Practice Areas

Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts:

Our firm enjoys a reputation as a trust and estate boutique. In providing services in this area, we bring to bear a thorough knowledge of both income and estate tax laws. Each of our attorneys is also a Certified Public Accountant and John M. Clyne, Jr. has a Master of Laws Degree in Taxation.

The estate planning services provided by the firm include:

  • preparation of trusts and wills;
  • minimizing estate and gift taxes;
  • structuring gift giving programs;
  • implementation of family limited partnerships and limited liability companies
  • coordination of life insurance and retirement plan benefits with one’s estate plan;
  • family business succession planning and buy-sell agreements;
  • structuring tax-sensitive vehicles for charitable giving; and
  • charitable planning including private foundations, charitable remainder trusts and charitable lead trusts and use of pension monies to satisfy clients’ charitable goals.

We work closely with each client and his or her accountant, investment advisor, insurance agent, and other professionals to ensure that the client’s estate planning needs are addressed and coordinated in the broader context of their business and financial universe.

Estate Administration:

Estate Administration (or probate) is the process by which the property of a deceased person is collected and distributed to heirs (if no Will) or to beneficiaries under the Will. The probate process is controlled by the laws of the state in which the decedent was domiciled at the time of death.

Our firm is fully qualified and ready to assist our clients as they face what can, for them, be an overwhelming process. We work closely with the executor or administrator appointed by the probate court to take charge of the decedent’s property during the probate process. We were one of the first firms in New Jersey to arrange for electronic probate in many cases avoiding the need for our clients having to appear at the Surrogate’s Office.

Our tax skills enable us to ensure that the estate pays the least amount of taxes. We are nimble and have used, in select estates, disclaimers and other post mortem techniques to move assets from one generation to the next and avoid death taxes.

Our firm is involved in the administration of the decedent’s estate from pre-probate of the Will to filing the final settlement with the probate court. We:

  • provide guidance to the family as they gather assets and follow the guidelines of the decedent’s will;
  • probate the will with the appropriate county;
  • provide “postmortem” tax planning to minimize taxes;
  • offer continuity and control throughout the settlement stages;
  • work with the executor/administrator to eliminate conflicts that can arise between family members;
  • assist in the distribution of assets to the beneficiaries;
  • prepare the required estate tax returns;
  • assist clients in mitigating New Jersey’s unique dual death tax structure: the inheritance tax (based on the relationship(s) of beneficiary(ies) to the decedent) and estate tax (based on total value of the decedent’s estate); and
  • deploy disclaimers, in some cases multiple cascading disclaimers (a post mortem device to minimize estate taxes).

Representation Before Tax Authorities:

Our firm is involved at all levels of representation of our clients’ interest in federal and state taxes. Both the IRS and New Jersey have various appeal levels where a taxpayer can seek redress for tax assessments, and we represent our clients’ interests with the vigor and aggressiveness they deserve.

Business and Tax Mitigation Planning:

As the saying goes, it’s not what you receive, it’s what you keep, net of taxes. Our complex tax laws have created an environment where routine business transactions are subject to compliance with tax rules and regulations.
We guide our clients through the federal tax maze. We assist them in grappling with complex state tax rules and regulations, and we guide in the sourcing of income in a manner that mitigates the aggregate tax burden.

Acquisitions, Mergers and Dispositions:

Our firm has broad experience in planning and structuring transactions for the acquisition, merger and disposition of closely held businesses. This expertise permits us to optimize transactions on a “net-of-tax” basis. We have handled transactions on a local, state, national and international level. We have particular expertise in the acquisition and disposition of service sector businesses including law firms, accounting firms and consultancy practices. We have nationally recognized expertise in the acquisition and disposition of insurance agencies. Indeed, in 2011, we were recognized as the county’s top law firm in the acquisition and disposition of insurance agencies by SNL, an affiliate of Sandler and O’Neill Partners, an investment and banking firm which specializes in the insurance and financial sector.

Insurance Agency Transactions:

Our firm has extraordinary insurance agency and brokerage experience that can be brought to bear on insurance agency transactions. This experience includes: structuring and implementing acquisitions and mergers; agency dispositions; defalcation investigations; general corporate; trust accounting and tax planning; disposition planning; tax mitigation strategies for both the buyer and seller; spin-offs and split offs; agency valuations; tax free exchanges of Books of Business; agency succession planning, and deployment of ESOPs.

The 2011 SNL Financial Institutions Deal Book covering 2010 transactions ranked the  Clyne Brownstein Law, P.A. as the nation’s leading insurance agency transactional law firm based on reported insurance agency acquisitions and dispositions effected during 2010. (SNL is an affiliate of Sandler and O’Neill Partners, a specialty investment banking firm serving the financial arena including insurance distribution.)

Real Estate:

Our firm handles commercial and residential real estate transactions. Our real estate practice includes negotiating contracts of sale on behalf of sellers and purchasers of real property, representing borrowers in connection with loans secured by real property, and representing landlords and tenants. We also engage in tax-free exchanges of real estate.

Closely Held Business Law and Advisory Services:

Our firm has in-depth expertise in advising on the intra-family issues of the closely held business. We are also well versed in methodologies available for separating control from the equity ownership of the family business. We assist the businesses and their owners in optimizing tax mitigation strategies and assist them in overcoming estate tax problems associated with family succession of the closely held business. We are thoroughly familiar with techniques that can be used to shift equity (but not control) from the senior generation to the next generation, and to grapple with the kinds of control issues that occur on the death of a senior manager of the family business.

Section 1031 Exchange Law:

Our firm has developed a specialty niche in the tax-free exchange of real estate, investment property, machinery and equipment, planes, and certain kinds of intangible assets pursuant to Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code.  We assist clients in effecting delayed like kind exchanges and reverse like kind exchanges.  Our firm implemented the first of-its-kind Section 1031 tax-free exchange whereby a New Jersey farmer deferred capital gain tax on his sale of developmental rights.  In this case, the farmer did not sell real property, but he did give up the right to develop the property.  There was no “exchange” of property.  Nonetheless, we were confident the tax free aspect of the exchange worked.  Since we initiated this transaction, many others have followed suit, and we have successfully defended the maneuver in an IRS audit.

Elder Law:

Our firm assists our clients with the complex issues of elder law and Medicaid planning.  We guide our clients through the process, enabling them to make informed decisions.  We develop individualized plans that optimize eligibility for and maintenance of government programs.  Our goal is asset preservation and family protection from the exorbitant costs associated with nursing homes and long-term care.  Planning for the future of one’s elders is never too early.  We strive to provide our client’s the peace of mind and benefits that the elder generation deserves.

We also prepare trust documentation or other instruments to help such persons avoid loss of benefits to which they are entitled.  In connection with estate planning, we consider our clients’ concerns in light of ongoing health issues and long term needs to ensure that our clients’ wishes are respected and implemented.

%d bloggers like this: