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Services

Estate Planning – Trusts and Wills

We provide our clients with custom-drafted Wills and Trusts for their individual estate planning needs, based on their particular circumstances and family situations, including:

  • Minor’s Trusts for young children and grandchildren
  • Supplemental Needs Trusts* for disabled beneficiaries
  • Retirement Trusts to manage tax-deferred assets, and
  • Education Trusts to provide for education-specific costs
  • Pre- and post-nuptial Agreements.

(*See our "Medicaid and Asset Protection Planning" section for more details on Supplemental Needs Trusts.)

Wills:  Each client is provided with a Last Will and Testament that supports their distribution wishes, and each estate plan is customized for all types of family structures, including: families with minor children, second marriages, same-sex couples, multiple citizenship marriages, and disabled beneficiaries.

Trusts:  Many clients wish to avoid the cost and delay of the "probate" process, or wish to smooth the transition of financial control of their assets when planning for their own disability, or when they simply wish another to manage their assets for them.  Revocable Trusts can be "revoked" or cancelled and the assets remain under the creator’s control during their lifetime; upon their death, the trust becomes "irrevocable."  The use of Revocable Trusts, also known as "Living Trusts," can allow our clients to serve as their own Trustee during their lifetime, and pass control to a trusted Successor Trustee when they are no longer able to manage their financial affairs.  These trusts can be designed to continue on past the individual’s lifetime, to provide management and distribution of assets over time for young or disabled beneficiaries or for those that wish to provide oversight of beneficiaries who may not be able to manage their inheritance prudently.

Estate Administration

The death of a loved one can be a difficult and overwhelming time.  We provide our clients with all levels of assistance in administering and managing the estate of a deceased relative or loved one, including:

  • Probate of Wills
  • Administration of estates for those without a Will
  • Assistance with collection, safeguarding, and distribution of estate assets
  • Managing the preservation of inherited tax-deferred assets for future generations
  • Accounting and reporting of a fiduciary’s management of estate assets, and
  • Preparing distribution receipts to protect the fiduciary from future litigation.

Elder and Disability Planning

It is never too soon to begin planning for what may come.  Our office has several decades of experience in planning for our clients’ "golden years," as well as the complexities that come all-too-soon for those with disabilities or special needs or health concerns.  It is fortunate that we can each set up a financial and medical plan to allow others to manage our concerns when we are no longer able to do so ourselves, and thus avoid the costly and cumbersome process of a court-appointed guardianship. 

We provide our clients with custom-drafted elder planning documents for a variety of circumstances, including:

  • Powers of Attorney, to manage financial assets
  • Statutory Gift Riders, to allow for asset planning with trusted family or friends
  • Health Care Proxies
  • Living Wills
  • Supplemental Needs Trusts, and
  • Pooled Income Trusts

Supplemental Needs Trusts*

Disabled persons can have assets placed in a Supplemental Needs Trust (an "SNT") for their benefit, which allows the SNT’s Trustee to use the trust’s assets to pay for the disabled person’s care without jeopardizing any government or other benefits.  The SNT Trustee can pay for extra medical care and insurance, education, vacation and travel expenses, and many other products services that are not covered by government and other benefit programs, but which can significantly improve the disabled person’s quality of life.

These trusts can be set up with assets from a loved one, such as an inheritance or a lifetime gift, while allowing the assets to benefit the disabled person during their lifetime without jeopardizing their benefits.  With this type of SNT, when the disabled person passes away, and remaining assets can be given to the chosen beneficiaries. 

SNTs can also be set up with the disabled person’s own assets, if they are under age 65.  However, if the SNT was funded with the disabled person’s own assets, Medicaid will have to be repaid for any services provided to the disabled person after they pass away, and any balance remaining can be given to chosen beneficiaries.

Medicaid and Asset Protection Planning

It comes as no surprise that medical costs can become overwhelming.  For many, it becomes necessary to apply for assistance from the several government plans that are in place to help those in need.  Nursing homes in the New York area can cost anywhere from $13,000 to $20,000 per month, and health care assistance in the home can be almost as costly, depending on the level of care required. We have many years of experience in this complex process, and we can assist our clients with managing their asset protection planning and implementation.

We can prepare a financial plan that is specifically suited to each client’s particular situation in preparing them for either anticipated future needs, or immediate Medicaid services, including:

  • Community or "Home Care" Medicaid (in New York), which allows a disabled person to have part-time or live-in health care, depending on their individual circumstances
  • Nursing Home Medicaid, which you may have heard has a five-year "look back" period for gifts transferred by the Medicaid applicant that may cause a penalty period
  • Irrevocable Trusts, these types of trusts allow for asset protection planning by having the trust’s creator give up control of the assets, and they cannot be cancelled.

It is important to begin Medicaid and asset protection planning as early as possible, and it is never too soon to seek advice and assistance in planning for these types of possibilities.

Medicaid Applications

The process of applying for Medicaid benefits can be a confusing and difficult matter, particularly with the constantly-changing procedures and provisions required by the government’s administering agencies.  We can help our clients gather the necessary documentation, assist with income budgeting, and prepare their Medicaid applications for Community Home Care Medicaid (in New York), as well as for Nursing Home Medicaid.  We continue to support our clients throughout the ongoing process, and can represent them during any appeals or hearings that may be required, as well as assist them in the annual re-qualification process.  We can also assist with managing Supplemental Needs Trusts and Pooled Income Trusts that can used to help applicants qualify for Medicaid, including setting up the Trusts, managing ongoing payment of bills from the Pooled Income Trusts, and providing accounting and reporting services for Supplemental Needs Trusts.*

(*See our "Medicaid and Asset Protection Planning" section for more details on Supplemental Needs Trusts.)

Guardianships

For those that do not have a Power of Attorney or Health Care Proxy in place when they become disabled or unable to manage their financial or medical decisions, a Guardian of the Person or Guardian of the Property, or both, can be appointed by the court.  We assist our clients with this complex and often confusing process, including:

  • Preparation of Guardianship documents
  • Representation and advocacy in court for the best interests of the disabled person
  • Preparation of the guardian’s required annual accounting and reporting to the court, and
  • Assistance with placement in appropriate facilities, if that is in the best interests of the disabled person, or establishing a plan of care for that person to remain at home.

If you believe that a loved one or someone you know may be in danger or is being taken advantage of by a relative or a caregiver, then please contact us immediately to take swift action in evaluating the situation and getting an elderly, disabled, or vulnerable person the help they may not know they need.

Tax Planning and Real Estate Transactions

Our office is knowledgeable in health care law and tax law, including estate tax, gift tax, capital gains, and income tax law. 

In addition, we are experienced in real estate transactions, and can manage your real estate and cooperative purchases and sales, including individually-owned and corporate/business real estate transactions.