Wills, Trust & Estate Planning

Everyone needs an estate plan, whether you have considerable property or are of average means. However, many people - even wealthy people - do not go through the process because they do not like to think about their own deaths. Here at Montalbano, Condon & Frank, P.C. we are sensitive to this. We undertake estate planning with awareness and concern while ensuring that our clients' wishes are documented.

Estate planning services

Depending on the circumstances, an estate plan can be simple or complex. We tailor estate plans to the situations of our clients. Some of the services we provide include:

  • Drafting wills and establishing trusts
  • Planning to reduce tax liability
  • Gift tax compliance
  • Valuing assets
  • Insurance review
  • Guardianships for minor children
  • Power of Attorney
  • Living wills
  • Health care proxies
  • Sale or transfer of assets to distribute them more evenly and reduce tax liability
  • Establishing guardianships for developmentally disabled or frail adults
  • Planning for the client's incapacity
  • Asset protection planning
  • HIPAA authorizations
  • Establish private foundations.

Estate planning = assurance

Clients who undertake the planning required by the estate planning process know that their property will be distributed as they wish after their deaths. They know that their minor children will be taken care of. They know that they will be treated as they wish in the event of protracted illness at the end of life. Our attorneys find that even clients who were reluctant to discuss such matters complete the process with confidence and peace of mind.

The primary mechanism used in estate planning is a will, a trust or both. Our estate planning lawyers at Montalbano, Condon & Frank, P.C., draft wills and create trusts that work to preserve assets, distribute property and carry out the wishes of the client after his or her death. Without a will or trust, the state will distribute your property after you die. It may not perform this task as you would have wished.

Meeting your goals with a will or trust

Consulting an experienced lawyer about a will or trust often allays peoples' fears. Whatever the size of the estate, our lawyers make sure that you use the correct instrument to pass your assets along to your family, charity or other heirs.

Examples of trust instruments

In addition to drafting a simple will, we establish trusts that can preserve assets and reduce taxes. We use trust instruments such as:

  • Revocable trusts. Similar to a will, a revocable trust has the advantage of not passing through probate, preserving privacy.
  • Irrevocable trusts. Irrevocable trusts are often used to own life insurance policies, reducing estate tax liability. When this happens, the trust is called a life insurance trust.
  • Special need trusts. These trusts are often used to provide for disabled adult children. Also called a supplemental trust.
  • Charitable remainder trusts. This trust instrument provides for current tax deductions and cash flow while preserving assets not subject to capital gains tax for the recipient after the death of the testator.
  • Generation skipping trust. This trust is designed to reduce the tax liability of the testator's children by giving the assets to the next generation, i.e., the grandchildren. Usually this instrument is used in high-value estates.

New York State has limits on the duration of a trust. It is important to consult with a knowledgeable trust lawyer to learn which trust best fits your situation and meets your goals.