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Estate Planning

Protect Your Wealth & Your Family With Careful Estate Planning

Estate Planning: Wills, Trusts, Medical Powers of Attorney & Health Care Directives

At some point, every person will need and use their Estate Planning Documents.

Proper Estate Planning allows you to control what happens in order to protect you and your family.

Estate Planning is about providing you Peace of Mind knowing that you have taken care of the legal documents necessary to control the events that occur in everyone’s lifetime.

Whether you want to leave an inheritance for your children or grandchildren, protect your current assets, bestow a legacy gift, or control your fate if you are involved in an accident or are otherwise medically incapacitated, you should consult the business and estate planning professionals at Michael J Spevack, PLLC.

It is simple to get started. We are here to accomplish your goals and give you Peace of Mind starting today.

Real Estate Law

If you have accumulated anything that is precious or valuable to you, including funds, a house, a business, sentimental items, heirlooms, cars, antiques, holdings, investments, and other resources; you must officially specify your wishes for those items if you want to spare your family serious heartache in the event of your death.

Estate planning not only protects your loved ones, it also protects your possessions from being distributed according to government probate laws.

If you have children, you must specify who will take care of them if something happens to you. Don’t be intimidated by the small investment of time and money it takes to plan your estate. It’s always worth it.

At Michael J Spevack, PLLC., we will assess your needs and walk you through a plan to distribute your property in a way that limits tax liability and exposure to lawsuits and creditor actions. We have many business and estate planning techniques and tools, so we will craft a custom, comprehensive plan that protects your family in the event of a tragedy.

At the Law Offices of Michael J Spevack, we take care of preparation of all the legal documents you need to achieve Peace of Mind and put your Estate Plan together. Usually, all that is needed is a 45 to 60 minute consultation with you to discuss your current situation, your concerns and goals.

We will prepare the documents to transfer of any Real Estate that you may own in New York state into your Trust. We provide you detailed instructions going forward on how to handle the transfer of titled property such as vehicles and financial accounts.

Peace of Mind

We set you up for long term success and long term Peace of Mind for You and Your Family.

We prepare your new Living Trust, your Will, Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney, Directive to Physicians, Designation of Guardianship, and your Real Estate transfer documents.

If you have minor children, we will prepare the Designation of Guardianship for your minor children as well.

Michael J Spevack, PLLC., also offers legal services to guide an estate through the Surrogate’s Court process or to represent any interested party in estate litigation.

To discuss how we can craft a comprehensive estate plan to meet your specific goals, please schedule a consultation with estate planning lawyer Michael J Spevack by calling us at 1-(866) 529-6453 or by filling out our online intake form. We can help you create a plan or update an existing estate plan that ensures your assets are properly handled in the event of illness or death.

Do I Need Estate Planning?

As Benjamin Franklin once said, “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

Given these inevitable certainties of life, many people nevertheless still put off estate planning. From being too busy to deal with it today and thinking that you have plenty of time to take care of it some other day, the failure to timely plan for the inevitable can leave your family having to pick up the pieces if something does happen to you.

The fact remains, too many people simply do not plan for what will happen after they are gone.

Whether you are young or old, single or married, or wealthy or of modest means, you can benefit from even some basic estate planning. Consider these common possible situations:

  1. If you become disabled and are unable to manage your affairs, how and by whom will your assets be managed for your benefit during your lifetime;
  2. If you are unable to care for yourself, how and by whom will your personal and health care decisions be made during your lifetime;
  3. If you have minor children, how and by whom will your children be cared for in the event you pass away or die with your spouse in a common accident; and
  4. How and to whom will your assets be distributed after your death.

Consider your needs for an immediate or “standby” guardianship; a well-drafted estate plan should include a provision that names a guardian for minor children.

This is well known and common in most wills. However, a judge has to sign off on such plan. What happens if you and your wife die in a car accident and your minor child needs an immediate guardian? It is important to have an immediate standby guardian appointed and in with your estate papers and in the possession of your standby guardian so that they can take immediate custody of a child or children in the event the worst happens. The judge can then ratify the guardianship.

This will prevent the necessity of your child or children staying in foster care until guardianship can be established.

These are just the basic issues that your estate plan should cover. Other issues, such as financial, tax, and business planning should also be considered in connection with developing a solid estate plan. How extensive your planning becomes depends on the complexity of your estate and your individual financial and family circumstances.

If you do not have an estate plan, the default rules under state law will provide one for you but you probably will not like it. For example, if you become unable to manage your personal financial affairs due to mental or physical incapacity, without an estate plan in place, no one will be able to conduct your affairs for you and a court proceeding will be needed and a judge will appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf.

