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.

Opportunity Zones
We advise clients regarding Qualified Opportunity Zone (“QOZ”) planning under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. This includes advising investors about tax deferral opportunities for realized capital gains that are reinvested in a QOZ, and advising property owners, investors and entrepreneurs who wish to create Qualified Opportunity Funds for QOZ investments. We are guiding clients in this area to follow the IRS proposed regulations to date, and also assisting them to work through areas of uncertainty.

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




Richest New Yorkers Will Devastate City If They Leave With $133 Billion

As published in: Bloomberg Wealth November 11, 2020

Biden takes SALT cap-related tax hit

As published in: Fox Business September 30, 2020

Telecommuting in Some States Brings New Tax Challenges

As published in: Fox June 12, 2020

New York may be challenged over quarantined workers' tax revenues

As published in: Fox Business April 28, 2020

Coronavirus could cause New York to ramp up audits of wealthy taxpayers

As published in: Fox April 17, 2020

IRS turns to tech in tax-cheat crackdown

As published in: Fox Business February 27, 2020

Bergen County Top Lawyer 2019

As published in: Bergen Magazine November 2019

Sanders calls for 'national wealth registry' to support extreme tax on rich

As published in: Fox September 25, 2019

4 State Tax Cases To Watch At The US Supreme Court

As published in: Law360 Tax Authority September 23, 2019

Fleeing New York's high taxes? Audit cases are expensive to lose

As published in: Fox Business September 11, 2019


Recent Events

Strafford Webinars - Modifying Irrevocable Trusts Using Nonjudicial Settlements
Attorney Speaking: Christopher P. MassaroSeptember 24, 2020
New Jersey State & Local Tax Day
Attorney Speaking: Jeffrey H. SchechterOctober 3, 2019
VIN&FIN VIP EDITION: Stars of Wall Street
Attorney Speaking: Gary A. PhillipsJuly 9, 2019
Basics of Trust Administration
Attorney Speaking: Tereina R. StiddApril 25, 2019


Gift Planning in 2021

Tax, Trust & Estates Law February 22, 2021

Steven M. Saraisky
SALT CAP Workaround – An IRS Holiday Gift

Tax, Trusts & Estates Law November 23, 2020

Philip R. Hirschfeld

For Important Legal Updates and Resources on the Coronavirus Click Here.