Estate Planning and Administration


  • Wills
  • Trusts
  • Health Care Proxy & Power of Attorney
  • Business Succession Planning
  • Planning for Art and Antiques Collectors
  • Probate and Estate Administration

Planning:

We enjoy helping clients obtain the peace of mind that comes with properly planning for the future. It is important to have a sound plan in place to deal with your affairs in the event of an unexpected disability and to ensure that your property is distributed according to your wishes upon your death. If you have minor children, you may designate in your will a guardian of your choice to care for your children in the event of the death of both parents.

You should have a plan which fits you based on age, assets, family relationships, and personal and family financial needs. While there is no one-size-fits-all model, the following are some typical components of a comprehensive estate plan:
 

  • Last Will and Testament
  • Trust(s)
  • Health Care Proxy
  • Durable Power-of-Attorney
  • Life Insurance, 401(k), IRA and other account beneficiary designation forms

It is normal for people to change their wills and other estate planning documents several times throughout their lives. As you and your family get older or your financial circumstances alter, your estate planning needs may change. We encourage you to discuss any estate planning documents that you have in place with an attorney and accountant periodically—at least every 2-5 years, and upon any significant change in financial circumstances or major life change, such as a marriage, birth, death or serious illness in the family.

We advise business owners/principals on succession planning and assist collectors of art and antiques on asset value protection planning. It is important to ensure that your chosen beneficiaries know the value of any unique property that you may leave behind and how to make the most of it.

Probate/Estate Administration:

When a person dies, his/her will is given effect by the Surrogate’s Court through a process called “probate.” The Court will appoint an executor to act for the estate.If the person dies without a will (“intestate”), state law directs how his/her property will be distributed; certain people authorized by statute may apply to act as administrator.

Being appointed executor or administrator results in certain important responsibilities related to identifying, collecting, investing, distributing and accounting for estate assets. There are many things to do.

Our attorneys will:

  • Review the will and other planning documents to determine who are proper beneficiaries
  • Prepare and file Surrogate’s Court documents
  • Represent you in probate proceedings
  • Assist you in identifying and gathering estate assets
  • Represent the estate in selling real estate and other assets
  • Evaluate the claims of creditors and advise you regarding paying debts where appropriate
  • Calculate the amount due to each beneficiary and assist you in the distribution of assets
  • Prepare and file Surrogate’s Court inventory of assets, accounting and releases, and review applicable tax returns

It is important to remember that you are not required to use the attorney who drafted a will to represent you in probate proceedings. You are entitled to hire any attorney you choose. 

We understand that losing a loved one is incredibly difficult. It is our greatest hope that our cost-effective, efficient and compassionate approach to handling probate and estate administration will allow you to conclude the legal business that must be attended to after a loved one’s passing with as little stress as possible.

 

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