The Advocacy You Deserve When You Need It the Most CONTACT US

Estate Planning FAQs

Gugliotta & Ponzini, P.C. March 15, 2024

Estate Planning with related word cloudIf you’re thinking about starting your estate plan, you may have lots of questions about unfamiliar legal terms, documents, and concepts. You might not even be sure what exactly estate planning is. Well, worry not. You’re in the right place for answers.

At Gugliotta & Ponzini, P.C., we understand that the estate planning process can seem enormous, especially when you're just beginning. To help you get started, we've compiled a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) about estate planning, drawing from our extensive experience in providing knowledgeable, accessible advice to our clients. Contact our firm for further assistance with your estate plan.

What Is Estate Planning?  

An imperative step for anyone looking to secure their financial future and ensure their wishes are respected is to make an estate plan. Estate planning is the process of making arrangements for the management and distribution of your assets after you pass away or in case you become incapacitated. It involves creating legal documents like wills, trusts, health care proxies, and power of attorney agreements to ensure your wishes are fulfilled. 

Why Is Estate Planning Important?  

Estate planning is incredibly valuable because it helps protect your family and assets. It ensures that your assets are distributed according to your wishes, can help minimize estate taxes, and avoids the lengthy and often stressful process of probate. Estate planning also allows you to make arrangements for your care if you become unable to manage your affairs. 

What Is the Difference Between a Will and a Trust?  

A will is a document that specifies how you want your assets distributed after your death. It comes into effect only after you pass away. A trust, on the other hand, can be effective during your lifetime and after your death. It allows you to set conditions on how and when your assets are distributed. Trusts also can help avoid probate, offering a more seamless transition of assets. 

Do I Need an Estate Plan If I'm Not Wealthy?  

Yes, estate planning is important regardless of your wealth. It's about ensuring your assets, no matter how large or small, are distributed according to your wishes. It also involves making decisions about who will manage your affairs if you're unable. 

Can I Write My Own Estate Plan?  

While it's possible to create your own estate documents, it's generally not recommended. Estate laws can be complex and vary by state. A skilled estate planning attorney can help you understand the legal requirements and ensure your documents are valid and effectively carry out your wishes. 

How Often Should I Update My Estate Plan?  

You should review and possibly update your estate plan after any significant life event, such as a death, marriage, divorce, birth of a child, the purchase of a significant asset, or a major change in financial status. We recommend reviewing your estate plan at least every three to five years. 

How Can Gugliotta & Ponzini, P.C. Help With My Estate Planning?  

At Gugliotta & Ponzini, P.C., we're dedicated to providing you with personalized, thoughtful estate planning services. With decades of experience, we understand the nuances of New York estate law and work closely with you to create a plan that meets your unique goals. We can guide you through every step of the estate planning process, from drafting documents to reviewing existing plans and making necessary updates. 

How Much Does Estate Planning Cost?  

The cost of estate planning can vary widely depending on the complexity of your assets and wishes, as well as the rates of the attorney you choose. At Gugliotta & Ponzini, P.C., we strive to provide transparent pricing and will discuss costs upfront during your initial consultation. Our goal is to offer high-quality estate planning services at a fair price, tailored to your specific needs. 

What Happens If I Die Without an Estate Plan?  

If you pass away without an estate plan in place, your assets will be distributed according to state "intestacy" laws, which may not align with your wishes. This can lead to potential disputes among heirs and lengthy court proceedings. Additionally, without a designated guardian for any minor children, the court will decide who will take care of them, which might not match your preferences. 

Can Estate Planning Help With Medicaid Planning?  

Yes, proper estate planning can play a significant role in Medicaid planning. By structuring your assets in specific ways, you may be able to preserve your wealth while still qualifying for Medicaid coverage for long-term care. Our team at Gugliotta & Ponzini, P.C. is experienced in creating estate plans that consider future Medicaid needs without jeopardizing your assets or eligibility. 

Contact Us for Personalized Estate Planning Advice

Estate planning tends to be a deeply personal process, and we're here to make it as straightforward and stress-free as possible. Contact Gugliotta & Ponzini, P.C. today to schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation. We'll listen to your concerns, answer your questions, and start developing an estate plan that protects your assets and your loved ones. Set up a consultation with our team if you live in New Rochelle or anywhere else in New York.