A well-drawn will and careful estate planning are crucial to protect and provide for your loved ones. No one wants to leave their estate in disarray with their wishes unclear, relatives in conflict, and children placed with guardians with whom they are not comfortable. But that is precisely what can happen where there is poor or no estate planning. Why would you risk this happening when we can make the estate planning process easy, economical and even pleasant.

Wills and EstatesAnyone who has children or any assets or debts, should have a properly drafted will, power of attorney and health care proxy. Some are under the misconception that only the extremely wealthy need and can afford estate planning. This is completely untrue. We at Rogers & Habas provide estate planning for all different types of clients in all different types of situations. We have extensive experience in drafting wills and trusts for our clients. We can guide you through the important decisions that need to be made and draft your will and/ or trust so they accurately reflect your particular wishes and concerns. We take a holistic approach to estate planning to make certain that the beneficiaries named on your life insurance policies and retirement plans as well as how your properties are titled are consistent with your wishes and estate documents. Additionally we consider tax implications and family dynamics to make certain your estate plan reaches your goals whether your goals are to minimize estate tax, avoid probate or protect your family’s assets while receiving government benefits such as disability or Medicaid.

In addition to your will or trust, we can also draft your health care proxy and power of attorney so that if you should become incapacitated, your decisions regarding your own health will be carried out and your finances will be taken care of. These are particular legal documents which must contain specific legal language. They can be critical in situations where you or a loved one suddenly become ill. Drafting such documents insures your wishes are followed and avoids your family having to take the time and expense to go to court to determine what steps should be taken on your behalf. Having a complete and accurate Power of Attorney can be crucial for individuals who may be in their declining years. A standard power of attorney will often not suffice in such a situation and can lead to the loss of a great deal of property to the ailing person’s family.

As life changes so should your estate planning documents. Whether we drafted your initial will or not, we often sit down with clients periodically to review their estate documents to be certain they still accomplish our client’s goals and conform with the current law. Additionally, if the law changes, as it did fairly recently in New York, we reach out to our clients whom may be impacted by such changes to be certain their estate plan is still viable. As a general guideline, we advise our clients to take out their wills and/or trusts and review them about every five years or after a large life event such as a remarriage, a divorce, the birth of children, the purchasing of a house, the receipt of inheritance, or the diagnosis of a serious health issue, just to name a few.

Not only do we have vast experience in drafting wills, revocable trusts, special needs trusts, life insurance trusts and Medicaid trusts, but we also regularly help our clients in probating an estate once a loved one has passed. This entails drafting and filing many documents with Surrogate’s Court and coordinating with family members, accountants and financial institutions to distribute the assets and close the estate. Our experience with probate not only permits us to help our clients during a difficult time, but keeps us on top of what the Surrogate’s Court requires a proper will to include.

Planning for the future so that your wishes are carried out, your assets are protected and your loved ones are taken care of, can be a daunting task. Having experienced and caring attorneys who can assist you, is crucial.