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Protecting the ones you love starts with estate planning in New York. It is imperative to plan ahead now to protect your assets and your loved ones.
Cona Elder Law combines extensive legal knowledge in the field of Trusts and Estates with passionate advocacy for our clients and their family members. In practice for over 20 years, our attorneys are leading estate planning attorneys on Long Island. We are guided by our mission of delivering the highest quality of estate planning legal advice, straightforward guidance and result-driven outcomes. Our thorough and comprehensive Estate Planning services are designed to make you and your family comfortable.
Based in Melville, Long Island, Cona Elder Law is an award-winning Trusts and Estates Law firm. Our Founder and Managing Partner, Jennifer Cona, is nationally recognized and our estate planning attorneys are the recipients of numerous awards and honors. Together our attorneys have over 125 years of combined experience in Trusts and Estates, including Estate Planning, Asset Protection, Wills and Trusts, Probate, Estate Administration, Special Needs Planning and Estate Litigation.
Estate planning is the bedrock of a family’s financial well-being for generations to come. By preparing a Will and all necessary trusts, you take control of your family members’ financial security, ensure your wishes are carried out, and leave your family free of uncertainty and chaos.Estate planning is for everyone: you are never too young or too old and never too rich or too poor to plan. If you have assets that you wish to pass to surviving family members on your own terms, then you need an estate plan. Estate planning documents include a Last Will and Testament, in many cases Trusts, as well as Advance Directives, namely, a Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy, and Living Will, which documents allow you to plan ahead in the event of incapacity.
An Effective Estate Plan should:
• Protect Beneficiaries: By preparing a Will, you determine who shall inherit from you and when. For example, you may wish to leave assets to certain heirs in trust until a given age or even for their lifetime. This is certainly the case for minor beneficiaries and typically the case in blended families. This is also very important for children with special needs.
• Protect Against Family Fighting and Litigation: A well-planned estate can avoid Will contests and costly court battles which can drain the estate of its assets and leave your family in complete disrepair.
• Reduce Estate Taxes: Federal and State estate taxes can greatly reduce the amount of assets which ultimately pass to your heirs. A good estate plan can reduce or even eliminate estate taxes altogether.
• Protect Assets: A comprehensive estate plan that includes an Asset Protection Trust allows you to safeguard assets in advance of a long-term health care need. Your hard earned money is thereby permitted to pass to your family members without the risk of spend-down.
• Plan for Incapacity: A Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy and Living Will, collectively known as Advance Directives, allow you to plan ahead in the event of incapacity. These important legal documents enable you to keep control of key financial and health care decisions by making arrangements in advance and appointing trusted agents to assist you in the future.
The dedicated Estate Planning lawyers at Cona Elder Law listen to your concerns, discuss your goals and help you set priorities. We pride ourselves on making the issues straightforward and easy to understand while guiding you and your family toward the best decisions. Together, we develop a holistic plan so that your estate can be cared for according to your objectives. You’ll feel comfortable and confident knowing our knowledgeable and compassionate Estate Planning Attorneys on Long Island are your advocates working to protect your assets and your family members.
Estate planning is critical to not only ensure your wishes are carried out but to protect your assets and your family members. By preparing estate planning documents, you decide who receives assets from you and when, you can reduce or eliminate estate taxes, and you can plan ahead in the event of incapacity. Estate planning is also the best way to avoid family fighting and discord as your wishes will be clearly stated. And lastly, estate planning allows for wealth preservation as planning will include strategies for asset protection.
The old adage is true: only two things in life are certain – death and taxes. Both the federal government and New York State impose an estate tax on the value of an individual’s estate upon death. These taxes can be hefty, in some cases consuming over 55% of an estate. Since most of us want to see our assets pass to our family members and not to the government, proper estate tax planning is critical. Estate tax planning involves the use of trusts, which, depending on your assets and situation, can be testamentary or living trusts.
The estate tax laws frequently change. The knowledgeable estate planning lawyers at Cona Elder Law are always up-to-date and will keep you informed of all estate law and estate tax changes and how they may impact you so you can make informed decisions and take action when necessary.
