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Frequently Asked Questions

Learn About Wills and Estates from a Queens Probate Attorney

The estate planning process can be extremely confusing due to the complex New York laws related to the probate process and estate administration. This is especially true for persons with a large amount of assets and property. To clear up some confusion, the Queens probate lawyers at Pollak & Slepian, L.L.P. have provided answers to a number of questions that are frequently asked by clients. Read below to find out more!

What is estate planning?

In order to maximize assets and make sure that property is distributed as desired, persons may create an estate plan. This plan may utilize a number of different legal documents, such as a will, trust, power of attorney, and others. The goal of an estate plan is also to reduce future confusion and disputes over the decedent's assets, hopefully allowing more peace among potential heirs.

How often should I update my estate plan?

You should make sure to review and appraise your estate plan after every major life event, especially for those who created it early in life. These major events could include the following:

  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  • Business sale or purchase
  • Move to a different state
  • Birth of a child or grandchild
  • Marriage of a child or grandchild
  • Retirement

These and other major events that either change the heirs to your estate plan or change the amount of property that should be included in your estate plan warrant an update. That way, your estate plan will reflect your current situation and desires at all times!

What is probate?

In the event of a person's death, his or her assets may be transferred through probate. Whether the decedent left a will or not, the court will determine how to distribute the property using the probate laws or the decedent's desires that were specified through a legal will. An executor is used to oversee the process of transferring the deceased's assets.

Can I avoid probate?

While most estates that have a will require probate to determine their validity, there are a few ways for decedents' heirs to avoid probate. Trusts are not required to go through the probate court, so persons that create living trusts may skip the probate process and therefore the fees that are associated with probate. Another way might be to name a joint owner to your property. Then your estate will automatically go to the joint owner rather than going through a probate court. Talk to a Queens probate attorney from the firm to find out how the best course of action to take in your situation.

What trust should I create?

There are many different types of trusts that are available for your estate plan. These include the following common trusts:

  • Revocable trust: for persons who want to be able to alter the trust after it is created
  • Irrevocable trust: for persons who want to avoid taxation, however, the trust is unable to be altered after its creation
  • Special needs trust: for persons who want to provide for a disadvantaged individual without disqualifying them for government benefits
  • Charitable trust: for persons who want to avoid taxation or creditor collection by donating to a charity
  • Dynasty trust: for persons who want to transfer property directly to their grandchildren

Speak to one of the probate lawyers at the firm to discuss what type of trust you should create. There are many more trusts that are not mentioned on the above list, so do not hesitate to obtain counsel from the firm. Don't wait to find out how you can maximize your assets with the creation of a trust that applies specifically to your situation.

Talk to a Queens Probate Lawyers at Pollak & Slepian, L.L.P.

If you want to get more detailed information about how you should proceed, then please do not hesitate to make an appointment with a member of the legal team at Pollak & Slepian, L.L.P. The Queens lawyers at the firm are eager to begin discussing your situation so that you can have peace of mind knowing your estate is secure. We proudly serve all residents of the New York Metropolitan Area!

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.
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