Suffolk County Estate Planning
Suffolk County was home to nearly 1.5 million people in 2010. About 12% of this population was 65 years of age or older. You may not want to think about what would happen if you were to become disabled or die. However, death is inevitable, and once you are an adult, no matter how old you are, you should consider planning for medical contingencies and the distribution of your property. Estate planning will allow you to figure out who should receive your property after your death and create an enforceable document for those wishes to be carried out. You can also make a determination about who should care for your children and who should make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make those decisions. Suffolk County estate planning lawyer Jules Haas can make sure that your wishes are properly articulated and carried out.Exploring the Range of Estate Planning Options
Many people do not want to think about becoming sick or dying. But most people can benefit from estate planning. One of the first steps of estate planning is the creation of a last will and testament. If you decide not to create a will before you die, New York's intestacy rules will govern the distribution of your property. The intestacy laws are fine for some people, but others may feel closer to friends or more distant relatives than they do to their spouse or children. When you create a will, you can leave your property to your best friend, for example, rather than a spouse who may have no interest in managing it. You can elect to give some portion of your estate to a caretaker rather than an estranged son.
Certain technical formalities must be followed to make a will enforceable. While it is possible to create your own will, having a will drafted by an estate planning attorney in Suffolk County reduces the odds of somebody filing a will contest after you die in order to challenge the will. In order to create a valid will, you must have testamentary capacity — you must be at least 18 and have a sound mind. Your will needs to be signed in front of two witnesses who also sign the will. If the will is notarized, it will be self-proving. This is important because when a will is self-proving, there may be no need to obtain an affidavit or testimony from the attesting witnesses.
Many people are concerned about the time and expense associated with probate. You can avoid probate in some instances by holding your assets as joint tenants or by holding funds in accounts that require the designation of a beneficiary. However, Jules Haas can help expedite the probate process.
It can also be important for your Suffolk County estate planning attorney to help you create a trust. A trust is an arrangement through which a trustee holds legal title to assets for a beneficiary. You can name yourself a trustee of your living trust. New York does not use the simplifying procedures of the Uniform Probate Code, so it may be helpful to create a living trust to sidestep the complex probate process used in the state. However, even if you create a trust, you may need a will as a backup to address later-acquired property that does not get into a trust or that was omitted inadvertently from the trust.
There are different kinds of trusts, such as revocable living trusts. With a revocable living trust, you can put your property into a trust but also continue to use it while you are still living. After you pass away, the assets will go to the beneficiaries that you designated. Moreover, you can place conditions on the trust assets. There are some trusts that will have a beneficial impact on federal estate taxes, and an attorney can go over those options with you.Discuss Your Needs with an Estate Planning Lawyer in Suffolk County
Jules Haas has more than 35 years of experience as a lawyer handling trusts and estates matters for his clients. He works hard to achieve client satisfaction, understanding what the client's wishes are and then drafting the documents to carry out those wishes. Our firm represents clients throughout the Greater New York City region. Contact us at (212) 355-2575 or through our online form.