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WILLS TRUSTS AND ESTATES

Will Probate and Estate Administration
When a person dies, his or her estate needs to be collected and managed. Estate administration involves gathering the assets of the estate, paying the decedent's debts, and distributing the remaining assets either in accordance with that person’s last will and testament, living trust or pursuant to the laws of intestacy.

With its extensive New York and New Jersey Surrogate’s Court practice, Russo, Scamardella and D’Amato helps clients navigate through the daunting probate or administration process providing broad advice and counsel regarding those issues faced during the settlement of an estate (e.g. probate or administration filing, will contests, indentifying and marshalling the assets, estate taxes, accountings etc.)



Will Drafting and Tax Planning
Although to some this may seem like a difficult topic to consider, its importance cannot be over emphasized. Planning for your property in the event of your passing is something every person should consider to direct disposition of their property at their death and to minimize administration costs and taxes.

With extensive experience in this area in representing generations of families, Russo, Scamardella and D’Amato works with their clients to develop a custom and comprehensive estate plan to address many concerns such as:

  • Minimizing estate tax liability.
  • Avoiding Probate.
  • Avoiding potential will challenges.
  • Limiting dispositions to “bloodline” family members only (excluding in-laws). 
  • Creating trusts for disposition to minors or incapacitated beneficiaries. 
  • Nominating executors to carry out one’s wishes.
  • Designating guardians for minor children beneficiaries.
  • Disinheriting certain next of kin or heirs.


Will Contests & Estate Litigation
Sometimes, following a person’s death, there is conflict as to the validity of deceased’s Last Will & Testament or other last wishes, who is entitled to inherit from the deceased, the amount of inheritance to certain survivors, the value of the deceased’s estate, who should act as the estate’s representative, how the estate should be administered, what the estate’s representative should do, and a host of other issues concerning the deceased’s property and last wishes. Often times, these conflicts result in difficult litigation amongst family members in New York’s Surrogate’s Court. In such a situation, an experienced estate trial attorney is essential to effective representation.

Russo, Scamardella and D’Amato's lawyers combine their extensive knowledge and experience of substantive estate law and litigation to produce superior representation to people embroiled in contested estate matters.



Nursing Home and Long Term Care Planning/Asset Protection
Just as important as it is to plan for your death, it is equally important to plan for your person and your property in the event you should become incapacitated.

While most think it is automatic that your spouse or children would have the legal authority to take control of your affairs in the event you are physically or mentally unable to do so, it is simply not true. No one could gain control of your person or property without court intervention and physician testimony on your condition which is costly and time consuming. This can all be avoided through the execution of a Power of Attorney where you, in effect, designate that person whom you wish to take control over your affairs in the event you can’t take care of it yourself.

Russo, Scamardella & D’Amato assists clients in preparing such incapacity planning documents as Powers of Attorney, Health Care Proxies, Living Wills etc.

In addition, Russo, Scamardella and D’Amato assists clients in protecting their assets from the increasing costs of long term care either at home or in a nursing home through asset transfers, trust creation and other Medicaid planning tools.



Guardianships
No decision we make is more critical than how to care for a loved one in need. If someone you care about may require the services of a court-appointed guardian, the Law Firm of Russo, Scamardella & D’Amato has the experience to counsel you in deciding whether and how to pursue guardianship appointment. Our estate attorneys are well-versed in handling the appointment process. We are also experienced in filing objections in ongoing court proceedings brought by another person, should you believe that appointment of a guardian is unnecessary. Don’t allow your loved one’s legal rights to be determined without quality representation.