SPOTLIGHT ON ELDERLAW: Estate Planning Over the Holidays

By Alexander Bader, Esq., Senior Associate Attorney, Brady & Marshak, LLP

For most of us there is no “convenient time” to discuss estate planning. Yet with the holiday season on the horizon there may be no better time to address the importance of having a proper estate plan in place.  We spend more time with our immediate and extended family this time of year and we often are less burdened with work responsibilities.

Many of you may be thinking…“Must we really discuss serious and potentially uncomfortable topics at such a joyous time of year?” – and in truth, introducing topics like money, health, taxes, etc., to the conversation at family functions may not be the easiest path to take. Nevertheless, should you decide to “take the bull by the horns” in this regard, and have the conversation while all or most family members are present to work towards having you and your loved ones on the same page, the long term benefits are substantial.  To assist you in starting such a conversation, you may wish to frame the important estate planning issues in such a way that will highlight the positives to taking action.  For example:

  • For the Dad that does not ever want to give up the TV remote control, advise him that he can also control who will make decisions on his behalf for medical and financial purposes. It is essential for all adults to have a properly executed Health Care Proxy and Power of Attorney with Statutory Gifts Rider drafted by an attorney to appoint someone to “stand in the shoes” of the individual as a decision maker if he or she is unable to act themselves. Without such documents in place no one has the tools to immediately help you if afflicted with a health crisis.


  • For the Mom that is concerned the government will end up with the family’s hard-earned money and property, advise her that she can take steps to protect the value of her assets and make certain they are distributed exactly as she wishes at the time of her passing. A proper consultation with an attorney practicing in the fields of Elder Law and Estate Planning is the first step to achieving such goals.


  • For the Grandparent that is too proud to ask for assistance with his or her day-to-day activities but is in need of such help, advise him or her that such help is readily available. Many people are unaware of the substantial assistance that the Medicaid program in the State of New York affords those that qualify, particularly under the umbrella of providing help in the home. Should a loved one need such assistance, an Elder Law attorney can help navigate and advise regarding your family member’s unique circumstances.

The contents of this article are in no way intended to be legal advice, are provided for educational and informational purposes only, and are directed only to those domiciled in the State of New York. Please feel free to call our office if you feel we can be of service to you in any manner.  Our attorneys can be reached at Brady & Marshak, LLP, Attorneys at Law, and (718) 738-8500.  This article may be considered an Attorney Advertisement.