Archive for the ‘Wills’ Category

Estate Planning & Elder Law: What You Should Be Aware of If You Live in New York and Florida

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

Many New Yorkers retire in Florida, and many others choose to spend the winter months there while maintaining a residence in New York. As part-time New Yorkers and part-time Floridians, retirees have the best of both worlds. But living in two different states can present certain complications when it comes to estate planning and elder law.

One important consideration is where your legal residence will be, which can be important for purposes of estate taxes. Where you spend the most time may not be as important as where you are registered to vote, what state issued your driver’s license, and what address you list on tax documents.

Your will and any trusts should be tied to the state where you are a legal resident. However, if you own real estate in another state, you should have your estate planning attorney make sure that you do not need additional documents to transfer the property when you die or to manage it if you become incapacitated.

It is also important to make sure that documents such as a living will and health care power of attorney are valid in both states. If you happen to be traveling through another state and are hospitalized, out-of-state documents will probably not cause a problem. But if you spend a significant amount of time in another state, it is advisable to be sure that such documents comply with the laws of both states. If you spend a good deal of time in a state far away from close family members, then you may also want to consider naming a local family member or trusted friend in health documents, so that someone can get to a hospital quickly in the event of an emergency.

Littman Krooks is well-positioned to help you with these matters. Because so many of our clients live both in New York and Florida, we have partnered with Solkoff Legal, P.A. a leading Florida elder law firm, to offer superior estate planning and elder law services to residents of both states. Contact us for more information. Click here to read more about our alliance with Solkoff Legal.


For more information about our legal services, visit


For End-of-Life Care, Many Must Choose Between Nursing Home and Hospice

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

According to a recent study released by the University of California, San Francisco, close to one-third of elderly people needing end-of-life care enter a nursing home. The issue? Nursing homes are not always the best environment for end-of-life care. A nursing home is equipped to oversee many basic elements of end-of-life care, including IV hydration and monitoring vital signs, but staff may not be adequately responsive to issues such as pain management, palliative care and support for bereaved family members.

The study used data from 1994 through 2007 from the National Health and Retirement Study. Researchers examined more than 5,000 cases of people who lived independently. Some 30 percent of individuals older than 85 eventually used their Medicaid skilled-nursing facility (S.N.F) benefit within the final six months of their life.

Care options are limited for those with tight budgets. While some end-of-life nursing home residents can receive hospice care in a nursing home, Medicare seldom reimburses for the room and board provided by the facility as well as hospice care. Residents must choose – and nursing home room and board can add up to hundreds of dollars per day.

An individual can choose to have home hospice care and use those Medicaid benefits, but if there are any “medically complex” issues, home hospice may not cover those expenses. Additionally, home hospice assumes there are family members and a home where care can be given. An individual who needs 24-hour care may have to choose between skilled care and hospice care. But for many, the need of 24-hour care outweighs other options. Complicating matters further is the way Medicare restricts coverage: if an individual is hospitalized for a diagnosis unrelated to the hospice diagnosis, he or she can often get nursing home and hospice coverage.

For more information, visit

Elder Law Attorney Bernard A. Krooks to Speak at Heckerling Institute

Monday, January 7th, 2013

White Plains, New York (January 10, 2013) – Bernard A. Krooks, Esq., a founding partner of Littman Krooks LLP, will be a guest speaker at the 47th Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning on January 14, 2013, at the Orlando World Center Marriott Resort and Convention Center, in Orlando, Florida.

Mr. Krooks will be speaking about the “graying” of Baby Boomers and their need for elder law services. Mr. Krooks will also discuss “Later Life Law” and how elder care attorneys can assist their clients with Medicaid options as well as other areas of elder care planning including retirement accounts, long-term care insurance and tax considerations and the use of trusts in elder law and special needs planning.

The Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning is known as the premiere U.S. conference for estate planning professionals, including attorneys, accountants, trust officers, insurance advisors and wealth management professionals. The program offers lectures and special sessions with comprehensive coverage of estate planning techniques and strategies, designed to allow attendees to customize their educational experience.

