WESTFIELD, NJ — Who do you call when you need an expert in both law and taxes? Attorney Parag Patel, a Westfield dad who also serves part-time as Westfield’s municipal judge, can help.
“What I do is unique because very few lawyers are also tax professionals,” Patel said.
The big difference between him and some other guys?
“I don’t run away from tax problems,” he said. “I run to tax problems. We not only defend tax-payers with complex audits but we also defend tax-payers in tax court — we are able to go all the way to resolve a tax problem.”
Patel’s first job out of law school was with a large firm tax practice, “so I’ve been a tax lawyer from day one, 25 years ago.”
The work is rewarding, he said.
“People often come to me with personally draining problems. Sometimes people come into the office crying. I’m often able to resolve their problems,” Patel said. “The ability to address people’s problems can be very satisfying, not only to the client but also to me, especially when the solution is creative.”
After meeting with clients, he gets to work on a solution that can improve their lives.
“Often it doesn’t take hours or days — sometimes it takes weeks or months, but eventually we’re able to solve the problem,” he said. “We’re able to help most clients come to a satisfactory resolution.”
These days, with the rapid changes in the tax laws, there are a lot of complications and problems that can come up, but also valuable opportunities that Patel can help clients take advantage of.
“Earlier this week there was a woman who was planning to sell her investment property, which would have led to a very large, million dollar taxable capital gain,” he said, for example. “We were able to restructure the transaction to minimize and defer the gain.”
What he does requires advanced training — Patel is a Board-Certified Tax Attorney and has a Master of Law degree in tax law from New York University, which is the number one program in the country, he said.
Patel’s other area of expertise is Estate Planning. While the estate tax in New Jersey was eliminated last year, there are still many opportunities for clients to carefully plan their estate for unique circumstances, Patel explained, such as asset protection or the special needs of family members.
“People often think about estate planning after the birth of their first child. However, people also need estate planning when there are particular issues in their lives, such as asset protection needs, marital issues or special needs issues,” he said. “Those types of concerns are timeless and will never go away.”
The special needs community is large and underserved, he noted.
“A lot of people don’t understand the complications that need to be addressed in the estate planning context,” he said. “Because at the death of a parent, sometimes a child with special needs may lose government benefits, and assets can be left with family members that are incapable or unable to manage and preserve wealth for the long term.”
When it comes to estate planning, Patel often uses trusts to solve people’s problems, “but we like to keep things as simple as possible at the same time,” he said.
What he enjoys most about estate planning is the ability to improve people’s lives, as well as plan their estate, which is the money they worked hard to earn over a lifetime.
“A well-planned estate often leads to well-planned lifetimes for family members and being part of that solution is very rewarding,” he said.
Learn more about Patel Law Offices by clicking here, or call 732-623-9800.