Estate Planning

Our attorneys assist clients in estate planning for the following:

Estate Planning for Singles & Married Couples

Estate Planning for Minor Children

Just as important as planning for aging is planning for minor children. A common planning tool that parents typically utilize if naming their minor child as a beneficiary of an account. Parents are typically told that this will avoid probate. Although true, these minor beneficiaries cannot collect the account at the death of the depositor. Rather, the court must appoint a guardian for the minor child (even if the parent is alive) and deposit the money into an account joint with the clerk of the court. Any attempt to invest the inherited money or use it for any reason, must be approved by a judge.

It is important to avoid issues such as these with the appointment of a guardian of the parent’s choosing. This can also be dealt with by the establishment of a trust for the minor. Through this type of vehicle, the parent can set the terms of how the child’s inheritance will be invested and used for the benefit of the child’s education, health, general support and eventual marriage.

Estate Planning for Second Marriages & Blended Families

It can be complex to navigate through the myriad of issues that can arise in planning for couples in a second marriage. A simple will is typically not enough. Most couples believe that if their will says – “I leave everything to my spouse and then our children from prior marriages” – that this is sufficient. The problem with this is that a will can be changed when the first spouse dies and the children of that first spouse can be easily disinherited. Proper trust planning can provide both for the surviving spouse in a second marriage and the children from the first marriage, thereby avoiding family disruption at the death of a loved one.

Estate Planning during Peak Earning Years

Involves creating a plan to have replacement income available to pay expenses of the family if one or both parents become disabled or pass.

Estate Tax Planning & Wealth and Legacy Planning

Although both the New York State and Federal Estate Tax Exemptions are at an all time high, New Yorker can easily find themselves faced with an estate tax simply because of their real estate. Just as the estate tax exemptions are higher than they have ever been, so are the values of real estate in New York. People who would never have thought of themselves as wealthy can face a tremendous tax hit at death and no way to pay it because they own a few pieces of real estate and have no liquidity. There are various tools that can both substantially lower, if not eliminate, the estate tax and provide liquidity to pay any tax owed without the necessity of liquidating assets.