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707 Westchester Avenue, Suite 307, White Plains, NY 10604
Proudly Serving Westchester County, New York City, Long Island and the lower Hudson Valley
Estate Planning, Probate and Administration
The attorneys of Fair, FitzGerald & Hershaft, seek to protect the firm's clients from excessive taxes that may severely diminish the value of their estates. Its lawyers carefully review all documents to make sure they comply with applicable laws. The firm coordinates with accountants, financial planners, and other advisors so an estate plan addresses all relevant issues.
The firm’s estate planning and administration practice assists clients with:
Wills and Trust Agreements
Wills and trusts are two of the most important elements of estate planning. The primary method of dividing assets after a person's death, wills must be drafted and executed in accordance with specific legal requirements for them to be valid. It is important to have an experienced estate planning lawyer to help avoid potentially disastrous mistakes.
Trusts can be used in conjunction with or as an alternative to wills. They are excellent tools for reducing estate taxes, protecting assets from creditors, and managing assets for beneficiaries unable to capably do so themselves. Trusts can hold cash, other personal property, and real property.
Probate and Estate Administration
Probate is a required court proceeding whereby a will is declared valid and the executor is appointed to administer the estate, which involes settling the decedent's affairs, paying estate taxes, and transferring the remaining assets to the beneficiaries.
Estate tax returns
Federal and New York estate tax returns generally must be filed within nine months after the date of death, but a six month extension is available. Any taxes must be paid within the nine month period, however. Fair, FitzGerald & Hershaft's attorneys can help complete the required paperwork within the designated time period. They protect their clients from problems that may otherwise arise due to improper filing.
Durable Powers of Attorney
Giving a power of attorney to one or more persons should not be taken lightly. The designated agent gains the right to control assets and make a variety of important decisions on behalf of the principal. Since an agent’s degree of control is dictated by the signed document, it is important to carefully determine how much power should be transferred. Agents typically have the power to:
Living Wills and Health Care Proxies
A living will is a statement of an individual's wishes regarding medical treatments in the event of serious illness or injury, or mental incompetence. Though New York State does not have a specific statute addressing living wills, it does permit the appointment of a proxy to make and communicate health care decisions for those who are incapable of doing so. Living wills address such things as the use of: