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Are you looking for a reputable estate planning attorney in New York? 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.  However,  it is important to think about this. 

Attorney Norma E. Ortiz and her team of financial professionals at the Ortiz & Ortiz law firm serve the 5 boroughs of New York. You can get in touch by email, phone or book an online consultation today.

Our estate planning attorney in New York can help you with:

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Asset Protection

Estate planning should be an all-encompassing process. Asset preservation should be considered as part of an estate plan. In addition to providing ways to pass assets it should preserve assets so that beneficiaries are provided more. It is key that tax liability is limited through asset structuring too, therefore wealth preservation measures must be effective. An experienced Estate planning attorney in New York can skillfully help you develop an estate plan that best suits your needs.

At our firm you will find a comforting environment as well as compassionate and knowledgeable legal support.

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Estate Planning

Regardless of the complexity of your estate, you have worked hard to accumulate your assets and they should go to the people who deserve them. With the individualized help of our estate planning attorney in New York, every person can develop a comprehensive estate plan that meets their needs and those of their families.

Their estate should be cared for on the basis of their purpose through the use of testamentary documents such as a will and various trust options. In this way you can leave your family with the ability to focus on healing and free from uncertainty.

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Inheritances & 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.

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Probate Administration

You will need a comprehensive estate plan when you pass because it is really important to have a mechanism that allocates your assets according to your last wishes. One of the key points of wills and estate planning is assigning a person to carry out your wishes. The person you assign should be ready to take on a task of great responsibility.

Just as important is having legal support to guide your executor through their obligation. Whether you need legal support to develop an estate plan or legal support for an executor, count on us.

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Estate planning is not limited to a simple will and can go beyond it. Although the will is a good start, to ensure that the assets reach a beneficiary in an efficient manner, some will have to explore other documents.

After executing your will, you may want to consider using a trust for certain assets. Assets are managed by a trust before they are sent for probate. The trust differs a lot from a will since they are cheaper for the beneficiaries because they carry tax benefits, are transferred more quickly and avoid the probate process. The reality is that there are many reasons for anyone to consider a trust and this is a personal conversation you should have with our New York estate planning attorney. We will study your case to guide you through the different trust options to find the right one for your goals.

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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. Our estate planning attorney in New York, Astoria, Brooklyn and Manhattan has years of experience designing and implementing wills for individuals and families throughout the five boroughs.

LGBT Estate Planning: New York Wills And Trusts For Gay Couples

While opposite-sex marriages are protected under New York State’s inheritance laws in case one of them is deceased or becomes incapacitated, same-sex can encounter more hurdles. That’s why it is recommended that estate planning tools such as powers of attorney or healthcare proxies be used in conjunction with other estate planning tools. 

At Ortiz & Ortiz our team has a long history helping LGBTQ individuals overcome deficiencies in the law to protect their futures. While there have been significant advances in gay couples and anti-discrimination legistaliton, issues still remain in estate planning, retirement planning or incapacity amongs others. Let our legal team deal with those issues for you and make use of the legal tools to protect your future.

Note: You might be interested in reading our blog “Testate vs Intestate” to learn the differences between these succession procedures. Check “New York intestacy law” also to learn the legal matters involved when dying without a valid will in New York and find out the real meaning of testamentary capacity.

What is an Estate Plan?

In simple terms, it is a compilation of numerous documents and legal entities that serve to determine how your affairs are handled in the event of death or disability.

This is not an activity reserved for the rich or elderly exclusively as anyone can benefit from the creation of a legally solid estate plan. Our law firm can help ensure that vehicles, bank accounts, real estate, personal belongings, and everything else in the “estate” becomes well-distributed and that the assets are protected.

Who Needs an Estate Plan?

People of all backgrounds can benefit from estate planning, whether you have a small or large estate. In estate planning, in addition to managing your assets and properties, you are making personal care and health decisions, leaving instructions for your minor children and planning other important aspects of your life.

When should I start on an estate plan?

Although when you are young it is easy to stop thinking about what you are leaving behind, the most prudent thing is to start as soon as possible. Without an estate plan in place, your beneficiaries could face significant taxes, fights and confusion over inheritance and many other problems that can be prevented. By implementing an estate plan you ensure that your wishes are respected and the people you care about are taken care of.

