Author Archives: Thomas Sciacca

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About Thomas Sciacca

Tom Sciacca is an Estate Planning Lawyer & the founder of The Law Offices of Thomas Sciacca in New York, NY.
EMAIL: tom@sciaccalaw.com
BIO: About Thomas
PHONE: (212) 495-0317

Sciacca Law Celebrates 10 Years Helping New Yorkers
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Sciacca Law Celebrates 10 Years Helping New Yorkers | Tom Sciacca

{3 minutes to read} May 2017 marks ten years since I opened the doors to my law practice. At 30 years old, opening my practice was both exciting and terrifying. I was up to my eyeballs in student loan debt, yet I had just left a position with a midtown firm with steady work and a steady paycheck. But I was in the greatest city in the world and had some dreams to chase.

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What is a Revocable Trust and is it Appropriate for Me?
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What is a Revocable Trust and is it Appropriate for Me? | Tom Sciacca

{Read in: 3:30 minutes} What is a Trust, and more specifically, what is a Revocable Trust? Creating a Revocable Trust is like creating a new legal entity. This Trust is created by a Grantor and managed by several people known as Trustees. In its simplest form, a Revocable Trust is a Will substitute that avoids probate.

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What is a Trust?
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What is a Trust? | Tom Sciacca

{Read in 6 minutes} A lot of people talk about Trusts these days. You may hear about them on the radio or see financial experts talking about them on television. Sometimes clients come in and advise me that they want me to write a Trust for them. But when I inquire as to why someone sitting across the table from me would like a Trust, I find that few people know very much about them. In this post I will address the following questions: What is a Trust? What are some of the different types of Trusts? What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of Trusts?

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Adult Guardianship: What happens if you can no longer manage your affairs?
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Adult Guardianship: What happens if you can no longer manage your affairs? | Tom Sciacca

{Read in 8 minutes} Every now and then, an adult may lose his or her capacity to make important medical, financial, or other decisions. This may be a result of a major medical incident, such as a stroke, or because of the effects of aging that some people experience. Regardless of the reason, if someone has not adequately planned for their incapacity, they may need the intervention of a Court to have a Guardian appointed for them. This article (1) provides insight into how a client can potentially avoid the need for a guardianship proceeding, and (2) provides an overview of such a proceeding should the need arise.

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Adult Guardianship: What happens if you can no longer manage your affairs?
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Authored by , re: LAW RELATED ARTICLES, Trusts, Estates & Elder law, on .
Adult Guardianship: What happens if you can no longer manage your affairs? | Tom Sciacca

{Read in 8 minutes} Every now and then, an adult may lose his or her capacity to make important medical, financial, or other decisions. This may be a result of a major medical incident, such as a stroke, or because of the effects of aging that some people experience. Regardless of the reason, if someone has not adequately planned for their incapacity, they may need the intervention of a Court to have a Guardian appointed for them. This article (1) provides insight into how a client can potentially avoid the need for a guardianship proceeding, and (2) provides an overview of such a proceeding should the need arise.

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Power of Attorney: What You Need to Know
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Power of Attorney: What You Need to Know | Tom Sciacca

{Read in 8 minutes} Whether a client needs a Power of Attorney is one of the most frequent questions I get. Perhaps you’ve considered signing one yourself. I’d like to spend some time today discussing (1) what a Power of Attorney is, (2) what it allows someone to do for you, (3) what it doesn’t allow someone to do for you, and (4) some of the concerns that you should consider before executing one.

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Estate Tax: The Basics
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Estate Tax: The Basics by Tom Sciacca

{Read in 4 minutes} Many people have heard of estate tax, but not everyone understands whether or not it would be applicable to them.

In its simplest form, the estate tax is a death tax. Any assets that change hands by reason of one’s death is subject to the estate tax. It does not matter if the assets pass under the Will as part of the probate process or pass automatically by operation of law to named beneficiaries. For example, a person’s condo, which usually passes according to the terms of their Will, is equally subject to the estate tax as are their retirement accounts that names beneficiaries who inherit directly.

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The Elusive “Iron-Clad” Will
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The Elusive “Iron-Clad” Will | Tom Sciacca

Question: Is there any such thing as an “iron-clad” Will? Simple answer: Nope (sorry ‘bout it). A lot of people think that putting a certain amount of time, work, or even money into drafting estate planning documents can prevent a troublesome family member from challenging a Will. That’s not how things work. In New York (like in most states), we have a self-policing system of determining validity of Wills. That means that when someone dies, the Court puts his or her next-of-kin on notice that someone is offering the Will for probate. Essentially, telling them that if they have an objection to the Will, they should show up in Court and let their voice be heard as to why the Court should not probate it. Best-case scenario, a troublesome family member will simply not appear in Court; worst-case scenario, they see it as an invitation to challenge the Will’s validity.

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How to Leave Money to Disabled Beneficiaries Without Compromising Benefit Entitlements
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How to Leave Money to Disabled Beneficiaries Without Compromising Benefit Entitlements | Tom Sciacca

{Read in 4 minutes} While not everyone who suffers from a disability is on government entitlements, many times I am faced with questions from people who have adult children or siblings who fall into this category. What is their concern? Their concern is that they want to make some provision for their loved one without losing the needs-based government entitlements that they need to meet their basic daily needs.

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Cleaning Your Legal House: Is It Time to Update Your Will?
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Cleaning Your Legal House: Is It Time to Update Your Will? | Tom Sciacca

{Read in 6 minutes} The changing of the calendar is often a catalyst for many people. At the beginning of each new year, many clients take inventory of their legal affairs. They question whether their existing documents need to be updated, with their Will topping the list.

A well-drafted Will anticipates various changes in a client’s life, and often does not require periodic updating absent a major life event. It is essential, however, that clients periodically review their Wills to ensure that it still fully reflects their wishes.

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Secure Your Wishes with a Health Care Proxy
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Secure Your Wishes with a Health Care Proxy | Tom Sciacca

{Read in 8 minutes} What is the best kept secret about a Health Care Proxy? It’s absolutely free and you don’t need a lawyer to do it.

A Health Care Proxy may be one of the most important legal documents that you ever sign, yet many people do not know what it is. Basically, it’s a statement a person can sign appointing someone else to make his or her medical decision for them if there were ever to come a time when that person cannot make a medical decision on their own.

First, you should consider clicking here. This is New York State Department of Health’s website, where the Health Care Proxy form is available as a fill-in-the-blank document in several different languages. This is something that you can complete simply by following the instructions provided on the website.

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Setting the Record Straight on Probate
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Setting the Record Straight on Probate | Thomas Sciacca

{8:00 minutes to read} As a trusts and estates attorney, a lot of times people ask me, “Do I need to avoid probate?” Frequently, people have seen a recent television program with a TV personality advising them to execute Revocable Trusts or people telling them horror stories about what the probate process has done to them, but very infrequently do people actually understand what probate is. Let me tell you a little bit about what it is so that you can make a decision about what is appropriate for you and your loved ones.

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Setting the Record Straight on Probate
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Authored by , re: LAW RELATED ARTICLES, Trusts, Estates & Elder law, on .
Setting the Record Straight on Probate | Thomas Sciacca

{Read in 8 minutes} As a trusts and estates attorney, a lot of times people ask me, “Do I need to avoid probate?” Frequently, people have seen a recent television program with a TV personality advising them to execute Revocable Trusts or people telling them horror stories about what the probate process has done to them, but very infrequently do people actually understand what probate is. Let me tell you a little bit about what it is so that you can make a decision about what is appropriate for you and your loved ones.

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