East Islip Estate Planning Attorney in NY
Have you thought about what legacy you will leave behind for your children and your family? As we grow older, we are more likely to wrestle with health-related issues that may affect us. Estate planning involves future-proofing your assets and wealth and ensuring that you will be prepared for what lies ahead in case you become critically ill and unable to make decisions about personal matters or pass away unexpectedly. Our East Islip estate planning attorney help you get started with your estate plan.
Our East Islip New York Law Firm can help you draft a last will and testament, establish a trust, set up a power of attorney and health care proxy, and decide how you want your properties to be distributed, who will manage these for you, and who your primary beneficiaries or heirs should be.
Why Is Estate Planning Important?
A common misconception about estate planning is that it is not necessary if there is no considerable estate to contend with. But nothing is farther from the truth because of the issues we face every day, not only on the homefront but also globally. There is no better time than now to protect your assets, plan for the future of your beneficiaries and make sure that they can carry on with their lives comfortably when you pass or are no longer able to make decisions for yourself.
Contrary to popular belief, estate planning is not only for the rich and famous. Anyone who owns real property, has money in the bank, has insurance, or has loved ones to support should have an estate plan. Your assets are not limited to your bank account or your house. Personal property like jewelry, furniture, and other belongings that have sentimental value can be a source of dispute among family members should you suddenly pass away.
Whether it be a will, trust, power of attorney, or health care directive, your estate planning tool works to protect the interests and future needs of your loved ones, such as your spouse or minor children. These tools also ensure that your preferences about your health care are honored, should you become incapacitated. An estate plan can be your shield at a time when you are most vulnerable. Our East Slip estate planning attorney can help you get started on planning your estate.
Identifying Your Heirs-At-Law
Before we set up an estate planning tool, it is essential to define who is set to inherit your assets, should you die without a will. Otherwise referred to as a “distributee” or less formally known as “the next of kin,” the heirs at law are the ones entitled to receive the decedent’s assets when the person dies intestate (without a will). Following intestacy laws of New York, your heirs-at-law are in the following order. The closest living relatives have the first right of inheritance.:
- Surviving spouse and children, if applicable.
- Spouse only – if they have no children
- Children only – if there is no spouse
- Parents – if the decedent does not have a spouse or children
- Siblings and issue of predeceased siblings, if any (nieces and nephews)
- Grandparents and issue of predeceased grandparents (1st cousins)
- Great-grandparents and issue of predeceased great-grandparents (1st cousins once removed)
“Issue” refers to lineal descendants: children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren.
The Importance of Heirs-at-Law
The heirs-at-law are crucial to the probate process because they have the legal right to contest the decedent’s will who died intestate. Following are the grounds that may be based on technicalities of the document or the ability of the testator (creator of the will) to create a valid will:
- The testator lacks testamentary capacity – the testator was not of sound mind to make a valid will.
- The document does not constitute a legal will – technicalities like the absence of signatures of either the testator or at least two disinterested witnesses (or do not receive anything in the will).
- The testator was under undue influence or duress – extreme pressure put on the testator to make or change a will).
- The will has elements of fraud or forgery – fake signatures, unauthorized changes to a will, or if it was proven that the testator was tricked into signing the document.
- The document lacks clarity – if a will is ambiguous, unclear, or does not carry out a person’s intentions or wishes, or it was not clearly stated that the document is, in fact, the last will and testament.
The probate process, will contests, and other similar problems could be prevented by seeking the guidance of a reliable estate planning attorney. Do not take the risk of winging estate planning on your own. It is always a smart move to get the help of a competent estate planning attorney in East Islip, NY.
Making a Last Will & Testament in New York
If you pass away without a will, the state determines how the your estate will be distributed and this may not be according to your wishes. If such happens, your assets may be distributed to unintended beneficiaries, such as an ex-spouse or irresponsible children. While you can draft a will by yourself, it’s better to seek legal help from a wills and trusts attorney who is well-versed in estate laws.
It may seem easy to create your own will without the legal advice of an estate planning attorney, given that there are many resources available online. However, there is the risk of coming up with an invalid will, because of simple oversights such as not having the will properly signed and notarized or not getting witnesses present during the signing. Without a valid last will and testament duly signed by you in the presence of an experienced wills and trusts attorney, the probate court will step in and decide on the disposition of assets that may come under dispute. You would not want your loved ones to undergo the costly, time-consuming, and very stressful process like probate.
Now is the time to draft or update your will with the help of a wills and trusts attorney so your family or intended beneficiaries will not have to shoulder the burden of proving the validity of your will in probate court. Our East Islip NY family lawyer and estate planning attorney Jodi Donato is well-versed in New York estate planning law and has the experience to protect your legacy and make sure that your final wishes are carried out.
Establishing a Trust in East Islip, NY
While a last will and testament is an essential component of your estate plan, there are certain things a will cannot do that a trust can. In establishing a trust, you’ll need to designate a trustee who manages and distributes the assets and property place in the trust. There are also several types of trusts you can use for different estate planning purposes.
Our Suffolk County NY estate planning attorney can choose the types of trust that is right for you and provide quality legal assistance in creating a trust in New York.
Talk To Our East Islip Estate Planning Attorney!
Take charge of your wealth and your health today! Our estate planning and probate administration lawyers in East Islip can provide legal assistance in creating various estate planning documents, such as
- Last will and testament
- Healthcare proxy,
- Revocable and irrevocable trust,
- Living will,
- and power of attorney for New York clients.
Whether you have legal concerns in family law, real estate law, or estate planning in East Islip, Suffolk County, and more areas in New York, reach out to our experienced East Islip family lawyers and estate planning & real estate attorneys are here to help! Call us at 631-920-3848 to schedule a consultation with us today.