The court, not your family, will control how your affairs are managed. This process can become expensive and time consuming, and your personal life will now be on display and documented in court records which are freely available to the public for review.

The same is true if you have minor children and you are a single parent, or married and you and your spouse die together in a car accident. Without advance estate planning, a court will determine who will take care of and raise your children without the benefit of knowing who you would have chosen.

This could also gives rise to heated custody battles between family members who think they are the best alternative to now raise your children after you are gone.

Do I Need a Will?

We get this question from clients often. The answer to this question is yes. In almost all circumstances, you will need a well drafted will as part of your estate plan. A will is just one tool you can use to make sure your loved ones receive the assets you wish to leave them.

What Is a Will?

A will is a legal document that sets forth your wishes regarding who you want to receive your assets, how your liabilities are to be paid, who will be in charge of your succession, and can also provide for who will care for your minor children.

Your Assets

If you die without an estate plan, your assets will be distributed according to the default rules provided under New York state law. This often becomes a problem when someone remarries and has adult children from a prior marriage.

Without an estate plan, your ownership in your current residence and bank accounts that you own jointly with your current spouse would become owned by your adult children of your prior marriage. In many instances this is not the result people want, and it creates problems for the surviving spouse who may be left co-owning property with step-children they do not get along with very well.

These are just a few of the many undesirable situations that could arise if you fail to plan ahead. It is important to realize that estate planning is an ongoing process and not a one-time event. Your plan should be reviewed and updated as your family and financial situations and the laws change over your lifetime. What does not change however, is that the best time to plan is now.

Although none of us want to think about our own mortality or the possibility of being unable to make decisions for ourselves, not planning is the reason so many families are caught off-guard and unprepared when incapacity or death strikes. Do not wait. You can put something in place now and change it later…which is exactly the way estate planning should be done.

Your estate plan can begin with a simple will, a durable power of attorney, and a health care power of attorney all of which do not have to be expensive. If you have a spouse or children that depend upon you, term life insurance should also be considered as part of your basic estate plan.

Knowing that you have a properly prepared plan in place will give you and your family peace of mind. This is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and for those you love.

What we do

At Michael J Spevack, PLLC., we will assess your needs and walk you through a plan to distribute your property in a way that limits tax liability and exposure to lawsuits and creditor actions. We have many business and estate planning techniques and tools, so we will craft a custom, comprehensive plan that protects your family in the event of a tragedy.

Your estate plan can include the following:

  • Wills and trusts
    This includes charitable trusts, special needs trusts and other revocable or irrevocable trusts. Not sure which one you need? Call us at 1-(866) 529-6453.
  • Living wills
  • These are directions to healthcare providers in the event you are incapacitated, including DNRs and other official directives.
  • Health care and financial power of attorney documents
Estate Administration

If you die without a will, that is called dying intestate in NYS.  The Estate Powers and Trusts Law, the EPTL, determines who gets your property and in what order.

A will or trust is necessary if an individual desires to change the statutory order of succession in the event of death.  A common example is as follows:  The intestate law of the EPTL states that a wife gets 50% of a deceased’s estate plus $50,000 and the children split the remainder of the deceased’s estate.

Oftentimes, an individual will want a wife to have 100% with the remainder to go to the children when a wife dies.  An individual would need a will or trust to accomplish this alteration of the intestate statute.

If you are seeking an estate administration attorney because a relative has died and his or her estate is being distributed by a New York Surrogate’s Court, our Law Firm can help you. If you want to challenge a will, or if a lawsuit is posthumously brought against a relative, we can also help you.

As estate planning and real estate professionals, we understand Surrogate’s Court and all of the related legal issues that frequently arise during Surrogate’s Court proceedings.

Schedule a consultation to learn about how we can best represent you. We handle estate administration, and we represent parties in all types of estate litigation.

What is a Living Trust?

A Living Trust is a written legal document used as a tool in estate planning to transfer assets to your heirs, and works as a partial substitution of your Last Will & Testament. With a living trust, your assets (your home, bank accounts and stocks, for example) are put into the trust, administered for your benefit during your lifetime, and then transferred to your beneficiaries when you die. In some instances, the Living Trust can eliminate the need for opening a succession and going through probate after you pass away.

In most instances, people name themselves as the trustee in charge of managing their trust’s assets. This permits you to remain in control of your assets during your lifetime even though your assets have been put into the trust. You may also elect to name a successor trustee who will manage the trust if you ever become unable to serve as trustee. A living trust is an important part of your estate plan.

Find out more about Living Trusts here.

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