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Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning and Elder/Medicaid Law

Planning for your future and your family’s future is key. An estate plan directs how one wants property and other assets to be distributed upon death. At Schaus & Schaus LLP, we will work with you to formulate and enact an estate plan that works for you. However, estate planning not only involves deciding where your money and property is to go. It also involves health care decisions and other financial decisions that cannot be laid out in a will. As a result, we offer services in drafting and executing, but not limited to, the following: Last Will and Testament, Health Care Proxy, Living Will, Power of Attorney, Statutory Gift Rider, and Irrevocable/Revocable Trusts.

Last Will and Testament

A major part of estate planning includes the drafting of your Last Will and Testament that will determine where you want your assets, property, and investments to be distributed upon your death. In this document you will name beneficiaries, appoint an executor to handle your estate, assign any guardians for any children that you may have, and name a trustee, if necessary. A beneficiary is a person or organization that will receive your property upon your death. Meanwhile, an Executor is responsible for carrying out the terms of your will and handling other legal issues. In thinking about your estate plan, you have the option to appoint more than one person to be an executor, often known as Co-Executors, or you can appoint an alternate executor if your primary executor is unable to serve. Finally, naming a guardian for any minor children is key piece to your Last Will and Testament. This Guardian will be responsible for your children’s daily upbringing and care upon your passing.

Additionally, if any of your minor children are named beneficiaries in your will, you have the option of putting your property into a trust for such children. Children under the age of 18 are unable to inherit. In creating a trust for your children, you will have to name a Trustee, who will be responsible for handling your minor child’s money. You will have the option of deciding at what age your child will have free and clear control of the property inherited by them. Although not mandatory, often, a Trustee of a Trust will also serve as guardian of such children.

It is important to remember that a Will does not control assets are owned jointly with someone else and it does not control items that have named beneficiaries.

Health Care Proxy

Another foundational piece of your estate plan that is highly recommended is the drafting and execution of a health care proxy. This document gives an individual the power and responsibility to make life and death health care decisions on your behalf. This document only becomes effective upon your incapacitation. Similar to naming an alternative executor, you have the option to name an alternate in your health care proxy if the named primary individual is unable to make such decisions.

Power of Attorney/Statutory Gift Rider

This is the final piece to a basic estate plan. This document gives the power to an individual to deal with your financial affairs and other personal affairs upon your death or upon becoming incapacitated. This document can give limited or broad powers and can include granting your agent the power to make gifts of your assets, in which case, a gift rider will also need to be executed. These documents are a necessary if you wish your agent to engage in Medicaid planning on your behalf.

Elder/Medicaid Law

If you have not planned ahead and do not have any or adequate long term care insurance, you must pay for your nursing care out of your personal assets. At Schaus & Schaus LLP, we are knowledgeable in all areas of Medicaid planning. Medicaid is the state program that pays for your skilled care after you exhaust your personal funds. You can take steps in advance of needing nursing home care to protect some of your assets. We can advise you how to best preserve your wealth in order to pass it on to your children rather than depleting it all on the cost of institutional care.

Estate Administration in New York and Florida

When a loved one dies, someone is typically needed to assist in organizing and settling their personal and financial affairs. If the deceased person had a will, the person serving in this capacity is the “executor.” If the deceased person had no will, the person serving in this capacity is an “administrator.” Estate administration includes the process of obtaining a court appointment for this person (the fiduciary), necessary in order to access the decedent’s assets, organizing, liquidating, and distributing the assets of the estate, including the payment of estate debts, and accounting to the court and the recipients of the decedent’s assets. Schaus & Schaus LLP has extensive experience handling all aspects of estate administration.

Very often, residents of New York die owning real property in Florida. It is necessary under these circumstances to initiate estate proceedings in Florida as well as New York. Schaus & Schaus LLP has an attorney on staff licensed in Florida with extensive experience in ancillary probate.

Estate Litigation

Sometimes estate administration involves disputes with family members, will beneficiaries, creditors, and others. These disputes often take the form of will objections and contested accounting proceedings. At Schaus & Schaus LLP, whether you are a beneficiary or a fiduciary, we can guide you through these conflicts.

Residential and Commercial Real Estate

The purchase or sale of a residence or other piece of property is often one of the biggest and most important investments a person may make during their lifetime. We offer extensive experience in all aspects of real property law, including but not limited to: title examination, contract negotiation and financing, contract preparation, title insurance, deed transfers, leases, financing, and mortgages. We are here to guide you through the process and make it as easy as possible for you.

If issues arise that cannot be solved through negotiation, Schaus & Schaus LLP offers years of litigation experience to achieve the best possible outcome for you.

