ESTATE PLANNING: WHAT WE DO
Much more than simply drafting wills, successful estate planning is built on strong, long-term relationships. Our comprehensive plan takes a broad look at all of your assets and how you want them distributed. We work with both individuals and couples, developing plans tailored to your particular assets and needs. From simple estates to complex financial tax and family considerations, we work with clients at all levels.
Our Estate Planning services include solutions for:
- Spouses in second marriages
- Same-sex couples
- Non-traditional families
We advise on various types of trusts, both revocable and irrevocable, including:
- Credit shelters
- QTIP and QDOT trusts
- Charitable trusts
- Supplemental needs or special needs trusts
- Crummey trusts
- Qualified personal residence trusts (QPRTs)
- Irrevocable life insurance trusts
- Generation skipping trusts
We also provide guidance concerning retirement benefits, including:
- The tax consequences of distributions
- Determining payout periods
- Specialized beneficiary designations
- Trusts to manage retirement distributions
- Tax benefits and consequences of naming tax-exempt organizations as beneficiaries
Estate planning often involves issues of business succession and the transfer of unique assets, such as real property or a family-owned business. By Ithaca standards, Miller Mayer is a large firm and our Trusts & Estates Group has access to lawyers with other areas of expertise. Our size allows attorneys to focus on specific legal areas rather than being general practitioners and empowers us to more effectively help clients in other areas of the law such as corporate, real estate, and not-for-profit. Importantly, our scale helps ensure your estate plan is an integrated part of your whole financial and legal picture.
We assist with important “pre-mortem” planning, including Powers of Attorney, Health Care Proxies and Living Wills. Of course, an important part of our job is ensuring you understand all legal documents that require your signature. We’re always available to walk you through this process and answer any questions you may have.
ESTATE ADMINISTRATION: WHAT WE DO
We all know how painful the death of a loved one can be. With that in mind, our role goes well beyond merely pushing the necessary paperwork through the system. We work side-by-side with the executor and other family members to navigate the process with grace and efficiency. What’s more, we’re always available to help our clients make informed decisions during this difficult time.
With experienced legal assistants that work promptly and cost effectively, the “paper pushing” part of the process is generally straightforward. But estate administration usually involves much more than just filing probate papers. Depending on the nature of the estate, there can be important decisions to make about estate taxes and disclaimers, or when and how to transfer assets. These decisions can result in substantial tax savings.
We represent individual and corporate executors, administrators and trustees, and counsel them on their responsibilities. In the rare event of a will contest or disputed accounting, we assist with Surrogates’ Court litigation, including trials and appeals. When disputes do arise we negotiate creative solutions, avoiding litigation when possible or resolving conflicts before family relationships are destroyed. Ultimately, our goal is to ensure assets are distributed to intended beneficiaries and the last wishes of the decedent are honored.