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Brooklyn Probate & Estate Administration Law Blog

Can virtual visitation help resolve your custody issues?

Like most good parents in New York, your main priority when deciding to divorce was your children. You and your spouse agreed to devise a co-parenting plan that provides as many tools as possible for your children to successfully adapt to their new lifestyle. You both agree that they should have as much time with each of you as possible. 

The problem is that you won't be living near each other, so visitation schedules will be tricky. You might be interested in learning more about a current trend that many New York parents are implementing to help reduce visitation stress and allow kids to stay in close contact with both parents. There may be legal implications to the system, however, so it's always best to seek experienced guidance before devising a particular plan.  

Trusts may keep you eligible for Medicaid later in life

Many of the baby boomers living here in New York may start to wonder about whether they will need long-term care at some point in the future. If you are one of them, then you may also wonder how to best prepare for the cost of that care.

You may know people who make just enough to get by but too much to qualify for Medicaid. You don't want to find yourself in this position should you reach a time when you need assisted living or nursing home care. Estate planning may help ensure that you have the ability to receive Medicaid and to supplement those benefits as well.

Putting your marriage under a microscope to get a green card

You fell in love with a U.S. citizen and vowed to spend the rest of your lives together. The two of you expect your bond to last forever, but you still face one obstacle to continuing your journey. You need to take the trip to your local immigration office here in New York for your marriage interview to determine whether you receive permanent resident status.

Prior to the current upheaval in immigration law, officials looked at marriages between U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens with skepticism. Now, with the increased scrutiny that every immigrant in the country seems to be under, your marriage will end up under a microscope. Strangers who don't know you or your spouse will want to know the most intimate details of your life together.

Have you seriously considered your long-term care needs?

Though you may not consider yourself old enough to think about needing a nursing home one day, the need for long-term care could affect anyone at any age. True, older individuals are more likely to need this type of attention, but really, a sudden illness or injury could cause anyone to find him or herself needing long-term care.

Because the possibility does exist, planning for future care may be in your best interests. By having a plan, you can indicate how and where you want your care to take place, and you can also begin taking steps to ensure that you can afford the necessary care, which can often prove expensive.

What to do with the house when you divorce

Many of the decisions related to a divorce involve choosing who gets what. Once you and your spouse agree on child custody arrangements, the next consideration is probably the house. Likely the largest financial investment you and your spouse made together, you may be torn about how to deal with it now that you are splitting up.

There is no universal right or wrong answer although some options may be more viable for your situation than others are. Even after considering some of the most common choices couples make when facing a divorce, you may be able to find a unique solution of your own.

Disspelling misinformation about powers of attorney

You may need a power of attorney for any number of reasons. If you are part of the aging population of the country, you may need one due to an age-related illness. Of course, you don't have to be of retirement age or beyond to suffer from a debilitating illness. In the alternative, you could suffer severe injuries in an accident regardless of your age.

If any of these events occurs, you may not be able to make decisions for yourself, even for a short time. During that time, a power of attorney would allow someone to step in and make health care or financial decisions for you until you are able to do so for yourself again. The problem is that a great deal of misinformation surrounds these critical documents. 

Could a trust help you with your Medicaid application?

Throughout your life, you may have always had access to medical care when the need arose. As a child, your parents and their insurance coverage likely covered any expenses associated with your care, and you may not have considered how costly health care could be until you faced your own medical bills as an adult. Though you may have obtained your own insurance, which helps in many instances, you could still have to contend with considerable out-of-pocket expenses.

In particular, if you find yourself needing long-term care in your retirement years, you could face substantial costs that your insurance may not cover. However, before you reach that point in your life -- and many people over the age of 65 do -- you may wish to consider planning ahead in hopes of avoiding a financial burden placed on yourself or your family.

My green card is about to expire, what can I do?

You entered the country the right way and have made New York your new home. You worked hard and obtained your green card. Your green card is about to expire, though. What can you do?

Green cards are only good for so long, generally 10 years. If you let it expire, you may be subject to deportation. So, before this happens, take the necessary steps to prevent it early on before it becomes an issue.

Is staying together in the best interests of the children?

The decision to delay the end of a marriage may hinge on many factors. For example, you may share business interests with your spouse, need more time to save money for after your split or have momentous family events coming up. Putting off the inevitable may come from much more personal reasons too, and a common one is to stay together for the children.

Perhaps you are a child of divorce yourself, and you were hoping to spare your children the trauma you went through. While this is commendable, there are some important things to consider before deciding to postpone the end of your marriage indefinitely.

Here's why you shouldn't write your own will

Admittedly, one of the reasons that many people fail to do any estate planning is due to the cost. Many New York residents who still want to make a will plan to do so on their own. Do-it-yourself forms may come with a low up-front price, but, according to the old saying, "you get what you pay for."

When it comes to DIY estate planning documents, that saying certainly applies. Low cost forms often result in inadequate documents that fail to stand up in court upon death, and it is surviving family members who pay the price as they go through an often time-consuming and expensive probate that diminishes the assets of the estate, and, therefore, any inheritance they may receive.