Suffolk County Estate Planning Attorney Long Island
We take pride in our ability to assist clients in transferring their wealth in a manner that accomplishes their important personal goals while minimizing taxes.
Our Long Island Estate Planning Attorneys strive to develop estate plan strategies and techniques to accomplish your goals. Moreover, a successful estate plan is one that creates a lasting legacy and minimizes tax consequences. The Estate and Trust Lawyers at George E. Patsis, PLLC can assist in creating an estate plan that minimizes or even avoids probate. Avoiding probate saves your heirs valuable time, expense, and frustration. Our attorneys take a full picture approach to estate planning, including planning for medical decisions, asset management, and Medicaid planning.
An estate plan must be tailored to the unique circumstances of each individual. As elder law attorneys, we take the time necessary to understand your goals, your family structure, and financial situation. We treat every client with the dignity and respect they deserve.
George E. Patsis is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (“NAELA”), an organization that prides itself in serving highly experienced elder law attorneys.
Estate Planning Law Firm in Suffolk County
Our role is not only to help you with transferring your wealth, but also to help you accomplish lifetime goals. We can assist in the navigation of complex interactions between your goals and gift and estate taxes; help you make retirement account distribution choices; assist in the division of assets between spouses to minimize death taxes; and develop charitable vehicles and special needs trusts and Medicaid planning that accomplish desired results.
What is an Estate Plan?
An estate plan is a combination of legal documents used to distribute you assets in the event of your death or incapacity. Likewise, estate planning expresses your final wishes regarding end-of-life medical care and burial decisions. An estate plan generally includes an individual’s last will and testament, living will, health care proxy and power of attorney. Depending on the size of your estate, our Long Island Trust and Estate attorneys may additionally recommend setting up one or more trusts.
Last Will and Testament
A last will and testament (commonly referred to as a “Will”) is the most commonly utilized document in estate planning. A Testator is the person who signs a will. A Will allows a Testator to choose who receives assets after their death. Likewise, a Testator is able to affirmatively disinherit individuals who should not receive any benefits under the Will. Similarly, the Testator designates an executor or executrix that will carry out their final wishes.
The signing of a Will should always be under the direct guidance and supervision of a qualified estate planning attorney. This is because the procedures in properly signing and witnessing a Will are just as important as its contents. If a Will is not properly signed and witnessed, it can cause your heirs enormous cost, time and frustration.
Our Long Island Estate Planning Lawyers have the experience and knowledge to ensure your Will is executed in accordance with the Estates Powers and Trust Law. The testator must follow the strict statutory formalities contained in the Estates Powers and Trust Law. If a Testator fails to follow the strict formalities, his or her intentions might not be carried out.
A living will allows you to plan and decide important future health care decisions while you are healthy. This document allows a person to clearly outline what medical treatment they would and would not want in case of an emergency. For example, even if you are incapacitated or otherwise unconscious a living will allows the doctors, hospital and your family to follow your treatment decisions. Without a living will, your loved ones could be forced to make healthcare decisions without any idea of what you would have preferred.
Health Care Proxy
A health care proxy goes hand-in-hand with a living will. The purpose of a health care proxy is to appoint an individual that you trust to make health care decisions when you are unable to. The health care proxy document appoints a decision maker known as a “health care agent.” The health care agent will make medical decisions when you are unable to do so yourself. When you are able to make your own medical decisions the health care agent will not permitted to make medical decisions. A health care agent will make medical decisions in accordance with your living will. Health care agents can even make decisions outside of the scope of the living will.
The Estate Planning Lawyers at George E. Patsis, PLLC have the experience, compassion, and patience to assist you in making difficult and sometimes uncomfortable decisions.
Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney is a powerful document. It allows another person to make financial and other transactions on your behalf. The person you appoint is known as an “agent”or “attorney-in-fact.” You can appoint anyone you trust, including family members and friends. An agent can make financial transactions at banks, trade stocks, or even sign certain legal documents. When a person is incapacitated, a power of attorney is a valuable tool. An agent cannot make health care decisions on your behalf.
Designation of Guardian
If a parent become incapacitated, unavailable, or passes-away, a legal dispute over custody can arise. To help avoid a legal dispute, parents should always designate a guardian. A designation of guardian allows a parent to choose who will take care of their children. In the unfortunate event both parents are deceased, the designated guardian will be able to exercise parental rights.
A trust is a legal document that allows a person to transfer assets out of their own personal name. A trust can either be revocable or irrevocable.
A “grantor” is the person who creates a trust and deposits assets into it. at anytime. A grantor can terminate a revocable trust at anytime before they die. On the other hand, a grantor cannot terminate an irrevocable trust, except under certain limited situations. Both types of trusts have their own unique benefits that must review with a qualified estate planning attorney.
After creating a trust, the grantor appoints a “trustee” to manage the trust. Oftentimes, the trustee will be the Grantor’s adult child, spouse, or close friend. Other times, the grantor may choose to appoint a professional trustee, such as a trust company, accountant, or attorney. Either way, the trustee has a fiduciary duty to follow follow the terms of the Trust. During a grantor’s lifetime, the trustee must use the trust assets for the benefit of the grantor. This means that a trustee cannot use trust assets for their own benefit.
After creating a trust, the trustee is responsible for managing the trust assets. For example, a trustee can buy and sell stock, access bank accounts, and transfer real estate. Most importantly, a trustee must utilize the assets in the best interests of the grantor.
A living trust is a valuable tool that you can use in just about any estate plan. Living trusts can allow your heirs to avoid the probate process. Moreover, a living trust can reduce or eliminate estate taxes, and limit liability. Additionally, a grantor can use an irrevocable trust can to qualify for medicaid or other government benefits.