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A well crafted estate plan assures that you will transfer what you want, to whom you want, and the way you want, while minimizing the expenses of that transition. This requires that the attorney have a thorough knowledge of all conventional estate planning tools and options, and the ability to craft a plan that is both practical and affordable.

We are experienced in preparing comprehensive estate plans which save our clients every possible tax and administrative cost. We will help you formulate a plan which will consider your family, your community, your charities, and at the same time minimize taxes for yourself and your heirs. We also work to ensure the smooth and timely transfer of assets.

Estate planning is often multi-generational and requires a consideration of your children and grandchildren, and accommodating special circumstances which exist in almost every family. We consider the opportunity to assist you in planning your estate, as our highest calling.


What is the difference between will and estate planning?
A Will is part of your comprehensive estate plan. A Will determines where your assets go upon your death. An estate plan should include your lawyer, financial advisor, and tax advisor, and adds additional considerations such as estate tax and income tax efficiency, long-term care planning, asset protection, and disability planning.

What should be included in estate planning?
An estate plan should consider the disposition of assets at death, along with the most tax efficient way to distribute those assets. It also takes into consideration whether assets should be distributed outright to your heirs or whether those assets should be held in a trust for their benefit, as well as complications such as second marriages, children from prior marriages, beneficiaries with disabilities, and issues facing non-traditional families. Finally, estate planning should be done in coordination with a lawyer, financial advisor, and accountant.

Why is estate planning important?
If you do not plan for your estate, your assets will pass according to the laws of your State of residence rather than according to your wishes, and you may face adverse estate tax and income tax burdens. Assets may pass outright instead of in trust for minors, people with disabilities, and people with creditors - exposing them to additional risks.

When should you do estate planning?
At the very least, any adult over the age of 18 should have a basic plan. The plan should be reviewed every five years or so. The longer someone waits, the less opportunity they may have to protect assets and make tax-efficient choices.

Is it better to have a will or a trust?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer. This is a decision that should be made after consulting with an attorney who focuses their practice on estate planning, and will be based on potential complications to your estate, income tax and estate tax considerations, the need to protect assets, as well as a client’s overall budget for planning and risk tolerance.

How do you avoid probate?
Probate is merely proving that a Will was validly executed. It is possible to avoid this process with testamentary substitutes like joint ownership, beneficiary designations or trusts - but there are drawbacks to all of these options that need to be balanced and budgeted. Avoiding probate does not avoid the need to administer other assets, settle a trust, and it does not resolve potential income tax and estate tax issues.

What is the best estate planning software?
There is no “best” software. Most of the software populates fields based on questions. The software does not ensure the documents are validly executed under the laws of your state. A Will prepared by and executed by an attorney enjoys the presumption of validity, and frequently the Wills prepared by software are improperly executed and are deemed invalid by the Courts. Software also neglects complications that many of us face include income tax and estate tax considerations, planning for long-term care, or beneficiaries with problems such as creditor issues, disabilities, or inability to manage money.

What is fair in a second marriage and estate planning?
This is a fine balancing act between the desire to provide for your current spouse, and the desire to provide for children from a prior marriage. A complicated situation like this requires advice from an experienced attorney who focuses their practice in estate planning, and particularly planning for second marriages and non-traditional families.

How to find an estate planning attorney?
An estate planning attorney will typically make it clear on their website that their practice focuses solely on the areas of trusts, estates, and elder law. They will have good reviews from objective sources and a good reputation in their community.

How much does estate planning cost?
Typical fees can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on the complexity of the issues the client faces as well as the level of planning and protection the client desires.

Can I have an out of state estate plan?
If you own assets in various states, a plan that includes testamentary substitutes and trusts can be effective at avoiding probate of the Will in multiple states, and streamlining the administration of your estate. This plan should be prepared by a competent attorney focused on trusts, estates, and elder law.

What documents are needed for estate planning?
A typical estate plan includes Wills, health care directives such as a living will, health care proxy, and HIPAA release, and powers of attorney. More complicated plans will include the use of trusts and considerations for income tax, estate tax, and long-term care planning, and asset protection.
Thank you for the excellent representation on my behalf. I'm so glad I came to you.

- Annie


Richard A. Kroll, Esq. has an active practice in the area of Estate Planning, Trusts, and Probate. He is a member of the...

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Private practice in Rochester, New York with the Kroll Law Firm since 2007, a group practice in Brighton, New York with emphasis on...

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Marcus's practice involves estate planning for all families, including LGBT couples, second marriages, and families who have members with...

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Richard A. Kroll
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