Author Archives: Vincent J. Russo

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About Vincent J. Russo

Vincent J. Russo & Associates, P.C. is Long Island’s Signature Elder Law, Special Needs and Estate Planning Law Firm with offices in Westbury, Islandia, Woodbury and Lido Beach, New York.
EMAIL: vincent@vjrussolaw.com
BIO: About Vincent J. Russo & Associates, P.C.
PHONE: 800-680-1717

Safeguarding Your Will and Estate Plan from Legal Challenges
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Safeguarding Your Will and Estate Plan from Legal Challenges | Vincent J. Russo

A recent meeting with one of my clients caused me to think about what it means to contest a will. Some people have misconceptions about who can mount a challenge to a person’s will or estate plan, and how those documents can be protected from such a challenge. Only spouses and children (known as legal heirs) have the right to challenge a will or estate plan under New York law.

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Congratulations to our 2015 “Super Lawyers”
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Congratulations to our 2015 “Super Lawyers” | Vincent J. Russo & Associates

We are proud to announce that two of our partners, Vincent J. Russo and Frank L. Buquicchio have once again been named “Super Lawyers” on the “New York Metro Super Lawyers” list. The Super Lawyers website notes that “Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.”

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When Does Guardianship Become a Necessity?
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When Does Guardianship Become a Necessity? | Vincent J. Russo & Associates

In New York State there are three different types of guardianships:

  • Guardianship under Mental Hygiene Law Article 81: Applicable to an adult who had capacity during their lifetime but has since experienced cognitive and/or functional limitations.
  • Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act Article 17 Guardianship: Guardianship of a minor, applies to anybody under the age of 18 without a legal guardian.  An Article 17 action assigns guardianship for a child only until they reach the age of majority at 18 years old.

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New Name… New Location… Same Commitment
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New Name… New Location… Same Commitment | Vincent J. Russo & Associates

The law firm you have come to know and trust as Vincent J. Russo & Associates, P.C. is becoming Russo Law Group, P.C. This name change better reflects the important contributions made by the firm’s partners, attorneys and staff. Along with the name change, on September 29th, after 30 years in our Westbury location, team Russo is proud to announce that we are relocating to a beautiful new spacious office in Garden City.

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When a Loved One Dies, Don’t Let Restorative Taxes Come Back to Haunt You
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When a Loved One Dies, Don’t Let Restorative Taxes Come Back to Haunt You | Vincent J. Russo & Associates

When you own a piece of real property in New York State, your circumstance dictates whether or not you are entitled to certain tax exemptions. What does this mean? Your personal residence may qualify for a number of exemptions based on factors such as whether you are a senior citizen, have financial difficulty, or are a veteran.

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United States Senate Unanimously Passes the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act
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United States Senate Unanimously Passes the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act | Vincent J. Russo & Associates

On Wednesday, September 9, The Special Needs Trust Act was passed! The passage of this legislation establishes liberties for persons with disabilities which had been previously denied to them. Prior to passing the Act, only a parent, grandparent, legal guardian of the disabled individual, or a court could establish a special needs trust on behalf of the disabled individual. Under the new Act, individuals with disabilities who have the capacity, can create their own special needs trusts.

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Persistence Pays Off, Especially When It Comes to Medicaid!
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Persistence Pays Off, Especially When It Comes to Medicaid | Vincent J. Russo & Associates

Recently, we resolved a case regarding a Medicaid nursing home application for a 62-year-old woman, Jane, who suffered a severe stroke in 2011. A healthy woman otherwise, Jane had no health issues prior to suffering the stroke. Unfortunately, she also had no advance directives (health care proxy or durable power of attorney). Since she did not have a durable power of attorney, and she had assets in her name,

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Estate Planning — Like an Ironman!
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Estate Planning — Like an Ironman | Vincent J. Russo & Associates

Estate Planning and an Ironman event…what does one have to do with the other you ask? EVERYTHING! As a proud wife of a first-time Ironman and an elder law attorney, I can explain. Step 1: Hire a Coach

  • Most first-time Ironmen striving to cross that finish line after 140.6 miles of swimming, biking and running need direction on how to build up their endurance for such a long race.

