attorney review of their real estate contract the first day and was able to close 28 days later. Phelan, Frantz & Ohlig lawyers worked closely with James and Tanya’s lender when mortgage issues arose regarding Tanya’s’ job status. Phelan, Frantz & Ohlig also helped James and Tanya connect with local home inspectors and contractors to evaluate the condition of the home they wished to purchase and satisfy the inspection contingency to the contract.
Commercial Real Estate Case Study
Mr. S owned a manufacturing company in Newark. The company sought representation in the purchase of a commercial building located next to its current building. Phelan, Frantz & Ohlig was retained to represent the company in the purchase of the new building. The property on which the new building was located had a number of environmental issues that required remediation. The prior owners had a remedial action plan with the NJ Department of Environmental Protection, which had to be transferred to Mr. S’s company. Phelan, Frantz & Ohlig was able to review the remedial action plan and advise Mr. S of his company’s ongoing obligations as new owners. Phelan, Frantz & Ohlig also worked closely with the lender to make sure that the matter closed in a timely manner by providing updated corporate resolutions and other corporate documents. Phelan, Frantz & Ohlig’s experience with small business formation was particularly relevant in helpful in getting this transaction to the closing table.
SALE & PURCHASE OF BUSINESS ENTITIES
The firm can represent you in the purchase and sale of a business from the time of initial information gathering with a letter of intent, contract negotiations, due diligence and review of documentation and inspections, financing needs and closing of title.
MEDICAID AND ELDER CARE LAW
As an elder law care firm, we assist individuals and families with a range of needs related to caring for and protecting the rights and interests of the elderly.