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Poughkeepsie Estate Planning Attorneys

As the founding attorney of Jonna Spilbor Law, located in the heart of the Hudson Valley, I’m Jonna Spilbor, and I’m here to assure you that when it comes to estate planning, you’ve come to the right place. Jonna Spilbor Law isn’t just your run-of-the-mill law firm in Poughkeepsie; we’re your legal advocates, serving clients throughout Dutchess County and the entire Hudson Valley. We don’t just practice law; we’re deeply ingrained in our community, dedicated to addressing your specific legal needs, particularly in the realm of estate planning and asset protection.

Estate Planning Law revolves around securing the future of individuals and families by preparing for the management and distribution of assets in the event of incapacitation or death. It’s about ensuring that your wishes are honored and your loved ones are provided for. This area of law encompasses a wide array of strategies and documents tailored to individual needs.

Consider wills and trusts, for instance; they form the cornerstone of most estate plans, dictating how assets are distributed and managed after one’s passing. Crafting these documents requires meticulous attention to detail and a deep understanding of estate planning laws and tax implications. But the intricacies continue beyond there. Estate Planning Law also encompasses areas like powers of attorney, healthcare directives, and guardianship provisions, each playing a crucial role in safeguarding your interests and protecting your loved ones.

At Jonna Spilbor Law, we recognize that estate planning is a deeply personal matter with far-reaching implications. Our approach centers on understanding your unique circumstances – your family dynamics, financial goals, and legacy aspirations – and tailoring a comprehensive estate plan that reflects your wishes. We’re here to guide you through the maze of legal complexities, advocating fiercely for your interests and ensuring that your legacy endures for generations to come.

Estate Planning In New York

Estate planning is a critical process for anyone who wants to ensure their assets and loved ones are taken care of after they pass away. It involves making precise, legal arrangements for the management and distribution of your estate, which includes all the property you own at the time of your death. The importance of estate planning cannot be overstated. It allows us to have a say in who receives our assets, ensures that our loved ones are provided for, and can significantly reduce the stress and financial burden on our families during an already difficult time.

In New York, estate planning is governed by a set of laws and regulations that dictate how estates are managed and inherited. These laws are designed to ensure that the wishes of the deceased are respected while also protecting the rights of heirs and beneficiaries. As we walk you through this outline, you’ll gain a comprehensive understanding of estate planning in New York, including the essential documents you’ll need, key considerations to keep in mind, and common pitfalls to avoid.

Understanding Estate Planning Documents


A will is a foundational document in estate planning. It outlines your wishes regarding how your assets should be distributed upon your death and can appoint a guardian for minor children. Without a will, your estate will be distributed according to New York’s intestacy laws, which may not align with your personal wishes.


Trusts are versatile estate planning tools that allow you to have more control over how and when your assets are distributed. They can also offer tax benefits and help avoid the time-consuming and public process of probate. There are various types of trusts, each with its own advantages, and selecting the right one depends on your specific needs and goals.

Powers of Attorney

A Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone to manage your financial affairs if you become incapacitated. This document is essential for ensuring that your finances are handled according to your wishes, even if you’re unable to make decisions yourself.

Healthcare Directives

Healthcare directives, including living wills and healthcare proxies, allow you to outline your wishes for medical treatment and appoint someone to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you cannot do so yourself. These documents are crucial for maintaining your autonomy and ensuring your healthcare preferences are respected.

Key Considerations in Estate Planning

The first step in estate planning is taking inventory of your assets and accurately valuing them. This includes everything from real estate and bank accounts to personal belongings and digital assets. Understanding the full scope of your estate is essential for effective planning.

It’s vital to carefully consider who you designate as beneficiaries on accounts like life insurance policies and retirement accounts. These designations can supersede instructions in a will, so it’s important to ensure they align with your overall estate planning goals.

Estate planning can also involve strategies to minimize taxes, such as estate tax, inheritance tax, and gift tax. By understanding and utilizing these strategies, we can help ensure more of our assets pass to our beneficiaries.

Estate planning isn’t just about what happens after you pass away; it’s also about protecting yourself and your assets if you become incapacitated. Documents like Powers of Attorney and healthcare directives are essential for this aspect of planning.

Special Considerations in New York Estate Planning

New York Estate Tax

New York has its own estate tax, which applies to estates exceeding a certain value. Understanding how this tax works and planning accordingly is crucial for residents to minimize the estate tax burden on their heirs.

Homestead Exemption

New York offers a homestead exemption, which can protect a portion of your home’s value from creditors. This exemption is an important consideration, especially for homeowners looking to protect their primary residence within their estate plan.

Medicaid Planning

Given the high cost of long-term care, Medicaid planning has become an essential part of estate planning for many New Yorkers. Proper planning can help ensure eligibility for Medicaid, should you require long-term care in the future, while preserving assets for your heirs.

Choosing Executors, Trustees, and Guardians

Executors, trustees, and guardians play critical roles in carrying out your estate plan. Executors manage the probate process, trustees manage trusts according to your instructions, and guardians care for minor children or incapacitated adults. Understanding these roles is key to making informed choices.

When selecting executors, trustees, and guardians, consider their ability to manage responsibilities, their understanding of your wishes, and their willingness to serve. It’s also wise to have backups in case your first choice is unable to fulfill their role.

Common Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid

Failing to Update Estate Planning Documents

One of the most common mistakes is not keeping estate planning documents up to date. Life changes such as marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, or the acquisition of significant assets necessitate updates to your estate plan to reflect your current wishes and circumstances.

Neglecting Digital Assets

In today’s digital age, it’s important to recognize digital assets such as social media accounts, online banking accounts, and digital currencies. Including these in your estate plan ensures they are managed according to your wishes.

Overlooking Probate Avoidance Strategies

Finally, many people need to utilize strategies that can help avoid the probate process, which can be time-consuming and costly. Utilizing trusts, joint ownerships, and beneficiary designations are effective ways to ensure that assets pass directly to beneficiaries, bypassing probate.

Estate planning is a complex but essential process. By understanding the key documents, considerations, and strategies involved, we can create effective estate plans that protect our assets, provide for our loved ones, and ensure our wishes are honored.

The Right Law Firm is Right Here

When it comes to estate planning, the stakes are significant, and the repercussions of inadequate planning can be far-reaching. That’s why having knowledgeable legal guidance by your side is essential. At Jonna Spilbor Law, we understand the complexities of estate planning and the profound impact it can have on your family’s future. Our team of experienced estate planning attorneys brings years of experience to every case we handle. We are well-versed in New York’s estate planning laws and regulations, enabling us to offer strategic and comprehensive counsel to our clients.

If you or a loved one is considering estate planning, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with Jonna Spilbor Law. During your consultation, we will attentively listen to your goals, assess your unique circumstances, and provide you with honest and dependable legal advice. Don’t navigate the complexities of estate planning alone – let our seasoned estate planning attorneys serve as your trusted guides and advocates. To schedule a consultation, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Poughkeepsie office at (845) 485-2529. Your family’s financial future deserves meticulous planning, and at Jonna Spilbor Law, we’re here to ensure that your estate is protected for generations to come.

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