EDWARD WACKS was admitted to the Bar of New Jersey in April, 1968. He is also admitted to the United States District Court for New Jersey and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. In 1981 he was admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court.
College and Law School and Honors Achieved
He is a 1964 graduate of Rutgers College with a BA Degree in Economics (and a minor in Art History) and a 1967 graduate of the Rutgers School of Law, Newark, New Jersey being awarded the degree of Juris Doctor. While in law school, he learned to search land titles and performed searching services for independent abstractors. Mr. Wacks assisted Professor Norman Williams in the writing of his treatise "Williams - American Land Planning Law" and authored with Professor Williams an article entitled "Segregation of Residential Areas Along Economic Lines; Lionshead Lake Revisited", which was published in the Wisconsin Law Review, (1969). He established a practice of law in Morris County, New Jersey in 1968 after serving his active duty with the New Jersey National Guard and has been a Morris County, New Jersey attorney since his admission to the Bar.
Primary Practice Areas/Concentration
Mr. Wacks concentrates his practice in Estate Planning and Taxation of Estates, Real Property Transactions, Trusts for Persons with Disabilities, Elder Law, Estate Administration and legal matters involving Closely Held Businesses, Family Businesses and Real Property Ownership by Businesses. Mr. Wacks has more than 45 years experience in these matters and is pleased to assist persons needing legal services in the State of New Jersey, and with the assistance of his colleagues, in New York , Florida and Pennsylvania. From the beginning of his professional career, he has assisted more than 1000 families in planning their estates and dealing with the issues of business succession. He has enabled those families to save millions of dollars in estate taxes and has counseled families on avoiding litigation associated with the succession of businesses. He is ably assisted by colleagues who are specially trained in the fields of accounting and tax law.
Mr. Wacks has written more than 25 legal opinions regarding the responsibility of attorneys in relationship to clients and non-clients alike. While serving as Chair of the District X Ethics Committee, he assisted in the transition from the original Canons of Ethics to the Rules of Professional Responsibility.
Since 1971 Mr. Wacks has been counsel to the Borough of Rockaway. He has served the Township of Allamuchy as its Municipal Attorney from 1988 to 2015 and currently serves the Township of Frelinghuysen as Municipal Attorney (since 1996). He has represented these communities in all phases of municipal law, attended hearings as a result of a court imposed sewer moratorium, drafted bond ordinances, general ordinances and resolutions, and appeared on behalf of these communities in cases involving municipal tax appeals and planned unit developments. He has assisted in the purchase of a water and sewer utility and has represented these communities as the attorney for their water and sewer utilities. He has drafted the planning and zoning ordinances for these towns and has generally performed all other duties related to the representation of a municipality within the State of New Jersey. In addition, Mr. Wacks has appeared regularly before municipal bodies and Planning and Zoning Boards throughout New Jersey on behalf of private clients. He currently represents community associations [Cooperatives and Condominium Associations].
Mr. Wacks' practice also consists of handling real estate transactions (closing more than 8,000 real estate transactions for buyers, sellers, developers and mortgagees). He supervises the review of all Bank related transactions for the firm, including real estate loans and loan workout matters. He has represented numerous developer clients before all Boards in gaining approvals for their projects, and assists clients in arranging financing for their projects. He has personally developed real estate projects including an office building condominium and a medical office building condominium. He advises clients on general corporate and business matters.
Mr. Wacks has been recognized as a real estate expert, an expert on legal ethics, an expert in the creation of trusts and estates, mortgage banker & broker law, title insurance matters and the taxation of estates by the Courts of New Jersey, both Federal District Courts of New Jersey, and by the Office of Administrative Law. He has qualified as an expert before all these tribunals.
Practice Honors/Work Experiences
In 1990-91 Mr. Wacks was the Chair of the Real Property, Probate and Trust Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association having been a Consultor of that Section for more than eight years. He continues to serve as a Consultor and assists in the presentation of Legislation effecting Real Property and Probate Law in New Jersey for the Section and for private clients. He assisted in the preparation of the Construction Lien Law for New Jersey and has lectured frequently on this topic.
Mr. Wacks has achieved honors in the practice of law and has devoted his time to charitable service. He was named by the Supreme Court of New Jersey to chair the District X Ethics Committee and served in that capacity for the year 1984-1985. This group supervises the activities of all lawyers in Morris and Sussex Counties. In 1988 he served as the President of the Morris County Bar Association. He has served as General Counsel to the United Way of Morris County and was recognized for fifteen years of continuous service to that organization. He has obtained an “AV Rating” from Martindale Hubbell for more than 30 years, being recognized by his peers for the highest rating for legal ability and ethical standards.
Mr. Wacks was an original incorporator, the first Board Chairman and the Chair of the Loan Committee for a New Jersey State Chartered Commercial Bank. He has advised major New Jersey Banks on regulatory matters and serves on an advisory board of one of these banks. He incorporated and assisted in the management of one of New Jersey's leading Mortgage Banker/Brokerage companies. Mr. Wacks has been an owner and a member of the Board of Directors for a New Jersey Title Insurance Agency and has been called upon to render opinions regarding title insurance matters. He currently serves on the advisory board of a New Jersey Commercial Bank.
Publications and Honors
In 2010, Mr. Wacks was given the designation of “2011Five Star Wealth Manager”. He was among 7% of the Wealth Managers in New Jersey to be chosen for this honor by a survey of 250,000 high net worth households. He was rated for his expertise, experience and service to his clients. In 2011, Mr. Wacks was named one of New Jersey’s “Super Lawyers” by his peers. He was among the top 1% in 2016 of America’s Most Honored Professionals; the Elder Law Division of the American Institute of Legal Counsel granted him a 2016 client satisfaction award; and in 2015 he was named by the Wall Street Journal as one of New Jersey’s Legal Leaders. He and his law firm are members of the Better Business Bureau of New Jersey
Mr. Wacks is a member of the Estate Planning Council of Northern New Jersey and a member of the American Bar Association’s Center for Professional Responsibility, an organization dedicated to fostering ethical and professional responsibility among members of the bar.