Establishing a carefully thought out plan should be a positive and empowering experience. It is one of the most important ways one can protect and provide for those we love, minimize tax burdens, and express our core values in the legacies we leave. New York estate planning attorneys at Jonna Spilbor Law believe that their first and most important job is to listen carefully to the client. Only then do they make recommendations and prepare documents tailored to the specific goals, needs, challenges and values of each client, couple and family.
The estate planning attorneys at Jonna Spilbor Law, located conveniently in Poughkeepsie New York, will help you to develop a comprehensive plan that takes into account both present goals and possible future contingencies, such as changes in tax laws, births or deaths of family members and others, and other changes in circumstance. We will counsel you with respect to lifetime gifting strategies, and strategies to avoid probate, including various forms of property ownership and beneficiary designations.
In addition, we offer special expertise for domestic partners, non-traditional families and members of the LGBT community, for whom it is crucial to have a plan in place, because without it the law will most often completely fail to recognize and protect the clients’ families of choice.
Our estate planning attorneys will assist you in addressing the different impacts of estate, gift and pension laws on for unmarried couples, providing for partners and children whose central importance in the client’s life may not be legally recognized. Our goal is to provide a knowledgeable and understanding environment in which to discuss each client’s, couple’s and family’s specific needs and objectives. Our services include:
- Wills and Trusts
- Powers of attorney
- Advance Directives / Living Wills and Health Care Proxies
- Other documents: Standby Guardianship for Minor Child, Authorizations for Anatomical Donation and Funeral Arrangements
Powers of Attorney
The term “power of attorney” means a legal document by which you appoint someone to act as your agent to carry out actions and transactions on your behalf. The agent named in a power of attorney need not be an attorney—in fact, most often it is a trusted family member, friend or colleague who would be willing and able to step in to handle your financial and other affairs if ever needed.
A general power of attorney can authorize your chosen agent to handle some or all of the following types of transactions for you:
- Entering safety deposit boxes
- Buying/selling property
- Purchasing life insurance or making claims
- Settling legal disputes
- Entering into contracts
- Exercising stock rights
- Buying, managing, or selling real estate
- Filing taxes
- Claiming government benefits
- Making gifts and charitable donations
- Transferring assets to a Living Trust or for Medicaid planning
- Limited, or special, powers of attorney allow your agent to act in specific circumstances or transactions.
Advance Directives / Living Wills and Health Care Proxies
Our New York based estate planning attorneys will help you prepare Health Care Proxies, which authorize someone of your choosing to make medical decisions for you if you are not able to do so yourself. Typically Health Care Proxies also includes a waiver of medical confidentiality so that your chosen health care agent can obtain information from your doctors and other medical providers. Advance Directives or Living Wills set forth your specific wishes regarding end of life care, including any limitations you would want on medical procedures that might only prolong the process of dying with no realistic hope of improvement.
Plans for domestic partners and same-sex spouses
This highly specialized area of law requires estate planning attorneys who are both knowledgeable about the relevant laws and creative in applying those laws to the best advantage of domestic partners and same sex spouses, who lack the benefit of many legal protections, including the tax-free transfer of assets, that heterosexual spouses enjoy.
A few special circumstances to consider in designing a plan for domestic partners and same-sex spouses are:
- Strategies to avoid or minimize estate and gift taxes
- Protecting the surviving partner’s entitlement to the couple’s home and its contents
- Passing other assets to the surviving partner
- Empowering the surviving partner to act as executor and/or trustee of the estate
- Ensuring recognition of the surviving partner as the co-parent or legal guardian of the couple’s children
- Designating the partner as the beneficiary of retirement or pension funds, life insurance and other important benefits
- Preparing contingency plans in the event neither partner survives so that children or other intended beneficiaries are provided for