Brooklyn, New York, with its diverse population, gorgeous botanical gardens, cultural centers, and warm, welcoming vibe, is a magnet for new residents, businesses, and visitors alike. Moreover, many Brooklynites looking to expand, downsize, or change their venue are eager to remain in their chosen borough. The well-informed ones know that when it comes to estate planning real estate transactions and investments, Merlino & Gonzalez provides outstanding legal services.
From our offices in Staten Island and East Brunswick, our seasoned attorneys offer a broad range of estate planning and real estate services. We also have in-depth knowledge concerning Medicaid eligibility and elder care options. Our reputation for individualized, caring responses to client needs is well-deserved. You can rely on us to listen carefully to your unique circumstances and tailor our advice to meet your situation.
Whether you are building a business or career, contemplating retirement, planning for potential incapacity, or concerned with transferring your assets to your heirs, as you look toward the future, we are here to help.
Why Brooklynites Choose Merlino & Gonzalez
Brooklyn residents and business owners are known to be savvy consumers so they are attracted by our:
- Astute legal counsel
- Prompt response time
- Customized plans and documents
- Flexible scheduling options
- Clear translations of legalese
- Informed, compassionate responses to personal concerns
You can be sure that when you work with the lawyers at Merlino & Gonzalez, you will receive the attention and respect you deserve.
Understanding Brooklyn Real Estate
Our long-term connections to respectable realtors, brokers, lenders, and title agencies give us a distinct advantage in facilitating real estate matters. Our extensive experience allows us to vary our perspective depending on whether you are a buyer, seller, or developer. You can count on us to provide you with insight that is well-researched and up-to-date in regard to:
- Transfer of real estate assets
- Title searches and insurance
- Regulatory compliance
- Real estate transactions
- Real estate development
- Land use and zoning issues
- Current property valuations
- Mortgage financing through banks, credit unions,
other financial institutions, or private financing
As you deal with real estate issues, our capable attorneys will provide you with practical advice that aligns with your best interests.
Estate Planning in Brooklyn
Estate planning is essential in terms of preserving and protecting wealth, minimizing taxes, protecting minor children, preparing for retirement pleasures and the challenges of incapacity, and allowing a smooth transfer of assets to your loved ones when you die. There are two basic types of estate planning: will-based and trust-based. Depending on the state and nature of your finances, our estate planning attorneys will help you decide which type is best for you.
Whether you decide on a will-based or trust-based estate plan, we will:
- Take the proper steps to minimize your taxes so that your beneficiaries receive their maximum inheritance.
- Create a workable business succession plan if you are a business owner
- Update pertinent documents to reflect life changes
- Create all documents necessary for potential incapacity, including a Health Care Proxy, Durable Power of Attorney, Living Will, and HIPAA release form.
Will-Based Estate Planning in Brooklyn
A will is an important document that accomplishes several tasks:
- Distributing the estate assets
- Naming beneficiaries and what they will inherit
- Designating your executor to administer your estate
- Naming a guardian for your minor children
If you die intestate (without a will), your accumulated assets will be distributed according to the intestate succession laws of New York and you will have no say in the matter. Intestate succession is based entirely on bloodline, regardless of emotional ties.
Trust-Based Estate Plans
While will-based estate plans are suitable for some of our clients, others, particularly those with high-net-worth and/or complex estates, are better served by establishing trusts. During our initial consultation with you, we will ask you pertinent questions to assess which type of estate plan is most suitable for you and your family. We will discuss various kinds of trusts — living, revocable, and irrevocable — and the differences between them, then focus on individual trusts that may be helpful in your case, such as a charitable trust, a special needs trust, or a spendthrift trust.
We will make you aware of the wide variety of trusts available, each designed for a special purpose, such as:
- Protecting assets from expensive and time-consuming probate, excessive taxation, creditors, lawsuits, and claims of ex-spouses
- Protecting family members with special needs while maintaining their eligibility for government benefits
- Protecting spendthrift beneficiaries from their own worst impulses
- Planning for potential incapacity while maintaining Medicaid eligibility
- Planning for a well-funded retirement
- Planning for a smooth business succession
- Establishing a charitable, educational, or artistic legacy
Settling Your Estate
Settling an estate can be complicated, whether you’re considering the process in terms of choosing an executor or taking on the role of executor for someone else’s estate. Our lawyers will familiarize you with the details of administering an estate, including dealing with probate and drafting and executing necessary legal documents. Most of all, we will clarify the duties and fiduciary responsibilities of an executor which include:
- Having the will validated by the court
- Opening an estate bank account
- Investing estate funds wisely to preserve and increase their value
- Gathering and inventorying assets, both tangible ones (e.g. real estate, vehicles) and intangible ones (e.g. digital assets, stocks, and bonds).
- Filing a final estate tax return
- Paying estate taxes if necessary
- Paying off debts and loans
- Distributing remaining assets to named beneficiaries or, if there is no will, according to the New York laws of intestate succession
- Mediating disputes that may arise among beneficiaries, preferably without litigation
- Handling a will contest if necessary
Our skilled estate administration lawyers will familiarize you with the facts you need to know and guide you through the process of administering an estate as seamlessly as possible.
Contact Our Experienced Brooklyn Real Estate and Estate Planning Attorneys Today
From buying and selling property to planning for your financial future, Merlino & Gonzalez is the firm of choice. Call us today to schedule your initial consultation.