Are you concerned that your child will not be mature enough to handle an inheritance? Do you think your spouse may be manipulated into poor financial decisions? Would you like to encourage your grandchildren to pursue an education? With thoughtfully prepared documents, you may continue to guide your loved ones with your wisdom even after you are gone. Does someone you love have special needs? Our documents allow you to enhance your disabled loved one’s quality of life without jeopardizing their vital government benefits.. You can take comfort in knowing that Louis Lepore, Esq. keeps a sharp focus on these issues to serve you well.

Estate planning involves deciding how your assets will be preserved, managed, and distributed after your death or in the event you become incapacitated due to illness or injury. While many people believe estate planning only benefits those with valuable assets, anyone can appreciate the peace of mind that comes from having a plan in place that aligns with their wishes.

With the assistance of a Staten Island estate planning lawyer, you could protect your assets and your heirs. Not only does estate planning give you peace of mind that your wishes will be respected if you are unable to make decisions yourself, but it also relieves your family members from the burdens of navigating probate. If you have questions about the estate planning process, contact an elder law attorney.

Estate Planning Process Explained

Planning an estate might involve arranging the distribution of assets to heirs, settling taxes or other liabilities, and creating guardianships, or designating a healthcare proxy. An estate might include assets such as houses, cars, stocks and bonds, artwork, life insurance policies, and retirement accounts. There are a variety of reasons to plan an estate, but most commonly, people want to provide for their spouse and children, fund children’s or grandchildren’s education, or leave their estate to a charitable cause.

The first step in estate planning typically involves writing a will. Other components of a comprehensive estate plan may include:

  • Naming an executor of the estate
  • Designating a healthcare representative
  • Planning funeral and burial arrangements
  • Establishing a guardian for surviving children
  • Setting up a trust account in the name of any beneficiaries
  • Updating beneficiaries on life insurance policies, IRAs, and 401(k)s
  • Setting up a durable power of attorney to handle assets and investments
  • Establishing annual gifts to qualified charitable and non-profit organizations

The estate planning process can be complex, but with the help of a trusted Staten Island attorney, you can protect your assets and plan for the future.

Protecting Assets With a Will or Trust

An essential aspect of estate planning is drafting a will, a trust, or both to document instructions about what happens to someone’s assets after they pass. A will is a legally binding document that allows someone to make plans for their property, custody of their children, and any other wishes they might have after their death.

A will can also indicate whether a trust should be created with the creator’s assets. Depending on someone’s goals with a particular trust, it can go into effect during their lifetime—known as a living trust—or after their death.

When someone dies, their will must go through the probate process, a court-supervised procedure that involves proving the will’s authenticity. A probate judge will formally appoint an executor who will act on behalf of the deceased to ensure the terms of the will are carried out, including the distribution of assets. A lawyer in Staten Island could answer questions about probate and provide guidance at every stage of the estate planning process.

Contact a Staten Island Estate Planning Attorney

Contrary to popular belief, anyone can benefit from estate planning, not just the wealthy. Planning your estate gives you control over what happens to your hard-earned property when you are not able to make decisions for yourself due to incapacity or death. A Staten Island estate planning lawyer could explain your options and walk you through the process each one involves.

There are numerous ways you can protect your assets from unexpected developments. At the Law Offices of Louis L. Lepore, we could listen to your goals and advise you on the best course of action to achieve your intended outcome. Louis Lepore, Esq. understands that the passing of a loved one is a difficult time for families. He recognizes the confusion and helplessness that often occurs regardless of the fact that all legal documents may already be in order. When you have questions about the estate planning process, contact our legal team.