Estate Planning: What Is It?

wills and trusts lawyerEstate planning involves making decisions concerning a variety of personal matters and financial issues to deal with issues involving your demise. A Will is a basic document which allows you to decide during your lifetime who will receive your money and your property in the event of your death. It also allows you to appoint someone to be in charge of the handling of your final arrangements and the final distribution of your assets in your estate. This individual is called an executor.


Probate is the court process which authenticates the validity of a Will. If you don’t have a Will it is considered that you died “intestate”. If you die intestate, an administration proceeding needs to be brought in the Surrogate’s Court to determine who your next of kin are so they will be able to receive your assets. Individuals who die intestate have their assets passed down under New York State’s laws of inheritance.


Trusts are another example of a testamentary device. Trusts are more sophisticated testamentary devices than Wills. Trusts can be used to prevent assets from being taken by creditors, leave assets to special needs children and special needs adults, and to give the decedent control as to how his or her assets are utilized after his or her death.

Powers of Attorney, Healthcare Proxies and Living Wills

Powers of attorney, healthcare proxies and living wills are designed to help seniors manage their money and medical decisions should they become unable due to illness or disability to handle these matters on their own.

Estate Planning Attorneys

The best way to deal with estate related issues is to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney and discuss the variety of issues which can impact on one’s assets, children, financial affairs, taxes and other issues related to moving assets from one generation to another.

estate planning lawyerElliot Schlissel is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.

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