Dedicated Rochester Estate Planning Attorney Advises Families on Wills
Caring New York lawyer helps clients pass down assets and navigate probate
Failing to make a will can leave your estate up for grabs. Despite laws dictating how property is to be distributed, there is no assurance that the people entitled to your inheritance will receive it. At the Law Office of Maurice J. Verrillo, P.C. in Rochester, we apply our more than 30 years of experience to drafting reliable, enforceable wills with comprehensive instructions for how your assets should be distributed after you pass away. With our faith deeply rooted in Christianity, we are committed to helping individuals care for their families through careful estate planning. We also advise estate executors during probate proceedings in the courts of Monroe County and surrounding areas. If you already have a will, we can review it and make amendments or draft a new will to meet your changing needs and preferences. Our goal is to give our clients and their heirs peace of mind.
Attentive counselor guides estates through the probate process
Probate is a legal proceeding in which a court determines how a decedent’s estate will be settled. It applies to estates valued at $30,000 or more when the decedent has left a will. If the will is proven, an appointed executor distributes the estate in accordance with the will’s provisions. If the decedent dies without a will, the will is invalid or the estate is valued at less than $30,000, the court appoints a personal representative to oversee the distribution of property though administration proceedings. If you are given responsibility for overseeing the distribution of an estate as an executor or administrator, our firm can advise you on your obligations and address any uncertainties or other concerns you may have. We understand probate and administration and will dedicate ourselves to shepherding you through the proceedings every step of the way.
Adroit estate planning attorney offers strategies for avoiding probate
The probate process can be drawn out, complicated and expensive. Fortunately, there are several legal options in New York state for avoiding probate of certain assets. These options include:
- Living trusts — You can hold your property in a trust that you manage until your death, when a successor trustee named by you distributes the property as the trust directs.
- Joint ownership with survivorship — You and another person (such as your spouse) can own property together under terms providing that when one of your dies, the other becomes sole owner.
- Payable-on-death designation — You can designate someone to inherit your bank account or retirement benefits immediately upon your death.
- Transfer on death registration — You can name someone to inherit your securities upon your death.
- Life insurance —The proceeds of your life insurance policy go to designated beneficiaries upon your death.
We can use any of these procedures to allow all or part of your estate to bypass the probate process and its expenses and delays.
Thorough Monroe County estates attorney helps reduce challenges to a will
A well-drafted will gives clear, enforceable instructions about who should manage an estate and how it should be distributed. It removes any doubt about the decedent’s intentions, making the probate process faster and less expensive. By contrast, a poorly constructed will can open the door to challenges on various grounds, among them:
- Lack of clarity — Vague instructions and contradictory provisions can cast doubt on the decedent’s intentions, forcing a court to interpret the will or possibly to declare it invalid.
- Undue influence — A family member or another potential heir may claim that the will was created under pressure from a manipulative third party.
- Diminished capacity — A challenger may claim that the decedent was not of sound mind or did not possess a thorough understanding of their financial affairs.
- Forgery — In some cases, a challenger may claim that text in a will or the decedent’s signature has been forged.
Challenges to a will, even if unsuccessful, can tie up an estate in probate proceedings for an indefinite time. We construct wills and supporting documentation designed to withstand all such contests. We make sure the client is legally competent to make a will and that we understand their concerns and priorities, so that we can draft a document that embodies their intentions. If anyone does raise a question about the will, we are able to defend it vigorously.
Contact a Rochester wills and probate attorney for a free initial consultation
For help drafting a will or serving as an executor in New York probate proceedings, contact the Law Office of Maurice J. Verrillo, P.C. in Rochester. We are a family-focused, Christian law firm committed to advancing our clients’ best interests. To schedule a free initial consultation, call us at 585-563-1134 or contact us online.