An effective estate plan is the best gift you can give yourself. In the simplest terms, estate planning protects your interests and provides guidance for your family when you die or an emergency strikes. But estate planning involves more than writing a will based on your finances and family dynamics. That’s where the Putnam County estate planning lawyers at Amoruso & Amoruso LLP can help.
Our law firm’s signature service is comprehensive estate planning. This all-encompassing approach considers your health care, financial, retirement, and personal needs to protect your assets and preserve your legacy. Founders Michael J. Amoruso and Sreelekha Chakrabarty Amoruso hold nearly six decades of combined experience in New York estate planning, elder law, and long-term care planning.
Our attorneys believe in building enduring relationships with clients through all life’s challenges. By nurturing this rapport, we ensure your comprehensive estate plan is custom-made to support you and your family.
Do you already have an estate plan? Allow Amoruso & Amoruso LLP to give it a thorough review. We’ll identify any areas that could use revisions or corrections and advise you on options for making it better based on your individual goals. Be assured that, if no changes are needed, we will tell you and you will have the peace of mind that your plan accomplishes your objectives.
If you need help with an estate plan in Carmel, Brewster, or elsewhere in Putnam County, NY, reach out to Amoruso & Amoruso LLP. Contact us today to meet with a dedicated estate planning attorney and learn how to leave a legacy that lasts.
What’s the Importance of Having an Estate Plan?
People often consider estate planning something only the elderly or wealthy do. However, you should consider an estate plan regardless of age or financial status. Estate planning can provide security for you at any stage of life. It ensures that your assets are transferred according to your wishes with minimal expense or effort. You can also use estate planning to protect your minor children and safeguard their inheritances until they are mature enough to manage them independently. Finally, an estate plan ensures your family knows your wishes if you become incapacitated or die and need someone to handle or resolve your affairs.
What Is Comprehensive Estate Planning?
Comprehensive estate planning is Amoruso & Amoruso LLP’s innovative and signature service. It uses many tools to plan for the future. This includes determining who will receive your assets after death and providing for yourself and your loved ones if you become incapacitated. Comprehensive estate planning also protects your wealth through strategic long-term financial planning, tax planning, and sheltering assets from creditors or poor life or financial decisions if needed. It also involves proactive planning for the contingencies associated with aging, such as the need for long-term care.
What Makes Up Comprehensive Estate Planning?
A comprehensive estate plan can include various documents and legal structures depending on your assets, long-term needs, and goals. Examples of tools used in comprehensive estate planning include the following:
Elder Law/Long-Term Care Planning
As you age, you may need government assistance to pay for nursing homes or other long-term care. Elder law addresses these issues by developing a plan to protect your assets and ensure you qualify for Medicaid benefits.
A will forms the foundation of your estate plan. You can use a will to appoint an executor for your estate and specify how you want your assets distributed to beneficiaries. You can also nominate guardians for your minor children if you die unexpectedly. Without a will, those decisions are dictated by state law.
A trust is a document authorizing a trustee to hold and manage your assets for the benefit of you or your beneficiaries. A trust can be a smart tool to avoid probate and provide greater privacy for your family.
You create and manage a living trust while you are still alive. A living trust offers advantages like probate avoidance and a smoother transfer of control when you die or become incapacitated.
Estate/Gift/Income Tax Planning
Comprehensive estate planning also considers tax consequences. An estate planning attorney from Amoruso & Amoruso LLP can help you select options that minimize tax liabilities so you can pass on more of your wealth to your loved ones.
An estate plan should align with your current financial circumstances and long-term objectives. A well-crafted plan can help you prepare for anticipated expenses, like funding your children’s education, and develop strategies to grow and manage your wealth.
Retirement is a major personal transition with financial implications. Estate planning helps account for these needs by creating a sustainable withdrawal plan, managing investment portfolios, and optimizing Social Security benefits. These steps ensure you have the income and resources necessary to support yourself after you stop working.
At some point, you might require government assistance to cover healthcare or nursing home costs. However, only those with limited income and assets qualify for Medicaid. A well-crafted estate plan allows you to qualify for benefits without exhausting your resources.
Planning to Leave Assets to Loved Ones in a Way That Protects the Assets
Effective estate planning protects the wealth you’ve worked hard to build and maximizes what you can share with the ones you leave behind. You’ll want to structure a plan that protects their interests from potential threats such as creditors, divorce, reckless spending, or disability.
