Long Island Wills & Trusts Lawyers
Estate Planning Services for the Tri-State Area Since 1977
It is estimated that 70 to 80 percent of people have no estate plan, no will, no trust, and no strategy for when they pass away. This may reflect the difficulty of facing the prospect of the end of one’s life, being mired down in the details of present-day life, or a failure to understand what an estate plan is and what it can do for you and your family. While you may believe estate plans, wills, and trusts are only for the very wealthy, you would be wrong.
Almost everyone has an estate because an “estate” is comprised of everything you own. It includes your home, your car, your checking and savings, your belongings, and more. If you fail to plan for passing your assets and possessions on to loved ones or other beneficiaries, the state will step in – through probate – to decide these matters for you. Without a will or trust, they will decide them without any input from you. Also, if you have valuable assets, such as a house, investments, or savings, a legal battle could ensue by family members or others through probate, tying up your estate in court. All this can be avoided with a well-executed estate plan.
An Overview of Estate Planning
As mentioned above, your estate consists of everything you own, including all real estate, vehicles, bank accounts, investments, stock portfolios, furniture, collectibles, art, life insurance, jewelry, other valuables, and personal belongings. An estate plan uses legal vehicles to name in advance whom (and when and how much) you want to receive your property, assets, and belongings after you are gone. However, a comprehensive estate plan can provide much more planning than that.
Wills, trusts, and other legal documents can provide the following:
- Names a trusted person to handle your estate once you have passed on
- Names your heirs and beneficiaries, which can include charities and others besides family members
- Include instructions for whom should get what and when it should be distributed to heirs and beneficiaries
- Provide funeral, burial, or cremation instructions
- Provide instructions for how you wish to be cared for should you become disabled or incapacitated before you pass away
- If you have minor children, name a guardian and someone to manage any of the children’s inheritances until they reach majority (can be the same person)
- Names a trusted person to handle your financial or other affairs should you be unable to do so
- Names a trusted person to make medical decisions for you should you be unable to express your wishes
- Make provisions for any family members with special needs
- Make provisions for the transferring a business or business interests when retiring, or if you become disabled or pass away
- Put together life insurance, disability income insurance, or long-term care insurance so as to have provisions for extended illness, injury, and death
All of these many tasks and instructions are handled through a variety of documents, such as a last will and testament, various types of trusts, Powers of Attorney, Advance medical direction, and more.
Last Will & Testament
Even if you own very little, a will is an essential document. It forms the foundation of all estate planning. Your will names an executor who will be in charge of carrying out your instructions, names your heirs and beneficiaries with instructions as to how and what they will receive, and names a guardian for any minor children. Once you pass on, your will is reviewed by the probate court for authenticity and when validated, your estate is passed on according to its instructions.
Trusts are additional legal instruments that can be used to transfer property or assets to your beneficiaries. Trusts can be used to provide instruction as to how your assets are to be managed while alive as well as after your death. In a trust, your assets are given to another party, the trustee, to hold for the benefit of your beneficiaries. In a living trust, you can name yourself as the trustee and manage your assets while you are alive. Once you pass on, your secondary named trustees will take over and transfer your assets to your beneficiaries according to the trust instructions.
Trusts can be revocable or irrevocable or living or testamentary. Trusts can be set up for beneficiaries who have disabilities or are underage. Trusts have many different purposes; the trust you will need will depend on your individual circumstances and objectives.
Work with a Long Island Wills & Trusts Attorney at Fine Law Offices
Our firm can guide you through the best possible way to protect your family and avoid the high costs of probate through the writing of a will and establishing of a trust and other estate planning documents.
Setting up a trust is not only easy but affordable and the peace of mind it brings is priceless. The benefits include:
- Avoids the high cost of probate
- You direct who gets what
- No delay in the distribution of funds
- It is 100 percent private – no public records
- The successor trustee has complete control
- Eases all the frustration and stress of long and expensive court dates
- Puts you in 100 percent control of your estate
Always available to answer questions, always made us feel at ease with the process.- Jacob A.
Fine Law Offices is a God send.- Julia C.
Excellent Law Firm and I feel that I am in good hands.- Steven C.
It's been a pleasure working with the foreclosure lawyers at Fine Law Offices.- Josh B.
Quality work, thank you!- Nick B.