What’s Best for Your Estate Planning Needs?

Taxes, unique family relationships and the complex needs of loved ones can complicate estate planning. Many people are confused about which options — wills or trusts — are best. Estate planning in New York, however, is intimately personal and should be tailored to each individual’s specific needs.

At Makofsky & Associates, P.C., our founding lawyer is a Certified Elder Law Attorneys on Long Island with years of experience guiding individuals and families through the estate planning process. We believe in explaining the options and clearly identifying the advantages and disadvantages of each option. This understanding enables you to make informed decisions as you work closely with us to develop your estate planning strategy.

To schedule an appointment, call (516) 228-6522 or contact us online. Our estate planning and elder law office is located in Garden City, New York, and we serve Nassau County, the rest of Long Island, and the surrounding areas.

Wills Versus Trusts: Understand the Options

  • Last will and testament: Most people understand the concept of a last will and testament — an instrument that allows you to name beneficiaries, specific gifts to beneficiaries, guardians for minor children and other important elections regarding the distribution of your assets. Wills can also include a number of testamentary trusts — trusts that are set up after your death.
  • Revocable trusts: A revocable trust can be used as an alternative to or in addition to a will. A revocable trust allows you to transfer your assets into the trust and manage the assets while you are alive and able. When you become incapable of managing the trust due to incapacity or death, a successor trustee will manage or distribute the assets directly to heirs according to instructions you make in the trust agreement. Learn more about other types of revocable and irrevocable trusts.

Benefits of Using a Trust Instead of a Will

When created and managed correctly, revocable trusts (also known as living trusts) can offer some benefits over the traditional last will and testament. Some of these benefits include:

  • Avoidance of probate: A will must be validated by the court in probate before the executor of your estate can gain control of your assets and make distributions to heirs per your instructions. Delays in probate can occur if the validity of the will is contested. A trust serves as a vehicle to avoid probate. Your assets are already under control of the trust and trustee. Therefore, the trustee can more quickly proceed with the administration of your estate per your instructions in the trust agreement (which can be modified at any time while you are still alive).

Avoidance of Probate In Another State If You Have Real Property In That State

Avoidance of the need to find missing distributees or contact distributees you are omitting as heirs. Distributees are those who would inherit under NY law if you had no will. For example, if you omit a child from your will the court will require that child’s consent to the terms of your will or open the door to that child to begin a will contest.

It is important to continue to fund the trust with assets acquired throughout your lifetime. Any assets that are not held in the trust at your death will require court involvement (probate) before passing to heirs.

Wills and Trusts Lawyers Serving Nassau and Suffolk County NY

If you would like to learn more about wills and trusts or discuss your circumstances with a skilled Long Island estate planning attorney, contact Makofsky & Associates, P.C.. Call us today at (516) 228-6522 or contact us online.


>>Return to Practice Area Overview<<