Mr. Krooks has been included among The Best Lawyers in America® for each of the last six years. He has been selected as a “New York Super Lawyer” since 2006. Krooks has received his AEP accreditation from the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils. He is a member of the Real Property, Probate & Trust Law Section and Tax Section of the American Bar Association. He is a sought-after expert on estate planning and elder law matters and has been quoted in leading publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and Forbes, among others.

About Littman Krooks

Littman Krooks LLP provides sophisticated legal advice and the high level of expertise ordinarily associated with large law firms along with the personal attention and responsiveness of smaller firms. These ingredients, which are the cornerstone of effective representation and are necessary to a successful lawyer/client relationship, have become the foundation of the firm’s success.

Littman Krooks LLP offers legal services in several areas of law, including elder law, estate planning, special needs planning, special education advocacy, and corporate and securities. Their offices are located at 399 Knollwood Road, White Plains, New York; 655 Third Avenue, New York, New York; and 300 Westage Business Center Drive, Fishkill, New York. Visit the firm’s website at

Estate Plans Should Include Provisions for Pets

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Many seniors fail to consider their pets when building an estate plan, an oversight that often finds them homeless or in animal shelters, according to the Humane Society of the United States.

People often incorrectly assume they will outlive their pet, or that a friend or family will take care of their pet when they are gone, according to Anne Culver, director of Disaster Services for the Humane Society. Formal provisions can ensure a pet will receive proper care in a loving home after its owner has passed away.

It is important to outline a temporary plan for a pet before even drafting a long-term plan. Estate plans can take time to carry out, especially if they are contested, but pets need daily care and immediate attention. A designated friend, family member or neighbor can ensure a pet’s needs are met while an estate plan is being carried out.

Formal, long-term arrangements for a pet can be created with the help of a lawyer in the form of a special will, trust, or other document. When selecting a caregiver, seniors should consider close family or friends who have met the pet and who have successfully cared for a pet of their own. If an estate plan includes more than one pet, they should be kept together, especially if they have bonded. Seniors should keep in contact with potential caregivers over time to ensure that their circumstances have not changed, and they are still willing to care for the pet.

In the event that a caregiver cannot be found, the executor of a will can be authorized to find a satisfactory new home for a pet. This may take time, so careful instructions and proper funding are paramount. An estate plan can include funding for a pet’s temporary and permanent expenses.

A trust for a pet may also be set up as an alternative to a will. Unlike a will, which only takes effect upon death, a trust goes into effect as soon as a senior becomes incapacitated. This means that a pet can be cared for immediately.
To learn more about New York elder law, New York estate planning, visit or

Make Sure Your Will Is Airtight

Monday, November 15th, 2010

People often think that because they have executed a Will, their wishes will be 100 percent honored when they pass on. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.

A Will that is not properly drafted and is not sufficiently specific can result in lengthy court battles. This can lead to disgruntled family members and grudges that last for generations.

A Will that is drafted from an Internet sample may be inadequate for your specific needs. It is best to hire an experienced estate planning attorney who can help you craft a document that is tailored to your situation, meets the statutory requirements for a valid Will, and protects beneficiaries and fiduciaries.

Here are some suggestions for making sure your wishes are honored:

-Keep copies of all correspondence and conversations with the drafting attorney.

-Be sure to update your Will on a regular basis.

-If you have previously executed a Will, destroy it, along with any drafts.

To learn more about New York elder law, New York estate planning, visit

When a Will and Testament Becomes Contested

Monday, January 18th, 2010

A Last Will and Testament is a legal declaration by which an individual provides for the transfer of property upon death and names one or more people to manage the estate.

Death is inevitable. But a careful choice in selecting an executor is seldom a given, especially where property and money are involved. During life, families may seem to get along fine, but the death of a loved one, considerable property to be disbursed, and an executor who seems unfair or biased — can be a recipe for conflict. The living, prior to their passing, don’t always write out their wishes in clear and concise ways. If there is uncertainty in a family about what might occur upon the death of a patriarch or matriarch, for instance, the atmosphere following death can resemble an emotional war zone.

An executor can help resolve such conflicts. The best executors execute their duties professionally, with tact, with due regard for family dynamics, and with professional guidance from a knowledgeable attorney. If a will contest nevertheless does occur, at least it should then be grounded in law and fair play.

To learn more about New York Elder Law, NY Elder Law, New York Elder Care, NY Elder Care, or New York Estate Planning visit