Estate Planning


Estate Planning is the process of making sure that your loved ones inherit your assets with as little time and expense as possible. When preparing an estate plan for our clients, we are aware that we are doing more than putting together legal documents – we are also offering peace of mind.

Estate Planning is generally made up of these tools to help clients accomplish their goals:

  • Last Will and Testament  - which lets you appoint guardians for your minor children, distribute your assets as you see fit instead of allowing the state to distribute them according to its laws, and appoint an individual or entity to administer your estate instead of letting NY state decide the order of who can act.
  • Living Trust – which allows you to transfer your assets while avoiding probate which saves your family time and money by not having to go through a court process to transfer your assets when you pass.
  • Power of Attorney  – which allows you to appoint an agent, typically your spouse and/or child, to handle your finances if you are unable to during your life.
  • Health Care Proxy  - which allows you to designate to make health decisions on your behalf in the event that you are not able to on your own

Estate Planning Steps:

The first question centers around the client’s family. Are they married? Were they ever divorced? Do they have any children and grandchildren. Are any children from a prior relationship? If they don’t have children, are their parents alive and do they have siblings?  

Once we understand the family structure, we discuss the client’s financial picture. Even though not all assets will pass through the will, it is necessary to know what the client owns or has an interest in.

Once we find out about the family and the assets, we discuss what the client wants to happen with his assets after he passes away. If the client has minor children or grandchildren, we discuss minor’s trusts as a way to leave assets to minors with control being given to adults to manage it for them. We also discuss contingency plans – what happens if your beneficiary predeceases you – where does their bequest go?

Estate planning is an important undertaking with many nuances which need to be considered. Feel free to call us regarding any questions regarding estate planning law in Queens, Brooklyn or New York City or to schedule a free consultation to discuss your specific needs.

Estate Planning FAQ

What is estate planning?

Estate Planning is a strategy to distribute one’s assets after death. Usually involving a will, there are several possible legal paths of protecting one’s estate.

What is an estate?

In New York, An estate is all property and assets owned. It includes both real property (like a home) and personal property (bank accounts, investment etc).

Why do I need to plan?

Estate planning allows you to make the transfer of ownership to your loved ones as easy and inexpensive as possible. With proper planning, estate taxes, court fees, and legal fees can be reduced.

Do I need a will In New York?

While a will is not required by law. There is no reason NOT to have one. A will allows you to prepare in advance your requests and desires for the distribution of your assets.

Should I hire a lawyer to help me draft a will, or can I do it myself?

Generally it is a good idea to hire an estate planning lawyer to assist in creating a will. There are certain legal requirements involved in creating a binding will. The larger your estate is the more important it is to properly plan in advance and spend the time considering how to structure your will.

Will my estate be taxed when it is transferred to my loved ones?

In the state of New York there is an estate tax, additionally, there is a federal estate tax. Without properly planning, structuring, and protecting assets, the taxes and fees involved with inheritance can be significant.

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Attorney Advertising Disclaimer: The estate planning, probate, elder law or other New York legal information presented on this site should NOT be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship. Using the advice provided on this site without consulting an lawyer can have disastrous results. Prior results do not guarantee similar outcomes. Please contact a Queens estate planning attorney at one of our law firms located in New York City. This web site is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the State of NY, although we have relationships with attorneys and law firms in states throughout the United States. Free consultation applies to an initial phone consultation.
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