Trusts and Estates
Wills and Trusts
As the average life expectancy continues to be longer, the practice of elder law has become an increasingly more critical concern for our aging population. Our attorneys are knowledgeable in the current rules of Medicaid and Medicare, and are skilled at helping families deal with these sensitive matters. Our primary objective in estate planning is the transference of assets to one's heirs with the lowest possible tax cost. During the planning stage, it is critical that family, business, and charitable objectives and other personal concerns be integrated into the design of the overall estate plan.
We strive to provide our clients with comprehensive estate planning, including wealth preservation, family and estate protection, and gift and generation-skipping tax strategies as well as preparing living wills, health care proxies, and powers of attorney for our clients to protect them in the event of their incapacity or disability.
Everyone should have a will. If you die without a plan for your estate, it may not be divided according to your wishes, or the estate my even revert back to the state. Our attorneys can help you make sure that your assets are distributed to the right people in the event of your death. We have skilled estate attorneys that assist our clients with wills and simple trusts to plan the distribution of their assets in New York State.
Probate and Estate Administration & Litigation
Estate administration includes the probate process as well as the non-probate transfer of the decedent's assets. In addition to Will preparation, our attorneys do a significant amount of probate work. The legal process that follows the death of an individual is generally referred to as the probate process. It is during this probate process that the Last Will and Testament is presented to the Surrogates Court and the individuals designated within the Will are appointed executor of the estate, and the assets of the estate are collected and the final bills and transfers detailed within the will are completed. Depending upon the value and complexity of the assets, the duration of the probate process can be anywhere from one to three years. Our probate and estate administration attorneys have the knowledge and experience to help ensure that the decedent's assets are distributed correctly.
In addition to planning, the firm represents clients in a wide array of estate-related controversies and litigation in both state and federal courts. Being sensitive to the needs of our clients, often during very difficult times, is a great service that the firm provides.
Guardianship Proceedings in New York
In 1993, the New York State Legislature enacted Article 81 of the Mental Hygiene Law (MHL) which provides for the appointment of a guardian for people in need of somebody to be in charge of their persons or property to varying degrees. The guardianship proceeding is a tool that family members can use to ensure that their loved ones are able to live in the community as long as possible.
Many guardianship proceedings are brought by family members of someone in need of help in managing their affairs. Under the law, that person in need of such help is called an Alleged Incapacitated Person (AIP). Guardianship proceedings involve very private and sensitive relationships. A decision to appoint a Guardian may only be made after a hearing. Following the hearing, the court may appoint a Guardian only based upon a determination that the appointment is necessary to provide for the personal needs of the AIP and/or arrange their property and financial affairs.
The law involves some complex procedures and anyone considering bringing a guardianship proceeding should seek the advice and services of a skilled attorney before attempting to do so. Our attorneys are trained and skilled in this area of complex litigation.