Latest Articles

17 January, 2021

Estate Planning Law Articles

Certain Biden-Harris proposals may, if enacted, have a significant effect on your estate plan. 2020 was a monumental year with many changes and 2021 may bring changes that affect your estate plan. There was a political shift in Washington, changes to the New York State Medicaid program, a world-wide pandemic, and amendments to state and local laws. So regardless of the policies and laws that have been proposed by President Biden and Vice President Harris, 2021 is a good time to review your estate plan with your attorney to ensure your planning is in line with the changes wrought by a tumultuous year. Continue reading →

13 January, 2021

Elder Law Articles

New York State has an estate tax “cliff”, which means that if an estate exceeds 105% of the New York estate tax exemption then the estate will receive absolutely no exemption from New York estate taxes and the entire value of the estate is subject to New York’s estate tax. Since the 2021 NYS exemption amount is $5.93 million, estates larger than $6,226,500 are subject to New York State estate tax rate. The New York estate tax rate ranges from 5% to 16%. This estate will receive absolutely no exemption from New York estate taxes. Hence the necessity to avoid the dreaded estate tax cliff, if possible. Continue reading →

7 January, 2021

Probate Law Articles

Whether a bank account must go through probate depends on how the account was held – jointly or in the decedent’s sole name. Like real property, bank accounts can be owned in many ways. If a bank account is held jointly between two or more parties, there is usually a right of survivorship. This means that if two people are co-owners of an account, and one owner dies, the surviving owner inherits the account, without the need for probate. Continue reading →

6 January, 2021

Guardianship Law Articles

A guardianship proceeding is commenced under Article 81 of New York State Mental Hygiene Law. The purpose of the proceeding is to have a guardian appointed for a person who is deemed incapacitated and unable to make decisions with respect to personal and/or financial matters. The Court must find that the alleged incapacitated person (or “AIP”) cannot appreciate the nature and consequences of his or her inability to handle such matters and that the AIP is likely to suffer harm if a Guardian is not appointed. Continue reading →

18 December, 2020

Elder Law Articles

Immediate need Medicaid is an expedited application process to receive long term care at home paid for by Medicaid. Unlike the standard Medicaid application process, which can take approximately 6 months to receive services, those applying for immediate need Medicaid tend to receive care at home within one month of applying. Continue reading →

A deed is a legal document used to convey title to real property. There are different types of deeds that may be used depending upon the circumstances of the transfer. It is always best to consult an experienced real estate attorney who can prepare and advise which type of deed should be used to meet your specific needs. Continue reading →

30 November, 2020

Trusts Law Articles

If you have a disabled child who is already receiving means-based government benefits, such as Medicaid or Social Security Supplemental Income, it is imperative that your estate planning documents leave that child’s share in a Supplemental Needs Trust (also called a Special Needs Trust). When assets are left to a disabled person in a Supplemental Needs Trust, they are not counted as available resources for the purpose of government benefit eligibility. Unlike Medicaid planning for oneself, there is no lookback period when assets are left from the outset in Special Needs Trust; they are immediately protected. Continue reading →

24 November, 2020

Elder Law Articles

Community Medicaid, also known as homecare Medicaid, is not limited to care in one’s current home. A person is eligible for Community Medicaid so long as they reside in New York, do not require a skilled nursing facility, and meet the financial eligibility requirements. Continue reading →

24 November, 2020

Elder Law Articles

When both spouses need long term care, they can apply together for Community Medicaid provided that they qualify as a “dual applicant.” As a couple applying for Community Medicaid, the spouses cannot have more than $23,100.00 in total countable resources. This typically includes bank accounts, brokerage accounts, non-qualified annuities, stocks, bonds and cash value of life insurance policies. The primary residence is exempt and the applicants may have qualified (retirement) accounts in any amount assuming distributions are being taken on a monthly basis. Finally, an irrevocable pre-arranged burial account in any amount is an exempt asset for each applicant. Continue reading →

You can change your Will or Trust at any time, even in the middle of a divorce. However, once a divorce proceeding is commenced, both spouses are restricted from transferring assets or changing the designated beneficiary on retirement accounts. This restriction does not extend to the ability to change your last will and testament or other estate planning documents. Many people name their spouse as executor, power of attorney, and health care proxy, and a change in the marital status will likely change who you want to serve. For example, if you are in the process of getting divorced, do you want your soon-to-be ex-spouse to be able to make medical decisions for you if you cannot make them for yourself? Continue reading →

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