Important Documents

Important documents you should take into consideration when creating an estate plan are a Will (or an updated Will), Power of Attorney, and Health Care Proxy and/or Living Will. As former members of the Surrogate’s Court, we strongly emphasize that everyone 18 years of age and older should have these documents in place especially parents with children under the age of 25. If you are 60 years of age and older, a life use real property deed should further be considered.

Wills

It is paramount in estate planning to have a Will that expresses the manner in which you bequeath your assets to be distributed at your death. It is also important that your Will be reviewed on a regular basis to take into consideration changes in family relationships or assets. Without a Will, your estate assets will be distributed pursuant to the laws of intestacy which may not be how you would have directed in a Will.

If you have a Will, it may need to be updated as an old Will often will include the names of nominated executors, trustees and/or guardians, and at times, beneficiaries, who have died or, if for minor children, who are now adults.  A new Will can save fees and expenses by eliminating predeceased family members or friends named in an old Will to the benefit of your surviving named beneficiaries.

Our legal fees start at $350 for simple Wills (which averages 3-5 pages) and $500 for spousal mirrored Wills, a spousal joint Will, or individual Wills with a testamentary trust (which average 8-15 pages). There is no charge for your spouse’s or partner’s mirrored or joint Will.

Since every testamentary plan is different, our legal rates will vary depending upon the complexity of your wishes; however, this is usually limited to exceptional circumstances.

Power of Attorney

A power of attorney appoints someone to act on your behalf in a wide variety of matters of a legal or personal nature when you are unable or choose not to act yourself when the need arises.

One important element of the authority given to your agent is that it can be durable in nature. A durable power of attorney survives a period of mental incapacity since the agent can continue to act even if the principal lacks the mental capacity to act. The use of a durable power of attorney can avoid the necessity of seeking an appointment of a Guardian under Article 81 of the Mental Hygiene Law which can be a very costly procedure.

Our legal fee is $250 for a short form statutory Power of Attorney. Statutory Gifts Rider is an additional $100.

Health Care Proxy

New York State’s health care proxy law allows you to appoint someone you trust to decide about treatment if you lose the ability to decide for yourself. It could be a family member or a friend, the choice is yours. You can give the person you select as little or as much authority as you want. We urge every New York resident to execute a health care proxy to make their wishes known.

While the health care proxy is the preferred document to make your wishes known and to designate a specific person to act as your agent, a living will is needed in many other states. Unlike a New York health care proxy, a living will does not designate a specific person as your agent and requires you to make specific mention of various treatments you do or do not want performed. Living wills are most useful for individuals who travel, spend time in or are planning to move to another state that does not recognize the New York health care proxy.

We do not charge for a Health Care Proxy if it is done with a Will; otherwise, our legal fee is $150.

Living Will

While the health care proxy is the preferred document to make your wishes known and to designate a specific person to act as your agent, a living will is needed in many other states. Unlike a New York health care proxy, a living will does not designate a specific person as your agent and requires you to make specific mention of various treatments you do or do not want performed. Living wills are most useful for individuals who travel, spend time in or are planning to move to another state that does not recognize the New York health care proxy.

A living will is a document that lets you state your wishes for end-of-life medical care in case you become unable to communicate these decisions. A living will is not the same as a Will that you use to leave property to family or other individuals upon your death.

Our legal fee is $200 for a Living Will.

Life Use Deed

An essential element to estate planning, is the use of life use deed in which a grantor deeds an interest in real property to them self to use during their lifetime with a remainder interest to their next of kin or a third party.  This allows individual(s) in New York State to divest their assets and yet keep control of their home without an increase in county property taxes, loss of Veterans benefits, and maintaining existing STAR Exemption Program.  We will take the time to review this with you and answer your questions as part of the legal fee.

Our legal fee is $500 for a quit claim life use deed plus applicable county recording filing fees.

Contact us today for more information on how we can help you.

There is no charge for the initial consultation. Our Practice Areas.

 

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