The main purpose of a will is to direct where your assets will go after you die, but it can also be used to instruct your heirs how to pay money that you owe.

This is a very common issue with revocable trusts and it results from not respecting the formalities of the trust. In order for a revocable trust to work as intended, that is, to avoid probate, your assets must be transferred to the trust.  For instance, if you own a house, the deed needs to be…

Assuming by your question that you are a beneficiary of your parent’s estate, you are entitled to certain information.  For instance, where the Estate is not required to file an estate tax return, an Executor must file an Inventory of Assets with the Court within six months of his appointment.  Where the Executor is prepared…

The answer to this question is dependent on the County you live in.  Regardless, the probate process can take quite some time and delay the distribution of assets to your heirs. The probate process begins by retaining us to prepare certain documents that must be filed with the Surrogate’s Court in the County where the…

Grandparents may be tempted to leave an IRA to a grandchild because children have a low tax rate, but the “kiddie tax” could make doing this less beneficial.

  A guardian is an individual (or sometimes an entity) appointed by the Court to handle the personal and/or financial affairs of a minor child.  In New York, a child under the age of eighteen is considered a minor.  Usually, the Court appoints a guardian for both the person and property of a minor, but…

  Leaving assets to your children gives rise to many considerations.  For instance, if the child is a minor, you do not want assets passing to that minor child outright.  Even if the child is not a minor, there is a widely accepted sentiment that most children should not take total possession and control of…

Medicaid Planning in Advance of Changes to the Healthcare System By: Salvatore M. Di Costanzo, Esq.   With Congress about to break for a two week Spring recess, the repeal of Obamacare appears to have stalled and remains uncertain.  Notwithstanding, we must pay attention to the various proposals that have been put forth by the…

This is a real fact pattern. I recently met with a family whose 86 year old Mother was admitted to a nursing home for dementia.  They sought my assistance in obtaining Medicaid eligibility to pay for the nursing home, which cost $15,000 per month.  Mother is still on Medicare which pays for the first 100…

An integral part of our practice involves planning with the assets of individuals who are disabled or have special needs. These individuals are usually persons who have developmental disabilities, mental illnesses, or who suffer from other severe and chronic or persistent disabilities. We commonly refer to these individuals as supplemental needs beneficiaries and the primary…

At some point, most people experience that enlightening moment when they realize there is a risk of losing their assets if they fall ill and require long-term care. Some will contact an elder law attorney and receive sound advice; others will contact their friends and relatives, who after all, usually know more than most attorneys…

Estate planning documents need to be regularly reviewed. I often tell clients to review their estate plan every three to five years or upon the occurrence of a significant life event such as a birth, marriage, divorce or death. Documents should also be reviewed for changes in the law. One of the benefits to connecting…

If there is one unavoidable consequence of life and relationships, it is that our loved ones may fall ill at some point, whether it be a parent, grandparent, child, aunt or uncle. Sometimes it could be a tragic accident or disease that affects them, and other times it is simply part of the aging process….

Nearly every aspect of estate planning and elder law requires an attorney to assess a client’s legal capacity. As elder law attorneys, we are regularly working with individuals who have some form of cognitive impairment such as dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease. A common assumption is that someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s cannot sign a Last…

I recently entered the world of beekeeping. When contemplating this new hobby, I obviously vetted my ideas with friends and family (not the neighbors). Their responses were comical and in all cases, far from the truth. Sitting down to write this piece I thought, this is no different than the practice of elder law. So…

Many people are unsure as to whether a Last Will and Testament (“Will”) is sufficient to accomplish their estate planning goals and objectives or if a Revocable Trust (“Trust”) is the more pertinent planning technique. Adding to the uncertainty is the plethora of propaganda disseminated by attorneys who promote trusts. Both serve a purpose but…

In Yorktown, NY and the surrounding community, I often see the homestead as the single most valuable asset of an estate. The “American Dream” is to own a home, create memories there, and one day, leave it to your children. However, without proper planning, the dream can soon turn into a nightmare if nursing home…

In a perfect world, everyone would craft an estate and elder care plan well in advance of having to implement it˗ but the world isn’t perfect! I have had the opportunity to work on a fair amount of cases where clients, who had no estate or elder can plan, fell ill or became disabled. In…

Online social media has become commonplace in our society. Simply consider that there are over 1.50 billion Facebook users. Providers such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, Flickr and others offer a medium for socialization and to an equal extent, storage of personal data. For better or worse, digital media has replaced the traditional mailbox,…

Nearly every aspect of estate planning and elder law requires an attorney to assess a client’s legal capacity. As elder law attorneys, we are regularly working with individuals who have some form of cognitive impairment such as dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease. A common assumption is that someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s cannot sign a Last…

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