A Durable Power of Attorney is a legal document wherein you appoint a trusted person or people to make financial decisions and handle transactions for you even if you become incapacitated. The individual(s) you appoint, known as your agent, can handle such financial transactions as:
A Health Care Proxy is a legal document wherein you appoint an agent to make medical decisions for you in the event you are unable to do so yourself. The Proxy does not take away any of your authority to make health care decisions for yourself; your agent can only make decisions for you once a doctor has determined that you are unable to make health care decisions for yourself. Everyone over age 18 should have a Health Care Proxy in the event of temporary incapacity, such as a car accident. The Health Care Proxy works hand-in hand with the Living Will and the agents named in each legal document must be the same.A Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy, and Living Will should be included with everyone’s estate planning documents in New York. Note that other states’ documents vary significantly, with different document names and authority. As such, be sure to work with an experienced estate planning attorney on Long Island, like the knowledgeable and compassionate trust and estate attorneys at Cona Elder Law.
The cornerstone of Estate Planning is the use of trusts to ensure your assets are managed according to your wishes, both during your lifetime and after you pass away. There are numerous types of trusts, each with a different purpose, goal and outcome. Further, there are trusts created during lifetime (Living Trusts), trusts created after you pass away (Testamentary Trusts), Revocable Trusts and Irrevocable Trusts. Certain trusts are designed to eliminate or avoid estate taxes, protect assets for government eligibility purposes, establish rules for those who can’t or shouldn’t have access to monies outright until they are more mature, protect assets for minors, avoid probate, preserve assets for a child with Special Needs, and more.
With so many options and nuances, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. The experienced Estate Planning lawyers at Cona Elder Law will listen to your concerns and goals and determine the right trust and comprehensive Estate Plan for you and your family members.
Planned giving allows charitably inclined individuals to leverage gifts to charities while providing a lifetime income stream to the donor and estate and tax gift planning can produce funds for heirs and the charity while providing benefits to the donor’s estate. Planned gifts can include:
• Outright gifts of appreciated assets
• Gifts that provide an income stream back to the donor or other financial benefit in return for the donation
• Gifts that are payable upon the donor’s deathThe benefits of gift planning range from capital gains exclusions to estate tax exemptions. There are many options when it comes to gift planning and there is no one size fits all. The dedicated Estate Planning lawyers at Cona Elder Law will help you weigh your options, offer our finest legal advice, and find the best solutions for you, your favorite charity, your estate, and your heirs.
Cona Elder Law consistently ranks as a top Trust and Estate firm on Long Island and frequently represent our client families for decades and across the generations. Join the thousands of other clients who have benefited from our cutting-edge programs and services designed not only to provide top-notch estate planning legal services, but to empower you to live your best life. Contact us at 631.390.500 to get started.
According to the state bar, 59% of adults do not have a Will. Even more concerning is that some of those who do may have used on-line tools or other do-it-yourself Will preparation kits which won’t hold up, ultimately increasing the number of people who pass away intestate (without a Will).
If you pass away without a Will, the Laws of Intestacy in New York will control how your assets are distributed, as follows: $50,000 and one-half of the balance of your assets will be given to your spouse. The other one-half of your assets will be given to your children, even if they are minors. If your spouse has predeceased you, all of your assets will be given to your children. If you don’t have children, your spouse will inherit your entire estate. If you do not have a spouse or children, your parents and siblings will be the beneficiaries of your estate, followed by your siblings if your parents have predeceased you.
Since this distribution may not be in line with your wishes, you need to prepare a Will.
Estate Planning is not difficult. It is not time consuming. It is not costly. It is worth every penny to protect your assets and your family members.
Everyone needs an estate plan, young and old, rich and poor. Many families prepare their initial estate plan after the birth of their first child. This makes sense. However, don’t “set it and forget it”. Here are four important Estate Planning tips to keep in mind:
• Update your estate planning documents every five years, sooner if there are births, deaths, divorces, retirement or retirement planning or significant changes in your or your family members’ health care needs
• Get organized before you see your estate planning lawyers; be sure to have all assets accounted for and disclosed
• See only an experienced and reputable estate planning attorney who concentrates in this field of law
• Speak to family members about the decisions you have made and any roles you have assigned to them, such as health care agent, and be sure they know your wishes as set forth in your Living Will
A complete and comprehensive Estate Plan consists of the following estate planning documents:
• Last Will and Testament
• Power of Attorney
• Health Care Proxy
• Living Will
When looking to hire an estate planning attorney on Long Island, experience counts. In this important and sensitive area of the law, you need dedicated attorneys who will listen to your unique needs, and collaborate to find the best strategies and solutions for you and your family members. At Cona Elder Law, our experienced estate planning attorneys don’t just prepare estate planning documents for you; we work together with you to provide comprehensive and holistic life-long solutions by creating customized trusts, estates and elder law plans.
Let Our Experienced Attorneys Help You with Your Estate Planning