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Estate Planning & Dispute Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What assets can be put inside a trust?

If you have chosen to use a trust as your estate planning tool, this is a wise decision that allows you to put a great deal of personal or real property into the trust. Some exceptions include life insurance policies and IRA plans. A knowledgeable estate planning attorney can tell you more about what all is eligible to be transferred inside a trust.

Q: What is the difference between a will and a trust?

A will has to undergo the probate process in surrogate court of the state in which the decedent died. This is a complicated and extensive procedure regardless of your location. In New York you can expect that it will take at least one year to probate the will and the cost of the probate can be as high as 6% of the entire estate's value.

Q: How do I know if I need estate planning if I live in New York?

Estate planning is used for the comprehensive and orderly transfer of your individual assets after you pass away. This will help you avoid expenses and minimize taxes and may even allow you to avoid the probate process altogether to ensure that all of the assets you're passing on will reach your heirs as soon and as easily as possible.

Q: What is included in my estate?

Your estate involves all the property that was owned by you at the time of your death including life insurance policies, bank accounts, retirement accounts, business accounts, personal property, stocks and other securities and real estate.

Q: What is probate?

Probate refers to the legal proceeding in New York through which the property held in the decedent's name individually is transferred to his or her heirs. This becomes a matter of public record and for this reason, many people approaching the estate planning process want to use strategies and tools to enhance their privacy.

Q: How can an estate plan help if I don't have children?

You may be prepared to allow other family members or intended beneficiary such as a charity reap the benefits of your advanced estate planning. Regardless of the complexity or size of your estate, an estate plan can help you avoid the time and costs associated with probate, minimize the taxes that will need to be paid in order for your property to pass to others and ensure that your property is transferred in a timely fashion to those you wish to have it.

Q: What role does a durable power of attorney play in my estate plan?

In addition to documenting clear plans for what you intend to happen to your asset after you pass away, a durable power of attorney allows you to empower another person to make financial decisions and sign legal documents on your behalf. Typically, the attorney in fact or the power of attorney, steps in when you are unable to act for one reason or another such as a sudden incapacitating event.

Q: What is a health care surrogate?

In addition to a durable power of attorney, you may want to use a health care surrogate designation. This allows you to name another person to make health care decisions for you. health care decisions that the surrogate can make are very broad and this could involve the selection of medical providers and procedures.

Q: Do I need a living will in my estate plan?

Many people often refer to a living will as a pull-the-plug document which can give someone else authorization to terminate procedures for prolonging your life in the event that you are ever diagnosed with a terminal illness and your life is being prolonged using a support system.

Having clearly articulated plans can help you avoid the hassle of probate and other extensive estate planning issues.

Q: What are some of the most common disputes associated with estate planning?

Some of the most common reasons for beneficiaries to come together and initiate a lawsuit or other civil action because of an estate planning issue have to do with disputes involving inheritance benefits and rights, disputes over property distribution and issues involving sudden disability or incapacitation. Furthermore, any conflicts with the estate administrator or executor may prompt someone to file an estate planning dispute suit.

Q: What remedies are available for estate planning disputes?

The legal remedies for estate planning will depend on the type of dispute in question. It can also depend on the parties involved. Some of the most common remedies for estate planning disputes include redistribution of property, a damages award or a removal of executor.

Q: Do I need an attorney for an estate planning dispute?

In order to avoid further estate planning conflicts, it is strongly recommended that you retain an experienced attorney as soon as possible after you identify that a dispute is on the horizon. Regardless of the reason behind your intended estate planning dispute, having a lawyer to guide you through the process can make things easier and much faster.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
Mr. Bilkis handled both my father and mother's estate issues through very difficult times he was compassionate kind and understanding. In fact the whole firm showed great empathy. Despite the emotional hard time we were having that quickly and efficiently handle all the matters that were necessary to get us the result we desired. Can't recommend them enough. B.B.
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