Estate Planning Attorney in Westchester County, NY
The Law Offices of Keith R. Betensky, Esq. is pleased to offer Estate Planning services.
An Estate Plan consists of legal documents that detail what the client would like to happen with their estate (i.e. their assets) after they become incapacitated or deceased. While most people prefer not to think about these morbid events, there are many benefits to planning ahead. For example, an Estate Plan allows a person to (i) control the distribution of assets to family, friends or charities; (ii) control the type of medical treatment and pain relief to be administered under certain circumstances; and (iii) maximize the amount of wealth that is passed down to the next generation through careful estate tax planning. Call (914) 338-8050 now or email us to find out how we can help with your estate planning needs.
Developing an Estate Plan may seem like a daunting and complicated task. Our goal is to keep it as simple as possible. First, we start with an in-person meeting with a worksheet/questionnaire designed to learn as much as possible about the client, their family, their assets and their wishes. Once we have the basic information, we then lay out different options, and the pros and cons of each option, so that the client can make an informed decision. Ultimately, based on the client’s decisions, legal documents are prepared and we sit down to review the documents, explain the documents in plain English, and supervise the signing of the documents in accordance with applicable laws.
The consequences of becoming incapacitated or dying without an Estate Plan is that it may result in additional stress on loved ones and a significant financial and logistical burden during an already difficult and emotional time. For example, without a Power of Attorney, an expensive and time-consuming Guardianship Proceeding may be necessary to manage a person’s financial affairs after they become incapacitated or deceased.
One of the basic elements of an Estate Plan is a “Last Will and Testament”. In simple terms the Will designates the person who will act as the executor, dictates how the executor will distribute the testator’s assets, and to whom (i.e. beneficiaries) the assets will be distributed.
We are also equipped to counsel clients on how charitable giving may be incorporated into an Estate Plan. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!
In addition to the Last Will and Testament, we counsel clients on drafting a “Living Will” (also known as an Advance Directive), which includes a client’s wishes regarding medical treatment decisions in the event that a person becomes incapacitated and is unable to make those decisions for themselves.
Still another aspect of Estate Planning involves Trusts. A “Trust” is simply a legal entity that is created to manage assets. A Trust is created by an agreement that designates the Grantor (person setting up the trust), Trustee (person appointed to manage the trust’s assets), beneficiary (person benefiting from the trust), assets to be managed, and details on how the Trust’s assets are to be distributed by the trustee to the beneficiaries. A revocable living trust, an educational trust for children and a pet trust (i.e. a trust created for the benefit of a pet/animal) are examples of different types of trust vehicles used in estate planning.
In general, the creation of a trust does not obviate the need for a Will. A Will can specify the distribution of assets which may not be held in trust, and it can appoint a guardian for minor children. A Last Will and Testament and a Trust can operate side by side to effectuate the testator’s/grantor’s intent.
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Our straight-forward, personalized, “plain English” approach to estate planning is designed to minimize the stress associated with Estate Planning and allow clients to understand their options and plan for the future.
For answers to frequently asked questions about estate planning or to discuss your options, please don’t hesitate to call (914) 338-8050 to schedule an appointment. We look forward to working with you.