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So, You’ve Been Appointed Trustee; What Now?
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So, You’ve Been Appointed Trustee; What Now | Vincent J. Russo

Whether it’s an honor or a burden (or both), you have been appointed trustee of a trust. What responsibilities have been thrust upon you? How can you successfully carry them out? Here are some do’s and don’ts to get you started: 1. Do read the trust document. It sets out the rules under which you will operate. So you need to understand it completely.

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Understanding the Ownership of Your Assets and Your Beneficiary Designations
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Understanding the Ownership of Your Assets and Your Beneficiary Designations | Vincent J. Russo & Associates

It is important to understand the ownership of assets such as bank accounts, investments, retirement accounts, CDs and life insurance policies. When a new client meets with an estate planning attorney, the first few questions the attorney will ask are:

  • What type of accounts are owned?
  • Are they owned individually or jointly?
  • Is there a beneficiary?
The answer to those questions will affect whether or not family members will have to go through probate, and it may impact that individual’s eligibility for Medicaid. Jointly owned accounts are not protected.

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Estate Planning for the Electronic Age
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Estate Planning for the Electronic Age | Vincent J. Russo & Associates

Millions of people use computers to conduct business and interact socially, and for general communications. Many of those computer users are registered in some way on dozens of websites, including social media outlets such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook. With these outlets, not many users consider what happens when there is no longer anyone to maintain them. Approximately thirty percent of people have their online presence continue after their death. This is largely due to two factors:

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There is No Substitute for Sound Legal Advice
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There is No Substitute for Sound Legal Advice | Vincent J. Russo & Associates

Everyone has their niche. Financial advisors have a certain field of expertise, and most are very good at what they do. However, when it comes to elder law, Medicaid and estate planning, there is no substitute for sound legal advice. Case study: A retiree originally made an appointment with a law firm specializing in estate planning and elder law – but, a family friend was a financial advisor. He decided to work with his friend and canceled his appointment with the law firm.

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Lessons from Whitney Houston’s Will and Bobbi Kristina’s Death
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Lessons from Whitney Houston’s Will and Bobbi Kristina’s Death | Vincent J. Russo & Associates

The tragic death of Bobbi Kristina, Whitney Houston’s only child, has left her estate in limbo. Houston’s will left the entirety of her estate, including jewelry, clothing, cars, record profits and music royalties, in a spendthrift trust to the sole heir, Bobbi Kristina. The provisions of this trust stated that Bobbi Kristina would receive the distributions in three installments: 1/10 at age 21, 1/6 to be received at age 25, and the remainder of the estate upon her turning 30.

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The Problem With a Life Estate
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The Problem With a Life Estate | Vincent Russo & Associates

A “life estate” is an ownership interest that a person retains in real property while transferring a remainder interest to one or more individuals. Life estates are sometimes used as a planning technique by individuals who wish to safeguard their residence or other real estate. For example: Mrs. Smith is worried that one day she will require nursing home care, but she does not want her home to be garnished by

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Safeguarding Clients from Long-Term Care Costs
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As your clients’ most trusted adviser, how can you protect them from the financial threat and high costs of long-term care? You basically have two initial choices. Let’s assume your client is under age 75, relatively healthy and understands that an unexpected, unreimbursed long-term care expense is a real threat that can unravel their and their spouse’s retirement plans and lifestyle. You can talk about “what if” scenarios, including the purchase of a long-term care insurance policy.

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Looking Forward with a Reverse Mortgage
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Looking Forward with a Reverse Mortgage | Vincent J. Russo & Associates

Reverse mortgages have become more popular in recent years. For many of Long Island’s seniors, the ever-increasing cost of living on a fixed income is a daily challenge. Often seniors look to the equity in their homes to relieve some of their financial pressure. A reverse mortgage is a secured loan on your home. It allows you to convert a portion of the equity in your home into cash. It is called a reverse mortgage because instead of making monthly payments to a lender, as with a traditional mortgage, the lender makes payments to the borrower.

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Fiscal Year vs Calendar Year: What’s Best For You?
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Fiscal Year vs Calendar Year: What’s Best For You | Vincent J. Russo & Associates

The fiduciary of an estate may use either the calendar year or the fiscal year as the “taxable year.” Typically, most fiduciaries elect to use a fiscal year because it gives them more time. A calendar year ends December 31st, whereas the fiscal year begins on the day of the individual’s death and ends on the last day of the month prior to the one year death anniversary. For example, if the decedent died on any day in March of 2015, his or her estate’s fiscal year would end February 28th, 2016.

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