Estate Planning FAQ
If I die without a will who gets my estate?

If you are married and have children who are minors, your spouse receives one-half of your estate plus $50,000.00 and your children receive the rest. A state statute determines other distributions depending upon which members of your family survive you.

I don’t have a Will, Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy or Living Will. Do I need these?

Everyone should have all of these documents starting at age 18.

What’s the difference between a Will and a Power of Attorney?

A Will directs the distribution of your assets after you die. A Power of Attorney is used by someone else during your lifetime to assist you with transactions involving finances, real estate, taxes, and governmental benefits.

What’s the difference between a Health Care Proxy and a Living Will?

In a Health Care Proxy, you appoint someone as your health care agent to make medical decisions for you, in the event that you are unable to communicate your wishes. This appointment is binding upon healthcare professionals under New York State law. A Living Will is a description of your wishes for end of life medical decisions. This is evidence of your wishes, but is not binding and the ultimate decision(s) will be made by your health care agent.

What if I have a child with special needs?

You should provide for them differently in your Will to make sure that they receive their fair share of your estate without sacrificing governmental benefits.

When I get old should I transfer my house to my kids?

No. Capital gains taxes could take 20-25% of the value of your house that is attributed to your children if you and your children sell it. Also, by putting your property in someone else’s name, you subject the property to their potential legal liabilities. You can transfer ownership of your home to a trust to protect its full value and still have it or the proceeds go to your children when you die, avoiding the issues created by an outright transfer to them.

How do I protect my assets from nursing home or other long-term care expenses?

Nursing home costs are $15,000.00 to $18,000.00 per month. Without Long Term Care Insurance that covers $500.00 to $600.00 per day, you could have to pay that much out of your pocket for your or your spouse’s care. We can assist you with creating an individualized asset protection plan that will protect your assets for you and your heirs.


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