Friendly Reminders and Suggestions to Keep Your Affairs in Order

This edition of the Koldin Report E-Newsletter offers friendly reminders and suggestions to our clients and readers to keep your estate planning affairs in order.

All prior newsletters are saved on our website. You can read them by clicking here.

Avoid Probate by Making Accounts Joint or by Designating Beneficiaries

Any accounts that are just in your name alone without designated beneficiaries will need to be probated at the time of your death in order to pass to your intended beneficiaries.

Probate is a judicial proceeding to determine the validity of your Will and to carry out the terms of your Will.

The need for judicial involvement can cause delay and unnecessary expense. Probate can be easily avoided for your accounts by making your accounts joint with someone else with right of survivorship or by designating beneficiaries on your accounts.

Beneficiary designations will often appear with one of the following terms: POD (Payable on Death), TOD (Transfer on Death), or ITF (In Trust For).

Adjust Beneficiary Clause If Anyone Becomes Ill or Disabled or Has Financial Problems

We often have clients who come to our office for the first time with either no Will or with a very old Will that does not reflect their current circumstances.

It is important to remember to revise your Will and/or Living Trust anytime there are major changes in the lives of your beneficiaries.

If you have a family member who becomes ill, disabled or has financial problems, it may be time to discuss revising your Will and/or Living Trust to accommodate the needs of these family members.

The Koldin Law Center, P.C. recently sent out a series of e-newsletters titled "Legal Checkup" which discussed this topic in greater detail and can be found on our website by clicking here.

Add Trust to Homeowners Insurance Policy

We want to remind our Trust clients who have transferred real property to your Trust that you need to insure the Trust and Trustee(s) as the owner of the property with you as the additional named insured pursuant to the instruction letter we provided you at the time of your Trust signing appointment.

Make Trust Owner and/or Beneficiary of Life Insurance

We want to remind our Trust clients that life insurance with a cash value is considered an available unprotected asset which may need to be cashed in and used towards the cost of your care before you can qualify for Medicaid coverage.

Therefore, you may want to consider transferring ownership of your life insurance policies that have a cash value to your Trust.

Depending on your circumstances, you may also want to designate your Trust as the beneficiary of your life insurance.

Advise Family Members of the Location of Your Legal Documents

Often legal documents, such as your Power of Attorney and Last Will and Testament, are only valid when you have possession of the original document.

Therefore, it is important that you advise key family members where your documents are located. Also, we suggest that you store your documents in a safe, fireproof location.

Give Copy of Health Care Proxy to your Physician

Your Health Care Proxy is an important document containing your medical wishes and may be needed quickly in an emergency. Most people provide their original Health Care Proxy to their appointed Agent or make sure their Agent (and Successor Agents) knows where the original document is located. We suggest that you also provide a copy to your primary care physician.

Make Safe Deposit Box Joint with Someone Else

On your death, your safe deposit box will most likely be locked by the bank until a Court Order is obtained directing that the box be opened. By making your safe deposit box joint with someone else, the box will not be locked on your death. Your co-owner will still have access to the box. This can save much aggravation for your family.

At the Koldin Law Center, P.C., located in East Syracuse, New York, we have over 50 years of experience helping individuals plan for immediate crisis and long term care. Our attorneys are available to discuss your estate planning options. We do not charge a fee for the initial consultation. We welcome your children, family attorney, accountant, and/or financial planner to be present at the initial consultation.

There is something you can do.

Our Attorneys are available to speak to your organization

Our Attorneys speak to groups throughout New York State as a public service. If you would like to arrange for one of our Attorneys to speak to your group, please contact our office.

We appreciate your referrals

We have been told by many clients who are in a crisis that they wish they had known about our firm much sooner. We are proud of the many families we have helped in times of crisis.

We are also proud of the many families we helped avoid financial crisis by doing estate planning in advance.

We all share the responsibility for making our family and friends aware of the planning options available to them.

Your referral to the Koldin Law Center could make a major difference in the lives of your family and friends if they are someday faced with a long term illness.

Remember that the Koldin Law Center offers many services for clients of all ages. Our services range from basic estate planning such as a simple will to complex estate planning including asset preservation planning.

THERE IS NO FEE FOR THE INITIAL CONSULTATION