Wills & Estates

We are deeply experienced estate planning attorneys with a special emphasis on wills, trusts, probate and estate administration.
Important decisions such as who will receive your assets after you pass, as well who will administer and distribute your assets.
Probate is a court process that proves the authenticity of your Last Will & Testament, and permits the passing of your property to those designated in your Last Will to receive it. If one dies “intestate” or, without a Last Will & Testament, the similar process of “administration” of the estate is used to transfer a decadent’s property to his or her heirs at law, or distributees. 
 From living wills to healthcare proxies to power of attorney, Pollak & Slepian will counsel you with expertise and empathy.

Planning for the future is important, and careful consideration should be put into hiring an attorney who understands probate land administration laws and will work tirelessly to ensure your future and family are protected. At Pollak & Slepian, L.L.P., our attorneys have more than 85+ years of combined legal experience assisting clients with estate planning and administration. Our team is dedicated to providing compassionate and aggressive service. With the guidance of a top probate lawyer, you can reach a swift resolution for your case.

Estate planning can provide you with peace of mind and reassurance that your family and assets will be handled appropriately in the event of your passing. When you work with an attorney to draft a will or trust, you can avoid probate proceedings that may affect your assets while potentially reducing taxes and protect them from creditor collections. Last Will and Testaments that are properly executed can also protect beneficiaries from the risk of having an inheritance divided up or eliminated altogether. When you draft a last will, you can ensure that your personal property is distributed according to your specific wishes.

If you are a family member of a loved one who passed without a will or trust, you need to act quickly to protect their assets. Before the government has a chance to take a hold of your inheritance and property to distribute as it sees fit, contact Pollak & Slepian, L.L.P. Our firm’s team will help with probate and administration of a decedent’s estate and provide counsel regarding guardianship proceedings. We understand how crucial these matters are to your family’s well-being and we will actively pursue the best possible outcome for any legal situation.

Are you ready to move forward with your estate planning? Now is the time to act and ensure your rights are protected and what is rightfully yours is defended against seizure or sale by government entities or creditors. With the guidance of professionals Martin Pollak and Jack Slepian, you can achieve a favorable outcome to your estate planning. If you have questions or concerns regarding your situation and what the best course of legal action is to protect your assets, schedule a consultation with a dedicated NY probate lawyer

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 those with large amounts of assets and property. To clear up any confusion, our NY estate lawyers 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 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. Once probate of a will is decreed, the court will determine  how to distribute the property using the probate laws to implement the decadent’s desires that were specified in his or her Last Will.  An executor is appointed 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 or to designate a beneficiary to receive your property upon your death. Then your estate will automatically go to the joint owner or beneficiary rather than going through a probate court. Talk to a probate attorney from the firm to find out the best course of action.

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 lear how you can maximize your assets with the creation of a trust that applies specifically to your situation.

If you want to get more detailed information about how to proceed, do not hesitate to make an appointment with a member of the legal team at Pollak & Slepian, L.L.P. Our probate lawyers 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!

Many New York residents want to ensure that they are prepared for whatever the future may hold – they obtain insurance, save for their children’s college funds, receive preventive medical care and plan for retirement. But one thing that many people do not realize can greatly benefit them and their families is drafting a will or establishing a living trust. Just like other preventive and planning measures that individuals take, wills and trusts should become a part of your list of considerations. When you plan for the future, you are protecting your family and assets from costly collection attempts as well as the stress that dealing with governmental agencies and intestacy laws can cause beneficiaries.

At Pollak & Slepian, L.L.P., the attorneys stand ready to provide their clients with outstanding legal representation and dedicated experience in drafting and executing wills and trusts. The team has more than 85+ years of combined legal experience and an in-depth understanding of the intricacies of probate law in New York. With each client that the firm takes on, the lawyers fully review the situation and ensure that all of the client’s needs are met in the will or trust. A guardian, or administrator or executor, will be appointed, and the firm will work with the appointee or you throughout the entire proceeding. Questions or concerns about drafting a will and establishing a last will and testament or living trust can be directed to Pollak & Slepian, L.L.P. during a consultation.

In New York, residents who are considering drafting a will or testament should first and foremost hire an experienced attorney. In order to finalize a will in New York, you must have at least two witnesses sign your will and you must sign the will in front of your two witnesses. While the will does not need to be notarized, you will need to go through a notary if you wish to have your will be self-proving. The state of New York also requires that you appoint an executor who will carry out the terms addressed in your will at the time of your passing. This executor can be an attorney, family member or any other person you trust to carry out your wishes.

