Asset management and wealth transition are complex, especially in New York. Merlino & Gonzalez, an accomplished estate planning and real estate law practice with offices on Staten Island and in East Brunswick, NJ, is well-positioned to guide you through, ensuring your hard-earned assets are protected, maximized, and seamlessly passed on.
Whether you are at the stage of acquiring properties, contemplating retirement, or ensuring the smooth transition of assets to the next generation, there are several pivotal areas worthy of your attention: Will-based estate planning, trust-based estate planning, estate settlement, and real estate:
1. Wills and Estate Planning: Your Blueprint for the Future
The elements of will-based estate planning may seem deceptively simple, but you will appreciate having our highly skilled attorneys at your side as you:
- Define objectives: Let us help you craft a vision for how you want your assets used for a fulfilling future and retirement, as well as for your loved ones after you pass away and to support charities and/or causes or institutions close to your heart.
- Name your beneficiaries and your executor: Designating your beneficiaries and precisely what you want them to inherit, and naming a trusted person to carry out your wishes, are important reasons for creating a will. In your will, you will also designate a guardian for your minor children, a top priority for parents.
- Update Documentation: It is crucial to keep your documents current as your life changes. Events like marriage, birth, death, and alterations in financial or health situations must be addressed as they arise.
- Tax Implications: We will help you make sure your estate plan minimizes your tax burden, allowing your beneficiaries to receive the maximum inheritance you want them to have.
- Incapacity Planning: Since the future is full of unexpected occurrences, we all have to prepare for sudden injury or illness that could prevent us from making legal, financial, or healthcare decisions. To this end, our legal team will help you draft and execute the following documents: Health Care Proxy, Durable Power of Attorney, Living Will, and HIPAA release form.
- Business Succession: If you are a business owner, your business is a central part of your legacy. We will work hard to make sure that it is passed on to the next generation according to your wishes or sold to provide increased wealth to your family.
2. Estate Settlement in New York
Settling an estate involves more than merely reading a will. Court processes, probate formalities, and other legal requirements need careful attention. Merlino & Gonzalez will help you to understand the duties of estate administration, whether you are authorizing an executor to perform them after you die or you have been appointed an executor of another person’s estate. These duties include:
- Validation of the Will through probate to ensure that the will is legally valid and acknowledged by the court.
- Opening an estate bank account
- Investing estate funds wisely to preserve and increase their value
- Inventorying assets from tangible ones like real estate, vehicles, and collections to intangible ones like stocks, bonds, and digital assets.
- Paying estate debts and taxes before assets can be distributed to beneficiaries.
- Distributing remaining assets to named beneficiaries either according to the terms of the Will or, in the absence of a Will, based on New York’s laws of intestate succession.
- Mediating disputes if there are conflicts among heirs, hopefully without litigation. If the Will is contested, our wills and trusts lawyers will forcefully support the executor as they protect the interests of the testator and make sure the named beneficiaries are treated fairly according to the Will’s stated terms.
3. New York Trusts You Can Depend On
Establishing trusts can be invaluable in estate planning, whether the estate is high-net-worth or not. Once we meet with you and discuss your particular circumstances, we will advise you about which type of trust(s) — living, revocable, or irrevocable — may be appropriate in your case. Trusts can, depending on how they are structured, serve a variety of purposes, such as:
- Protect your assets from excessive taxation, the cost and delays of probate, creditors, lawsuits, and claims of divorced spouses
- Provide for special needs family members while maintaining their eligibility for government benefits
- Protect spendthrift beneficiaries from squandering their inheritance
- Plan for incapacity in a way that maintains eligibility for Medicaid
- Plan for a secure retirement
- Plan for smooth business succession
- Establish a charitable, educational, or artistic legacy
Real Estate Matters in New York
At Merlino & Gonzalez, our real estate attorneys have the well-honed skills and extensive experience to handle all aspects of residential and commercial real estate. We also have a well-earned reputation for overseeing efficient, profitable real estate transactions for our clients. Because we are an integral part of the New York real estate field, we regularly connect and collaborate with trustworthy realtors, brokers, lenders, and title agencies.
Whether you are a buyer, seller or developer, we have the flexible perspective and insight to advise you on residential and commercial real estate matters, including:
- Valuations of property in the current market
- Real estate transactions, like selling, purchasing, and leasing houses, condos, co-ops, and commercial space
- Financing mortgages through banks and other financial institutions as well as through private financing
- Title insurance and searches
- Transfer of real estate assets
- Real estate development
- Land use and zoning issues
- Regulatory compliance
Why New Yorkers Choose Merlino & Gonzalez
We offer our estate planning and real estate clients the very best in customer service. We believe that having legal knowledge is only valuable when it is put to good use, so we provide excellent counsel as well as powerful representation. When you contact us, you will find that we are committed to:
- Paying close attention to your personal goals
- Taking note of the details of your distinct situation
- Meeting your individual needs
- Preparing your customized documents
- Accommodating your particular schedule
In other words, we will welcome your input and treat you with the personalized attention you deserve.
Contact Our Experienced New York Attorneys Today
We have a comprehensive understanding of how estate planning and real estate intersect and are therefore ready to assist you whether you need help in one or both areas. Give us a call or contact us on our website so we can begin formulating a strategy that works for you.