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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

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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.

Surrogate Judge Accused of Letting Lawyer Friends Overcharge

legal-150x146The investigators have accused Bronx Surrogate Judge Lee Holtzman of letting his attorney friends overcharge Bronx residents who died without wills for the handling of their estates. Judge Holtzman has been accused of letting lawyers, including his chief campaign fundraiser, responsible for client’s estates to remain with him for more than ten years without the appropriate legal action being taken.

The commission investigating Judge Holtzman has made recommendations that disciplinary action be taken against him. The disciplinary actions can result in the Judge’s removal and/or other penalties.

Cronyism in the Bronx

Judge Holtzman’s top fundraiser lawyer friend is Michael Lippman. Mr. Lippman raised $125,000 for Judge Holtzman’s 2001 judicial campaign. He was appointed as the attorney for the Public Administrator of Bronx County. His job was to oversee the estates of individuals who died without wills and closely related next of kin. The complaint by the Judicial Commission states that between the years 1995 and 2009, Judge Holtzman approved legal fees for Michael Lippman without appropriate documentation that Attorney Lippman had completed the necessary legal work to earn these legal fees. Mr. Lippman was allowed to collect advances on his legal fees at a time when he was in financial difficulty. His financial difficulties included over a $1,000,000 in gambling debts and owing more than $400,000 on a mortgage.

Michael Lippman, Esq. Arrested

Michael Lippman was arrested in 2010. He was charged with billing $300,000 for legal work he didn’t perform. He pled not guilty and the case is still pending in the courts.

The complaint against Surrogate Judge Holtzman stated that he had “allowed a social political… relationship to influence his judicial conduct.” The commission, in its investigation, found Judge Holtzman ignored the fact Michael Lippman was inappropriately billing estates for legal services. Judge Holtzman, through his attorney, David Godosky, claimed the commission’s allegations were untrue, and Judge Holtzman was deceived by Michael Lippman.

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Wills, Trusts and Estates Law Firm

Elliot S. Schlissel, Esq. has used his expertise, experience and knowledge of the courts to handle probate and will contest matters before the Surrogate’s Court for more than three decades. In addition, he handles estate planning, elder care matters, Medicaid planning issues, special needs trusts and all other issues involving executors and the beneficiaries of estates. Feel free to call our office for a free consultation at 516-561-6645, 1-800-344- 6431 or 718-350-2802.

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