Estate Planning Lawyer Westchester County, NY

Betensky Law PLLC is pleased to offer Estate Planning services.

Betensky Law PLLC is equipped to assist you and your family with estate planning.  We routinely meet with clients in person and virtually to discuss their options and draft their Last Will and Testament, Health Care Proxy, Durable Power of Attorney, and related estate planning documents.

What is An Estate Plan?

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.

Getting Started is Easy

Everyone over the age of 18 should have an estate plan regardless of their wealth.  An estate plan does more than distribute assets.  For example, the Health Care Proxy appoints an agent to make health care decisions in the event that the person becomes incapacitated, e.g. due to an accident or illness.

Step-By-Step Process

We acknowledge that completing an estate plan can be challenging on a number of different levels.  With that in mind, we are sensitive to each client’s goals and needs, and we aim to make the process as simple and stress free as possible.

We employ a personalized, step-by-step approach.  First, we generally assist clients in getting organized so that they have all of the necessary information.  Then we start asking some simple questions such as the name and address of their executor and an alternate, or backup executor.  Once all of our questions are answered, we can begin drafting documents for the client’s review and make changes if necessary.  The final step is to have the documents executed, witnessed and notarized in accordance with New York law.   We typically offer to host the signing “ceremony” in our conference room.  Our office is conveniently located near major highways and it is ADA accessible with free off-street parking.

By breaking down the estate planning process into its component parts we have learned that it is much easier to complete.  Clients often express feelings of relief when their estate plan is completed.  Some clients appreciate knowing that their affairs are in order so that their family members are not burdened with unanswered questions after they are gone, the risk of a dispute is minimized, and the government is not deciding how their assets will be distributed.

Updating Your Estate Plan

Already have an estate plan?  If it is more than five years old and life circumstances have changed, it may be prudent to revisit your estate plan.  Betensky Law PLLC stands ready to review your documents, listen to your concerns, and modify your estate plan as necessary to ensure that it aligns with your wishes.

Other Reasons to Complete an Estate Plan

Young parents are often relieved to appoint a guardian for their children.  Older pet owners are often appreciative that we can draft documents ensuring that their pets will be cared for after they are gone.

Estate Administration

If you are an administrator or executor and you need assistance administering an estate, please do not hesitate to call us.  We can assist with probate, liquidating assets, obtaining Letters Testamentary, Letters of Administration, trusts, and other aspects of estate administration.  We appreciate that this is often a difficult time for family and friends of the decedent and our goal is to ensure that the probate process goes smoothly and the decedent’s wishes are carried out.

Thank You

The Trusts & Estates practice area has been very rewarding for our firm because we have been able to help clients on a very personal level.  Thank you for the trust you have placed in our firm.  We look forward to continuing to work with you in the future.

Contact Us Today To Schedule An Appointment

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.

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