A “traditional” experience working with an estate planning lawyer is document driven. I strive to be relationship driven. The public at large, believe that the backbone to proper planning is a good set of documents. Documents like wills, trusts, powers of attorney, etc. However, the backbone to proper planning is understanding the desired results. Documents are tools we use to obtain those desired results.
Let’s examine the “traditional” experience working with an estate planning attorney. If you have worked with a lawyer to create an estate plan in the past, this example will be familiar to you.In the “traditional” experience, you will meet with a lawyer who makes things seem very complicated and confusing. You will believe that the lawyer is smart and seems to know what they are doing. You will nod and answer questions, as if you understand everything. Because you want to do the right thing for your family, you will have the lawyer prepare documents for you and you will sign the documents, feeling relieved that you have got that taken care of.You will take your document home, stick them on a shelf or in a drawer. You will mark estate planning off on your checklist and never think about it again.
You might remember your lawyer said something about moving your bank accounts into the trust. So you will go to the bank, forget what you were supposed to do, call your lawyer’s office, get a voicemail, have to leave the bank and wait for a call back, (which takes several hours at least and sometimes days) and by that time, you will have gotten busy with other things and never get around to moving that bank account. A few weeks later, a bill arrives in the mail for $50.00 for 15 minutes of your lawyer’s time for answering a couple of questions. You then remind yourself – don’t call the lawyer ever again.
Years later, you refinance your house or sell it and buy a new one and forget that you were supposed to let your lawyer know or make sure you kept the title in the name of the trust. Your children will get older, making your guardianship choices outdated, but you don’t want to call your lawyer because you know you will get a bill in the mail two weeks later. You might hear something about a change in the tax law, but you figure your lawyer would contact you if it was something that affected you, so you don’t worry about it.
Not until you become incapacitated or die, and your family finds your documents tucked away, that they realize your plan is outdated and has nothing to do with your life, your assets and the law. Your family is at a loss. They do not know where to turn or what to do, so they contact the same lawyer you used to prepare the documents, who is as happy as can be to probate your assets, which never made it into the trust. A probate that your documents were supposed to protect your family from.
How do I know all this? Because I have seen clients come in to see me who have had this exact experience.
The “traditional” way of doing things was designed to serve those preparing for death.
What makes us different is that we were built to serve our clients throughout their lives. We understand you are busy, you are growing, you are planning for a life of prosperity and you value ease, convenience and efficiency. You want to know you’ve made the best decisions for your family and that your plan will work when your loved ones need it most. You want to make sure your children are taken care of in the best way possible and are prepared to receive your wealth if anything happens to you.
That is why my office exists, not to sell you documents, but to help you have peace of mind. We want our clients to know that they have a trusted advisor to contact. We strive to give you the same access to a trusted lawyer and counselor previously only available to the “rich.”
We encourage communication with our clients. We don’t bill by the hour for estate planning and elder law services. Everything we do is billed as a fixed fee, agreed to in advance, so there are never any surprise bills.
By participating in one of our membership programs you will keep your plan up to date year in and year out as well as have access to us for guidance on ANY legal or financial matter. One day you will need a lawyer. I don’t know why and I don’t know when, but when you do, you will be grateful you can call on us and we’ll be here to advise you or get you out of a jam.
Finally, we don’t just plan for transfer of your assets. We work with our clients to also transfer their Intellectual assets, Spiritual assets and Values. “Traditional” plans are only designed to transfer your financial wealth.
Estate Plans do more than distribute your assets after you are gone. A properly designed estate plan will protect you during your life. It covers healthcare decision, management of your assets, guardianship of your minor children, and much more.
We provide personalized estate planning to each and every family we work with. Our approach is educational and proactive – we first determine each client’s individual needs, desires, and values, and then tailor their plan to best fulfill their dreams.
-We represent families and individuals throughout all stages of life:
-Two parent families or single parents wishing to provide for and protect their children and themselves.
-Unmarried couples who are either solidifying their relationship through proper planning or dissolving their relationship with the assistance of caring counsel.
-Blended families negotiating the challenges of creating new relationships with varying expectations.
