Estate planning is vital for protecting your family. But in a city like New York, it can seem out of reach. Where do you even begin? With sky-high property values, complicated tax laws, and the legendary costs of dying in the Big Apple, getting your estate plan right is critical. Otherwise, your family members could be left scrambling.
Yet many don’t have the legal and financial expertise to navigate this complex landscape on their own. That’s where the right NYC estate planning attorney can guide you – translating your vision for the future into actionable plans tailored to your unique situation.
At our law firm, we have years of experience advising New Yorkers on custom estate and legacy planning. We’ve seen firsthand the power of proactive strategies to provide security, avoid family disputes, and maximize wealth transfer to your loved ones.
Contact The Browne Firm today to discuss your estate.
Guiding Asset Distributions With Wills and Trusts
If you die without an estate plan in New York, the court gets all the say-so in how your estate is divided. Establishing a will or trust can help you rest assured that your assets and property will be properly divided among your beneficiaries.
How these estate planning documents protect your property, however, is very different. The defining difference between the two is that a living trust goes into effect while you’re still alive, while a will becomes relevant upon your death. People often choose trusts because they allow someone’s assets and property to transfer into the care of a trustee during life so that the estate won’t have to go through probate court.
Your trust may not contain all of your assets as you intended. If certain property is not transferred into the trust during your lifetime, those assets will have to go through probate upon your death rather than passing through the trust. A pour-over will can serve as a backup by allowing any property not placed into the trust to be transferred to the trust upon death.
Consulting with a New York estate planning attorney to establish a will or trust can help you rest assured that your whole estate is covered. We can help you develop a plan to minimize the effect of the probate process on your estate.
Planning for Incapacity Through Advance Directives
Proper estate planning is not just important for distributing the assets of a deceased person. Your estate plan should include items like a living will, health care proxy, power of attorney, HIPAA Authorizations, and other documents that help your family and doctors know how to treat you.
These documents are important not just because they outline your wishes for your healthcare but because they become your voice when you’re incapacitated and unable to speak for yourself.
If you’re affected by a coma, mental illness, or diseases such as Alzheimer’s or dementia or are suffering from a traumatic brain injury, it’s possible that you won’t be able to communicate your wishes.
The Browne Firm can help you compile your wishes for your medical treatment in the event of your incapacitation so your family won’t have to guess when making difficult decisions.
Protecting Your Assets and Heirs in New York
Beyond a thoughtfully crafted plan, estate planning helps shield your legacy and loved ones.
Navigating the New York Probate Process
New York’s probate process is notoriously lengthy and costly. It can drag on for 12-18 months before assets are finally distributed. Even worse, probate makes the details of your estate public record. From attorney fees to executor commissions, probate costs easily range from 3-7% of the total estate value. But with the right plan in place, you can ensure a quick, quiet, and efficient transfer of your assets.
Probate is only required if you own sole assets over $50,000, not otherwise transferring automatically. Having a will can ease the process, but assets in a funded living trust or with named beneficiaries bypass probate entirely.
Preventing Inheritance Disputes Between Family
Unfortunately, disputes over confusing bequests or perceptions of unfair treatment are common.
Your attorney can include clear language in your will explaining inheritance decisions, use no-contest clauses as deterrents, establish ongoing trust distributions instead of lump sums, and help you communicate plans to heirs ahead of time.
Shielding Assets from Creditors and Medicaid Spend-Down
Estate planning can also protect your wealth from future creditors, lawsuits, divorces, and Medicaid Estate Recovery if long-term care is needed. This may involve trusts, gifting assets, or special needs trusts if disabled heirs are involved.
Our Comprehensive Estate Planning Services in NYC
At The Browne Firm, we offer customized guidance across all aspects of estate planning to protect our clients’ families and legacies:
- Crafting Wills and Living Trusts — We help tailor wills and testamentary trusts to distribute your assets according to your wishes. For privacy and probate avoidance, we also establish fully customized living trusts.
- Elder Law Services — Our elder law expertise includes assisting with Medicaid planning and long-term care planning.
- Special Needs Planning — We help parents and grandparents properly provide for loved ones with special needs through supplemental needs trusts and advanced care directives.
- Business Succession Planning — For business owners, we implement business succession plans to transition your company smoothly when you retire or pass away.
- Probate and Estate Administration — We assist executors and administrators with navigating the probate or estate administration process efficiently and resolving any estate disputes.
Whether your estate planning needs involve wills, trusts, estate taxes, probate, or elder law issues, our New York estate planning attorneys have the experience to guide you through it.
It’s Time to Protect Your Legacy
Planning for your estate is a complex but important process. Our experienced estate planning attorneys have decades of combined experience helping New Yorkers protect their families and assets through customized estate plans.
We guide you each step of the way – from assessing your specific goals to creating the right plan to funding it properly under New York law. We also coordinate related services like long-term care planning when needed.
Contact our office today to schedule a consultation. We look forward to helping you establish an estate plan that provides peace of mind and protects your legacy.