Estate Planning

I am pleased to announce that my wife, Wendy Cohen, has joined me as Of Counsel to focus on estate planning. Wendy was a trusts and estates attorney in private practice and spent 15 years at MetLife as the director of Estate Planning. She also spent 20 years at Morgan Stanley writing and training advisors and marketing estate planning services for clients.

You have worked hard to earn a living and to provide for yourself and your loved ones. You want your assets to be passed along according to your wishes. We can help you to achieve this goal. We will discuss your intentions and the best ways for you to avoid paying more than necessary to the federal and state governments.

The tax laws enacted by Congress around estate planning are frequently changing. For 2024, the Federal Estate Tax exemption is $13,610,000 per person (married couples get an exemption of $27,220,000). New York does not mirror the amount of the Federal exemption. The NY State Estate Tax threshold is $6,940,000 per person. If your assets exceed or are approaching the exemption amount, we can discuss strategies such as Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts designed to minimize your Estate Tax exposure and make sure that as much of your estate as possible goes where you want it to go and not to the government.

Estate planning is about more than just avoiding estate taxes. In fact, it reflects your deeply held values such as providing guardians for your children, protecting your assets from creditors and spendthrift family members and preventing inter-family conflicts. We can also discuss gifting strategies that will dispose of your assets during your lifetime, with the added benefit of reducing your taxable estate.

We will prepare a last will and testament and other documents designed to leave your well-earned estate according to your wishes. We also prepare a health care proxy and power of attorney to assist you in case you become ill and are unable to attend to your health care and other life decisions. We can also discuss whether a revocable trust would be beneficial, in order to manage assets for children, preparing for potential incapacity and avoiding probate.

If one of your loved ones passes away, leaving you as the Executor or Executrix of the estate, or if your loved one did not have a will and you need to attend to his or her affairs, we can assist you in the administration of the estate, whether through Probate (when there is a will) or administration (when there is no will).