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Estate Planning

Who needs estate planning?  Probably you do!  Estate planning does not relate to an individual’s net worth.  The purpose of an estate plan is to see to it that your financial goals and the financial goals of your family can be met even after you die.

There are several elements of an estate plan.  A will, a power or attorney, a living will and a health care proxy.  These basic documents comprise an estate plan.

Why You Need A Will

A will is a very basic document in which an individual lays out what he or she wants to happen to his or her assets upon death.  It can also name guardians to the decedent’s minor children.  A major reason for having a will is that if you die without a will you are considered to have died “intestate”.  Individuals who die intestate will expose their heirs and loved ones to additional expenses in dealing with the complications involved with estate administration.

Are Trusts Only For The Rich?

Trusts are documents that allow you to control your assets and its distribution after you die.  Trusts can also be utilized to reduce estate and gift taxes.  Trusts are no longer for the rich.  They’re a valuable estate planning device many middle class families utilize.

Annual Gift Giving

Each individual may give up to $13,000 a year or $26,000 if you are married and giving the gift in conjunction with your spouse.  In addition you can pay an unlimited amount in medical and educational expenses for an individual if these funds are paid directly to the institutions that provided the medical or educational services.

Estate Planning Lawyers

Estate planning is a sophisticated undertaking.  You should utilize experienced well thought of estate planning attorneys to handle these sophisticated transactions.  The law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo have been drafting estate plans for their clients for over thirty years.  The firm probates wills.  They litigate contested wills.  The firm’s attorneys have extensive experience in bringing guardianship proceedings, drafting revocable living trusts and irrevocable living trusts.  Elliot S. Schlissel, Esq. is a member of the National Academy of Elder Care Attorneys.  He provides all types of elder care counseling to his clients including issues involving nursing home abuse, Medicaid, Medicaid planning techniques, specials needs trusts for special needs children which are also referred to as supplementary needs trusts.  Feel free to call our office for a consultation.

Guardian Allowed To Help His Ward Prepare A Will

Justice Alexander W. Hunter sitting in the Supreme Court, Bronx County recently had an unusual case presented to him.  A daughter brought a proceeding in a guardianship.  She requested the court take action to prevent a court appointed guardian from retaining an attorney to draft and execute a new Last Will and Testament for her father.  She took this action because she felt the drafting of this new Will would not be in the father’s best interest.

Justice Alexander Hunter denied her request.  In his decision he stated that her arguments were a regurgitation of allegations she made in her initial petition to be appointed the father’s guardian.  The court had initially found that the father required the appointment of a guardian of both his person and property.  But the court’s decision stated that the court evaluator believed that the guardian should keep the father involved in the decision making processes.  He also stated in his decision that the guardian should give the father the greatest amount of independence and self determination with regard to his property management and the maintaining of his personal needs.  The court felt that the father’s drafting a new Will and Testament possibly “opened the door to potentially costly and protracted litigation post mortem as being speculative.”

Guardianship Lawyers

The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo have over 100 years experience in the preparation and submission of guardianships to the courts to the courts throughout the metropolitan area.  There are two types of guardianships under Article 81 of the New York Mental hygiene Law and Guardians under the Surrogates Court Procedure Act under Article 17-A.  The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo have extensive experience in handling all aspects of Guardianship petitions on a regular basis in the courts throughout the metropolitan New York area.  In addition our law office drafts Wills and Trusts and probates Wills.  We assist our clients in Estate Planning matters.  We represent Executors in Estates.  We also draft Revocable Living Trusts, Irrevocable Living Trusts and engage in all aspects of Medicaid Planning.  In situations involving Special Needs children we draft Special Needs Trusts which are also known as Supplementary Needs Trusts.

Dispelling Retirement Myths

Retiring in comfort is getting more and more difficult. The costs of retirement are spiraling while the income of the average American has flattened out or is declining. There are many retirement myths that are simply untrue. Following is the discussion of some retirement issues that all potential retirees should be aware of.

How much will be enough? Do you have enough savings to retire? Will one million or two million dollars be enough in the bank to retire? According to Re Keithen D. Miller, a certified financial planner with Palisades Hudson Financial Group in Atlanta, Georgia, “With most people living longer and the continuing rise of the cost of living, a million dollars no longer guarantees a five star retirement. Most people will need to have enough money to support them for twenty five to thirty years in retirement. Depending on the lifestyle you want to maintain and where you live, a million dollars may not go so far.”

Your Expenses Won’t Go Down In Retirement

Most retirees anticipate their expenses will decrease once they retire. According to Nicole Rutledge, a certified financial planner with Resource Consulting Group inOrlando, Florida, “in my experience this is not always the case. Typically we see clients spend more money when they initially retire. This is the time in their lives when they are still healthy and full of energy. They travel more, focus resources on hobbies and other interests and do many of the things they have been putting off during their working years. We call this the go-go years.”

