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 WILLS AND GRATS                                  


A will is a legal document that contains the final instructions of an individual. Everyone needs a will. However, statistically 3 out of 4 people do not have a will. The will directs how certain assets will be disposed of on his or her death. Executors are appointed to administer the estate. The will can set up trusts for individuals who are not prepared to handle money and select Trustees to make management and investment decisions. Guardians can be appointed to care for minor children. Finally, trusts can be created to take advantage of available estate tax exemptions to minimize estate taxes. The will on death is filed in the local Surrogate’s Court and if accepted is admitted to probate. Probate is the process by which the Executor of the estate takes steps to fulfill the terms of the will. This process, depending on the size and complexity of the estate, can take 1-3 years. Without proper planning, the probate process can be a costly and time-consuming process.

Living Wills

A Living Will is a formal document that specifies your wishes for medical decisions in the event you are unable to make them yourself. The Living Will allows your designated agent to make decisions with respect to your health care if you are unable to do so at some time in the future.

Power of Attorney

A springing Power of Attorney is a formal document that appoints a person to act on your behalf, generally if you are disabled. The Power of Attorney allows the “attorney-in-fact” to sign any checks or documents which the person who granted the power could have done, subject to any conditions or limitations stated in the power.
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