Landlord & Tenant Law

Disputes between landlords and tenants are common occurrences. There are many issues that may arise in a landlord-tenant relationship including disputes over living conditions, nonpayment of rent, and evictions.

Being a landlord can be a difficult job that is only made more difficult when a tenant fails to pay rent. If you are a landlord having trouble with a tenant, let the attorneys at Schaus & Schaus LLP help. On the other hand, if you are a tenant and are having trouble with a landlord, give us a call so that we can help.

We handle many issues relating to landlord and tenants that include:

  • 72 hour demand for payments
  • 30 day notices
  • Assistance with small claim matters
  • Breach of the warranty of habitability
  • Creation of rental and lease agreements
  • Evictions and eviction proceedings
  • Litigation of landlord and tenant dispute

Business Formation, Purchases and Sales

Building a business from the ground-up can be exciting and challenging. Most people form a business entity to protect themselves personally from liabilities that may arise with owning a business. At Schaus & Schaus LLP, we have experience in forming Partnerships, Sole Proprietorships, Limited Liability Companies, and Corporations. We will work with you to pick the best vehicle that will best suit your individual needs.

Our attorneys also have extensive experience in business buy/sell agreements and representing clients in both the sale and acquisition of businesses.

Civil Litigation

Litigation, or otherwise best known as a lawsuit, is a broad term. Lawsuits arise in many areas of law when a dispute cannot be settled without the aid of a court. This process can be very stressful and is sometime not the best course of action. Schaus & Schaus LLP will do their best to make sure litigation is avoided as it is it is very costly for you. However, if it cannot be avoided, we will handle your case in a prompt fashion while minimizing your costs. We can offer many years of litigation experience in numerous areas, including, but not limited to the following:

  • Commercial and Business Litigation
  • Real Property Litigation
  • Estate Litigation

Criminal Defense

When facing a criminal charge, your first step should be to immediately speak with an attorney. The attorneys at Schaus & Schaus LLP can assist you in understanding what you are facing and coming up with a course of action. From speeding tickets to charges of Drinking While Intoxicated, let us help you.

Traffic Violations

Although they may not seem serious, traffic tickets have serious consequences. These effects include points on your license, fines, and even suspension or revocation. Receiving points on your license will increase insurance rates and possibly could even result in being dropped by your insurance company.

If you are pulled over and receive a ticket, call Schaus & Schaus LLP.

Driving While Intoxicated

Being pulled over for Driving While Intoxicated is a serious offense that needs attention immediately. When charged with a DWI, the immediate and long-term effects are substantial as you face serious consequences that can include suspension of your license, fines, and jail time or probation. Not only do you face criminal proceedings, but you will face administrative proceedings with the Department of Motor Vehicles. Schaus and Schaus LLP will work diligently in defending your case from start to finish. We will look all aspects of your case, which include but are not limited to the legality of the traffic stop, the field sobriety tests, and chemical tests conducted. Schaus & Schaus LLP will work to minimize the effects of a DWI arrest and reduce the penalties in a timely manner.

Matrimonial & Family Law

Unfortunately, many married couples in the United States divorce. A separation or divorce can be one of the most emotional times of a family’s life. Schaus & Schaus LLP can offer compassionate and dependable counsel.

Spouses can enter into agreements before or after marriage that govern their rights in support, equitable distribution and inheritance. Our attorneys are experienced in drafting prenuptial, post nuptial and separation agreements that will enforceable and recognized in court in the event of a divorce.

Divorce is the legal process by which a married couple terminates their marriage. This process determines child support, alimony, and property and debt division. It can be a trying time for not only the parties involved and can be stressful. The attorneys at Schaus & Schaus LLP will guide you through the process. Here, we handle both contested divorce and uncontested divorce, and all issues that relate to such proceedings.

For couples who are not legally married but who have children together, many of the same issues concerning child custody, visitation and support arise when a non-marital relationship ends and are handled in Family Court. At Schaus & Schaus LLP, we can help guide you through these critical issues.

Bankruptcy Law

Bankruptcy can help a person who can no longer repay debts by erasing such debts or creating a plan to repay such debts. Individuals have two options when deciding to file Bankruptcy- liquidation through Chapter 7, or reorganization of debt through Chapter 13, which involves repayment of debt over a period of three to five years.

Under a Chapter 7 proceeding, your legal obligations to pay creditors are erased. However, certain debts are not able to be erased, notably student loans and marital support payments. On the other hand, other debts such as mortgages and vehicle loans can be erased if you surrender the collateral. You may also reaffirm the debt, which is a legal promise to pay the debt. It is important to know that certain property may be exempt from the bankruptcy proceeding.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy allows a debtor to keep nonexempt property. However, you are responsible for paying a certain amount of money back to the creditor. Not all creditors are paid in Chapter 13 proceedings.