Estate Planning Attorney in New York
Thinking about death can be very difficult for people. While it is something that no one can avoid, most people do their best to ignore it. However, that can prove to be detrimental. The fact is, along with each person’s death comes a number of logistics and matters that must be worked out. If they are not determined beforehand, they pose a number of difficulties for the family. That’s why an Estate Planning Attorney is essential.
An Estate Planning Attorney will help you to plan things out in advance of your death. With estate planning, you will be able to determine the logistics, how things are taken care of, and who will receive what, after your death. It allows you to plan things out so that once you have passed, your family is able to mourn without the stress of figuring out the details of your estate.
WHAT IS ESTATE PLANNING?
Estate planning can be a hard and emotional thing to consider, but it is in the best interest of your family that you take the time to do it. Estate planning is made up of a number of things that you can do in order to prepare your things, your obligations, and your family, for your demise.
Creating a will is planning out the distribution of your assets that will take place after you die, such as a designation of who will receive what, as well as practical matters such as your estate’s executor.
Having a will drawn up is very important. Those who die without a will end up having their assets divided up by the state. The government will attempt to divide your estate fairly to your close family members, however, it will be completely out of your control.
In order to ensure that your assets are divided up the way that you want them to be, you need to have a will made. Take inventory of your assets, keeping in mind your real estate, retirement plans, and your own care needs. Talk with an estate planning attorney at Steller Law to help you make the best plans for your assets.
A trust holds your property for another person, creating a trustee that will take care of ensuring the asset is held and distributed to the designated person.
Creating a trust through your will allows you to designate certain assets to be distributed and others to enter the trust. This is an option that you will want to pursue if you have an heir that is too young to manage their assets on their own, or if they have a disability that prevents them from their own management. Your designated trustee will manage the assets appropriately, distributing them to the heir at the right times.
Powers of Attorney
With a Power of Attorney, you appoint someone as the manager of your assets and medical care in the event that you are unable to manage them yourself.
There are various types of Power of Attorney, each with their own specific designations.
General power of attorney gives a general range of powers to your designated manager.
Special power of attorney allows you to specify what your manager has powers over in the case of your incapacitation.
With a health care power of attorney, you designate someone to make medical decisions for you in the event that you become unable to make your own. A durable power of attorney is a general, special, or health care power of attorney that includes a provision to keep your power of attorney effective if you have an accident or illness that leaves you mentally incompetent.
Health Care Proxy
A health care proxy lets you choose someone to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to communicate your medical treatment choices.
Having someone that you trust to make medical decisions for you is important, especially if you and your family members may be at odds over your medical treatment. When you have a medical proxy, you are protected from the possibility of being subjected to medical treatment that you wouldn’t want. Your health care proxy only takes effect if a doctor finds that you are not capable of deciding upon your medical treatment.
With a health care proxy, you have the ability to take health matters back into your hands if you become able to share your desires.
When you set up a trust, there will be trust administration, which is the management of your assets after your death by the trustee.
The trust administration process begins with notification to your beneficiaries and heirs, giving them the opportunity to file a trust contest. If no contest is filed, the assets remain in the trust and the trustee is given title to follow your wishes in handling them. In the process of trust administration, the trustee will pay your debts and fulfill your liabilities, as well as distribute the remainder of the assets.
The logistics of trust administration are so intricate that it is important to work with an attorney.
Working with an attorney at Steller Law can help you streamline the trust administration process after you pass. They will be ready to assist your trustee as they begin to manage your estate.
Estate Planning Frequently Asked Questions
Estate planning can cost as little as a few hundred dollars for a simple draft of power of attorney. This and other basic documents are often settled for a flat fee.
People who are younger and unlikely to pass away early often have this type of fee structure.
They don’t have a complex estate. But this doesn’t work for everyone.
Older people who may have children from more than one partner will have a harder time structuring their estate. They can still work with a flat fee, but it will be larger. Their documents are not as simple. In many cases, older people will work with an attorney on an hourly basis. Estate planning attorneys charge in the $250-$350 range per hour. This is a good option for people who have a lot of assets.
In this case, you will likely spend several thousand dollars to have your estate planned. But you want someone who is knowledgeable to do it carefully, especially if you have a blended family.
Consider asking the following questions.
Is estate planning your specialty?
How long have you been practicing?
Do you execute the estate as well?
What are your views on a revocable living trust?
Is anyone else at your office available if I need them?
What is your fee structure/hourly fee?
You want to get to know your lawyer professionally, just like you would any other person you are about to hire. It's important to get things in writing as well.
In many cases, you should hire someone who will provide a certain set of paperwork for a flat fee. If this is not possible, make sure that the hourly fee is agreeable to you.
It’s good to have more than one person in the office who knows what’s going on with your estate. It also shows that the lawyer works with other people in that area, so they may have better expertise.
For many people, choosing a lawyer who can execute the estate is the wisest choice.
Paperwork can be a bit much for families when someone has passed on. The transition tends to go much smoother if the lawyer who worked on the estate can execute it.
Generally, a trust is better. This is because you can lose 2-4% of your estate to attorney fees in probate court if an estate is transferred via a will.
All of the estate must be transferred through probate court if left by will. There are a couple of states with exemptions. But most people will have to spend over a year dealing with a probate court and paying legal fees before they can inherit.
There are regular trusts and revocable living trusts. Revocable living trusts are exactly what they sound like. The estate owner retains rights to the property while they are alive and may revoke it. When they pass on, the trust passes to their heir. Probate court is not required in this case.
Probate court is also not required for regular trusts. They are a bit more expensive and time-consuming to set up. But they will save money and time for everyone involved when the owner passes.
Trusts are a good option for saving money in the long run. However, they have to be actively managed.
Start off by asking what law school your attorney went to. There are four tiers of law schools, with tier one being the hardest to get into. You will want as good a lawyer as possible, so be discerning.
Consider hiring someone with good recommendations. These might come from your accountant, other lawyers, or the county clerk’s office in a small town.
Hire someone who specializes in estate planning. Don’t choose a lawyer from another area.
Choose someone who is organized and works well with people. This is especially true if you are planning to have them execute your estate.
Everyone! Remember that you need not just a will, but an estate plan. An estate plan makes provisions for your death or disability. A will doesn’t do both of those things.
This is not a good thing to try to do yourself, mainly because you don’t get a chance to fix it later. People will spend a lot of time and money in the long run if your estate plan is not clearly laid out.
Turn To Kyle Steller: Your Estate Planning Attorney
Kyle Steller has helped many New Yorkers with their wills, trusts, powers of attorney, health care proxies, and so much more over the years. Contact her today to have her guide you through the creation process for all of these important documents. She's currently booking free appointments with people who live in or near Kingston, Poughkeepsie, Hyde Park, Rhinebeck or anywhere in Ulster, Dutchess and Orange Counties.