and Your Family
Staten Island Estate Planning
An estate plan is a set of legal documents that protect you after death, during incapacity, and in an emergency. An estate plan commonly includes a will and a trust that protect you after death. With a will and trust you control what happens to your property when you pass away. You can also control who serves as guardian of your minor children. An estate plan may also include a power of attorney and health care directive which protect you in the event you become incapacitated. A power of attorney appoints someone to make financial decisions for you while your health care director appoints someone to make health care decisions for you. To learn more about how advance planning can help you, your estate, and your family contact an experienced Staten Island estate planning lawyer at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates.Wills and trusts
Will and trusts are two common estate documents. They allow you to transfer your property to others. However, wills and trusts have significant differences.
Will. A will that allows you to designate who gets your property once you pass away. You can leave it to anyone you want: family, friends, or entities. You will also allows you to determine who do not want to have your property. In other words, with a will you can disinherit those who may otherwise be entitled to your property. In your will you can also appoint an executor. Your executor is the person who will be in charge of making sure that your wishes as expressed in your will are carried out. In addition, your will also allows you to name guardians for your minor children.
In the absence of a will your property will pass to your next of kin as specified in New York’s rules of intestate succession. For example, for married individuals who have children, your estate will be divided between your surviving spouse and your children, with your spouse receiving a larger share of your estate.
Trust. A trust is a relationship that is set up and funded by a grantor based on the terms of a trust agreement. The property in the trust is managed by the person the grantor names to be the trustee. The trustee has control of the property and manages it for the benefit of others known as the beneficiaries. Like a will a trust is a way to transfer property to loved ones after death. However, trusts are not subject to probate and are private. In addition, trusts can be set up to provide asset protection and reduce tax liability. Furthermore, a trust can be set up for special situations such as to provide for someone who has special needs. To learn more about the different types of trusts and how they can help you meet your planning goals, contact an experienced Staten Island estate planning attorney.Planning for incapacity
In addition to planning for the transfer of your assets after you pass away, it is also important to plan for a medical crisis that leaves you incompetent and unable to make decisions for yourself.
An advance directive is a legal document in which you state how you want to be medically cared for in the event that you are unable to communicate your wishes because of an illness or injury. An advance directive commonly includes two documents: a living will and a health care proxy. As an experienced estate planning attorney in Staten Island will explain, a living will allows you to detail the type of end-of-life medical care you want or do not want. A health care proxy allows you to appoint a trusted family member or friend to make medical decisions for you when you cannot.
A durable power of attorney allows you to appoint someone to make financial decisions for you in the event of incapacity.Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates
Your estate plan may change and evolve over time as your financial condition and personal situation change. You should revisit all of your estate documents periodically, particularly when major life events occur such as marriage, divorce, death, and births of children or grandchildren. To ensure that your estate documents are customized for your unique family and financial situations, it is important that you work with an experienced estate planning attorney serving Staten Island. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have years of experience creating comprehensive estate plans for clients that include wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and health care directives. We are here to help. Contact us at 800-696-9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: Staten Island, Suffolk County, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Westchester County, Bronx, and Brooklyn.