Whether you’re looking for a lovely residence with a suburban feel, an exciting business opportunity or sports stadium, a fascinating museum, or the site of two World’s Fairs, Queens may well exceed your expectations. While as ethnically diverse and accessible to Manhattan as the other boroughs, Queens has a working farm/museum with a distinctly rural flavor. Nonetheless, Queens residents and business owners are sophisticated enough to appreciate the excellent legal services of Merlino & Gonzalez.
With offices in Staten Island and East Brunswick, our law firm focuses on two essential practice areas: estate planning and real estate. Our accomplished attorneys are equally comfortable guiding our clients to housing and business locations and assisting them in planning for their futures.
We have comprehensive knowledge of everything from asset protection and Medicaid eligibility to wills and trusts, from New York zoning laws to mortgage rates. Our many clients from Queens rely on us to support them as they make crucial decisions regarding where they live and base their businesses as well as how they plan their retirements and their legacies.
Why Queens Residents Choose Merlino & Gonzalez
Savvy Queens residents and business owners seek out our attorneys because of our well-earned reputation for:
- Outstanding legal counsel
- Attentive client service
- Flexible scheduling options
- Individualized plans and documents
- Clear, unambiguous communication
- Empathic responses to personal concerns
Anyone who has worked with our lawyers will tell you that we are ethical, efficient, talented, and reliable.
Estate Planning in Queens
At Merlino & Gonzalez, our estate planning attorneys will offer you the legal support so essential to:
- Preserving and protecting your wealth
- Minimizing your taxes
- Protecting your minor children
- Planning for retirement
- Preparing for potential incapacity
- Allowing a smooth transfer of assets to your loved ones when you die
Depending on your financial status and the complexity of your estate, our lawyers will assist you in deciding whether your needs will be better served by a will-based or trust-based estate plan.
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 Queens
A will is invaluable since this document:
- Names your beneficiaries and what they will inherit
- Designates your executor, the person who will see that your final wishes are carried out
- Name a guardian for your minor children
- States your wishes regarding your funeral, burial/cremation, memorial service
If you die without a will (intestate), your accumulated assets will be distributed according to New York’s intestate succession laws. These laws are based entirely on bloodline connections; no consideration will be given to the duration or depth of your relationships.
Trust-Based Estate Plans in Queens
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, focusing on individual trusts that may be helpful in your case, such as a charitable trust or a special needs trust.
We will familiarize you with 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, 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 smooth business succession
- Establishing a charitable, educational, or artistic legacy
Settling Your Estate in Queens
Whether you are choosing an executor to manage your estate or readying yourself to be the executor of a family member or friend, settling an estate can be a more complicated procedure than you anticipate. Our estate administration lawyers will clarify the tasks involved in the process, such as dealing with probate and preparing and filing necessary legal documents. Most importantly, we will clarify the duties and fiduciary responsibilities of an executor, including:
- Having the will validated by the court
- Opening an estate bank account
- Investing and overseeing estate funds
- Gathering and inventorying assets
- Filing a final estate tax return
- Paying any necessary estate taxes
- Paying off debts and loans
- Distributing remaining assets
- Mediating any potential disputes
- Handling a will contest if necessary
We pride ourselves on our straightforward communication skills. Our attorneys always take the time to make sure that you understand our explanations and directions fully so that you are completely comfortable with any actions you take and any documents you sign.
Understanding Queens Real Estate
Our long-term connections to respectable realtors, brokers, lenders, and title agencies give us an edge when it comes to navigating the world of real estate. Our extensive experience in this field enables us to vary our perspective depending on whether our client is a buyer, seller, or developer. Contact us so we can provide you with legal counsel that is well-thought-out and practical regarding:
- Land use and zoning issues
- Title searches and insurance
- Real estate transactions
- Real estate development
- Transfer of real estate assets
- Regulatory compliance
- Current property valuations
Our capable attorneys are well-positioned to provide you with sharp legal representation if it becomes necessary.
Contact Our Experienced Real Estate and Estate Planning Attorneys Now
We look forward to assisting you in two significant areas of your life. For matters that involve establishing or changing the location of your home or business in the present and for those that concern preparing you and your family for a secure future, contact Merlino & Gonzalez today.