There are a few types of trusts that you can establish in New York. One of the most popular types of a trust is called a living trust. In a living trust, you and your attorney determine a beneficiary and create a trust that you will maintain control over until you pass. If you choose to draft a trust, you will still need to establish a will; doing so can help you expedite or avoid the administration process after your passing. In some cases, living trusts can reduce an estate tax. If you have questions or concerns regarding trusts and wills, do not hesitate to contact Pollak & Slepian, L.L.P. right away and speak with a probate lawyer now! We proudly provide legal representation for residents of the New York metropolitan area,  which includes the five boroughs of NYC, Suffolk, Nassau, and Westchester counties

Guardianship may become necessary in the event that a parent loses the capacity to handle, raise or care for a child because of a mental complication, physical impairment or death. If you are seeking guardianship of a minor child, then you need to work with an attorney who fully understands New York guardianship, estate planning, and family law to ensure you receive the best possible outcome for the person needing guardianship. At Pollak & Slepian, L.L.P., their experienced attorneys stand ready to provide outstanding representation to clients and work with them to achieve a favorable resolution to a guardianship proceeding.

According to New York laws, a person who is designated as a guardian of a minor child will be required to provide the child with all necessary medical care, personal care and emotional, financial and healthcare decisions based on the individual person’s needs. While children are often the ones receiving the care of a guardian, mentally or physically incapacitated adults may also be assigned a guardian under the New York Mental Hygiene Law. Under Article 17 and 17A of the New York Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act, a guardian can be appointed by a court if a child has lost both parents or if a person has been disabled from birth. Also, according to Article 81, a person can be assigned a guardian if they are considered incompetent as a result of a severe brain injury, coma, stroke or the onset of dementia.

Are you ready to move forward with your guardianship petition? It is important that you retain the representation of a dedicated and highly experienced probate attorney from Pollak & Slepian, L.L.P. We are adept at handling intertwining estate planning and family law concerns. The firm is proud to have assisted clients throughout NY in reaching amicable resolutions in short amounts of time. If you have questions or concerns regarding your situation and how best to obtain the outcome you are seeking, contact Pollak & Slepian, L.L.P. and schedule a consultation with an experienced lawyer. You need the representation of a professional and experienced attorney, and Pollak & Slepian, L.L.P. can help.

When you pass away, your will goes into probate, which is the process of your last will and testament being submitted for approval through the New York court system. For family members named in the will, this process can be stressful. New York is known to have some of the most complicated and confusing probate laws in the country, so it is highly important that you retain the representation of a dedicated attorney to ensure that the probate process is expedited and properly conducted.

During the probate process, the executor who is named in the last will and testament document and designated to carry out the deceased individual’s wishes will monitor the handling of the case. At this time, parties have the chance to contest any terms of the will. The probate process is filed with the local County’s Surrogate’s Court within the county in which the deceased individual last held residence. The original will, death certificate and probate petition will all be filed together. Once the process has been completed, the administration of a decedent’s estate will begin. In order to fully protect the value of the estate, it is highly recommended that you work with a probate attorney at Pollak & Slepian, L.L.P.

At Pollak & Slepian, L.L.P., our firm will thoroughly represent you during probate and work with you to expedite the process. In some cases, probate can take months or years to complete, such as when numerous parties contest a will. The attorneys at Pollak & Slepian, L.L.P. can immediately begin taking inventory of the estate and estimating values of property to ensure that the necessary paperwork and claims are filed in a timely manner so that you can receive your inheritance as soon as possible. Contact the firm right away to retain trusted legal representation and to ensure that the entire probate and administration of estate is handled in a timely and effective manner by a probate lawyer.


When individuals pass away, their estates will go through a probate court so that all assets can be distributed to the appropriate parties. Unfortunately, this process can be lengthy and costly, so many want to spare their families the difficulty. In New York, there are a few ways that people can avoid the process. To learn more, speak to a probate lawyer at Pollak & Slepian, L.L.P. With 85+ years of legal experience, our attorneys have assisted clients with creating estate plans that allow them to maximize their assets. Read about your options below:

A living trust is a document that allows you to transfer ownership of your assets to your beneficiaries while still controlling them during your lifetime. You can put any asset into a trust, but many people use it for things like real estate, vehicles, cash, and jewelry. Once you draft the trust, you will need to name a successor trustee, who will manage the assets when you pass away (instead of the probate court).

Another option to avoid probate is to put assets into a payable-on-death bank account or securities account. This will allow you to control the account during your life, but allows your heir to be able to claim the money from the bank directly upon your death. The probate court has no need to get involved.

You may also choose to name a joint owner to your property to avoid the probate court. Once you die, the joint owner will assume control over the assets. New York allows joint tenancy or tenancy by entirety. To find out more about these, contact a probate attorney at our firm.

While these are some of the most popular options, they are by no means the only options. You may already qualify for a simplified probate procedure that will require minimal time and money.

At Pollak & Slepian, L.L.P., we are dedicated to finding a solution that meets your needs. Speak to an estate attorney at our firm to learn what we can do for you. We want to make sure that your wishes are met and your assets are transferred with ease. Call our firm today for advice that you can trust!