Estate Law

At Puff & Cockerill, our estate law attorneys have been devoted to and built a reputation in the area of Estate Planning, Estate Administration and Estate Litigation over the past 40 years. Jeffrey V. Puff, with over 40 years experience in estate law, heads our estate law department.

What is Estate Law?

Estate Law is an umbrella term that encompasses an assortment of legal services that dictates how your property, money, health and family will be treated and distributed at death or in case of incapacity or disability.

Why is Estate Law Necessary for Every Individual?

While we all wish to live forever, the reality is that we cannot defeat father-time. Similarly, the reality also holds that we are unable to predict our future, including our future financial security and health. As our future remains uncertain, what we do in the present can and will prepare ourselves and our families for life’s unexpected twists and turns. It is exactly the hardest times in an individual’s and family’s life when proper estate planning will help assuage the burdens and difficulties that accompany death, disability, or incapacity.

Why is Estate Planning Necessary for Every Individual?

The operative word throughout the area of estate law is “planning.” Proper and careful estate planning not only puts you in charge of your finances, health and future, it will also spare your loved ones the expense, delay and frustration associated with handling your health and estate when you pass away or become disabled or incapacitated. At Puff & Cockerill, our attorneys represent clients of all economic standing, from high-net worth individuals to modest and simple estates. The truth of the matter is that estate planning is important for every individual, regardless of the size of your estate.

What our Firm Provides

In the area of estate law, our firm has dedicated attorneys who provide an all-encompassing and full-service representation in the areas of estate planning, estate litigation, estate and probate administration. Our estate planning attorneys combine to provide over 100 years of legal experience and expertise in the field. Our attorneys have drafted hundreds of wills and have litigated complex estate disputes in the Superior Court of New Jersey, the New Jersey Appellate Division and the New Jersey Probate Courts, as well as, the United States District Court, District of New Jersey. Many of our clients come to our firm for estate planning, litigation and administration, through word of mouth. Receiving clients from word of mouth is the highest form of flattery our firm can attain. It means that our clients valued and trusted our services and representation enough to share with their community. We believe our clients respect and value our deep personal dedication to each case and client. We understand that estate law is an immensely emotional and personal process, but one that each and every client deserves the highest legal expertise and professionalism to ensure that goals and objectives are correctly met. Throughout the estate planning, administration, or litigation process, our firm and attorneys guarantee to maintain a close working and trusting relationship to ensure maximum coordination and involvement. We invite you to explore our website to learn more about our estate services and contact our office at or (856) 845-0011 to set a consultation with one of our estate planning attorneys.

Our Areas of Estate Law

Estate Planning:  Estate planning establishes and structures a set of directions that puts you or your loved ones in charge of your finances, medical and health needs, and assets according to your terms and desires. The following is a list of estate planning tools and devices utilized to properly and carefully plan your estate to meet your goals and objectives:

  • Wills
  • Trusts
  • Power of Attorney
  • Living Wills
  • Disability Planning
  • Special Family Circumstances
  • Special Property Circumstances
  • Taxation
  • Guardianship
  • Asset Protection
  • Planning for Children / Minors
  • Disability and Special Needs Planning

Estate Litigation: Our attorneys routinely litigate estate disputes for our clients spanning a variety of matters from contested wills to misappropriation of estate assets. Estate litigation is a necessary step to contest or defend an estate dispute. Disputes often arise in the administration of a probate estate, or trust, especially when there are substantial amounts of money involved, or cherished family heirlooms or real property. These disputes can arise between beneficiaries, between a trustee or other involved fiduciary or beneficiary, or from third parties. Among the areas of estate litigation, the following is a non-exhaustive list our firm handles:

  • Validity of Wills
  • Contested Wills
  • Incapacity of Testator
  • Undue Influence
  • Duress
  • Defective Execution/Signatures of Testamentary Documents
  • Misappropriation of Estate Assets
  • Fraud / Forgery
  • Power of Attorney Disputes
  • Real Estate Disputes
  • Breach of Fiduciary Duty
  • Contested Accounting
  • Guardianship Proceedings
  • Trust Reformation
  • Spousal Rights
  • Mediation

Estate and Probate Administration:  Estate and Probate Administration is handled in a variety of forms. Within estate and probate administration, our attorneys serve as trustees, legal representatives, legal guardians, guardians ad litem (court appointed attorney’s), and provide legal guidance to executors, personal representatives, trustees and others in a fiduciary role set forth in testamentary documents. In addition, our firm handles and prepares the accompanying estate documents necessary to complete in order to distribute the assets to the intended beneficiaries and close the estate. The following is an non-exclusive list of areas in Estate and Probate Administration handled by our firm:

  • Fiduciary Roles
  • Trustees
  • Legal Representatives
  • Executors
  • Personal Representatives
  • Guardians
  • Federal Estate Tax Returns
  • State Estate Tax Returns
  • Inheritance Tax Returns
  • Gift Tax Returns
  • Insurance Claims and Adjustments
  • Managing Estate Assets
  • Estate Accounting
  • Creditor Claims
  • Refunding Bonds
  • IRS Forms
  • Asset Distribution
  • Disclaimers
  • Estate Inventory

To schedule a consultation with one of our estate law attorneys, please call (856) 845 – 0011 or email our office at