Our Long Island Estate Planning Attorney Team Can Get You Prepared
Estate planning helps people and families protect their assets and plan for the future. There are a number of valuable legal tools available, and it is important to understand the benefits and drawbacks of each, with the assistance of an experienced estate planning lawyer. At Davidow, Davidow, Siegel & Stern, our Long Island estate planning attorney team helps clients prepare ahead of time for how their property will be distributed when they pass away. We are seasoned lawyers who have dedicated our careers to assisting people and families across Long Island.
Why You Need an Estate Plan (Seriously, We’re Not Kidding!)
When done properly, an estate plan can provide a number of benefits. It offers peace of mind to the person planning the estate by clearly determining where the person’s assets will go when he or she dies, instead of leaving it to the system to decide. An estate plan can also provide a level of financial security for the person’s loved ones. Estate plans can be used for various purposes:
Protect Assets: Part of planning for the future is preparing for long-term health care and other expenses. An estate plan can help you protect your assets in advance of any long-term care needs so that the property remains available for your family when you die.
Decide for Yourself: Believe it or not, the majority of New Yorkers pass away without even a will in place. When that happens, state law designates how the person’s assets will be distributed to spouses, children and others. It may also open the door to fighting among family members over their piece of the estate. An estate plan allows you to decide ahead of time where your money and assets will go in the event of your death.
Protect Loved Ones: An estate plan also gives you the power to put certain restrictions on the transfer of the property. That includes instructing when beneficiaries can access the assets and how property can be used.
Reduce Taxes: Tax considerations are a key part of estate planning. A solid plan can help you avoid having your assets slashed by estate and other taxes, reducing the share that goes to your loved ones, when you pass away.
Prepare for Incapacity: Many people use estate plans to make certain decisions about their medical care and personal affairs in advance, in case they become incapacitated which includes addressing end-of-life care issues.
Common Estate Planning Tools
Although wills are often used in planning an estate, they are only one of several legal tools available. A Long Island estate planning attorney at DDSS can help you understand the full range of options available and tailor them to your unique personal circumstances and needs.
Will: A will is a legal document in which a person describes in detail how his or her money, real property and other assets will be distributed when the person passes away. The will usually also names a personal representative, the individual who will administer the will when the time comes.
Trusts: A trust is another tool for making decisions about how your property will be distributed when you die. There are a number of different types of trusts, which are often used to reduce taxes, protect assets and provide for loved ones. Trusts can be used along with a will and other tools to create a comprehensive estate plan including a plan to avoid probate.
Durable Power of Attorney: You can use a power of attorney to legally authorize another person to handle your financial affairs during your lifetime if you become incapacitated or are otherwise unable to do so.
Health Care Proxy: This is similar to a power of attorney, except it is only for health care decisions. The proxy appoints someone that will make those decisions for you in the event that you are not able to make the decisions yourself.
Living Will: This legal tool is used to make end-of-life decisions about health care in the event that you become incapacitated. Although it can be difficult to have to think about these kinds of situations, planning ahead will guide your loved ones and ensure that your wishes are carried out avoiding any uncertainty among your family members or medical care providers.
What Happens if You Do Not Have an Estate Plan: New York’s Intestacy Law
Without an estate plan, your assets will be distributed according to New York’s intestacy law. The law provides that the first $50,000 and one-half of whatever is left of the estate go to your spouse, if you are married when you die. The other half of the estate goes to your kids, if you have children, even if they are minors at the time. If your spouse has died or you are not married, the estate will go to your children.
When a person dies without a living spouse or children, his or her parents are next in line to receive the assets. If the person’s parents are dead, the assets will go to his or her living siblings and if not then to the cousins.
This is not always the way people want their estate transferred upon death. Making a will with the help of an estate planning lawyer allows you to decide for yourself where the assets will go.
What to Look for in a Long Island Estate Planning Attorney
When it comes to planning for the future and protecting your assets you do not want to take a lot of risks. That is why it is vital to seek the advice of an experienced estate planning lawyer. It is also important to turn to an attorney who will take the time to understand your unique situation and needs.
At DDSS, our Long Island estate planning attorney team has been serving people and families across the region with an emphasis on using legal tools to protect assets, reduce taxes and ensure comprehensive care.
See What a Long Island Estate Planning Attorney Can Do For You
If you are considering an estate plan or already grappling with related issues, DDSS can help.
Our offices are conveniently located in central Suffolk County, but we serve clients throughout Long Island and the greater New York area. We are also pleased to meet with clients via Zoom, FaceTime and other video conferencing tools. Call us, contact us online or use the live chat function to schedule a consultation with a Long Island estate planning attorney today.