New York Elder Law
Elder Law is an area of the law that deals with legal matters that affect older people. The elderly are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population. Seniors are more active and are living longer than ever before and have unique needs and legal issues that need to be addressed. Elder Law involves a wide array of subject areas, including Estate Planning, Conservatorships, Disability, Medicaid and Medicare, retirement benefits and more. This new area of law has been created specifically to protect the elderly from fraud, neglect and abuse.
An Estate Lawyer will explain to you that Estate Planning is a large component of Elder Law, and is very important. While no one wants to dwell on the eventuality of passing away, it is an area that should be dealt with long before it becomes necessary. Passing away without proper Estate Planning documents can result in dire consequences. Without the correct documents in place, your estate may not be distributed according to your wishes, to the detriment of those whom you love most.
At the very minimum, it is wise to have a few key documents in place to protect your rights and your estate. A Durable Power of Attorney is something that everyone should have. This document appoints a person to act and make decisions on your behalf (either health related, financial or both) should you become incapacitated.
An Advanced Health Care Directive is a document that is important in the event you become ill and unable to communicate with your loved ones or physicians. In this document you will spell out what your exact wishes are should you become terminally ill, or in a coma. This document will cover what particular life saving measures you want to have, if any. If you do not have this document in place and become incapacitated, you will be asking your doctors and loved ones to make some very difficult decisions on your behalf.
A Will is a document that defines how you would like your property distributed after your death. If you pass without a valid Will in place, the state will be required to step in and distribute your assets according to state law, which is called Intestate Succession. It is important for everyone to have a Will, regardless of how small the estate is.
Another great Estate Planning tool is a Living Trust. When you have a Will and pass away, your Will and other documents are submitted to the court for a process called Probate. This is a court process where someone will be appointed to manage your estate (called an executor), pay any outstanding debts, and gather and inventory the assets. The assets will be distributed to the heirs designated in your Will. This Probate process can be complicated and long, costing your estate court costs and attorney fees. However, with a Living Trust, you will be able to completely bypass this process. Upon your passing the assets in the Trust will be distributed directly to your heirs. This saves time and effort, money, and your heirs will receive their distributions in a much quicker fashion.
Whether you are looking into Estate Planning, a Conservatorship, or have a concern regarding elder abuse, or have a Medicare/ Medicaid or Social Security issue, it is important to seek the advice of a qualified New York Probate Lawyer. The lawyers at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC are available to lend advice, and will provide you with a free, no obligation consultation. Where ever you are in New York, there is an office location nearby, from Manhattan Brooklyn Bronx Queens Staten Island to Long Island in both Nassau County and Suffolk County and Westchester County. Call us today to make your appointment at 800.696.9529.