According to Rutledge, although spending increases initially when individuals retire the spending does decrease in the later retirement years. “That’s when the health issues, energy and just a general desire to travel the world and focus on these just aren’t what they used to be.”

The Declining Value of Social Security

Social security has never been meant to be the primary source of income for Americans who retire. Social Security provides a safety net for Americans. The average Social Security benefit is twelve hundred dollars per month. This is not enough money to live on! This will put you at the federal poverty level.

Investment Income

Individuals when they retire shouldn’t be overly aggressive with regard to their investments. However investing too conservatively can also be problematic. Individuals who retire should have a balanced program of dividend bearing stocks as well as fixed income return investments. Interest rates are at an all time low right now and investing in Certificates of Deposit at one and a half to two percent will not earn enough interest to secure you in your retirement years.

Retiring Too Early

It was once thought that all Americans should retire as they approach their sixties. With life expectancies increasing and savings having to last longer in retirement it is recommended today that you retire at an older age. This will expand your working years and give you additional years to accumulate savings. You will also maximize the amount you receive from your Social Security benefits.

New York Wills and Trusts Lawyer

For more than thirty years, the Attorneys of the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo have handled estate planning needs for their clients. The Attorneys drafts wills and trusts. They draft special needs trusts for special needs children. The firm also has extensive experience with regular preparation of revocable living trusts and irrevocable living trusts.

The law office also probates wills and litigates contested will contests. They advise executors as to what to do in the handling of estates. They deal with Medicaid issues such as nursing home abuse, Medicaid planning techniques, the drafting of Health Care proxies and Powers of Attorneys. Feel free to call us for a consultation. The firm’s more than thirty years of experience can be utilized to see to it your loved ones are protected and your estate is not subject to inappropriate taxation.

Estate Planning Problems: Computer Codes

estateplanning-150x150

Computers codes are the new frontier concerning Estate Planning issues. Should a senior become disabled, uncommunicative or die, access to his or her online accounts are creating major estate planning problems. Without the password to an online account it is virtually impossible to get into the account. Yahoo and Google will only provide passwords if court orders are obtained.

It used to be if someone became disabled or died you would go through their papers or review their mail to ascertain where their assets were maintained. Today, most Americans maintain their assets in online accounts that are only accessible by user codes and passwords.

Court Orders

If it should become necessary to obtain a court order to obtain the passwords to an account of the deceased, it may take months to get the proceeding through the courts. If there are no written records, family members and loved ones will be unable to obtain information from the bank account of seniors who become disabled or have passed away.

Hiring Computer Forensic Experts

If you need to get into the account of a loved one and you do not have access to his or her account name and/or password it may become necessary to hire a computer forensics expert to break into the hard drive to find the necessary information. This can take weeks and involve a considerable expense.

Inventory of Computer Codes

John Ramano, the co- author of “Your Digital Afterlife” suggests that each individual write out an inventory of financial online assets. This inventory should include usernames and the passwords that go with each username. He recommends these computer codes be maintained in a secure location such as home safe or a bank safety deposit box.

Web Based Companies

Another approach is to maintain the services of web based organizations that store information concerning online assets. The organizations such as Entrustet and Legacy Locker will permit access to this web based information to authorized individuals.

There is a program call Last Pass. This allows an individual doing an estate plan to create a master password. The unlocking of this master password by an authorized representative or family member opens up a digital asset list which is created by utilization of the Last Pass software program. This software can also be accessed by handheld electronic devices such as telephones, personal computers and iPads.

Estates Attorney

The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo has more than thirty years of experience in handling all types of Estate related matters. We probate Wills. We litigate Will contests. We draft Wills and Trusts. We create guardianships for clients. We have developed expertise concerning Estate Tax issues, Revocable Living Trusts, Irrevocable Trusts, Elder Care issues, nursing home abuse matters, Medicaid, Medicaid planning techniques, Special Needs Trusts and Supplement Needs Trusts for our clients. Call us for a free consultation. Our phones are monitored 24/7. We can be reached at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

Why You Need A Living Will

willspic-150x150End of life issues are difficult to face. Everyone that lives will eventually die. If you want to make your own choices as to how you’re cared for, should you become gravely ill, it is important that you have a Living Will. A Living Will is an advance directive that explains to your loved ones and your physicians what type of life prolonging medical treatments you want and don’t want if you become incapacitated, are placed on a resperator, or are unable to express your concerns due to illness or injuries.

End of Life Issues on Long Island

Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk Counties) in the State of New York, is considered a ” high spending” medicare area of the country. Most individuals without health care proxies on Long Island will find themselves dying in a hospital. Individuals with Living Wills can choose to spend their final days in a hospice facility.

