Wills and Trusts

A will is the best-known component of an estate plan. Not just for seniors, a will gives you the opportunity to choose your beneficiaries and direct the flow of your wealth when you pass away. Without a properly executed will, your estate could pass to beneficiaries designated by the state in amounts decided by law, and funds inherited by minors will be inaccessible for their support, without a Court order. Components of your will should include the following:

    •    A named executor to administer your estate

    •    A named guardian of underage children and a trustee to manage assets on their behalf

    •    Designation of property, valuables and possessions to beneficiaries

    •    Bequests to individuals or organizations

    •    Trusts to ensure care for the special needs of disabled or other dependent individuals

Choices are a fundamental aspect of estate planning. During the planning process, choices are made about beneficiaries, estate management and transfer of wealth. Wills and trusts are created to carry out that plan and coordinate assets. Trusts are often utilized to avoid Court involvement in your affairs after death. A skillfully devised estate plan can provide for uninterrupted administration of your assets and can entirely eliminate the costs and headaches associated with the probate process.

Boilerplate forms downloaded from the Internet may not be effective when needed, and can cause significant financial loss to your estate by ignoring important resources or all available options. You need an experienced attorney to help design your estate plan.

Advance Directives

Two additional estate planning documents are crucial to secure your wishes should you become temporarily or permanently incapacitated:

    •    Power of Attorney (POA): A Power of Attorney allows you to designate an agent to manage financial and property matters. As with a healthcare proxy, your agent should be someone you trust to carry out your wishes under the stress of your incapacitation. While boilerplate forms contain standard provisions for your agent to act on your behalf, they are insufficient to do many of the most important things an agent may need to do on behalf of a person who has become incapacitated.

    •    Healthcare Proxy (HCP): A Health Care Proxy should be executed by any adult over age 18 in case of temporary or permanent incapacitation. This document details your wishes as to health care interventions and end-of-life measures if in a persistent vegetative or terminal state. While speaking with physicians or loved ones about care you would — or would not — like to receive is important, it is necessary to reduce your instructions to writing and provide copies to appropriate parties.

Making palliative care decisions and designating an agent to act on your behalf is not an emotionally easy task — but it is essential to fulfilling your wishes for your own life and allowing family and loved ones to care for you while respecting those wishes.

Estate Administration

After a loved one passes away, managing the affairs of his or her estate can be difficult and confusing. When you need help with estate or probate administration, whether in New York City, Long Island or Westchester, Robert Legal Group has decades of experience offering skilled, compassionate and experienced legal counsel.

Robert Legal Group will help you manage the following issues concerning estate and probate administration:

Selection: You may be named executor of an estate in the will. In the absence of a will, an administration proceeding is commenced to appoint an administrator. Once appointed by the Surrogate’s Court, you are charged to administer the estate, identify assets, pay claims and wind down the business and other interests of the deceased. We will help you understand your responsibilities and carry them out.

Probate: Without effective planning, probating a will can be burdensome and time consuming. During the estate planning or probate process, we help you take action to minimize delays and other consequences and ease asset transfer to the beneficiaries. Assets held jointly or with a named beneficiary are termed non-probate assets and are not subject to a probate proceeding. If all assets are non-probate assets, no probate proceeding is necessary.

Challenges: Legal challenges to the validity of a will or the conduct of an estate representative occur.  Charges of undue influence or mental incapacity at the time of signing can lead to will or trust litigation. We will help you manage any legal challenges as smoothly as possible

Careful decisions and thoughtful estate planning documents help heirs to understand and carry out the last wishes of a loved one. If you are named an estate representative, we help you respect those wishes and work with you to handle the challenges and claims you face along the way.

Whether you need estate, elder law or guardianship counsel in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island or elsewhere in the New York City Metro area, Robert Legal Group has decades of successful experience assisting clients with elder care, special needs law and estate administration.