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Forbes Shares Invaluable Advice from McManus and Widow Clients

Founding Principal of McManus & Associates John O. McManus recently spoke with Ashlea Ebeling, who writes about how to build, manage and enjoy your family’s wealth for Forbes, to share his pre and post-mortem planning advice for spouses, based on his experience working with numerous high-net-worth widows over nearly three decades. McManus also connected Ebeling with two of his clients who shared how they navigated the challenges following the passing of their partners, from managing complexities of portfolios that fell on their shoulders, negotiating with lenders and insurance carriers, how long it took before they turned a corner from a grief standpoint, and more.

The article, “A Widow’s Advice to Her Younger Self,” starts with an invaluable piece of advice: don’t let your spouse do all of your family’s financial planning without your involvement; tell him or her, “This is stuff I need to know!” Those words of wisdom came from McManus & Associates client Bridget Wilson, whose husband passed away from cancer.

From the story:

Unfortunately, the Wilsons’ case is one their estate planner, John O. McManus, says happens all too frequently. He’s helping another financially unsophisticated spouse in her 40s sort out the estate of her late husband, a real estate investor, who committed suicide. “Each one was surprised and unprepared,” he says of the widows. “They simply were not ready.”

Here are the pre-mortem key takeaways that McManus, Wilson and McManus & Associates’ other client who participated in the story hope will be helpful to others:

Do a dry run. Wilson’s husband never signed their will, “so McManus had to petition the probate judge to admit it. ‘All of that would have evaporated if the will hadn’t been validated,’ McManus says.”

Talk to your spouse. Don’t sign things no questions asked. McManus & Associates’ client urges, “Don’t be embarrassed. Don’t be ashamed. Just ask for help.”

Plan for liquidity. “Review investment and retirement accounts for potential income streams,” writes Ebeling.

And after the death of a spouse? Here are important to-do’s from the story:

Revisit your estate plan. From the article, “McManus’ first piece of advice to Wilson was to write her own will as well as a financial power of attorney and healthcare proxy. And to sign everything.”

Seek outside experts. “A good estate administrator will know his or her limits and call on experts as needed,” says Ebeling. Citing McManus’ help to the widow who lost her husband to suicide, “On behalf of the other widow, McManus hired a real estate lawyer to stop the house foreclosure, and a real estate agent to rent it out while she downsized. He introduced her to a financial advisor who negotiated with the private school that was going to kick out her kids for being behind on tuition.”

Find your purpose. In short, ask yourself what will give your life new meaning, and go do it!

Read the full Forbes story here.

For help with pre and post-mortem estate planning, reach out to McManus & Associates at 908-898-0100. We look forward to supporting you.

McManus & Associates Named Winner of Corporate INTL Magazine Global Award for Asset Protection Law

Corporate INTL Magazine has chosen McManus & Associates, a Tri-State area-based trusts and estates law firm, as the winner of the 2012 Corporate Intl Magazine Global Award for Asset Protection Law, Firm of the Year in New Jersey. The nomination, research and judging process took a full 12 months.

Established in 2005, Corporate INTL is one of the leading monthly titles for business leaders, professional advisers and providers of finance throughout the world. The publication, distributed to over 70,000 readers each month, offers unique business insight with discussion on domestic and international matters from leading experts.

Corporate INTL’s Annual Awards celebrate excellence with recognition of the world’s top advisors and financiers across an array of countries around the globe. The awards honor those who have been active over the past year and who have demonstrated merit not only in expertise, but also in service.

To view all recent honors and recognitions received by McManus & Associates, visit

We look forward to the opportunity to help protect your assets and family.

Bloomberg: “Romney Tax Returns Show Strategy for Moving Money to Kids”

Sharing his expert knowledge for an article taking a closer look at the estate planning techniques used by GOP nominee Mitt Romney to minimize taxes and build millions of dollars in wealth, McManus & Associates Founding Principal and Attorney John O. McManus recently spoke with Bloomberg Reporter Margaret Collins.

As noted in the piece, in addition to establishing a family trust in 1995, the Romneys set up a charitable remainder unitrust, or a CRUT, in 1996. Within the article, McManus estimates that:

The Romneys also set up a charitable remainder unitrust in 1996, according to state financial disclosure documents. The trust, also known as a CRUT, moves money out of an estate by donating it to charity and has two additional benefits for the creator, said John O. McManus, principal at the law firm McManus & Associates in New Providence, New Jersey, and New York.

The maker of the trust receives some tax deduction for the value that is expected to go to charity and receives payments from the trust for a set period before the assets transfer, McManus said.

