Planning your estate may seem like an intimidating task. Making decisions on asset distribution, choosing beneficiaries, end-of-life care, and how to stay on solid financial footing can feel overwhelming. But the consequences of not making an estate plan can be far worse. Without one, a New York court may be left to settle your affairs — and your family may end up paying the price.
When you have assets to leave behind or loved ones to care for, a well-rounded estate plan can ensure your goals and wishes are fulfilled. At Amoruso & Amoruso LLP, we provide comprehensive estate planning — a holistic approach that looks at all facets of your life and constructs a tailored estate plan built exactly how you want it.
With nearly six decades of combined experience in estate planning, elder law, and long-term care planning, Michael J. Amoruso and Sreelekha Chakrabarty Amoruso will guide you through every step of the estate planning process and lay the foundation for a secure financial future.
Already have an estate plan? You may wonder whether your current plan still works as you intended when you created it. 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. Contact us today to speak with a Riverdale, NY, estate planning lawyer.
What’s the Importance of Having an Estate Plan?
Everyone should have an estate plan, regardless of age, wealth, or background. An estate plan allows you to direct the disposition of your assets after your death, helping you maximize the value of the assets you pass on to loved ones. You can use an estate plan to ensure you or a family member has the financial resources to afford long-term care for disabilities or advanced age. If you have young children, your estate plan can provide for them if you pass away. You can also use estate planning tools to protect your children’s inheritances until they are mature enough to manage it themselves.
What Is Comprehensive Estate Planning?
Comprehensive estate planning takes a broader view of your legal and financial needs. While basic estate planning can ensure your assets pass according to your preferences after death, a comprehensive estate plan from Amoruso & Amoruso LLP can carry out your goals and wishes throughout your life as well.
Comprehensive estate planning should include long-term financial planning, retirement planning goals, potential long-term care needs, tax planning, healthcare preferences, a review of your family situation, and other interconnected elements. Ultimately, a well-rounded plan should preserve your wealth to provide maximum benefits to you and the generations that follow.
What Makes Up Comprehensive Estate Planning?
Amoruso & Amoruso LLP’s innovative comprehensive estate planning services employ various strategies based on your unique needs or goals. Some of the common aspects of comprehensive estate planning include the following:
Elder Law/Long-Term Care Planning
Long-term care planning ensures you can afford home health care, nursing home care, or end-of-life care as you age. Long-term care planning goals include preserving assets to pass on to family members and ensuring eligibility for Medicaid and other government benefits.
A will allows you to direct how you want your affairs wound up after your death. In a will, you can appoint someone to administer your estate and distribute your assets. You can also nominate someone to serve as guardian of your minor children if you and your spouse or partner die unexpectedly.
In a comprehensive estate plan, a trust can protect the value of your assets and make it easier to pass them to succeeding generations. Trusts can help minimize your estate and inheritance taxes, shield your assets from debts, or protect your eligibility for government benefits.
A living trust is one you create and manage while you are still alive. It is a flexible framework for asset management and allows for a smooth transfer of control if you die or become incapacitated.
Estate/Gift/Income Tax Planning
Estate planning involves using strategies to minimize the impact of taxes on your wealth and the assets passed to your loved ones.
Financial planning involves carefully assessing your current financial situation, accounting for your future income, and budgeting for large expenditures to preserve your wealth over the long term.
Retirement planning is an essential component of estate planning. It involves taking proactive steps to ensure you have access to the income you need to maintain your quality of life in later years.
If you need Medicaid or other government benefits to pay for long-term or end-of-life care, estate planning can structure your assets to maintain your eligibility for benefits without exhausting your resources.
Planning to Leave Assets to Loved Ones in a Way That Protects the Assets
As you plan to leave assets to loved ones, you may have concerns that leaving an inheritance may have adverse financial consequences for certain family members. Fortunately, comprehensive estate planning can protect your loved ones’ interests and the assets you leave behind.
Assets from Divorce, Creditors, Spendthrifts, and Substance Abuse
If a loved one is facing personal challenges like divorce, debt, or substance abuse problems, estate planning tools like spendthrift trusts can help you protect the assets you pass on to them. A spendthrift trust shields assets from seizure or waste while allowing your loved one to enjoy their inheritance through a manageable income stream.
Business Succession Planning
If you own a small or family business in Riverdale, business succession planning can improve the chances that your company will continue to thrive after you turn over leadership. A carefully crafted business succession plan will identify your business’s next leader(s) and have a procedure to facilitate a smooth transition.
Special Needs Planning
If you have a loved one with special needs, you may need to undertake estate planning designed to provide them with resources to give them the best possible quality of life. Standard tools used for special needs planning include:
- 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 – As an alternative to guardianship, supported decision-making brings in a team of advisors to help a person with special needs make legal, financial, or healthcare decisions.
- 17-A Guardianship – A New York 17-A guardianship appoints a trusted individual or professional to manage the affairs of a developmentally or intellectually disabled adult.
You can also protect the wealth you pass on to your family through charitable planning, which takes advantage of tax benefits and deductions from charitable giving. A well-designed charitable giving plan can minimize your family’s estate and inheritance tax liabilities.
What Are Other Elements of a Successful Estate Plan?
Other elements that are often part of comprehensive estate planning include:
- 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 support a dependent adult, you can name a guardian in your estate plan who can take over their care if you become incapacitated.
- Probate, Estate, and Trust Administration – Probate involves validating and executing your will, while estate administration involves settling all your affairs. Trust administration is handled by the trustee appointed by you. An estate planning lawyer can advise on selecting executors and trustees to reduce the likelihood of legal complications and disputes among beneficiaries.
How Much Does an Estate Plan Cost in Riverdale?
Estate planning expenses vary and will depend on the complexity of an estate or the strategies and tools chosen. However, families frequently recoup the cost of an estate plan through legal benefits and financial savings, including reduced tax liabilities, growth of invested assets, and eliminated probate expenses. In addition, the peace of mind from knowing you’ve protected your family’s interests and prepared for the future can provide an immediate return on your investment in an estate plan.
How Can a Riverdale, NY, Estate Planning Attorney Help?
From explaining tax implications to ensuring a disabled family member is taken care of in later years, here is what a Riverdale estate planning attorney from Amoruso & Amoruso LLP can do for you:
- Identify Your Needs – We will listen to your story to understand your goals, wishes, needs, and concerns.
- Create Your Comprehensive Estate Plan – We will combine our firm’s proven estate, asset protection, tax, elder law, special needs, and Medicaid planning strategies to create a customized plan for your family.
- Conduct Periodic Reviews – Our estate planning lawyers will review and update your estate plan as circumstances, goals, and laws change.
Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Lawyer in Riverdale, NY, Today
Setting up a comprehensive estate plan can provide immeasurable relief as you prepare for the future. If you’re unsure where to start, let a Riverdale, NY, estate planning attorney from Amoruso & Amoruso LLP help. Our lawyers have nearly 60 years of combined experience assisting New Yorkers with their estate planning needs and gladly provide second opinions on existing plans. No matter the complexity of your estate or your family dynamics, our legal team is ready to assist you. Call or contact us today.