Assets from Divorce, Creditors, Spendthrifts, and Substance Abuse
Do you worry that loved ones will lose inheritances due to divorce, debts, or reckless financial decisions? If so, you can use trusts to protect them. Spendthrift trusts and other tools can shield inheritances from seizure and prevent your loved ones from squandering income due to poor spending or addiction issues.
Business Succession Planning
If you’ve spent your life building a business in Putnam County, you may want to transfer it to your family upon your death. Business succession planning helps your company continue to thrive even after your passing.
Special Needs Planning
If you support someone with special needs, that care doesn’t have to stop when you die. Making legal arrangements is especially important to maintain the quality of life for your loved one and retain their eligibility for public aid. Special needs planning may include the following:
- Supplemental Needs Trusts – This is a specific type of trust designed to use third-party or inherited dollars to enhance the quality of life for a beneficiary, over and above any government benefits. These funds do not count toward a beneficiary’s resource limits for government programs, allowing them to remain eligible for these benefits.
- Special Needs Trusts – This is a specific type of trust designed to use an individual’s own assets to enhance his/her life. The assets held in these trusts do not count toward a beneficiary’s resource limits for government programs, allowing them to remain eligible for these benefits.
- Supported Decision Making – This arrangement is meant for individuals who have some capacity to make their own life decisions. Supportive decision-making appoints a team of advisors, such as financial advisors, legal advisors, or social workers, to provide guidance as needed.
- 17-A Guardianship – For New York adults who cannot make independent decisions due to disability, the court appoints a guardian to manage all of their affairs.
Charitable planning can benefit your estate by allowing you to contribute to humanitarian causes that mean something to you while still realizing tax benefits.
What Are Other Elements of a Successful Estate Plan?
A comprehensive estate plan may include the following other tools to protect your interests following incapacity or death, including:
- Advance directives – Advance directives are legal documents such as a health care proxy, a power of attorney, and a disposition of remains. A Health Care Proxy appoints someone you choose to make medical decisions (including end-of-life decisions) for you. A Power of Attorney will allow a trusted family member or friend to handle your financial and/or legal matters. This can be helpful if you face an illness or injury or you lack mental capacity. With life care planning, your family has the guidance and tools necessary to make financial and health care decisions when you cannot do so.
- Guardianship – If you have children or other dependents who rely on you for care, setting up a guardianship gives you a voice in deciding who will care for them when you no longer can.
- Probate, Estate, and Trust Administration – Effective estate planning also requires selecting who will administer trusts or your estate after you die. This can make asset distribution smoother and less stressful for your family and beneficiaries.
How Much Does an Estate Plan Cost in Putnam County?
There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all estate plan. Estate planning expenses will depend on the complexity of your assets and the tools you need to manage your wealth. Estate planning costs will also include regular reviews to account for changes to your finances, family situation, personal wishes, and New York law. At Amoruso & Amoruso LLP, we’re here to ensure your estate plan stays current and provides security for you and future generations.
How Can a Putnam County, NY, Estate Planning Attorney Help?
If you need an estate plan, let a Putnam County estate planning attorney from Amoruso & Amoruso LLP guide you through your legal options. We can help you select and set up the tools you need to achieve your goals.
When you turn to us for comprehensive estate planning, you can expect to build a long-term relationship with our firm. We will assist you by:
- Sitting down to discuss your needs and goals
- Identifying suitable estate planning strategies to meet those needs
- Combining our estate, elder law, special needs, tax, and asset protection strategies to develop a holistic plan for you and your family
- Transferring assets into trusts
- Drafting wills and advance directives
- Reviewing tax implications and advising on strategies to optimize your wealth
- Providing prompt help and legal advice if you or a loved one experiences an emergency requiring special needs, long-term care, or other estate planning
- Updating your plan through periodic reviews
- Building a relationship that makes a difference in your life
Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Lawyer in Putnam County, NY, Today
At Amoruso & Amoruso LLP, we believe in Empowering You to Care for the Ones You Love™. Our signature comprehensive estate planning services enable you to make the best decisions for you and your family based on clear advice from accomplished attorneys. If you’re in Carmel, Brewster, or anywhere in Putnam County, NY, we can determine which tools fit your unique needs. Contact us today to learn how an estate planning lawyer from our law firm can help.