With the help of a variety of estate planning strategies, Mitt and Ann Romney have been able to “amass at least $100 million for their family outside of their estate.”

Read the whole story here. The team of lawyers at McManus & Associates would be happy to discuss the techniques used by the Romneys and develop a plan to help you protect and build your family’s wealth.

Star-Ledger: McManus Named One of NJ’s Top-Rated Lawyers

We are excited to share that McManus & Associates Founding Principal John O. McManus has been named one of New Jersey’s Top Rated Lawyers by Inside Jersey: The Star-Ledger Magazine’s “Best of NJ” issue for August. The honor also appeared within The New Jersey Law Journal.

We invite you to check out the feature in print on page 21 of Inside Jersey. A preview of the section on recommended law firms and attorneys in New Jersey can be found online here:

As mentioned in the piece, the McManus & Associates family is honored to help protect your family wealth and values.

July 12, 2012 editions of Inside Jersey and the Star-Ledger

McManus Awarded Membership in International Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners

McManus & Associates is excited to announce that the firm’s founding principal and estate attorney John O. McManus has been awarded membership in the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), which is the leading worldwide professional body for practitioners in the fields of trusts, estates and related issues. The firm is honored by this professional qualification recognized by the industry.

According to STEP, “full members are the most experienced and senior practitioners in the field of trusts and estates” and “advise clients on the broad business of the management of personal finance.” A perfect fit for membership, McManus & Associates helps “families plan their long-term financial future, facilitating good stewardship and financial planning across future generations.” STEP members also “help families comply with the often complex tax rules surrounding trusts, estates and inheritance.”

McManus & Associates looks forward to taking advantage of the education, training, representation and networking provided by the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.

Forbes: “Farm Like A Billionaire–Harvest Tax Breaks” and the 2012 Investment Guide

Forbes magazine’s June 25, 2012 Investment Guide issue has been posted online, and several stories of interest are included from Ashlea Ebeling, who writes about how to build, manage and enjoy your family’s wealth.

Ashlea Ebeling

Founding Principal of McManus & Associates John O. McManus, a trusts and estates attorney, spoke with Ashlea about the requirements tied to reaping tax benefits from farm-assessed property for her article “Farm Like A Billionaire–Harvest Tax Breaks.” The piece shares examples of high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) planting lavender, establishing honey hives and declaring wildlife preserves to “harvest real estate tax breaks” and income tax savings.

Based on her conversation with John, who practices law in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and more, Ashlea writes:

New Jersey allows you to snag a farm break with just 5 acres of land “devoted to agricultural and/or horticultural use” (not including the immediate area around your residence) and $500 in annual farm sales—a threshold neighbors can meet by buying each other’s products. “Everybody talks about what their products are at cocktail parties,” reports John McManus, an estate lawyer in New Providence, N.J. Pumpkins, Christmas trees and alpaca wool are popular.

Check out “How To Farm For Love And Profit–And Save The Farm” for important information on conservation easements and farmland preservationists successes and struggles in Pennsylvania. You can also see beautiful photos of the lavender farm — used for a Lands’ End catalog shoot — featured in the piece for which John was interviewed  here.

And finally, another story from the Investment Guide that relays smart investment strategies that help both you and your family is “Become A Family VC: How To Capitalize On Your Kid’s Or Cousin’s Business.”

The 2012 Forbes Investment Guide is definitely worth the read.

The Vancouver Sun: “Taxes create cross-border issues”

Derek Sankey, reporter for The Calgary Herald, has put together an interesting article titled “Taxes create cross-border issues” that was today published by The Vancouver Sun.

In the piece, Sankey points out that labor demand is projected to create the need for a total of 600,000 workers by 2021 in Alberta, Canada, saying that there could be “some nasty tax surprises for unwitting workers and their Canadian employers.”

Highlighting McManus & Associates’ recent report “Top 10 Planning Issues for Non-U.S. Citizens Including U.S. Residents With Overseas Assets,” Sankey writes:

Non-U.S. citizens and Americans with property overseas are also faced with another set of challenges when it comes to the changing estate and tax planning environment, according to New York based John McManus, of McManus and Associates.

His firm released a report this month highlighting the implications. “Protecting your wealth and your family as an immigrant is a unique, complex process that requires consistent surveying of the landscape for changes in estate and tax planning,” McManus says.

To read the full story, click here. For help with your cross-border tax and estate planning issues, call our New York office at (212) 753-9000 or our New Jersey office at (908) 898-0100.