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What Families in New York Don’t Know About Wills and Living Trusts

Good news, New York: wills and living trusts are relevant and within reach

You don’t have to be an Astor, Trump or Rockefeller to have a personal stake in the laws that govern New York wills and living trusts. New Yorkers of middle age and middle income face different issues when it comes to property, taxes, wills, estates, trusts and probate situations. Though the amounts are more often in thousands than billions, the legal processes are no less complicated.

Wills and living trusts are not only for those in the upper reaches of age and income, but it is a popular misconception (which you will find throughout the country, not just in New York). Wills and living trusts are most necessary for all people such as those who own property and/or other assets, or have children.

In 2009, a Harris Interactive poll for found that of the 1022 American adults surveyed, half “lacked basic estate planning documents, including a will, a living will and financial and medical powers of attorney.” The main reason cited was that they felt they did not have enough assets to warrant a will or living trust.

Here is what I have learned in over thirty years helping the people of New York: estate planning through the use of wills and living trusts prevents emotionally and financially draining disputes.

When the situation calls for more than Do It Yourself estate-planning

The difference between DIY (Do It Yourself) taxes and DIY estate planning is simple: one is done under the assumption that the person in question will be around to answer questions, while estate planning (e.g. the creation of New York wills and living trusts) anticipates a day when the person will no longer be able to clear up any inconsistencies in the document.

A will, a living trust, or any sort of trust and estate document should be reviewed by an estate attorney, and ideally, composed by one. Common sense and capability with language do not guarantee an air-tight will or trust that covers all the bases the creator needs to cover. Only legal expertise can ensure that the will you write is the right one for you.

With New York wills and living trusts—indeed, in all jurisdictions—a mistake or omission can be costly and divisive. Once you have a will or trust, you need to update it with major life changes (such as marriage, the birth of a child, the purchase of a home, etc).

Creating a will or trust is not a service most people require more than a few times in their lives; but when you need it, you need to be able to trust that it accurately represents your interests.

Who needs a will, and who needs a living trust?

Most adults who are attentive to their financial and medical decisions would benefit from drawing up a will. Wills must be probated, so a person whose assets or personal situation are such that probate would be a long process might consider a living trust to protect their property.

Additionally, a person looking for privacy in their financial matters would benefit from a living trust, which is not subject to the same public scrutiny as that of a will in the process of probate.

Whatever your specific trust and estate concerns are, consulting a probate lawyer will help you find peace of mind in your estate-planning decisions.

Attorney Jules Haas: your resource concerning New York wills and living trusts

New York City Probate Attorney Jules Martin Haas handles all types of probate cases, including wills and living trusts, estate planning, estate settlement, advanced directives and guardianship matters. Please call me at (212) 355-2575 for a free consultation to discuss your rights.

Client Reviews
I am very grateful to Mr. Jules Martin Haas attorney of law in New York. I am from Buenos Aires Argentina. He managed with expertise a very difficult situation. of a complicate heritage from my aunt Anna Grodzka that lived and died a very long time ago in New York. I recommend him not only for his extraordinary knowledge but also for his kindness. Irma CW Peusner
I found Mr. Haas after being misguided by a former attorney. Mr. Jules Haas took our case which involved an estate/trust dispute. What initially seemed like an impossible and overwhelming legal fight was now in the hands of someone who had the integrity and legal expertise to win our case. Mr Haas' attention to detail and his expert knowledge base, skillfully and successfully guided us through an intricate legal process. I am very thankful and grateful to Mr. Jules Haas for representing our interest and ultimately winning. Bringing about a peace of mind we needed. Thank You Devida Nedd
I was in need of a guardianship attorney and I hired the services of Jules M. Haas' Law firm. The service of counselor Haas and his staff, was very profesional and the case was handled in a timely matter. I would strongly recommend his services Angel Guevara
I strongly recommend Jules Haas. I have worked with him for two years and he has provided so much support and followed through with everything he promised he would do. His support staff is just as helpful! We had an interesting case and he helped to solve each part of it legally and was very thorough. Thank you for everything you have done to finalize our families estate Robyn Stafford
Jules Haas helped me with managing the process in probate court for my father's estate through to its completion upon the sale of my father's house. He was knowledgeable, efficient, and effective in submitting documentation to the probate court, explaining procedures to me, and advising me as to the progress of my case. His support staff was also very helpful. He made what for me created so much anxiety into something manageable where I could see progress every step of the way. His fees were very reasonable. I am super grateful to him for all the help he has provided and strongly recommend his services. Diana Janer
I just completed an estate transaction where Jules Haas represented my client in an estate and he did a great job! He was very quick at responding to all matters throughout the sale process, he was detailed, he was knowledgeable and he was a pleasure to work with. I just recommended him to some new clients who are going through an estate matter and will continue to recommend him. Rodolfo Lucchese