Answers To Frequently Asked Estate Law Questions

At the Law Office of Illana D. Leiser, we receive many inquiries about estate law, wills and trusts. This page has answers to a few of the most common questions that we have received. If you do not see your question or would like to speak with an attorney, please call (212) 859-5078 for a free consultation.

If I just had my first child, do I need a will?

A will can help you designate who will care for your child in the case of your demise and name a party to manage your property and assets. As a parent, a will ensures that you choose the guardians to care for your child if anything should happen.

Do I need an estate plan if my estate is not large enough to be taxed?

Even if your estate is relatively small, a will or trust can be helpful. An estate plan can give you a great deal of flexibility to distribute your assets among family members, non-family members, or charities, within certain legal constraints. In addition, certain types of trusts may enable your estate to avoid probate, so that your loved ones receive their intended gifts much faster and with fewer legal hurdles. Having an estate plan helps ensure that your wishes are carried out and those closest to you receive their intended gifts.

What should I do if my grandparent/parent passed away without a will?

If your grandparent or parent passes away without a will, their estate will be subject to "intestate succession" laws. The court will use specific rules to divide the estate among the closest surviving relatives, such as a spouse, children, grandchildren, or others.

The division of assets or property between multiple children or grandchildren can become complex and some assets do not fall under intestate laws. If you wish to represent the estate as an administrator, we can help you understand your duties and follow the appropriate procedures. If you believe that you may be entitled to a share of the estate, we can help you understand your rights and, if needed, pursue your fair portion.

Can a special needs trust help my disabled child?

A special needs trust, also called a supplement needs trust, is a powerful legal tool that can help a disabled beneficiary maintain a high quality of life. A special needs trust can help your child purchase a home, pay for medical services not covered by Medicaid and shield excess income to prevent Medicaid disqualification.

Why do I need a power of attorney or health care proxy if I have family members who will take care of me if anything happens?

A power of attorney and health care proxy are important so that you can choose who will make decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. Without these documents, the courts may appoint a guardian to manage your affairs, which can be a costly and time-intensive process.

Talk To A Lawyer Who Can Answer All Your Questions

We cannot cover everything on this page so if you have questions please call (212) 859-5078 or email our attorney directly. We offer free consultations to clients throughout New York City and the extended metropolitan area, including Nassau and Westchester counties.