Cole Schotz P.C.


Tax, Trusts & Estates


Our attorneys counsel owners of family businesses where succession planning and asset protection are linked, and individuals of substantial means who wish to take advantage of sophisticated tax planning techniques to retain and build their wealth for future generations. In addition, when tax issues arise, we seek the most expedient resolution.

Business Counseling
Closely held and family business owners rely on us as skilled and trusted advisors. In this role, we work closely with them to create a clear business vision, develop a success strategy, and provide keen guidance in implementing such strategy. The latter includes helping clients identify and address their short and long-term challenges, including succession planning, structuring and business control.

We employ a variety of tools in facilitating an orderly, tax advantaged succession plan, including buy/sell agreements, stockholders’ agreements, operating agreements, phantom ownership plans, deferred compensation agreements, family limited liability companies, family limited partnerships, Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (GRAT’s) and installment sales to Intentionally Defective Grantor Trusts (IDGT’s). With our legal and financial knowledge, experience and instincts, we strive to further our clients’ success and guide their businesses confidently into the future.

Estate Administration
We have a wealth of experience in estate administration in New York, New Jersey and Florida. We handle the probate process, assist in valuing assets, prepare and file state and federal estate and inheritance tax returns, prepare disclaimers and handle postmortem tax planning. We are experienced in working with families during periods of grief and aim to make the process as simple and comfortable as possible.

Estate Planning
We work with domestic and international clients and their families to cover a broad spectrum of personal planning needs, including estate planning, special needs planning, estate administration and charitable planning. In doing so, we listen carefully to our clients, addressing their unique needs and concerns and helping them achieve their wealth transfer goals.

We prepare wills, powers of attorney and health care proxies and trusts, and formulate ways to minimize estate taxes and make tax efficient gifts.


On behalf of our business and corporate clients, we coordinate business succession planning, manage control issues and coordinate assets, including insurance and retirement plans.

Probate Litigation
When the need arises, our attorneys team up with members of our litigation department to handle complex probate and trust disputes. We represent estate executors, trustees and beneficiaries, working to resolve issues stemming from ambiguous will or trust provisions, contested wills and trusts, and breaches of fiduciary trust, including asset mismanagement, reformation of trust actions and actions to remove fiduciaries.

We are acutely aware of the financial and emotional toll that these disputes can have on our clients, particularly on families. We maintain a close relationship with our clients throughout the process, keeping their priorities and objectives top of mind and involving them in all strategic decisions.

Tax Controversies
We handle all phases of federal and state tax controversies including audits, administrative appeals and tax litigation, as well as representation before the collection and criminal investigation divisions of federal and state tax authorities. We represent those facing state tax assessments resulting from disputes concerning residency or domicile, as well as trust fund tax disputes over responsibility for unpaid sales tax and payroll taxes. We seek to make the audit process less stressful, helping our corporate and individual clients produce the necessary documentation while advocating on their behalf.

Tax Planning
Without proper planning, individuals can end up paying more in taxes than necessary. We counsel on all tax-related issues involving estate planning, taking into consideration federal and state estate taxes, inheritance taxes, income taxes and generation skipping transfer taxes, as well as partnership and subchapter S tax issues. We also handle gift and estate tax audits.

The planning options we employ are designed to minimize tax liability. Options include Qualified Personal Residence Trusts, Family Limited Partnerships, Limited Liability Companies, Grantor Trusts, Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts and sales transactions with self-canceling installment notes.



Department Chairs




First Estate Tax Case Filed Under N.Y. Whistleblower Law

As published in: Bloomberg BNA January 24, 2018

A step-by-step guide to get richer, healthier, and happier in 31 days

As published in: Business Insider January 1, 2018

Why More States Are Killing Death Taxes

As published in: Global Finance June 16, 2017

Cole Schotz Grows National Footprint with Opening of Florida Office

Linda L. Snelling joins as Member to spearhead Florida expansion April 18, 2016

Best Lawyers® Recognizes Thirty-Six Cole Schotz Attorneys

As published in: Best Lawyers August 18, 2014


Upcoming Events

Webinar: Florida Rules on Closing the Estate and Filing the Final Tax Return
Attorney Speaking: Tereina StiddApril 25, 2018
2018 Bergen County Transition Fair
Attorney Speaking: Lori I. WolfMarch 20, 2018
Webinar: Wills v. Trusts
Attorney Speaking: Tereina StiddFebruary 27, 2018

Recent Events

Common Cross-Border Issues in M&A and Tax Planning
Attorney Speaking: Philip R. HirschfeldAugust 2, 2017
Foreign Persons Investing in US Real Estate and Other Assets: Partnership and Other Structures, Treaty Planning and Financing Strategies
Attorney Speaking: Philip R. HirschfeldJuly 20, 2017
Reuben Muller and Geoff Weinstein presented State Tax Update at the Passaic Chapter of the NJSCPA
Attorneys Speaking: Reuben G. Muller and Geoffrey WeinsteinNovember 18, 2016
Steve Saraisky and Chris Massaro Spoke on Estate Planning and the Uniform Trust Code before the Essex County Chapter of the New Jersey Society of CPAs
Attorneys Speaking: Steven M. Saraisky and Christopher P. MassaroOctober, 2016


2017/2018 Estate and Gift Tax Update

Tax, Trusts & Estates Law September 15, 2017

Gary A. Phillips and Tishya M. Signorelli
Partnerships Prepare for New Audit Regime

Tax, Trust & Estates Law July 24, 2017

Juliya L. Ismailov
The Repeal of the New Jersey Estate Tax: Is it Now Safe to Move Back to New Jersey?

Tax, Trusts & Estates Law October 19, 2016

Gary A. Phillips and Steven M. Saraisky
Inversions Under Siege: Treasury’s Latest Countermeasures

Journal of Taxation and Regulation of Financial Institutions July, 2016

Philip R. Hirschfeld
May 2016 Newsletter

Cole Schotz News May 2016