New York City Estate Planning Attorney
Professional advice and assistance in planning for the future
Having an estate plan in place is necessary to the security of your future as well as the future of your family after you are gone. Since an estate plan is such a vital part of your life and overall legal needs, it is an area attorney Michael A. Delakas is pleased to help with. Learn more below about the essential elements of any estate plan, and contact Mr. Delakas in New York City for a free consultation on creating, revising or updating your estate plan.
Every estate plan needs a will. For most people, the will is the primary legal instrument they use to distribute their estate to heirs and beneficiaries. The person making the will, also known as the testator, can make gifts to family members, friends, religious institutions, educational organizations, and charities. Without a will, the state of New York will distribute the estate according to its laws of intestate succession. Under this scheme, the estate is divided up among relatives without any consideration to the wishes of the testator. With a will, the testator makes clear where property should and should not go.
Some people prefer to distribute their estate through one or more trusts instead of a will. While trusts offer many advantages, it is still advisable to have a will for several reasons. A will can be used to appoint an executor of the estate whom the testator knows and trusts to perform this important but challenging task. A will can also be used to designate a guardian for any minor children who may be left without a caretaker. Even if the testator is distributing the bulk of an estate through a trust, the will can include provisions to ensure that no property is missed or left out of the distribution. The will is the perfect instrument to leave a lasting legacy.
A trust is a legal document that transfers title to property from the creator of the trust to intended heirs and beneficiaries. This is an alternative to distributing property through the will. One advantage of using a trust is that the property is transferred without having to go through probate. Probate is the court-supervised process of proving a will is valid, distributing property outlined in the will, and settling the estate of the deceased. Probate can take many months to complete, and there are several costs involved. Once the trust is created, however, the transfer of property is already taken care of. The creator places property in the trust and names a person (or bank or other institution) to serve as trustee. This trustee holds equitable title to the asset and manages or invests it for the benefit of the beneficiary. When the creator passes on, the beneficiary becomes the legal owner of the property, according to the terms of the trust, without having to go through probate.
The creator of the trust can also place stipulations in the trust, such as making sure the beneficiary cannot access trust funds until a certain age, placing restrictions on how the money or property can be used, requiring the beneficiary to meet certain commitments, etc. Yet another advantage of a trust is that it is a private document, in contrast to a will, which becomes a matter of public record. Individuals who wish to keep their financial details confidential will benefit from using a trust.
Michael A. Delakas, Esq. can create a revocable living trust that meets all the needs and wishes of the creator. Mr. Delakas can also assist with other trusts as well, such as a supplemental needs trust or a litigation special needs trust, which can be used for specific purposes. Mr. Delakas can also include a “pour over” provision in the will to make sure the trust is properly funded with all intended estate property.
A comprehensive plan not only dictates how a person’s estate will be distributed after death; just as important are planning for and protecting the person’s health and financial affairs during life, including during any health crisis or period of incapacity. Estate planning attorney Michael A. Delakas prepares a complete set of legal documents and instruments to fully protect an individual under New York law. These documents may include a durable power of attorney, living will, health care proxy, or do not resuscitate (DNR) order. With these instruments in place, individuals can rest assured that if they are ever physically or mentally incapacitated, either temporarily due to a medical emergency or toward the end of life, important decisions regarding their healthcare, finances and legal affairs will be made by people they know and trust to handle these matters competently and in accordance with their wishes.
Comprehensive New York Estate Planning Attorney
Estate planning creates confidence, assurance and peace of mind that individuals will be taken care of during their lifetimes and their loved ones will be looked after when they are gone. Estate planning is for everyone, and since you never know what life may bring, it’s never too early to put a plan in place. For help creating, revising or updating an estate plan in New York City, contact Michael A. Delakas, Esq. for a free consultation on your needs.