Estate Planning Services in Westchester & Surrounding Counties
Serving New York County, Putnam County & Dutchess County
Protect Your Loved Ones’ Futures by Planning Your Estate
Estate planning isn’t the easiest topic to consider, especially when you feel there is no immediate need to think about your end-of-life care or what will happen to your family after you’re gone. The reality, however, is that time flies by and meanwhile, we don’t know what may come tomorrow. By building a plan now, you can save yourself and those you love unnecessary difficulties and details at a time when being together as a family is most important.
At Corliss Law Group, P.C. clients who have the time to carefully consider each component of their estate plan are most apt to protect their interests and loved ones. Your estate plan can be about more than what happens to your things after you pass on – in fact, retirement planning and medical directives are common parts of many estate plans. Our attorneys can walk you through various options in estate planning services for Westchester County and surrounding residents that can help you feel confident that you and your loved ones will be accounted for.
What Every Estate Plan Should Have at Minimum
Your estate plan is unique to you. It can be as complex or simple as you desire. That said, there are two legal documents that you should have if nothing else: a Power of Attorney and a Last Will and Testament.
A power of attorney is a powerful legal document that allows you to designate someone you trust to act as your legal agent to handle your financial affairs. In most cases, your agent will act if you become disabled or incapacitated. The power of attorney can be as expansive or as limited as you wish, meaning that you can limit your agent’s powers to simply paying your bills and getting your income taxes filed, to taking control of your investments and making important decisions with them.
A last will and testament should also be in place, even if you choose to go for a minimalistic estate plan. Wills are meant to assign beneficiaries to only those assets that are not subject to distribution by “operation of law.” They govern only those assets that have not been transferred to a Trust, haven’t been assigned a beneficiary (pursuant to the financial institution’s official forms) and are not jointly titled with right of survivorship. If the asset does have a designation that will allow it to be claimed by the beneficiary by operation of law- then the Will is the governing document- otherwise it is not. Frequently a Will is probated, not by design, but because an asset is payable to the estate of the decedent that hadn’t been anticipated. At Corliss Law Group we open our client’s eyes to the contingencies that are frequently not anticipated and account for them. Having a Will ensures that assets subject to it, if any, go according to your wishes and not those of the state’s intestacy laws, which determine how an estate is divided among a deceased person’s heirs.
Our estate planning services, in Westchester and surrounding Counties, can help you build a comprehensive estate plan that accounts for all of the details of your twilight years and what happens thereafter.
Important estate planning options you may consider include:
- Trusts – There are many different kinds of trusts that are intended to perform different functions, but the most basic Trust holds assets and property assigned to it for distribution to your beneficiaries upon your passing. One of the main reasons people choose Trusts is because they can avoid probate by quickly distributing the assets in Trust to beneficiaries. A trustee is needed to administer the trust, but in most cases, this can be a less timely and costly process than undergoing probate.
- Retirement Planning – We can help you account for the accumulation of your wealth in retirement accounts and its orderly distribution during the years when you should be enjoying life worry-free.
- Medical Directives – These are you Health Care Proxy and Living Wills- documents and plans for how your medical care will be carried out if you are incapacitated and unable to make decisions for yourself. You can determine which types of procedures may occur and under what conditions; and you will designate someone you trust to make decisions for you, and more.
- Special Needs Trusts – One type of Trust that is worth mentioning is a Special Needs Trust. When you have a loved one who is mentally or physically disabled – such as a child, spouse, other relative, or even a friend – this type of trust allows you to pass on your wealth to this individual without interfering with their eligibility to receive means tested public benefits such as Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid.
Your estate plan is very much a reflection of you – what you value, and how deeply you care for your family. Our estate planning services can help you realize the vision you have of how you want to be remembered by your loved ones by assisting you through the process of creating a comprehensive estate plan.
Reach out to Corliss Law Group, P.C. in Westchester County online today to begin working with an attorney on your personalized estate plan.
“The Corliss Law Group returned calls promptly and answered all of our questions.”- Karen C.