Welcome to Lawrence H. Bloom, Esq.’s website. This page is designed to answer your questions regarding Wills and estate planning. With more than 30 years of successful experience in New York and New Jersey Family Law, we have helped many clients ensure the effective transfer of their assets to heirs and beneficiaries. Through consultation and examination of our client’s personal situation and finances, we develop Wills and other legal plans that support their goals. Since state laws and regulations are ever-changing, it is important to consult with an attorney who can help you make the critical decisions related to your family’s future. With proper planning strategies, your assets are protected and you can be confident that your wishes will be carried out should you become incapacitated or die.
Every person who is eighteen years or older should have a Will to ensure that their estate passes to their heirs in an orderly process. Your estate is composed of real property such as land and buildings, and personal property such as bank accounts, homes, insurance, jewelry, stocks, bonds, cars and other personal effects. These assets must be passed to someone upon your death, and a Will enables you to select whom, when, and in what amounts your estate will pass. However, if you die without a Will (intestate), it is up to the state to decide how to distribute your property. By dieing intestate, you leave your property to be distributed with out regard to your wishes and leave your survivors to experience grief compounded by frustration.
Your attorney can provide guidance on how to choose an executor, executrix or personal representative to administer your Will. A trusted friend, a member of the family, or a bank can act as your executor. The appointment of your representative should be carefully considered, since your executor or personal representative is required to carry out all responsibilities associated with settling your estate.
Probate is another topic that your lawyer can discuss with you. Probate is the legal process that establishes the validity of your Will and through which all debts, taxes and fees are paid and the legal title to your property is formally passed to heirs. Again, should you die intestate, the probate court appoints an administrator and divides your assets according to a defined formula. A Will supplies immediate information and the tools to expedite the probate process. A well-drafted Will can also help to reduce court and attorney costs, as well as minimize taxes. The Inheritance Tax is a tax owed by an heir or beneficiary for the right to acquire the decedent’s property or to receive a gift in anticipation of death. The tax is based on the amount inherited and the relationship of the individual to the deceased. Depending upon the size of the estate, federal taxes may also apply. Again, the recommendations of a trusted legal professional will be invaluable in planning for tax implications.
The only way to avoid probate is via Trusts. A trust allows you to transfer assets to another person, (the trustee) who will manage them. The transfer can occur at any time – while you are alive, or after disability, or death. Trusts have the advantage of enabling you to establish control of your estate while you are competent, and later have the trustee manage the estate if you should become incapacitated. Trusts can be more costly and time-consuming to establish and maintain than a Will. They also involve many complicated legal and financial issues, so you should seek advice from an attorney and a financial professional regarding setting up a Trust.
A Will is especially important for people with young children, since it is the legal means to appoint a guardian for your minor children. If you do not have a Will, your children’s guardian may be appointed by the court. Your attorney can advise you on the guardianship and its associated issues and concerns.
Estate planning can be complex due to constantly changing laws. By using demonstrated legal strategies, the Lawrence H. Bloom firm can help you plan for your family’s future. Call us in New York at (212) 964-3502 or New Jersey at (201) 925-8148. We can also be reached via email at
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