Rochester Estate Planning, Trusts and Wills Guide
Benjamin Franklin said that there are only two certain things in life – death and taxes – both of which form the basis of Estate Planning or Elder Law – an important but often overlooked branch of the law.
Let me ask you a question – if you died tomorrow, are you sure that your loved ones would receive everything you own? How would you feel if ungrateful relatives or the government received most of your estate?
If you think this doesn’t happen – think again. Every year billions of dollars flow into probate courts across the U.S. and if this happens to you, everything you’ve worked for is put at risk.
You see there is an inherent unfairness in estate taxing.
We pay income tax all our lives, and sometimes, as with dividends and bank interest, the same amount gets taxed twice or even three times.
Then when we die without an estate plan in place, our loved ones are asked to pay again.
The good news is that there are ways around this and they all center on advanced planning.
My name is Bob Friedman and I have been focusing on Western New Yorkers’ estate planning issues for well over 34 years. My goal when providing services for my clients is to ensure that their wishes are met – while also ensuring their estate pays as little tax as possible upon their death.
Some things to bear in mind when you’re planning your future – and the inevitable end of your life.
- Have a will drawn up – and when you do make sure that you get a competent estate lawyer to draft it as the smallest mistake can make the will invalid. If you need to have a will drafted, I will draft a basic will for $79.
- Trusts are a very effective way to ensure that your property is held on your behalf, but not directly by you. The law of Trusts is complex and if used in the right way, is one of the few legal ways to make your estate as efficient as possible.
- There are many types of trusts – Express Trusts, Incentive Trusts and Discretionary Trusts are some examples and a good Estate Planning lawyer will know which one to choose.
- The law concerning estate planning and tax exemptions is constantly changing. There are also local variations between individual states which make local representation very important.
- For example if you die intestate (i.e. without a will) in Rochester New York and you have a spouse and children, your spouse will receive the first $50,000 up to and including one-third of your estate, and your children will receive the rest. There are many variations on this scenario but the important thing is to hire a local attorney with the requisite knowledge – otherwise you may end up losing significant sums of money.
- Most of us will become incapacitated at some stage in our lives. And should this happen, you may want to think about having an attorney – with a legal code of conduct and professional insurance as back-up – handle your financial affairs.
- Another thing to consider as you age is your care. More importantly – how to pay for it. A year’s stay in a Western New York nursing home costs on average of $100,000.
- To pay for this expense you can either hope to have great insurance coverage, dip into your savings or perhaps be eligible for Medicaid.
- The problem here is that Medicaid is a form of state welfare for which you must be “impoverished” to receive the full benefits. One way around this is to hold your assets in trust to qualify for this aid. The rules for determining eligibility are always changing you will be much better off hiring an experienced Estate Planning Attorney in Rochester over another local attorney that might not practice regularly in this field.
Here’s a quick overview of other estate planning tools a creative attorney can utilize.
- Administering estates and trusts
- Advanced Directives
- Article 81 Guardianships
- Assisted Living
- Contested Accountings
- Contesting a Will
- Court Representation for Executors, Trustees, Creditors or Beneficiaries
- Elder Abuse
- Estate & Trust accountings
- Estate Administration & Settlement
- Estate Litigation – Contested Estates & Trusts
- Estate Tax Issues
- Estate Sales of Real Estate
- Estate Tax Returns and Audits
- Family Partnerships, LLCs and Business Succession Planning
- Government Benefits
- Guardianships for Disabled Children
- Health Care Proxies
- Intestacy (dying without a will)
- Invalidating trusts
- Kinship proceedings (Establishing Heirs)
- Life Estates
- Life Insurance Trusts
- Living Trusts
- Living Wills
- Long Term Care Insurance
- Nursing Home Care
- Power of Attorney
- Probating wills – simple to complex
- Representation of executors & trustees
- Representation of Out-of-State Beneficiaries
- Retirement Planning
- Reverse Mortgages
- Revocable Living Trusts
- Social Security Disability
- Special Needs Trusts
- Supplemental Needs Trusts
- Spousal inheritance disputes
- Surrogate’s Court Litigation
- Veterans Administration (VA) Aid and Attendance
My firm has been handling estate planning and elder law matters for over five decades and we have a proven track record on minimizing your estates tax burden and implementation of other creative Elder Law Solutions.
Don’t settle for second best – call me now at 585-377-5504.
70 Linden Oaks, 3rd Floor
Rochester, New York 14625