Hospice Facilities Verses Hospitals

Hospice Facilities are designed to make patients facing end of life diseases comfortable by treating their pain and allowing their illnesses to run a natural course. Treatment in hospitals is organized around the theory of prolonging life. This can involve aggressive procedures even if the illness is considered by the treating physicians to be terminal. The treatment in hospitals for terminal illnesses can greatly reduce the quality of the individuals life. Sometimes the difference between hospice care and hospital care relates to the quality of the individual’s life while dealing with a terminal illness.

Living Wills and Family Members

Lauren Hersh Nicholas is a health professor with the University of Michigan. She has conducted a study of involving living wills. She states there’s a benefit to the family of the patient. “Family members have a somewhat easier decision making process, because they have greater guidance.” The hospice treatment can eliminate pain and reduce medical procedures that are unlikely to work.

Elder Law Attorneys

The Elder Law and Wills, Trusts and Estate lawyers at the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo have been helping their clients deal with end of life issues for more than 3 decades. The law firm drafts Wills, Trusts and Health Care Proxies, Powers of Attorney and Living Wills. They represent individuals involved in will contests. They explain to executors of wills their duties. In addition, they draft revocable living trust and irrevocable living trusts. The firm is also involved in assisting clients with nursing home issues as well as medicaid planning technigues. Call for a consultation at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 and 718-350-2802.

Retirement Mistakes

retirement-150x150 Don’t make mistakes regarding your retirement. Your senior years should be enjoyable, relaxed and stimulating. They should not be frustrating and worrisome times.

Have Sufficient Assets and Cash Flow

You should not retire unless you have enough savings, pension, funds or 401K funds to support your lifestyle. Social Security alone will not be sufficient to fund your retirement goals. Social Security pays approximately $14,000 a year to retirees. This is simply not enough money to live on!

Be Active In Your Retirement

Researchers show that retirees who maintain an active lifestyle have a longer life expectancy. Exercise is important to seniors. Stimulating your body and your mind will keep you healthy, happy and extend your life.

Stay Close With Friends and Family Members

Don’t retire to your room. Have an outgoing social life and lifestyle. Stay in touch with the people you love and whose company you enjoy.

Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia

Studies indicate that approximately 14% of all Americans over the age of sixty-five suffer from some form of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. In the long run. Alzheimer’s disease and dementia negatively impact your brain, which in turn has a negative impact on your life and may land you in a nursing home. Medicare will not cover nursing home stays. Nursing homes can cost as much as ten to twelve-thousand dollars per month. To avoid the potential of an uncovered stay at a nursing home from impoverishing you, you should consult with an attorney who handles elder care work.

Elder Care Lawyer

The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo provides elder care legal services to our clients. We draft wills and trusts. We probate wills. We deal with Medicaid planning issues. We assist our clients with nursing home issues. We provide all types of elder care legal representation. We also draft special needs trusts and supplemental needs trustsfor our clients. Should you need a will, trust or an elder care attorney, call us at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

Investment Planning for Retirement

The Stock Market, in 2011, has been very volatile. Soon to be retired families are expressing concern as to what their appropriate investment strategy should be in retirement.

Thirty-year Retirement

If you’re retiring in your 60’s, it is important to plan for as long as thirty years of being retired (hopefully you have this type of longevity in your family). Financial planners discuss balancing short term and long term risks with your investments. T. Rowe Price recommends to its retired investors that they maintain 55% of their liquid assets in equities (stock), 35% of their liquid assets in bonds and the remaining 10% in cash. Putnam Institute suggests that retirees should have, at the most, a quarter of their liquid assets in stocks. Which is the correct approach?

Financial Planners

The best approach to deal with your assets when you’re either close to retirement or in retirement depends on a variety of circumstances concerning your lifestyle. The most informed method to make long term plans is to hire a financial planner. Financial planners can provide you with estimates of what your necessary income will be over time. They can also run “what if” scenarios concerning investment strategies. Investors who use financial planners are less likely to overreact to market fluctuations. Financial planners will help you develop an investment strategy dealing with issues concerning risk tolerance and financial goals. Expert advice in this situation is the way to go.

Estate Planning

Do you have a will? If you die without a will, the State of New York or the state you are living in at the time of your death will decide who inherits your assets. Since no one lives forever, estate planning is a good idea.

Issues involving wills, probate, executors, revocable trusts, irrevocable trusts and elder care concerns are the type of issues that an estate planning or elder care attorney can assist you with. The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo has been assisting its clients for more than 30 years with estate planning issues. Feel free to give us a call for a free consultation at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

Good Will Hunting

If you have assets, young children, and/or a house you should have a will. So you have a will. That’s great! Have you updated your will within the last two decades? If your will is more than 10 years old, you should consider updating it.

