As we go about our daily lives, the last thing we want to think about is what will happen to the money, property and other assets we have accumulated after we pass away. But it is important to think about this. Why? If you die without a will, trust or other estate planning document, the state of New York and what is known as the Surrogates’ Court will decide who inherits your life savings. The government is not interested in carrying out your wishes and distributing your assets as inexpensively and efficiently as possible. Worse, your family will likely suffer the consequences. When clear instructions about the distribution of your money and property are not provided, disputes often arise between family members. These disputes can quickly turn sad and ugly. It is not uncommon for family members to sever ties with one another over disputes such as these.

At Ortiz & Ortiz, LLP we can help you leave what you want, when you want, to whom you want and spare your family from infighting and hard feelings that can last a lifetime.

One of the tools we can use to help you accomplish this goal is a will. Also known as a last will and testament, this document allows you to specify the person or people you want to receive various assets. It also allows you to name a guardian for your minor children in case something happens to you and your spouse. Our Astoria, Brooklyn and Manhattan will attorneys have years of experience designing and implementing wills for individuals and families throughout the five boroughs.

Trusts

Astoria, Brooklyn and Manhattan Trust Attorney

Another tool we can use to help you carry out your wishes is a trust. There are many different types of trusts; the most common trust is called a revocable living trust. Here are some of the benefits of a revocable living trust:

  • Avoiding probate. Not only is the probate process needlessly expensive and time-consuming, it is also allows the public to learn details about your financial situation
  • Since the trust is revocable, it can be changed over time to compensate for changes in your financial and family situation
  • Helping to eliminate challenges to your will and ensuring your beneficiaries receive what you have intended them to receive
  • Allowing for what is known as the separation of assets. This is useful for married couples
  • Allowing for continuous financial management. As you accumulate more money and assets, you can add more assets to the trust

In addition to a revocable living trust, we can design and implement a number of other trusts to help you accomplish specific goals. These include:

  • Life insurance trusts
  • Grantor retained annuity trusts
  • Dynasty trusts
  • Charitable trusts
  • Irrevocable trusts
  • Asset protection trusts
  • Special needs trusts

Our Astoria, Brooklyn and Manhattan trust lawyers have extensive experience advising clients about the type of planning tools they need and designing plans to address their greatest concerns and hopes for the future. Contact us today for a personal meeting to discuss your particular needs.

Probate and Estate Administration

Astoria, Brooklyn and Manhattan Probate and Estate Administration Lawyer

When a person passes away without an estate plan of any kind, or even with a will, the estate must go through a process called probate before assets can be distributed. In New York, this takes place in the Surrogates’ Court. The probate process is quite often frustrating, unnecessarily expensive and time-consuming.

Perhaps you have heard about probate and wonder what is involved in administering an estate through probate? While every situation is different, here is what is required in a “typical” probate:

  • Filing a petition with the probate court
  • Notice to heirs named in the will or, if there is no will, to statutory heirs
  • Petition to appoint an Executor (if there is a will) or an Administrator
  • Inventory and appraisal of all estate assets
  • Payment of estate debt to creditors
  • Sale of estate assets
  • Payment of estate taxes
  • Final distribution of assets to heirs

Accomplishing all of this would be difficult enough without the grief that accompanies losing a loved one. We understand this and are sensitive to your emotions. We will provide close, personal attention to you and handle every aspect of the administration process for you. You can trust our family-owned firm to take good care of your family. You are not alone during this difficult time. We are here to assist you. Contact us today for a personal meeting.

Inheritance Disputes

Disputes over inheritances are far more common than you might think, even in cases where the person who passed away had a will or trust. If you are involved in such a dispute, you should not feel that it is a “private matter” and avoid seeking legal counsel.

 

Whether you have been denied real estate, personal property and other assets you think are rightfully yours, or someone is trying to take away assets that have been left to you, we are here to protect your interests. While we will try to mediate the dispute in your favor, we will not hesitate to aggressively pursue the matter in court if an acceptable settlement through mediation proves impossible.