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Long Island Estate Planning
Long Island is the most populous island in any United States territory or state. It includes four counties: Suffolk County, Nassau County, Kings County, and Queens County. Colloquially "Long Island" usually refers to the suburbs in Suffolk and Nassau Counties. Once you become an adult living on Long Island or elsewhere, no matter your age, you should create a will and other instruments that can be used to carry out your wishes should you become incapacitated or pass away. If you are concerned about estate planning, it's important to seek legal help. Jules Haas is a skillful Long Island estate planning attorney who will take the time to listen to your objectives and draft instruments to help you achieve them.Long Island Estate Planning
A last will and testament is a crucial instrument that sets forth how you want your property to be distributed. When somebody passes away without creating a valid will, their property will be distributed according to the rules of intestacy. This often means that property goes to a spouse or children of the deceased. But, there are many people who are estranged from their partner or children or who would prefer to leave certain items to specific friends.
Generally, working with a lawyer to draft an enforceable will can help avoid will contests and estate litigation after your death. There are various requirements that must be met to make a will enforceable in New York. To make a will, you must have testamentary capacity. You must be competent, of sound mind, and at least 18 years old. Two witnesses must watch you sign the will. The witnesses will also need to sign the will. When a will is notarized it can be self-proving, thereby expediting the process of probate, which can be a complicated process.
Certain items of property pass automatically upon the owner's death. For example, property held as a joint tenancy may pass automatically to the other joint tenant. Similarly, a retirement account that requires you to designate a beneficiary will pass automatically to the beneficiary. A knowledgeable estate planning lawyer serving Long Island can help you determine how you should title your assets.
Sometimes it is important to create a trust, which is an arrangement whereby a trustee manages property for the benefit of a beneficiary. There are different forms of trusts, and they can last as long as necessary. Sometimes they continue to exist until the beneficiary passes away or the property is depleted.
One type of trust is a special needs trust. You can make a special needs trust for the benefit of someone with mental or physical disabilities who doesn't have the ability to manage his or her own finances. Sometimes those with disabilities are able to get governmental assistance such as SSI or Medicaid, but if they inherit money through a will, the acquisition of a lump sum can result in disqualification for these necessary benefits. A trust can be drafted to avoid this result. The beneficiary's specific lifestyle, needs, and probable future circumstances will dictate the trust arrangement. The special needs trustee may be a family member or somebody appointed by the court. A skilled Long Island estate planning attorney can help you determine who an appropriate trustee might be in your situation.
There are other important protections that should be put in place during the course of estate planning to take into account the possibility of a serious injury or illness. Instruments that should be considered and drafted as appropriate include a durable power of attorney and an advance directive. A power of attorney is a legal document that authorizes an agent to act for a principal. It might go into effect if you became incapacitated and needed somebody to take care of your financial affairs. However, it could also be executed to address medical issues. Two types of advance directives are living wills and health care proxies. A person may also want to consider creating a Living or Grantor Trust. If a person becomes incapacitated and does not have any advance directive, he may need a Guardian under Article 81 of the Mental Hygiene Law.Consult an Experienced Long Island Lawyer for Your Estate Planning Needs
For more than 30 years, Jules Haas has worked with clients to help them achieve their estate planning goals. As an experienced will and trust attorney, he works hard to earn client satisfaction. Our firm represents clients throughout Queens and the Bronx, as well as Manhttan, Kings, Nassau, Richmond, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties. Contact us at (212) 355-2575 or through our online form.