Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do you offer consultations?
Yes, Veronica has two office locations- in Queens and Manhattan-and is available for consultation by appointment.
Q: Do you offer legal services in a language(s) other than English?
Yes, Veronica speaks, reads and writes fluent Spanish.
Q: I do not see my legal issue listed, could you still assist me?
In Elder Law, our office also handles:
Estate planning (trusts, wills and other testamentary documents and advanced directives)
Asset protection for Medicaid (including promissory notes, emergency or “last minute” planning)
Medicaid planning, including the application process and internal and external appeals; and recertifications/renewals
Miscellaneous Probate and Administration issues, including inheritance for minor children
Post mortem Trust Administration
Long-term care placements in a nursing home, long-term care communities as well home care
In Special Needs planning, please see below FAQ
If you believe your legal issue has some relation to elder law, trusts and estates, or family law, feel free to give the office a call.
Q: Why do I need a will?
Because it is the most effective way for your assets to be passed along to your heirs or other loved ones.
If you or a loved one dies without a Last Will and Testament (known as “intestate” or “intestacy”) the person’s estate (property- real or personal that they possess at death) cannot be distributed to heirs or whomever you would have otherwise decided should inherit.
If your assets were worth $30,000 or more, then an “Estate Administration” would need to take place in the absence of a Will.
In an Estate Administration, New York State law would govern how the estate is distributed- since the deceased’s wishes are unknown and there is no Will.
A validly executed Last Will and Testament needs to be admitted to a process known as “Probate” only if the Estate/assets is worth more than $30,000.00. In order for the terms of the Will to take effect and for the Executor to act, it must go through probate. An Executor is the person named in the Will who is entrusted with carrying out the Testator’s (the deceased’s) explicit wishes.
Q: What can I do if a loved one becomes incapacitated without having executed Advanced Directives?
If a loved one becomes incapacitated to the point where they are unable to have discussions about or make decisions regarding financial, health and other personal matters and have no advanced directives in place, you can seek guardianship over the person through an “Article 81” proceeding in Supreme Court. A hearing would take place and the Court would determine whether your loved one is an “Incapacitated Person” and appoint you or another person, if so desired, as the person’s Guardian of the person and/or property for an indefinite period of time.
Q: Is it true that I need to have “a lot of money” to have an estate plan?
No, not true at all. We all have possessions that have a value to us, either monetarily or sentimentally, that we would want to bequeath (give) away to people when we die. What matters is the value we give to our possessions, not the value they actually have or that others give to them. Additionally, advanced health care directives are important irrespective of socio-economic standing.
Q: Can your office assist me if my loved one needs to enter a nursing home or an assisted living facility?
Yes. Preparing for long term care can be a daunting process as there are many factors, financial and otherwise, that are taken into consideration. Each case is evaluated based on the particular facts and circumstances.
Q: If I have a minor or adult child with special needs, can I do something to protect them legally and financially?
Yes. "Special needs" can mean a mental, developmental, cognitive and/or physical disability.
We assist families by drafting a “Special Needs Trust,” the specific legal instrument used to protect these minors or adult children. It also goes by the name Supplemental Needs Trust or “SNT” because these trusts are meant to supplement the support for the individual and not replace their government benefits.
The funds in the trust, usually funded by a parent, grandparent, other adult, and even the Special Needs individual, can be utilized for the following (this is not an exhaustive list):
Annual medical checkup
To purchase materials for hobbies or recreational activities
To plan and purchase trips and vacations
To provide and pay for entertainment, like movies, live shows, or sporting events
To buy property or services that better the special needs individual's quality of life, like a computer, laptop, furniture or electronics-even a personal residence.
Athletic entertainment or competitions
Special dietary foods
A personal needs aide
We are also available to:
Counsel families who may be considering guardianship for their special needs family member and representing them in Court proceedings
Working with families to secure government benefits for the special needs individual;
Represent client and/or the family in court to establish special needs trusts;