Trusts, Estates, and Elder Law

A primary focus of the Sugarman Law Firm’s Trusts and Estates Practice Group is to help our clients achieve their estate planning goals and prepare the legal documents required to implement their objectives. We prepare wills, medical advance directives such as health care proxies and living wills, powers of attorney, shareholder agreements, prenuptial agreements, and both testamentary and living trusts. We offer counsel on business succession planning, estate and gift tax matters, charitable trusts and foundations, guardianships, long-term care planning, and retirement planning.

We do not share the philosophy of some attorneys that all clients need a trust. When appropriate, however, we prepare trusts specifically designed to achieve our clients’ goals, protecting assets, minimizing estate taxes, leveraging charitable gifts, providing for blended families, and avoiding probate.

Upon the death of a client or the termination of a client’s trust, our dedicated and experienced paralegals work under an attorney’s supervision to prepare the legal documents necessary to settle the estate and carry out our client's wishes. The expertise of our staff allows us to charge a fair and reasonable fee to administer estates and trusts, no matter how complex they may be.

In addition to many years experience with estate planning and estate administration, this Practice Group’s attorneys have a well-deserved reputation in the community as experienced and excellent litigators in contested estate matters. This expertise makes us uniquely qualified to counsel clients regarding how to avoid litigation and to protect our clients’ estate plans when they are the subject of legal proceedings.

Our Trusts and Estates Practice Group also specializes in elder law and Medicaid practice. We counsel clients regarding the options available for long-term care and advocate on behalf of clients to make sure they receive the maximum benefits legally allowed by government entitlement programs such as Medicaid.

Neither private health insurance nor Medicare pay for long-term care for individuals who are no longer able to perform independently the activities of daily living (dressing, eating, bathing, ambulating, toileting). The cost of such care is increasingly expensive. Most Central New York nursing homes were charging more than $300 per day in 2010. Few Central New Yorkers can afford the cost of such care.

Medicaid pays for chronic long-term care if an applicant meets eligibility requirements. Those requirements and the process of applying for Medicaid are among the least understood and most complicated procedures currently facing our senior and disabled populations.

We recommend asset protection strategies for our clients. We prepare trusts and deeds with retained life use. We help our clients receive the maximum legal benefits allowable from the Medicaid program and protect our clients’ assets from unnecessarily having to be "spent down" and exhausted by the cost of long-term care. We prepare and file Medicaid applications and handle "fair hearings" for clients wishing to appeal erroneous decisions on Medicaid applications.

Most importantly, we represent our clients with the understanding that we must protect their dignity as well as their legal rights. We listen to our clients. From the first discussion of your objectives to their eventual completion, our goal is to make sure that your wishes are carried out fully, promptly, and for a reasonable fee.

Estate Planning

Having a plan in place can eliminate uncertainties over the administration of your estate and maximize the value of your estate by eliminating or reducing estate taxes and other expenses. Our attorneys can assist you with creating an estate plan that is best suited to your needs.

Estate and Trusts Litigation

Not all disputes that arise regarding the handling of matters involving estates and trusts can be resolved voluntarily.  When issues regarding the distribution and handling of the assets of an estate or trust persist our attorneys are prepared to litigate in Surrogate's Court and protect your interests.

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Elder Law Practice

Our Elder Law Practice covers a variety of complicated and confusing issues confronting seniors and their caregivers such as guardianship, long-term care, nursing home care planning, and qualifying and applying for Medicaid, among many others. Our team can help you and your loved ones to navigate through these issues. 

Estate Administration

Upon the death of a loved one it can be overwhelming trying to figure out what needs to be done to take care of their estate. Sugarman Law Firm can provide you with the guidance and assistance you need to administer the estate as quickly and efficiently as possible. 

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