Essential Estate Planning Documents You Should Have

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  1. A will to dictate how your estate will be allocated after death.
  2. A healthcare power of attorney that allows a trustee to make decisions about your healthcare if you become unable to do so.
  3. A durable power of attorney to be able to make decisions in case you become incapacitated and cannot handle matters yourself.
  4. A revocable living trust to determine who gets your estate after your death.
  5. A living will to express wishes for medical care if you were to be under certain medical circumstances. 

Note: We describe the different types of powers of attorney in our New York power of attorney article. There you will also learn everything you need to know about this estate planning tool. You might also want to check the differences between a living will and a living trust and learn everything about irrevocable NY trusts, those that are of a permanent nature.

Actions our firm can take on your behalf to pave the way to successful estate planning

Each estate plan is unique, however they all require some or all of the following actions in which our estate planning attorney in New York will be vital.

The following actions ensure that property will go to those you choose in an orderly and economical way. Additionally, it will ease the administrative burden placed on survivors already dealing with the emotional trauma. These will also avoid costly mistakes.

  • Understanding how your property is owned;
  • Explain how state and federal laws can affect your plan;
  • Set up proxies, including health care proxies.
  • Property inventory that will determine what you own and what you owe;
  • Name beneficiaries;
  • Identify and apply strategies to avoid probate or reduce the amount of assets that must go through a probate court process;
  • Create a will and use a trust if necessary;
  • Evaluation of insurance policies;
  • Designate a power of attorney;
  • Find strategies to minimize the expenses associated with the distribution of your estate and taxes;
  • Review your estate plan and update it when the need arises;
  • Selection of professionals to help with the development of your estate plan;
  • Plan your funeral and burial expenses or any other form of disposition of the body;
  • Develop an asset liquidity plan to pay off debts.

Estate and Trust Litigation

Our estate planning attorney in New York also represents clients in estate and trust-related litigation in Surrogate’s Court. We have counseled clients on issues related to:

Why is it important to consider estate planning in New York? 

  • 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.

Common estate planning mistakes to avoid

Here are some of the most common mistakes made when considering estate planning:

  • Not having an estate plan: Sadly, death is inevitable and through careful planning you can ensure that all your financial and personal affairs are handled correctly after your death.
  • Failing to consider meeting with an estate planning attorney: Do you need an attorney to settle an estate? The reality is that without a professional estate planning attorney, an inappropriate estate plan can be created. If you have complicated assets or have questions about creating your own plan, give us a call. It is a subject that you will want to have clear and done by professionals.
  • Bad choice of estate executor: Although many tend to choose their child or spouse, someone else less personally involved may be able to handle your estate and extensive tasks better.

Note: You can read everything you need to know about the role of the executor of estate in New York. Also discover the differences between an executor and an administrator of the estate and an executor vs a trustee.

  • Not updating your will: There are many events and changes in your life such as new births, marriages, adoptions, divorces or the acquisition of new properties. It is important that a will reflect your wishes well taking into account any such changes.
  • Putting Your Child’s Name on the Deed: Instead of having your child face high estate taxes and other headaches, consider creating an estate plan that passes on the home through an inheritance.
  • Not planning for disability: With the estate plan you can also plan for unexpected or long term disability as well as any loan. If you do not consider planning in this sense, you may face greater personal and financial difficulties. Therefore, it is good to consider the option of designating a power of attorney or a living trust to solve these circumstances.

Benefits of having an estate plan

Here are some of the main reasons to have an estate plan:

  • Reducing taxes on your estate: Losing an estate to federal and state taxes is a reason for many people to consider setting up an estate plan.
  • Avoiding probate: This is the most common reason why people seek the advice of an estate planning attorney in New York and an estate plan.
  • Protecting beneficiaries: You can protect minors by appointing a guardian in your estate plan and adults from outside influences, creditor problems, divorcing spouses and bad decisions.
  • Prevent family feuds and legal battles: You can save on expenses by having an estate plan and won’t have to worry about probate.
  • Protecting assets: With a lawsuit looming, it is probably too late to establish an estate plan that protects your assets. Starting this process earlier can protect your assets for both you and your loved ones.

Experienced Estate planning Law firm for Queens, Bronx And The Rest Of NYC, Near You

If you need professional and experienced legal representation in estate planning, you are in the right place. Whether you need to update your plan or are just beginning the estate planning process, our expert attorney can help make your plan effective and achieve your goals.

If you need quality legal advice and representation from an experienced, compassionate and dedicated law firm, we are here to help you. Call us today and let us know your legal needs.