Changes In Your Life

As you grow older, the reasons for writing a will may have changed. You initially may have written a will to deal with who will raise your children in the event both parents die. You may have assisted one or more of your children with financial issues and seek to even things out when you pass. There are numerous reasons for updating your will. Your will should be up to date. An outdated will runs the risk of  not serving you or your family’s needs.

Will Evaluation

The American Bar Association maintains a guide entitled “Guide to Wills and Estates.” This guide discusses a variety of situations that may require a will to be reevaluated. The first is the death of your spouse. Divorce or death of some of your beneficiaries would also be a significant reason to update your will.

Grandchildren

Do you have grandchildren? You can make financial arrangements for your grandchildren in your will. If your grandchildren were born after you wrote your will, your will needs to be updated.

Tax Issues

At the time you wrote your will, you may not have had a significant estate. Your financial situation may have changed. You may need a more sophisticated estate plan to avoid estate tax issues.

A Significant Other

If you have a significant other and you are not married to this person, they will not be able to live in your house, or your apartment if you do not have a will. The best way to determine whether your will is adequate is to meet with an estate planning attorney and discuss all of the issues raised in this article.

Wills and Trusts Lawyer

The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo has been assisting our clients for more than 30 years in dealing with wills, probate, contesting wills, issues involving executors, revocable trusts, irrevocable trusts, elder law issues, as well as Medicaid issues and Medicaid planning techniques.

Should you have questions concerning any or the aforementioned items, feel free to give us a call at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

Borrowing Against Retirement Accounts

When Americans face financial stress they turn to their retirement accounts for liquid assets.  Pensions, 401K plans and 403B plans are where Americans are turning to for quick infusions of cash.

In this past year borrowing from retirement accounts hit new highs.  It is estimated that more than 15% of all individuals who have money in retirement accounts have borrowed from these accounts.  Are Americans borrowing to the point that they won’t have sufficient funds when they retire?  According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, more than a quarter of all retirement plans have outstanding loans against them.

The Effect of Borrowing From Retirement Accounts

Retirement accounts are designed to maximize compounded returns on your investments.  Financial advisers believes most people do not have the discipline to pay back the loans against their retirement accounts and are therefore discounting the funds available when they retire.  If you lose your job or change your employment, you will be unable to pay back the outstanding loan on your retirement account.  If you borrow money against your retirement account and pay a portion of it back and thereafter are fired or moved to a new job, the unpaid portion will be considered a taxable distribution and taxed at income tax rates. You can also be stuck paying a 10% penalty if you default on paying back the loan against your retirement account.

New York Estate Planning Lawyer

Everyone will eventually die.  The issue we face is we don’t know when this will take place.  From my point of view, the later the better! When you pass on you want to simplify the issues your loved ones will face on your estate.  The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo can help you achieve this goal.  We draft wills. We probate wills. We litigate contested will issues.  We can advise you regarding issues concerning estate taxes.

We draft revocable living trusts and irrevocable trusts.  We also draft special needs trusts for special needs children.  We can advise you concerning medicaid planning techniques and other medicaid issues. We litigate nursing home abuse cases.

We are estate planning, probate and elder care attorneys.  Call us for a free consultation regarding wills, trusts and estate matters

Baby Boomers Afraid to Retire

retire-150x150Baby boomers are afraid to retire. There are 77 million baby boomers who were born between the years 1946 and 1964. This large group of Americans are getting ready to retire,but do they have the resources to retire. Twenty five percent of the baby boomers claim they will never retire! A large majority of the baby boomers look at social security as the main stay of their income after retirement.

Personal Savings Have Been Reduced

The majority of the baby boomers claim their retirement funds, their pensions, their 401K plans and savings have lost value during the past three years of the economic crisis in the United States.

The majority of the baby boomers expect to work even after they are retired. The cost of maintaining health insurance and health care expenses are one of the main reasons baby boomers are afraid to retire.

Baby Boomers Without Savings

A quarter of the baby boomers have no retirement savings whatsoever. The large majority of this group are non white and have only a high school education.

Unrealistic Expectations In Retirement

The majority of Americans who retire have to scale back their expenses. To live within their means, they need to live a more modest lifestyle. Unfortunately, many baby boomers don’t get it. They think they’ll be able to live the same life style after retirement without adequate savings, pensions or 401Ks to support them. Cheryl Garet, of the Garet Planning Network, stated “most families have to make an adjustment from their working life to their retirement years.” Advertisements that show happy, relaxed couples strolling on the beach in a retirement community are unfortunately not the norm.

New York Wills and Trusts Lawyer

The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo has been assisting senior Americans regarding wills and trusts issues for more than thirty years. We draft wills and trusts. We probate wills. We litigate will contests. We draft special needs trusts for special needs children. Elliot S. Schlissel is a member of The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. He handles elder care planning related to Medicare, Medicaid and nursing home issues.

If you have issues involving wills, trusts, estates, elder care or guardianship, we can help you. Call us for a free consultation.

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