Wills & Trusts

Wills and Trusts are tools used in estate planning. There is a general misunderstanding that this subject should be of interest only to the rich and very rich.

Wills

A Will is a document in which a person declares what he or she wants done with his or her property at the time of his or her death. A Will has no effect until the person who wrote it, known as the testator, dies. The testator can revoke or change a Will any number of times and at anytime prior to his or her death.

A Will also allows a parent to name a guardian with whom any minor children left behind will live. If a person with minor children dies without a Will, the Surrogate’s Court, not the deceased parent, will decide who will be the children’s guardian.

If a person dies without a Will, they are said to have died “intestate”.  Their property will be distributed according to a Distribution Table established by New York State’s Estates, Powers and Trusts Law (EPTL §4-1.1), which may differ from the decedent’s intentions or wishes. Most of our clients find that the distributions made under intestacy do not reflect their intentions and so have us draft a Will for them.

Whether a Will is right for you and what it should do is unique to each client.

Trusts

A Trust provides for the management of the assets placed into the trust by the Creator (Settlor). Trusts created during a creator’s life are called Living Trusts; trusts created after death (i.e. in a Will) are called Testamentary Trusts. Trusts are either revocable or irrevocable.

A Revocable Living Trust provides for the management of the creator’s assets during his/her life and functions like a Will when the creator dies, by directing how his/her assets will be distributed. However, unlike a Will, upon the death of  the Creator, no probate is required. Such a Trust makes sense for people seeking to avoid the cost, delay and loss of privacy associated with probate.

An Irrevocable Living Trust is frequently used in Medicaid planning and provides benefits similar to a Revocable Living Trust, however, such a Trust has restrictions that make it less flexible than a Revocable Trust.

Whether a Trust is advisable and what type of Trust is preferred depends on each person’s goals and circumstances.

If you are interested in making an appointment to develop your estate plan, please call us at 518-869-1205 or click here to use our contact form for an appointment and to discuss our fees.

Please download, fill out and print the Intake Form below to bring with you to your consultation.

These forms are “Fillable PDFs”, which means that if you open it with Adobe Acrobat Reader you can fill out the form and save it on your computer.  Then you can print them out with your entries and bring the filled out form with you to your consultation.  Click here to get the Free Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Note that other PDF readers and browser extensions maybe able to open the document but the form may not be compatible or you may be asked for password to open the file.  We recommend that you use the Free Adobe Acrobat Reader to have the best experience filling out this form if you choose to do it electronically.

You can also just print out the blank form, fill it in by hand and bring that with you to your consultation. Which ever works best for you will be fine with us.

These forms will help you clarify your thoughts concerning your Will, Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy, Living Will and Disposition of Remains.  They also help us understand your family and facilitate a focused and meaningful consultation, which will result in an estate plan tailored to your individual needs.

Download “Will Intake Form for Spouses”

Download “Will Intake Form for Individuals”

The Randall Law Firm can help you in all aspects of Elder Law
including Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts, Estate Administration,
Probate Law – Surrogate’s Court, Health Care Proxies, Living Wills,
Powers of Attorney, Medicaid Planning and Medicaid Trusts.

Please call us at 518-869-1205 or click here to use our contact form.