Related Practice Areas
- Business Transition Planning
- Estate and Trust Administration
- Estate Mediation and Alternate Dispute Resolution
- Estate Planning
- Insurance Trusts
- Marital Agreements
- Medicaid/Medicare Planning
- Retirement Benefit Planning
- Ten Questions to Ask an Estate Attorney
- The Role of Charity in Your Estate Plan
- Will, Trust, and Estate Litigation
Trusts and Estates
A law firm does not survive for over a century and a half without being dedicated to the long range goals of its clients. The individualized service of a client’s needs has always been a hallmark of Cullen and Dykman and nowhere is this better exemplified than in the firm’s Trusts and Estates department.
Almost since the inception of the firm 160 years ago, our attorneys have prepared wills and other wealth transfer documents appropriate for individuals with varying family circumstances and levels of wealth. Our size and the extent of our presence in the metropolitan area mean that we have the capability of servicing clients out of our Manhattan, Brooklyn and Garden City offices.
We presently assist clients across the spectrum, whether regarding the creation of generation-skipping trusts for grandchildren or in qualifying for Medicaid assistance, to comply with the frequent changes in the laws governing wealth and taxation. The fact that Cullen and Dykman has been in practice for over a century is a testament to the firm’s dedication to its clients and the corresponding loyalty of those clients.
For the convenience of our clients, we currently hold over 2,000 original wills or living trust agreements in our vaults. In many instances we represent children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren of ancestors who were also clients of the firm, including descendants of John Roebling, who designed the Brooklyn Bridge. In many instances, clients who move away from the State of New York expect and seek our assistance even after their relocations.
Experience counts. Effective counsel for your estate planning needs must possess both the technical knowledge and the practical experience to assure your goals are achieved and that the expense of family litigation is minimized.
Estate planning is not a once and done process. Changing circumstances require attention to the impact such changes may have on your goals. Here are some changes that occur that can have an effect on your estate plan.
Changes in Family Relations:
- Dissolution of Marriage.
- Death of a spouse.
- Changes regarding child, grandchild, or other beneficiary.
- Birth of a child.
- Death of a child.
- Marriage of a child.
- Adoption of a child.
- Medical issues of a beneficiary.
- Substance abuse issues of a beneficiary.
- Financial irresponsibility of a beneficiary.
Changes in Economic Position and Employment Status:
- Asset values substantially increase or decrease.
- Forms of business ownership.
- Change in insurability.
- Change of employment.
- Change in business interests.
- Property recently acquired.
- Change in health or health of spouse.
- Changes in laws.
- Change of residence out of state.
- Death of executor, trustee, or guardian.
Questions you should be asking:
- What happens if someone dies without a will?
- Why do I need a will?
- What is a bypass trust?
- What taxes will the beneficiary of my life insurance policy have to pay?
- Who controls my trust assets? My probate assets?
- Does a living trust protect property from creditors?
- Can a living trust reduce estate taxes?
- What is a power of attorney and do I need one?
- Do I want to avoid probate, and if I do, how do I do it?
- What should I do with my house?
- Is a Qualified Personal Residence Trust (QPRT) right for me?
- How do I avoid my children arguing when I'm gone?
The attorneys at Cullen and Dykman can answer these questions and more.
A case in point
Poor Mr. H died in 2004, having executed eight wills in the last six years of his life. The last will could not be found in its original form and only a copy was discovered in Mr. H’s effects. In such cases the law presumes that the testator revoked the will by an act of destruction. The previous six wills were all executed without the assistance of an attorney and all contained defects in execution that precluded them from being admitted to probate. Instead, Mr. H’s family offered the first of the instruments, executed in 1998, for probate. It was a complete and properly executed document. No one in the family opposed the request to probate the first will.
Wouldn’t it be reasonable to imagine that the court would agree with the family’s request and admit the first will to probate? Wrong.
The court correctly pointed to a section of the governing statute that if after executing a will a testator executes a later will which revokes or alters the prior one, a revocation of the later will does not, of itself, revive the prior will or any provision thereof. Therefore, possessing a copy of the last will, although presumably revoked by Mr. H, was sufficient to prevent the prior instrument from being admitted to probate. Of course, the irony here is that if there was one thing that Mr. H demonstrated in the final six years of his life was a desire to avoid dying intestate.
