Estate Planning


The purpose of estate planning is to preserve your assets and transmit them intact to the next generation.

There are many considerations to estate planning: taxes, the potential cost of long term care, and how the next generation should best receive your assets. If you have a disabled child, there are further considerations as to how you can support his or her quality of life without impairing eligibility for government benefits. We use wills, trusts, and other planning tools to address these issues.

If you don’t have an estate plan, New York State has a plan for you.

It is called the rules of intestate succession (“intestate” simply means “without a will”). Briefly, your spouse, if he or she survives you, takes the first $50,000 plus half the balance, and your descendants share the rest. If you leave no spouse, your descendants take all. If you leave no descendants, your spouse takes all. This scheme may or may not suit your intentions.

Further, these default rules make no provision at all for minimizing taxes; covering the potential cost of long term care; supporting a disabled child; or structuring the transfer of assets in the way that best suits the needs of the next generation. It is a one-size-fits-all solution.

Perhaps worst of all, if you leave minor children (i.e., children under eighteen), the court will appoint a guardian to manage their property for them, without regard to your wishes. The court even decides who should have custody of your children. Needless to say, this may or may not be the person you would want to raise your children in your absence.

Let’s make a plan

Estate planning addresses all of these issues. When a client comes to me for estate planning, we have a detailed conversation about all these considerations and more. We discuss your intentions, opinions, and attitudes toward passing your property to the next generation, as well as your potential needs in your own old age. We develop an individual plan that suits the needs of yourself and your family. We make sure that your loved ones receive the benefits of your legacy in the way that you would wish.