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Probate & Trust Administration

What is probate? What does it mean to probate a Will?

Probate is the process by which a court approves a Will and supervises the distribution of the assets. Each client may require unique probate or estate administration services, including identifying, collecting and distributing assets and personal belongings, locating family members and or beneficiaries, working through family disputes such as when there is a Will contest,  and filing legal papers with the Courts.

What do I need to know about probate, Wills and trusts?

Probate is both time consuming and costly and the process is quite different from the administration of a trust. A Will merely disposes of your assets after your death. A trust can be crafted to afford you the opportunity to manage your assets while you are alive and able and, while a Will makes no provision if you become incapacitated, a trust usually directs who will manage the property and how. Additionally, probate documents filed in court are a matter of public record whereas the disposition of trust assets can be entirely private.

Estate Planning

You spent a lifetime building it. Work with our Long Island estate planning attorneys to protect it.

Do you have an estate plan? If you already have an estate plan, have you reviewed it with an estate attorney within the last three years?

Our Garden City, NY estate planning attorneys offer a highly professional, yet completely personal approach to the estate planning needs of clients on Long Island, in New York City and beyond. We help clients formulate effective estate planning strategies and put a plan in place when they do not have one. We also update and revise existing estate plans for clients as needs and life situations change over time.

Wills and Living Wills

A Last Will and Testament, known simply as a Will, is a formal, legal document, governed by strict statutory requirements. It directs how a deceased person’s property and assets will be legally distributed to named individuals and entities.

Only an experienced estate planning law firm can truly understand your unique situation and draft a Will that clearly states your intentions. We urge you to contact our Garden City, NY estate planning law firm at 516-747-3200. We look forward to assisting you.

Medicaid Planning

Medicaid rules and regulations are complicated. Qualifying for Medicaid benefits involves an analysis of your resources and income. To be eligible for Medicaid, your resources can not exceed a certain level. To help clients achieve Medicaid eligibility, we employ numerous techniques, depending on their specific needs and goals.

Some of the Medicaid planning and Medicaid strategies that we employ include:

  • Estate planning and asset protection planning
  • Creation of irrevocable income-only trusts
  • Preparation of promissory notes and loans
  • Gifting strategies and asset transfers 
  • Prepayment of specific expenditures that are considered exempt by Medicaid

Guardianship

What is a guardianship? What are guardianship proceedings?

A guardianship proceeding (previously referred to as conservatorship) seeks a Court determination as to whether the individual is “incapacitated,” meaning whether he or she is incapable of caring for financial and/or personal needs and, if so, to appoint an appropriate person or institution to serve as guardian and to act on behalf of the individual. Guardianship can apply to adults who have suffered an accident, illness, or traumatic brain injury, individuals who are developmentally disabled and/or mentally retarded and the elderly.

Pet Trusts

Most pet owners consider their pets to be members of the family. In fact, many of them refer to themselves as the pet’s “Mom” and “Dad.” Often, our clients wonder who will care for their pets if they become ill, incapacitated or die. They wish to provide for their pets with a continuity of care.

Is adding my pet to my Will a good idea? Unfortunately because a pet is considered personal property, like furniture or a car, it cannot be named as a beneficiary of a Will. Often, a provision in a Will for the benefit of a pet, for instance by making a bequest to a caretaker, fails because there is no resource if the caretaker takes the money and leaves the pet at the pound. Also, a Will is usually not reviewed until after the pet owner has died. Thus, if the owner is incapacitated or hospitalized, the pet is unprotected – and hungry!