CLE: ‘Defensive Estate Planning: Avoiding Conflict, Abuse, and Litigation’ on December 3, 2020

CLE: ‘Defensive Estate Planning: Avoiding Conflict, Abuse, and Litigation’ on December 3, 2020

Daniel J. Reiter, Esq. will be teaching a Continuing Legal Education course on Defensive Estate Planning: Avoiding Conflict, Abuse, and Litigation on December 3, 2020 at 3:30pmEST.

The course will be hosted by LawLine and will be streamed live via webcast.

You can sign up for the program by registering on the LawLine website.

Course Description

Navigating family dynamics and competing financial interests means that estate planning can be fraught with complications. Taking a defensive mindset can help avoid litigation, family infighting, hurt feelings, unnecessary expense, and unnecessary delay.

This program will explore strategies and techniques for defensive estate planning, and best practices for working with clients. The defensive estate planning approach means being proactive in attempting to resolve unforeseen issues relating to death and mental incapacity.

Learning Objectives

  • Proactively plan to avoid will contests
  • Prepare an estate plan where a contest is expected
  • Avoid the loss of original estate planning documents, and prepare in advance for the potential misplacement of a will or advance directive
  • Identify issues with joint account ownership and joint safety deposit boxes
  • Properly draft a power of attorney so that it is not used as a device for financial exploitation or elder abuse
  • Protect “spendthrift” beneficiaries from themselves
  • Counsel clients on choosing a fiduciary
  • Designate beneficiaries appropriately

You can sign up for the program by registering on the LawLine website.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a guardian and a conservator?

Generally, none. New York used to use the terms conservator (today’s version of guardian of the property) and committee (today’s version of guardian of the person). Many states still use the term conservator, but the concept is the same.

If I petition to have a guardian appointed in a Mental Hygiene Law Article 81 proceeding, will I have to serve as guardian?

No. Even if you are the “petitioner” – the person who is asking the judge to appoint a guardian – you can ask the judge to appoint someone else. If there are no family or friends willing and able to serve, the judge can appoint a non-profit organization or “independent” professional guardian to serve.

My disabled child is about to turn 18. Am I automatically able to make decisions for them when they turn 18?

No (except for limited exceptions). In New York, parents are the natural guardians of their children until age 18. However, once a child reaches 18, even if they are developmentally or intellectually disabled, a parent cannot automatically make decisions for their adult child. Guardianship is often necessary for developmentally and intellectually disabled adults who do not have capacity to manage their own affairs without assistance.

If I am appointed guardian, can I force my ward to take psychiatric medication?

Although most guardians are authorized to make routine and non-routine medical decisions on behalf of their ward, the administration of psychiatric medication to a person who objects requires special authorization from a judge, even if you were already appointed guardian.

How long does it take to get a guardian appointed and authorized to act in a Mental Hygiene Law Article 81 proceeding?

There is no set time. However, from the time counsel is retained, it usually takes about 2-4 months total for the guardian to begin acting. However, if a guardian is needed immediately, the judge can appoint a “temporary guardian” while everything gets sorted out. This speeds up the process.

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What Our Clients Say

“Daniel Reiter is an honest attorney. He handled my brother’s estate with professionalism, diligence, and sensitivity. … I would recommend him highly!”
– Former Client
“Our experience with Daniel was great. … We highly recommend Daniel for anyone needing a strong, competent, and honest attorney.”
– Former Client
“Daniel is extremely thorough, very easy to deal with, he invests time to make sure that the issues are understood and clear.”
– Former Client
“Daniel is a true professional who takes pride in doing good work.”
– Former Client