-Single parents looking to makes sure that if something were to happen to them that their children are cared for by the people they choose and in the way they want.
-High net worth families seeking strategies for minimizing estate and income taxes.
-Family business owners seeking ways to protect and expand their companies and considering how and when to transition to the next generation of ownership.
-Estate executors and beneficiaries navigating the court process of probate administration.
-Family members or trustees carrying out the legacy left behind by a trust administration.
-With each of our estate plans, we include a no-charge next year review to ensure that the plan put in place was followed and met the actual needs of the client. As our clients’ lives change, so does their estate plan and an annual review ensures that all our clients’ assets are held properly for maximum protection.
-We have annual membership programs for clients that desire even more service. Whether you participate in one of our membership programs or not, we keep all of our clients updated about changes in the law and issues that might affect their lives.
In addition, we perform reviews of existing plans that may be out of date and handle all aspects of administration after the death of a loved one.
Our clients benefit from the care we offer the whole family from free estate checkups to basic planning documents for young adult children; become part of our client family and feel how much we care.
Contact us today by calling our office at (718) 418-5000 or click the “book a consultation” box below to schedule a complimentary ESTATE STRATEGY MEETING.
What is an New York Young Adult Estate Plan and who needs it? At the age of 18, estate planning was the last thing on my mind. To be young and invincible. Having turned 50 years old I still feel invincible.
Invincible or not, once you turn 18 the State of New York considers you an adult-you can vote, drive, join the military and gamble (except you cannot purchase or consume alcohol). Along with the rights your upgraded adult status grants you, you also get new liabilities.
What do your new rights and liabilities have to do with estate planning? Plenty. As a newly minted adult, you don’t need a full blown, all the bells and whistles, estate plan. You need an Young Adult Estate Plan that protects those rights and makes sure the liabilities are handled.
One of your new rights is making your own decisions for the medical treatment you want and the treatment you don’t want. Your Advance Directive is where you can make those decisions before they are needed. You are also able to appoint a healthcare agent that you know and trust to make other healthcare decisions for you. Hopefully, you will never need your Advance Directive. However, having one prepared will give you and your family the peace of mind that your wishes are known and will be followed.
Another right you’ve gained is greater protection of your medical records. That’s fantastic, right? It is until you are in need of others’ help with your medical decisions, or in the event you are unable to communicate with your loved ones about your condition. New York law considers adult children and parents or unmarried couples like strangers. Healthcare professionals in New York do not share your medical information with family if you are unable to consent. With a properly executed HIPAA Authorization, the people you choose will have access to your medical records if you are hurt and unable to communicate.
As an adult, you are now free to contract with other adults and companies. Many of the contracts you enter into are those new liabilities I mentioned earlier. Your contracts can and probably will include, renting a place to live, utilities, bank accounts, car loans, other loans, credit cards, cell phone, etc. To protect you, you are the only person that the people and companies you contract with are allowed to communicate with about your contracts. What if you are unable to communicate? What if you are laid up in a hospital for weeks? How will your bills get paid?
That is where your Durable Power of Attorney and the agent you appoint can step in and handle everything for you. Your Durable Power of Attorney gives your agent the ability to communicate with the people and companies you have contracted with. It also gives your agent the power to act in your place to make sure your liabilities are taken care of.
Though you feel invincible, the sad fact is that you are not. You might not have much yet, however, what you do have should go to the people you choose. If you were to die unexpectedly your Will sets forth who gets what.
More importantly, if you are a parent, your Will is where you name guardians for your children. Without a Will naming guardians, the choice is left to a judge.
You might think to yourself that this is out of your price range or something only old people need.
If you are 18 years old or older, you need the protection of a Young Adult Estate Plan.
You can afford it. I strongly feel that every young person should have this type of planning in place, and I’ve worked hard to make it affordable.
If you are 18 to 28 years old and have less than $100,000.00 in assets, I have a plan for you, the Young Adult Estate Plan is $500.00 for an individual and $800.00 for a married couple.
Pick up the phone, call me at 718-418-5000 or go to ESTATE STRATEGY MEETING.