Estate Planning

Wills, Trusts and Probate Law

The process of estate planning is the mapping out of what will happen with your belongings when you pass away. The estate plan with control how your possessions and assets are distributed to the appropriate parties in the event of your passing. A proper estate plan will not only outline the ownership of possessions but will also cover:

  • Instructions for care if you become disabled
  • Guardianship for children
  • Life insurance to provide for your family or business

  • Estate Services We Provide:

    Alternate state residency tax planning

    If you’re thinking of retiring in Florida, for example, it is important to plan your estate accordingly so you don’t end up owing income and estate taxes in both New York and Florida.

    Closely-held business

    You may wish to consider shareholder, operating or buy-sell agreements to keep your closely-held business operational after your death.

    Generation-skipping transfer tax (GST tax)

    This is a federal tax imposed on future generations to allow current heirs to avoid paying estate taxes when $3.5 million or more is transferred to them.


    Your taxable estate can be reduced by gifting $13,000 annually (or $26,000 annually per couple) to your children, grandchildren or other beneficiaries either directly or by setting up a trust.

    Health care proxy, living will and power of attorney

    A health care proxy enables you to make decisions specific to future medical care. A living will specifies your future wishes respective to artificial life support. Through a durable power of attorney, you appoint someone to make financial decisions for you in the future.

    Life insurance trusts

    An irrevocable trust can be established based on the asset of a life insurance policy. This is a tax shelter that allows the grantor to exempt the policy from his (or her) taxable estate.

    Non-U.S. citizen spouses

    A qualified domestic trust (Q-DOT) allows your spouse, who is not a U.S. citizen, to avoid estate taxes.

    Qualified personal residence trust (QRPT)

    A QRPT allows you to remove your residence from your taxable estate by giving it to your children in a trust. You retain the right to continue inhabiting your domicile.

    If you have an issue not seen here, give us a call at 845-483-7327 to speak with a representative at David A. Sears. We will come up with a solution to best fit your individual case.