How should I prepare for the initial consultation?
In advance of the actual meeting, we will supply you with a list of required documents. Basically, the paperwork that is needed is a compilation of family history and assets such as property deeds, bank account information, stocks, IRA’s, etc.
How long is the initial consultation?
The initial consultation is scheduled for 1 1⁄2 hours, sometimes it takes longer and sometimes not. This is a very involved, detailed meeting which results in a suggested plan that achieves the personal objectives of each client. In order to make the most of this meeting, it is recommended that you come prepared with the proper documents.
What will it cost for your services?
Generally, the planning fees are a direct reflection of the complexity and sophistication of the documents being prepared. There are basic fees set for basic planning documents and then the fees may increase as the planning becomes more involved and intricate. We will, of course, obtain your consent in advance.
Do you make home visits?
The attorneys of Davidow, Davidow, Siegel & Stern would be pleased to accommodate those clients who are either homebound or cannot travel to the office. In order to offer this service, we ask that the travel time of the attorney to and from the home be accounted for in the billing process.
How do I know when I need to see an elder law attorney?
There are numerous instances where legal counsel should be obtained. For example, when there is no Durable General Power of Attorney in place, a spouse, child or other relative will often have to proceed with a guardianship action in order to represent an incapacitated loved one. When a health care proxy is not being honored, an attorney should step in to pursue the intentions of the incapacitated person. An elder law attorney can also guide a family through the Medicaid application process and advise the family on entitlements, responsibilities and exemptions associated with eligibility. Finally, if you do not have a will, state law controls the disposition of your property and settling these types of estates is troublesome and costly.
When do I need to consider estate planning?
If you think wills are only for the rich, you’re wrong! A will is an essential part of any estate plan and is the primary document for transferring your wealth upon your death. If you die intestate (without a will), state law controls the disposition of your property. In addition to wills, more sophisticated planning should be considered with any of the following situations: to provide for a child with special needs, in the event of a second marriage, if there is a family business, if you are charitably inclined and many other reasons.
What is a "Living Trust"?
A “Living Trust” is a means of managing your property during your lifetime and disposing of the property after your death with probate. It can be a revocable or an irrevocable trust.
Will a revocable trust protect me from Medicaid?
No. If YOU have access to your assets, Medicaid can get your assets.
Which is more beneficial to me - a life estate or an irrevocable trust?
That depends on your situation. It is a matter that must be discussed with an attorney considering that there could be circumstances that might affect your decision, but, be careful, life estates tend to be misused.
When will I get my documents?
Your original documents will be returned to you in person or via mail within 2 to 4 weeks. If you choose to have DDSS store your documents, an annual fee will be charged.
How long can I expect to receive my deed in the event of revisions?
It takes about four (4) months to receive a Suffolk County deed and almost a year for a Nassau County deed, although attached when signed. A New York City deed might take as long as nine (9) months to be returned. As soon as we receive your deed, it will be forwarded to you.
Where are the original documents kept?
In our fireproof vault system.
If a family member made a will (power of attorney, etc.) with you, how would I go about getting a copy?
We will need written authorization from our client or his/her attorney-in-fact before we can release these documents to you. It would be a breach of our fiduciary responsibility to our client if we were to release these confidential documents to you without authorization.
When will I become eligible for Medicaid?
The attorney will look at the assests owned or previously owned, and will then be able to calculate Medicaid eligibility. With our firm, it will be at the earliest possible date.