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Wills Trusts & Estates

Planning for your future can be intimidating — especially when the plans involve your death or incapacitation. But making decisions about what will happen when you die or are unable to take care of yourself is critically important to make sure that your wishes are followed.

Wills, trusts and estates are three types of legal documents that can help you make plans for your future. With the help of a skilled Long Island wills, trusts and estates attorney, you can establish a comprehensive estate plan that is customized to meet your specific needs.

There are a variety of goals that can be met through careful drafting of wills, trusts, powers of attorney and other documents. These include, but are not limited to:

At Winkler Kurtz, LLP, our team of legal professionals has more than 75 years of combined experience. We are adept at planning for every contingency, and at helping our clients meet their estate planning goals. Contact our office today at 631-928-8000 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation.

Estate Planning

Each person and family has different requirements when it comes to their estate plans. No matter how much or how little wealth you have accumulated, a well-drafted estate plan can help protect your assets, provide for your children, minimize taxes, and make sure that your wishes are carried out if you die or become incapacitated in some way.

Estate planning in New York can involve a variety of legal tools, including a last will and testament and trusts. A seasoned Long Island wills, trusts and estates attorney can work with you to develop these documents, and to assist with the process of administering the estate.

Elder Law

More so than perhaps any other age group, seniors have unique legal needs that are best met by an attorney with experience in the field of elder law. Encompassing issues such as Medicaid planning, guardianship, estate administration, and estate planning, elder law is an important topic for many older New Yorkers.

While few people want to contemplate the realities of getting older, coming up with an effective legal plan for your later years can help ensure that both your wishes and your finances are protected. For example, an attorney with experience in elder law can help craft asset protection strategies to enable you to transfer assets to family members while still qualifying for Medicaid assistance.

Powers of Attorney 

A power of attorney is a legal document that gives specific legal authority to another person. Under New York law, there are three types of powers of attorney: durable power of attorney, nondurable power of attorney, and springing power of attorney. These legal documents can be incredibly powerful tools in planning for your future.

Although powers of attorney can be used for any number of reasons, they are commonly used to assist individuals in the event that they are unable to make life decisions due to illness or incapacitation. With a power of attorney, the designated person (often referred to as the agent) can make decisions about the grantor’s property, taxes, real estate, and other matters.

At Winkler Kurtz, LLP, our Long Island wills, trusts and estates attorneys can also draft health care proxies to clarify your wishes in the event of an inability to make health care decisions for yourself. Combined with powers of attorney, these documents can help you make sure that your wishes are carried out if you are incapacitated.


In New York, probate is the method by which a will is established in Surrogate’s Court to be the legitimate last will and testament of the deceased person (known as the decedent). During the probate process, all interested persons are given a chance to oppose the will before it is admitted to probate and the executor is appointed to carry out the wishes of the decedent.

A will only has to undergo the probate process in New York if the assets are valued at $30,000 or more. Probate is a legal proceeding that requires multiple steps and filings. A seasoned Long Island wills, trusts and estates attorney can remove the burden of this task during the difficult time after the loss of a loved one.

Estate Administration 

If a decedent passed away without a will, then the estate administration process must be followed. Under New York law, a legal document known as “letters” must be issued to eligible distributees by the estate’s administrator. As with probate, estate administration can be a complex legal process that requires multiple steps, including an accounting of estate assets.

If you have been charged with administering an estate, Winkler Kurtz, LLP can help. Our experienced lawyers are skilled at helping clients through all phases of the administration process, from submitting the estate to the court for the administration process, to issuing letters, to distributing assets and making a final accounting.

Wills and Trusts 

Two of the most fundamental documents in any comprehensive estate plan are wills and trusts. A will governs the distribution of assets after you die, and determines who will be the executor of your estate. If you die without a will, then New York law will govern how your assets will be divided through a process known as intestate succession.

Trusts are used to hold property for the benefit of another person, with a trustee named to manage and distribute the assets for a beneficiary. There are multiple types of trusts that can be used to protect assets, provide for loved ones with special needs, take advantage of tax exemptions, or make charitable donations. An adept Long Island wills, trusts and estates attorney can work with you to draft a will and/or trusts to help you meet your estate planning goals.

Work with a Long Island Wills, Trusts and Estates Attorney

Planning for your future is vital to protect what you have built over a lifetime. By utilizing a range of legal tools, you can ensure that your legacy is intact for future generations and that your wishes are followed no matter what may happen in your life.

At Winkler Kurtz, LLP, we understand that thinking about your own death or incapacitation can be difficult. We have also seen the challenges that families face when their loved ones fail to plan. We are here to help.

Since 1987, our Long Island wills, trusts and estates attorneys have offered services to clients to help them plan for their future. Whether you need to establish a trust, draft a basic will, or plan for Medicaid assistance, we can assist you. Contact our office today at 631-928-8000 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with one of our lawyers.

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