Estate Planning includes Wills, Trusts, Power of Attorney, etc.
Mr. Bernstein's practice focuses on the preparation of Wills and Trusts which are designed to protect the family unit, minimize taxes as well as dealing with unique family situations such as second marriages, children with spendthrift habits, children with bad marriges, family businesses, and children with disabilities.
He will advise clients on a wide range of topics from the selection of a Testamentary Guardian for their children, setting up trusts to protect children's inherited assets to Succession Planning in a business to prevent the children from fighting with one another after the parent dies and destroying the business.
In the initial consultation, he will show clients the possible tax impact of the present Estate Tax Laws on their assets. Clients very often are shocked to realize the tax that their Estates will have to pay and Mr. Bernstein is known for presenting to his clients various ways through the design of their Last Wills and Testament and the use of other tax saving devices, such as Trusts, to minimize the tax impact upon their Estate and often to reduce the taxes to zero.
Clients appreciate the manner in which Mr. Bernstein educates them so that they fully understand and appreciate the value of a carefully and well drafted document. It is a learning process to which Mr. Bernstein exposes his clients. Most often his clients, at the conclusion of the process of setting up their Estate Plans, feel a tremendous amount of relief and security knowing that if something unforeseen occurred, that their family members would be protected from taxes and harmony within the family will be preserved based upon the structuring of the Wills.
POWERS OF ATTORNEY:
This is an aspect of Estate Planning which is overlooked too frequently. What would happen if you were suddenly seriously injured in an auto accident? Perhaps your spouse or your life partner is in the accident with you. Who will manage your financial affairs? Who will make payment of the mortgage or the taxes on your property? Who will consult with your financial advisor to determine whether certain assets should be sold or liquidated in order to provide you with income during your disability? Mr. Bernstein advises his clients on the importance of Powers of Attorney and naming an alternate agent in the event that your initial agent has been injured as well or has predeceased you.
Who will designate what doctor should treat you in the event of an emergency or to which hospital you should be taken and cared for. If you are single or if your spouse or partner is also disabled, who will make these important decisions? In addition, as a result of a relatively new law, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”), physicians and hospitals oftentimes will not advise children or even a spouse of the medical condition of an ill spouse, parent or partner in the event that a waiver of the right of privacy has not been signed. As a result, a properly drafted Healthcare Proxy is extremely important.
Many people are aware of the terrible anguish and pain which the family members of Terri Schiavo and Karen Ann Quinlan had to endure because of the fact that an Advance Medical Directive (Living Will) was not in place. Mr. Bernstein counsels his clients on designing a Living Will which conforms to their wishes. Perhaps the husband and wife, or the life partners, do not have the same thoughts with respect to the Living Will. This document is very individual and should state the client’s wishes. Sometimes children have entirely different thoughts from their parents with respect to utilizing life support. They may have an unbearable feeling of guilt if they do not place the parent on life support. There is no right or wrong answer in these situations. Mr. Bernstein instructs the clients on the different alternatives that they have and also questions them about their religious beliefs in order to determine whether that issue would affect their decision. These are serious issues which need to be addressed and given a great deal of thought and, again, Mr. Bernstein’s procedure is to provide the clients with information so that they can make an informed decision.
Have a question? Call: 973-434-3300
POWERS OF ATTORNEY
Managing family member's finances in case of disability
Payment of bills and taxes during a disability
Utilizing family member's assets for their heath care and other needs
Authority to manage family member's healthcare
Selection of physicians
Selection or refusal of medical treatments
Access to medical records
The right to control the end stage of your life
Life support decisions