Finding the right attorney to help you with your trust or estate matter can be a challenge. Who do you trust? Do they have the skills and experience to handle your situation? What if you run into problems that result in litigation? How do you minimize your tax obligations while maximizing the value of your estate?
With Joseph Mona, you get an attorney and a CPA with 30 years of experience dealing with trust and estate matters. The following are common client matters Joe addresses:
Save Gift and Estate Taxes with No IRS Problems
Multigenerational estate planning can be a challenge when trying to preserve wealth passing from generation to generation. Many clients turn to us to draft and implement plans that not only save significant estate and gift taxes, but avoid entanglements with the IRS. The few audits of our client plans by the IRS have resulted in zero to minimal additional taxes to clients and no penalties or interest being assessed against any clients.
Effective Estate Planning Without Litigation
One unfortunate consequence of a death in a family is the emotional toll that it can take on family members. Many clients worry that family disharmony and bitter litigation among family members may take place after their deaths. We are proud of the fact that no litigation has been filed regarding any estate plans we have drafted. Our extensive litigation experience in the estate and trust area comes solely from outside referrals of new clients or plans not planned or drafted by our office.
Resolving Estate and Trust Administration Errors
Estate and trust administration can be complicated, and sometimes mistakes and oversights can occur in the process. Trustees and estate administrators who have discovered mistakes in administration often contact our office to remedy past fiduciary administration errors. In two recent cases, two separate independent trustees had not properly accounted for their respective trusts for nearly 10 years. Our office was approached to correct this long-term problem. We filed separate petitions in the courts in both cases and acted promptly to resolve 10 years of improper trust administration with no negative consequences to the trustees.
Advising Trustees and Executors
In addition to our estate planning and litigation services, we also provide ongoing legal consultation to fiduciaries during Trust and estate administration. Trustees, estate executors, and administrators regularly seek our guidance on the legal responsibilities in managing and administering trusts and estates.
Successful Property Tax Appeals for Commercial Real Estate
One of the most important and complicated assets involved in an estate or Trust can be residential or commercial real property. After one of our valued clients passed away, the County of Orange reassessed her long held commercial real estate property at an exorbitant valuation. Our representation in the property tax appeal after her death resulted in a successful administrative ruling reducing the assessed property tax value of the trust’s commercial property by 50%.
Righting the Wrongs of Improper Trust Modifications
While some unintentional mistakes or oversights can be made in creating or modifying an estate plan, some changes may also be the result of improper or manipulated modifications to estate planning documents. Our office regularly advises disgruntled beneficiaries who suspect improprieties in the estate plans of elderly parents. Our experience in evaluating such cases allows us to advise beneficiaries on the pros and cons of proceeding with trust or estate litigation.
Resolving Potential Litigation Through Mediation and Experience
In the course of our practice, we regularly face tense estate situations, where our litigation experience can lead to successful resolutions without litigation. Many estate planning attorneys and CPAs who lack litigation experience turn to our firm to initiate potentially contentious litigation on their behalf. Often, we can resolve anticipated litigation without having to file anything with the courts.
Eliminating the Threats of Trust or Estate Litigation
In certain instances, beneficiaries or other individuals threaten our fiduciary clients with litigation. We assist trustees and estate administrators in eliminating possible litigation. We routinely file petitions with the courts on their behalf, so the trustee or administrator can continue to perform his/her duties without future liability concerns.
Successful Litigation in Disputed Trust and Estate Cases
Unfortunately, litigation may arise in the process of estate or trust administration. Our firm has consistent and trusted litigation experience in effectively resolving such disputes. In a recent bitter case between two siblings, an elderly mother changed her long-standing trust to cut out one sibling to the benefit the other. We successfully voided the trust amendment, and reinstated the mother’s previous estate plan.
Mediating Long Term Estate Litigation
Tensions around estate and trust administration and management can run high among family members. In such instances, the importance of an experienced mediator cannot be overstated. Joseph Mona recently mediated a 15-year old estate dispute among several family members. After a few hours of intense meetings, Joe successfully settled the long-running litigation and effectively guided the family members towards resolution of a variety of estate issues.
Balancing Complex Family Dynamics in Estate Planning
Every family is different. In many cases, estate planning can seem daunting with complex family dynamics to consider. Our office routinely works with clients with previous marriages and other family dysfunctions. We educate clients on the pros and cons of various estate planning strategies, and we provide clients with peace of mind by avoiding potential family disputes.
Reviewing Complex Estate and Gift Tax Returns
In the estate and trust planning and administration industry, we work regularly with outside professionals on an array of issues. Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) in our field regularly request our assistance in the review of complex estate and gift tax returns, and we are often called in to interface with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regarding audits of estate and trust returns.
For more information about the services we provide our clients, visit our firm’s services page.