Estate planning is essential to protect your hard-earned wealth and provide for your family after death. Unfortunately, many people put off estate planning for far too long. Failing to set up a clear estate plan puts your future, assets, and family at risk if you die or suddenly become incapacitated. It could also leave your loved ones embroiled in legal battles and result in your property going to unintended beneficiaries.
The good news is that it’s never too late to start estate planning. A Rockland County, NY, estate planning lawyer from Amoruso & Amoruso LLP can help you build a plan that protects your interests and ensures your assets go precisely where you want them. Our signature comprehensive estate planning service looks at every facet of your life and develops innovative strategies for wealth preservation, all tailored to your personal needs and goals.
Founders Michael J. Amoruso and Sreelekha Chakrabarty Amoruso have nearly 60 years of combined experience in New York estate planning, elder law, and long-term care planning. With our knowledge, personalized service, and national reputation for excellence, Amoruso & Amoruso LLP can create a custom plan that works just the way you want it to.
If 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. Contact us today for more information about securing your legacy through comprehensive estate planning.
What’s the Importance of Having an Estate Plan?
While an estate plan seems like something only older adults or rich people create, it can benefit anyone — including you.
First, you’ll likely leave assets behind when you pass away. An estate plan will ensure your property goes to the people or charitable causes you choose. If you have minor children, estate planning allows you to designate a guardian to care for them if the worst happens. In addition, you can leave inheritances in a way that protects your assets until your children are mature enough to manage them independently.
Having an estate plan also reduces the likelihood of family conflict if you pass away or can no longer communicate your wishes. Through advance directives, like powers of attorney, and other estate planning tools, you can outline your preferences in a legally binding way.
What Is Comprehensive Estate Planning?
Our comprehensive estate planning takes a holistic approach to your life’s various legal and financial needs. While the core of estate planning focuses on determining what happens to your property after you pass away, comprehensive estate planning takes a broader view.
A comprehensive estate plan can preserve your wealth by protecting your assets during your lifetime and even after your death. It is a cohesive approach that uses long-term care planning, tax planning, health care proxies, powers of attorney, trusts, long-term financial planning, and other estate planning tools as needed to ensure financial security in your elder years and peace of mind that your loved ones will be cared for after you are gone.
What Makes Up Comprehensive Estate Planning?
A comprehensive estate plan will incorporate various tools and strategies to address your or your family’s needs and concerns. Comprehensive estate planning frequently includes the following:
Elder Law/Long-Term Care Planning
Long-term care planning ensures you have the financial resources to afford long-term or nursing home care in your golden years. Planning may involve arranging your estate so that you are eligible for means-tested government benefits like Medicaid.
A will is the backbone of a comprehensive estate plan. In a will, you can direct the distribution of your estate, appoint someone to administer it, and nominate a guardian for your children.
You can use trusts to protect your assets and ensure family wealth passes smoothly from generation to generation. A trust names a trustee to hold and manage property for its beneficiaries according to the terms you set out in the trust agreement.
With a living trust, you can direct the distribution of your assets after death while continuing to use your property during your life. It offers greater control over asset management, tax benefits, and allows for the smooth transfer of your property without court approval.
Estate/Gift/Income Tax Planning
One goal of estate planning is to minimize tax liabilities to preserve your assets and maximize what your heirs receive.
In the context of estate planning, financial planning means assessing your current financial state, identifying expected expenditures, managing investments, and strategizing for long-term financial security.
Planning for retirement should always be a focus within an estate plan. It often involves creating a smart withdrawal plan and leveraging strategies to grow your wealth so you have a steady source of income once you retire.
If you need Medicaid benefits for nursing home or in-home elder care during your final years, a comprehensive estate plan can help you qualify for benefits without depleting your assets.
Planning to Leave Assets to Loved Ones in a Way That Protects the Assets
In certain circumstances, you may have concerns about what will happen to the assets you leave to loved ones. When a beneficiary has personal challenges, you can implement estate planning strategies that ensure they will benefit from their inheritance without squandering it.
Assets from Divorce, Creditors, Spendthrifts, and Substance Abuse
Divorce, debt, and poor financial decisions can cause someone to lose their inheritance. However, estate planning tools like spendthrift trusts allow you to shield the assets you leave to a loved one while ensuring they benefit via managed income.
Business Succession Planning
If you run a business in Rockland County, you should include business succession planning in your estate plan to protect what you’ve built. A succession plan ensures that your chosen successor can quickly assume management if you retire, become disabled, or pass away.
Special Needs Planning
If you have a loved one with developmental or intellectual disabilities, you can use special needs planning to ensure they continue to receive care when you are gone. Some of the most common special needs planning tools 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 – When a loved one can still make some decisions for themselves, supported decision-making is an excellent way to honor their autonomy by bringing on a team of advisors to assist them with legal, financial, or medical decisions.
- 17-A Guardianship – For adults with an intellectual or developmental disability that renders them unable to make decisions for themselves, New York law allows the court to appoint a guardian to manage their affairs.
Charitable planning can further protect the assets you leave to loved ones by leveraging the tax benefits of charitable giving. Through gifts and bequests, you can reduce the tax burden on your estate and support the causes you care about.
What Are Other Elements of a Successful Estate Plan?
A successful estate plan will also cover other considerations, such as the following:
- 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 – By adding guardianship provisions to an estate plan, you can appoint a trusted individual to care for a child or other dependent when you no longer can.
- Probate, Estate, and Trust Administration – As part of the estate planning process, you must select people to administer your estate or trusts. People typically choose a close family member to administer their estate, although you might consider appointing a professional as a trustee if your trust contains complex assets.
How Much Does an Estate Plan Cost in Rockland County?
The legal costs of setting up an estate plan will depend on the size of your estate, the complexity of your assets, and the estate planning tools you choose. However, it’s a small price to pay when you consider the benefits it provides. With a well-structured estate plan, you can rest assured your assets are safe, your future is secure, and your family is protected. The peace of mind that comes from knowing you’ve planned for your family’s future can provide immeasurable value.
How Can a Rockland County, NY, Estate Planning Attorney Help?
If you’ve never created an estate plan, figuring out where to start can seem overwhelming. Let a Rockland County, NY, estate planning lawyer from Amoruso & Amoruso LLP guide you through the process from start to finish. Our experienced legal team can build a comprehensive estate plan that protects your wealth, outlines your end-of-life choices, ensures care for your loved ones, and takes control of your future.
When you choose Amoruso & Amoruso LLP for your estate planning needs, you can expect us to:
- Sit down with you to discuss the value of estate planning and how we can help
- Use our proven estate, tax, special needs, and asset protection strategies to create a comprehensive estate plan tailored to meet your needs and goals
- Identify and catalog your assets
- Draft and update your will
- Set up trusts
- Facilitate asset transfers
- Assist with advance directives and powers of attorney
- Minimize the tax consequences on your estate through strategic planning
- Develop a business succession plan, if applicable
- Establish guardianships
- Act quickly to provide practical solutions when you or a loved one has an emergency that requires crisis planning
- Review and update your estate plan when your circumstances or wishes change
Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Lawyer in Rockland County, NY, Today
A comprehensive estate plan can ensure you’ve prepared for the future and protected your family’s interests. Let a Rockland County, NY, estate planning lawyer from Amoruso & Amoruso LLP help. We can craft a comprehensive estate plan that follows you through life and accounts for all its contingencies.
If you already have an estate plan, our attorneys can review it to ensure it is still set up to accomplish your goals. Contact us today to get started.