- Sarah Rebosa to Speak at the meeting of the Surrogate’s Court, Estates and Trust Committee of the Nassau County Bar Association, titled “Taxes and Settlement of an Estate”.October 15, 2018
- 2017New York Bar Foundation
- September 18, 2017
- Sarah Rebosa Interviewed for CreditCards.com Article on "4 Common Scenarios for Card Debt Liability After a Cardholder Dies"August 2, 2017creditcards.com
- November 29, 2016
- November 17, 2016
- October 25, 2016
- July 1, 2016
- May 19, 2016
- December 15, 2015
- October 15, 2015
- September 16, 2015Corporate Counsel
- April 16, 2015The Real Deal
- Michael Ryan Speaks at Seminar of the Estate Planning Council of Rockland County on the Topic: Problems in Modern Estate and Trust AdministrationMay 16, 2014
- Michael Ryan Speaks at the Kingsborough Community College Foundation of CUNY on Planned Giving, Techniques and Tax ConsiderationsMay 9, 2014
- April 30, 2014
- Michael Ryan Speaks at Seminar for Estate Planning Council of Long Island on Radical Changes in the Uniform Trust CodeFebruary 12, 2014
- January 11, 2014
- November 14, 2013
- October 30, 2013
- October 30, 2013
- October 15, 2013
- October 15, 2013
- September 26, 2013
- October 24, 2012
- May 31, 2012
- Michael P. Ryan Appointed to the New York State Bar Association’s Special Advisory Committee on Trusts and Estates LawFebruary 1, 2012
- Victor Finmann Gives Presentations for the Taxation Committee of the New York State Society of CPAs on Estate PlanningDecember 3, 2011
- November 3, 2011
- October 27, 2011
- October 26, 2011
- October 26, 2011
- September 23, 2011
- "Pre-trial issue in Surrogate’s Court", New York State Bar Association, Litigation in Surrogate’s CourtJune 2011
- May 26, 2011
- “2010 Federal Estate Tax Legislation”, Pension Council of Long Island, Inc.May 2011
- Seminar on Banking Issues in Article 17/17A Guardianships, Office of Court Administration's Judicial InstituteMay 2011
- “The trial of a Contested Accounting: Preliminary Considerations”; New York State Bar AssociationMay 2011
- "Due Diligence in Surrogate's Court" and "Professional Liability for Estate Planners"; Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, Annual Lawyers' SeminarApril 2011
- “Unique Roth IRA Planning Opportunities for 2010 and Beyond,” UJA-Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York, Inc. and the 30th Annual Bud Rosner Memorial Long Island Estate, Tax & Financial Planning ConferenceOctober 2010
- “Unique Roth IRA Planning Opportunities for 2010 and Beyond,” Cullen and Dykman LLP and Ultimate Abstract of New York, Inc.June 2010
- "Multiple Fiduciaries, Their Roles and Responsibilities"; New York State Bar Association, Contested Accountings SeminarSpring 2010
- "Report to the Bar Association on Surrogate's Court Developments"; Nassau County Bar Association, Trusts and Estates SectionSpring 2010
- "The Prudent Investor Act and its Relevance to an Article 81 Guardian”; Judicial Institute of the Unified Court SystemSpring 2010
- “Current Developments in the Case Law and A Report on the Court”; Nassau County Bar Association, Trusts and Estates SectionSpring 2010
- “The Continuing Viability of CPLR 4519, The Deadman’s Statute”; Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, Annual Lawyers’ Day SeminarMarch 21, 2010
- “Current Issues in Contested Accountings of Trustees”; Nassau County Bar Association, Trusts and Estates SectionJanuary 2010
- “Accountings by Trustees of Real Estate Interests”; Nassau County Chapter of Certified Public AccountantsJanuary 2010
- “2010 Roth IRAs: The Perfect Storm - The Legacy Gift Planning Opportunity,” Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.January 2010
- “Multiple Fiduciaries, Their Roles and Responsibilities”; New York State Bar Association, Contested Accountings SeminarDecember 2009
- “The Fine Art of Disinheritance”; Hudson Valley Estate Planning CouncilDecember 2009
- “Life Insurance and Other Insurance Issues” and “ERISA and Qualified Plan Benefits” New York State Bar Association – Committee on Continuing Legal Education – Trusts and Estates Law SectionOctober 2009
- November 28, 2012
- July 6, 2011
- July 6, 2011
- July 6, 2011