New York Estate Planning Lawyer
If you want to create or modify an estate plan, please contact the Law & Mediation Office of Bracha Etengoff. Our lawyer will be happy to discuss your needs by video or in our Long Island or Manhattan office.
Estate planning is a valuable tool. It doesn’t matter how old you are or whether you have high value assets. Drafting a valid and enforceable estate plan can benefit anyone. When you start the process, you should consider your unique needs and the types of documents you need to protect you and your family. Some people create a plan to choose a guardian for their children and ensure their assets are managed properly for them if the parents pass away. Others want a friend or relative to care for their pets and provide funds for them.
Our estate plans also protect you and your assets while you’re living. You can appoint someone to handle your finances if you become incapacitated. You can also instruct your doctors about your wishes regarding medical treatment and end-of-life care.
At the Law & Mediation Office of Bracha Etengoff, you will receive personalized attention from the moment you seek our services. We understand the importance of protecting your interests while ensuring that your loved ones don’t have to struggle with difficult decisions. We will advise you about all the available options so you can make an informed decision on the type of estate plan you need. You will be in experienced and capable hands, and you will understand every step of the process.
Call the Law & Mediation Office of Bracha Etengoff today at (347) 640-0993 for your estate planning consultation.
Common Documents in an Estate Plan
Whether you’re modifying an existing estate plan or creating a new one, you should consider including four essential documents:
- Will – A will outlines a person’s final wishes after their death. It can appoint a guardian for minor children and direct the distribution of assets.
- Power of Attorney – A power of attorney appoints an agent to make decisions regarding financial and legal matters, which can avoid the need to go to court if the person becomes incapacitated.
- Healthcare Proxy – A healthcare proxy grants the designated agent full authority to make medical decisions if the injured or sick person can’t make decisions for themselves.
- Living Will – A living will details the type of care someone would like if they can’t speak for themselves. For example, if a car crash leaves a person in a coma, the living will instructs the medical team on vital medical decisions.
At the Law & Mediation Office of Bracha Etengoff, we will inform you of all your estate planning options and advise you about the advantages and disadvantages of each. We will remain by your side to guide you in the decision-making process. We can collaborate with your financial advisor to minimize your paperwork. We will also help you understand all the documents before you sign them, and advise you on safeguarding and updating them.
Understanding the Elements of Estate Planning
Each document you include in your estate plan will serve a different purpose and will be tailored to your unique circumstances.
A testator is the person who creates a last will and testament. The testator can name one or multiple beneficiaries to receive their assets when they die. The testator also names an executor to put the will into effect through a court proceeding called probate. The instructions in the will tell your executor how to manage your estate and which assets go to each beneficiary.
Assets are all the property and personal belongings you own, including:
- Personal items, such as jewelry
- Real estate
- Motor vehicles
- Bank accounts and cryptocurrency
- Stocks and bonds
The will should also appoint a guardian for minor children to take over if neither parent can care for them. This kind of will also includes a trust for the assets and appoints a trustee to manage them. The trustee and guardian can be the same or different individuals, and we discuss which option is best for each client’s situation. The trustee distributes funds to the guardian to pay for children’s education, healthcare, and other necessary expenses. The remaining funds usually transfer to the children in stages at specified ages.
When someone has remarried and has children from the first marriage, a spousal trust is usually included in the will. The trust provides for the spouse during their lifetime and ensures the remaining assets pass to the person’s own children after the spouse’s death.
You can read about trusts for a person with special needs that preserve eligibility for government benefits, life insurance trusts that mitigate estate taxes, and other advanced estate planning techniques here.
Power of Attorney
A power of attorney grants an agent authority to manage a person’s financial and legal affairs on their behalf. It can avoid the need for a guardianship court proceeding if you become incapacitated. We will discuss your options for the types of powers you can grant your agent and the limitations you can place on them.
If you have an older power of attorney, it’s advisable to update it to ensure financial institutions will honor it quickly when it’s needed. The New York statutory power of attorney was revised in 2010 and again in 2021, so the format that financial institutions recognize immediately is very different now.
A healthcare proxy designates an agent to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated. Choosing an agent who can navigate the medical system and be an effective patient advocate is crucial. Your agent should also understand how to handle your treatment for an illness or injury based on your personal or religious preferences, and be committed to honoring them.
A living will outlines a person’s preferences regarding medical care. It states your wishes if specific circumstances arise, such as traumatic injury, coma, cognitive disease, incapacity, and terminal illness. Therefore, this is a good option for people who want to provide detailed instructions, rather than rely on their healthcare agent to know their wishes.
Unlike a last will and testament, a living will goes into effect while you’re still alive but unable to make your own decisions. A medical provider must deem you incapacitated, incompetent, or unable to speak for yourself before the provisions in the living will are applicable.
Contact a New York Estate Planning Lawyer Today
When you’re creating an estate plan in New York, you should entrust it to an experienced and knowledgeable New York estate planning lawyer. You will be a priority at the Law & Mediation Office of Bracha Etengoff and be guided every step of the way. You can depend on us to consider your needs and create a plan that protects your interests and family’s future.
Call the Law & Mediation Office of Bracha Etengoff today at (347) 640-0993 for your consultation to create or update your customized estate plan. We can meet by video, in our Manhattan or Long Island office, or in your home or office.