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Elder Law

Need help planning for Medicaid or setting up a Medicaid trust? Our award winning elder law team will solve your legal needs fast & efficiently. Help us navigate your golden years by make sure that your assets are protected and your family’s finances are secure.

Estate Planning

Recognizing that we will not be here forever and that one of the greatest gifts we can give our loved ones is peace mind is the basis for every estate planning meeting we have at our firm. We use tools such as wills and living trusts to pass assets to loved ones and we prepare advance directives such as health care proxies, living wills, and powers of attorney so that decisions can be made in your best interest even if you are unable to make them. The end result is a comprehensive and effective estate plan which allows you to sleep well at night.

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New York’s spousal right of election laws- Clarified

NY has laws that outline what and what not a person is entitled to in terms of his spouse’s relation to the estate. Did you ever think of disinheriting a loved one? Perhaps you found out someone cut you off the will and you do not know what to do. Roman Aminov will share his expertise with us again and enlighten us with everything we need to know about disinheriting a spouse & NY’s right of election. Roman has wrote award winning publications all over the internet and let’s just say “he’s done it again.” Click on the link above and read this masterpiece. We promise you that you’ll become an expert at spousal right of election laws outlined in NY’s EPTL 5-1.1A.

Opening Safe Deposit Box After Death: The NY Law

Believe it or not, many people who lose their loved ones cannot access their safe deposit box after death. There are many implications to this because the NY law requires safety deposit boxes be opened after someone passes away in order to ensure that there is no last will or anything else in the box that can stop probate. Roman Aminov deals with this issue often as many get stuck and cannot begin the probate process because of these issues like this. Roman, is all his wisdom will again guide you through the mess that these deposit boxes can cause and make sure you don’t fall into a legal trap.

How to Deal with a Small Estate in New York

When a person dies in New York, it’s customary for the decedent’s estate to be handled through a probate process. However, an estate doesn’t always have to go through probate. If the estate value doesn’t reach a certain threshold, for instance, it’s considered a “small estate.” In New York, if the deceased left personal property worth less than $30,000, that means the assets can be distributed directly to the heirs and beneficiaries without the involvement of a formal probate court. When dealing with personal property, it doesn’t matter if the decedent left a Last Will and Testament or not. What matters is the dollar value of the assets left. The good news is that if the deceased’s assets fall below New York’s small estate limit ($30,000), the loved ones can use a more straightforward, shorter probate procedure popularly known as summary probate. There are some cases whereby the deceased’s estate can be ruled not to be a “small estate” even if it’s worth less than $30,000. If there’s a potential for wrongful death or other forms of legal suits being brought up in the future, it is best to file for an administrative proceeding instead. If the deceased owned exclusively (not jointly) a real estate property (land, house, building, etc.), then it’s not considered to be a small estate. If that is the case and there is a will, the named estate representative should file for a probate proceeding within a statutory period. Otherwise, if there is no will, the court will appoint an executor. It is worth noting, however, that if the deceased owned property valued less than $30,000 jointly with someone else, then it’s considered as per New York law to be a small estate.

Filing for a Small Estate

Again, with summary probate, the loved ones can avoid probate court proceedings altogether. Instead, the executor will have to fill out a simple form and hold off for a given period of time before distributing the deceased’s assets. There are two instances you need to think about when filing for a small estate in New York.

It the decedent had drafted up a will with a lawyer, the nominated person should file a certified copy of the death certificate, the original Last Will & Testament, small estate affidavit petition and a raft of other relevant documents. When there’s no Will, the court can appoint a representative of the estate. The filing fee in New York is $1.

How to Determine if the Deceased’s Estate is a “Small Estate”

Start off by making a list (perhaps a spreadsheet) of all the decedent’s assets. Remember not all assets owned by the decedent counts toward the estate value. Retirement benefits, 401K, joint tenancy, POD and TOD accounts, beneficiary designations, brokerage accounts, and real estate transferred by TOD deed, for instance, doesn’t count when calculating the small estate limit. Moreover, if the deceased had a life insurance policy with an express beneficiary named, the proceeds will also not count.

Distribution of Assets of a Small Estate

Once the deceased estate has been determined to be below New York small estate limit and there’s a Will, the representative will fill out a simple form and wait out. As soon as the statutory time elapses, the executor can distribute the decedent asset to the rightful heirs and beneficiaries.

If the deceased left no Will, the executor would have to file a petition through expedited summary probate. It turns out, New York’s intestacy law doesn’t allow for the use of affidavit procedure. The summary probate helps appoint an executor who will distribute the assets to the right parties.

Negligence In Nursing Homes: The Sad New Trend

As elderly medical centers look to cut costs, nursing home, rehabilitation center and hospital negligence is on the rise. As the old saying goes, “when the cat’s away, the mice will play”, the nurses being the mice and the patients children the cat. Senior citizens are often neglected because they are not in a cognitive state to complain or fight back. Lazy and or cruel staff members take advantage of this weakness to dangerous points. For example, many of the falls and bed sores in nursing homes are completely attributed to nursing malpractice. We hear these stories on the news all the time and we always think that they will not happen to our loved one, that’s simply not true. Everyone has to wake up and take action. For every doubt you have regarding the care of your loved one simply pick up the phone and call a nursing home or senior care lawyer that will fight for your legal rights. Even if your senior care practitioner missed just one potential opportunity where they could of moved your loved ones body part and did not you should take action. Just one missed body move that could have led to the bedsore. Let’s all fight back and make sure that Queens, NY residents will not fall victim to senior care negligence. Let’s get aggressive and protect our loved ones.

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