While planning for retirement may be enjoyable as you dream of having time to relax, indulge your special interests, travel, and enjoy your loved ones, contemplating potential incapacity and inevitable death is not nearly as entertaining. Still, as a responsible adult, you have to plan for the future to protect your family and your accumulated assets. Since the future is unpredictable, it is never too early to consult with a trustworthy and skilled trust and estate attorney. If you are located in New York City or its surrounding counties, you are fortunate to have the esteemed law firm of Scaffidi & Associates easily accessible. You may be surprised and pleased to find that once you involve yourself in the process of estate planning, you will gain a sense of control and peace of mind.
Our practice is well-equipped to handle issues related to trusts and estates since our exceptional attorneys have in-depth knowledge of state laws relative to asset protection and inheritance. We are all also well-schooled in the formation and management of trusts, including Special Needs Trust, for protecting the assets of a disabled individual while still allowing them to receive certain government entitlements. Perhaps even more important, our policy is to focus on each individual client and his or her particular needs and goals. You can be sure that we will give you the best possible service, both in terms of quality legal representation and in terms of personal interest and concern.
Estate planning is a somewhat complicated process, which is why you should choose your trusts and estate attorney carefully. The estate planning process includes:
Preparing a will
Protecting your assets
Planning for the possibility of your future incapacity
Planning the distribution of your accumulated assets when you pass away
As our trusts and estate attorneys will tell you, your personal finances and emotional ties are unique, so we will tailor your estate planning according to your particular circumstances. Because we have a great deal of experience, we will make sure that you have all the documents your situation requires and that each is well-drafted and legally binding. Our broad perspective may help you prepare for contingencies you might not have considered.
No one wants their hard-earned assets unnecessarily depleted by taxes or creditors and, as your trusts and estate attorneys, we will work diligently to see that this doesn’t happen. One of the best ways to protect your assets is to create various trusts. Depending on the makeup of your family and the size of your estate, we will help you determine whether you require trusts and, if so, which trusts will be most helpful to you.
Probate is the court-supervised procedure that clarifies who the beneficiaries of the decedent are and makes sure all debts and taxes owed by the decedent are paid before the assets are distributed. The reason we try to help you avoid probate is because the process can be costly and time-consuming. By avoiding probate, we can lift a burden from the shoulders of those you leave behind. Revocable trusts can be extremely helpful in avoiding probate; they also keep personal information private in a way that wills, because they are public documents, do not.
As much as we don’t like to think about it, there is a greater than 50 percent chance that we will require long-term care before we die. While a lucky few can finance their own long-term healthcare, most of us will have to depend on government benefits, like Medicaid, especially if we live a long time after becoming incapacitated. Also, there are a number of documents our attorneys can help you prepare that will enable your family and your healthcare professionals to know:  whom you would like to make decisions (both financial and medical) for you if you are incapacitated, and  what your wishes are for end-of-life care.
The attorneys at Scaffidi & Associates can help you prepare for potential incapacity by putting the bulk of your assets in an irrevocable trust. This will take that money out of your name and control, and put it in the control of a trustee you choose. By this means, your money can be kept intact for your loved ones and not make you ineligible for government assistance. It also will not be considered part of your assets and so will not be subject to taxation. Asset protection trusts are irrevocable.
In New York State, a Power of Attorney (POA) form designates the person you want to take over your financial decisions if you become incapacitated, temporarily or permanently.
By naming your healthcare proxy, you designate the person you have chosen to make medical decisions on your behalf when and if you become unable to do so.
The 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) prohibits release of medical information even to someone you have designated as your health care proxy. For this reason, it is necessary to sign a HIPAA release form to enable your loved ones to have access to vital information about your health when you are unable to communicate.
A Living Will document stipulates which procedures you want or don’t want when you are nearing the end of your life. Such procedures may include intubation or the insertion of a feeding tube.
Beyond protecting your assets through an irrevocable trust, there are a number of other reasons for trust formation. At Scaffidi & Associates, we will suggest the creation of trusts that may be advantageous in your particular circumstances. These trusts may include:
Most people realize that giving a minor a large sum of money is foolish. Therefore, they have their trusts and estate attorney create a trust for their children or grandchildren in order to protect a sum of money for the beneficiary to receive when he or she reaches adulthood. Until that time, the protected assets can be used for educational purposes or to fund special interests.
More families than we may suspect contain individuals with special needs.
Special needs trusts are created to ensure that such individuals have funds to make their lives more comfortable or pleasant, but remain eligible for government benefits.
The appointed trustee can dole out funds to the beneficiary as he or she deems appropriate.
When you’re planning your estate you have to be careful. Though your plan should be regularly evaluated and altered to accommodate your ever-changing life, you should be able to trust that everything is done correctly the first time. When you work with our talented and thoughtful attorneys, you won’t have to worry. We have the skill set you require and the compassion you deserve. Call us or reach us by filling out a contact form on our website.
We encourage you to take the time to explore this website as the information provided here will answer many of your questions. We believe that an educated client is our best client. We are also readily available to discuss your case in confidence. Regardless of the issue you are facing, we are uniquely qualified to provide you with exceptional legal representation and personal service. Call our office or complete the contact form on our website to set up a consultation.