New York Estate Planning
People tend to shy away from Estate Planning, perhaps because it forces us to confront our own mortality. Having a proper estate plan in place however, is one of the most responsible and loving things you can do for your family. Depending on your unique circumstances and the size of your estate, effective Estate Planning requires the skill of an experienced New York Estate Lawyer to guide you through the process.
One of the key documents to any Estate Plan is the Last Will and Testament. In this document, the person making the will (the testator) formally sets forth their wishes regarding their estate, who will receive which assets, and can even appoint a guardian for their children. A will is essential regardless of the size of your estate. Without a valid will in place at the time of your passing, the courts would be forced to step in and distribute your estate based on the laws of intestacy, also known as Intestate Succession. The result of the court making these decisions based on state law may be very different than what you would have intended.
A New York Estate Lawyer can explain to you that another useful tool to have in your estate plan is a Trust. A Trust is a relationship where one person holds title to property pursuant to an obligation to use or keep the property for the benefit of another. A Trust is an effective way to avoid the Probate process. Without a Trust, upon your passing your Will amongst many other documents are submitted to the Surrogates Court for verification, and for an executor to be appointed. The executor then inventories the estate, pays any debts, and distributes the assets to the heirs. With a Trust however, the Probate process is eliminated, and the beneficiaries receive their distribution straight away. This not only saves money in probate costs, but substantial time as well.
An Advanced Health Care Directive or AHCD is an important document to be considered when putting together an estate plan. It is a sad fact that many people do not prepare for an unexpected tragedy. This document provides specific written instructions on how you would like your health care managed in the event that you cannot communicate your wishes. Not having this document in place in place in the event of a tragedy can put a tremendous burden on your physicians and loved ones who will be forced to make these difficult decisions for you.
This document is often created in conjunction with a Power of Attorney for Health Care (Healthcare proxy). This document appoints an attorney in fact to make decisions on your behalf in the event you are unable to do so. Lingering in a vegetative state with no hope of recovery will not only put undue emotional strain or your family, it will also diminish the assets of your estate.
There are many aspects of Estate Planning to consider, and the process can be complicated. It is important to consult with a New York Estate Lawyer to guide you through the process. Whether you need a Conservatorship, are involved in a Probate Litigation matter, or need advice regarding Elder Law you need to be sure that your rights are protected and your wishes honored. Contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC for advice and a free consultation. We have offices in Suffolk County, Nassau County, and throughout New York City, including all 5 boroughs. Call us today to schedule your free consultation at 800.696.9529.