Estate planning can have many facets depending on your family and health concerns, assets and taxes.
Basic estate planning should include:
A LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT to spell out who gets what and:
Name a guardian for minor … more
When a person passes away, a lawyer is often called in to handle the paperwork involved with settling an estate's assets. “Probate”is a legal proceeding which vests the Surrogate’s Court (in New York) with oversight responsibility in … more
Need advice on how to form a new business venture or draft an agreement between you and a partner? Whether you are forming a new commercial enterprise or a non-profit organization, call us to get started. Draw upon our expertise so that … more
ELDER LAW: Medicaid Planning and More
Elder law encompasses legal concerns that become important as we age. As more and more baby boomers cross into their sixties, the area of law is growing. But “elder law” can mean different things to … more
Did you know that the only place you can legally appoint a guardian for minor children is in your Will? This is the number one reason younger families need estate planning! Without a surviving parent, a court process would ensue to appoint … more
Each state has laws that enable you to legally appoint a person to make decisions for you, if you cannot. A health care proxy is used to appoint a person to make health care decisions. A power of attorney appoints a person to manage all or … more
If you’re shepherding a parent through the next stages of life, or concerned about elder law, we can take care of you. If you’re considering creating a trust, doing tax planning, or re-titling deeds, you can contact us and put your mind at ease. We also provide a full range of estate administration and tax services if you’re facing probate for the estate of a friend or loved one. Whether you need a trust for minor children or help with Medicaid asset protection, we can help you with your estate planning needs.
For business owners seeking to start or sell a business, we write business agreements and work on tax planning. Do you want to understand the differences between an LLC, S Corp., or partnership? Do you need an operating or shareholders agreement for co-owners? Do you want to sell your business and factor that into your estate planning? We can help.
Estate Planning Estate planning can have many facets depending on your family and health concerns, assets and taxes. A last will and testament names those who will inherit property which you own in your own name. It also: Name a guardian for…
What is Probate? When a person passes away, a lawyer is often called in to handle the paperwork involved with settling an estate’s assets. “Probate” is a legal proceeding which rules on the validity of a will and vests the…
Business Forms and Expertise Need advice on how to form a new business venture or draft an agreement between you and a partner? If you're forming a new business, call us to get started. Draw upon our expertise so that you make decisions that make sense…
Why You Need Estate Planning Did you know that the only place you can legally appoint a guardian for minor children is in your Will? This is the number one reason younger families need estate planning! Without a surviving parent, a court process would ensue…
Westchester County Probate & Estate Attorney
520 North State Road, Suite 301 A
Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510
Phone: (914) 923-1600
Monday - Friday, 9:30am - 6pm
Saturday - By Appointment Click for Directions Now Accepting Credit Cards! We Will Make House Calls
In the real world, it’s a big problem when people die and their trusted advisors or family members do not have access to their online life. But who can you really trust with this info? Many people put off writing a will, because they can’t decide who they trust to name as guardian, trustee or executor. Imagine thinking about who you’d name to have access to your emails or your electronic life?
While each state now permits a person to give his agent, or an executor, access to accounts, the details have not all been worked out yet. So permitting it to be done - and actually giving the agent the tools to do it - are two different things. Your executor may have permission to access your online accounts, but no passwords to do so.
Let's step back a minute. Have you given thought what will happen to your online world when you’re no longer around? Will your social media and other contacts know where you went? Will your family know that all of your banking and bill paying are done online?
Sometimes with estate planning, truly important things are left unsaid. Regrets about unspoken apologies or “I love yous” are well-known. But regrets about not leaving a list of passwords in a safe place, well you won't be alive to know the trouble this caused.
No Passwords Means No Access. Recently I handled the estate for a client whose life was largely conducted online. When I met his family it was clear no one had a clue about their financial life or the decedent's passwords, log-in information etc. While it was easy to get his personal computer “unlocked,” it did not contain the hoped for list of passwords. I saw the frustration as his wife and grown children tried many combinations to no avail.
Prior tax returns revealed a lot about banking, credit cards, mortgages and car loans. But much valuable information was difficult or impossible to access. For example: • The cell phone was disconnected when it could not be unlocked and gone were the contacts, call history and the ability to receive incoming calls. The family came to truly regret having done this too quickly. • The email provider had a procedure for retrieving email, but it required a lot of red tape and after 5 months, the family was still locked out. • Linked in and other social media accounts were still up and operative, with no one at the helm. • Although known bank accounts and credit cards were cancelled, many regular “subscription” purchases continued against bank overdraft lines. It took weeks to figure out why this was happening and how to stop it.
Some Practical Advice As an estate planning attorney, I know from experience that it’s harder and more costly to administer an estate if a decedent didn’t keep good records, or a surviving spouse is not in the financial loop. In today’s world, with many folks migrating their financial world online, failing to leave behind passwords makes this process even more difficult.
There are many companies who can “lock down” this information in a safe place for you. Anyone reading today’s headlines knows there’s tension between personal privacy and the sense that “big brother is always watching.” It’s my hunch that it is likely far easier for NSA to access information about your life than it will be for an estate lawyer or your family if you don’t leave passwords in a safe place.
It’s never too early to plan, but it can become too late! ...