MAKING AN APPOINTMENT AT JAY J. SANGERMAN, PLLC AND WHAT TO BRING TO AN APPOINTMENT
Making An Appointment
All initial consultations, except in rare instances, are with Jay J. Sangerman.
We encourage clients to tell their accountants, financial advisors and/or general practice attorneys that they will be coming to meet with us, and to invite them to the initial consultation.
Preparing for the Initial Consultation:
A. General Preparation
Please bring copies (preferably not originals) of present estate planning documents, including wills, trusts, powers of attorney, health care proxies and living wills. If you are involved in a business relationship, bring your partnership or shareholder agreement. If you have any matrimonial agreements, e. g. pre- or post-nuptial agreements, divorce decrees, please bring those also. If you bring originals, we will copy them and return the original documents to you, unless you wish that the originals be deposited into our "Will Vault" for safekeeping. We maintain original documents in our "Will Vault" as a courtesy to our clients.
Please bring a list of your assets, including bank accounts, stocks in certificate form and in dividend reinvestment plans, individually held bonds, brokerage accounts, pensions, IRAs, 401Ks, stock options, life insurance policies, deeds to real property, cooperative apartment stock certificates and business interests. Include in your schedule of assets the current market values, beneficiary designations and asset registration (i.e., joint with rights of survivorship, payable upon death). To the extent possible, please receive written confirmation of any beneficiary designations from the financial institutions and/or pension boards.
Please bring with you a schedule of your present and anticipated income, including pensions, Social Security, Reparations and any other sources of income.
If you anticipate any inheritances, please be ready to discuss them as such inheritances may be relevant to your estate plan.
If you have a disabled person in the family, please be ready to discuss your estate plan for such person.
It is always useful to bring with you a list of your questions.
B. Document Drafting
If you intend to have us draft documents for you, please bring with you the names, addresses and telephone numbers of all people and institutions (beneficiaries, executors, trustees, charities) who will be named in your estate planning documents, including full legal names of such individuals and their commonly used names; full legal names of charities to whom you wish to leave legacies and their addresses for the transaction of business; and any special provisions you wish to include in your wills and/or trusts. We also need names, addresses and telephone numbers of all individuals and/or institutions you intend to name as executors and successor executors, trustees and successor trustees, guardians for minors, agents for power-of-attorneys and agents for Health Care Proxies.
Consider whether you may need a last will and testament and/or a revocable (living trust) for purposes of asset management in the event of mental incapacity, assistance with financial management and/or avoidance of probate.
C. Estate Planning for People With Special Needs
If you are planning to leave funds to a disabled person, then we will discuss with you the types of trusts (Supplemental Needs Trusts) which you can create for the disabled person. Properly drafted Supplemental Needs Trusts provide funds for the benefit of disabled people, while not impacting upon Medicaid and SSI (Supplemental Security Income) eligibility. If you anticipate establishing such a trust, please be prepared to discuss who will be the trustee and whether the disabled person is involved in any social service agency which will serve as an advisor to the trustee. Will there be one or more trustees? Will the trustee be a bank, stock brokerage company, a professional, a member of the family or a close friend? We will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using a corporate trustee as sole trustee or as a co-trustee. Consider whether a family member (a sibling of the disabled person) would be a proper person for being trustee or would a corporate trustee be preferable, or a corporate trustee as a co-trustee.
Please be prepared to discuss the financial, physical and emotional needs of the disabled person, as well as the care plan which you anticipate. We will assist you in creating the care plan, whether for the present time or for the future.
If the person for whom you are making an appointment is to receive a personal injury settlement award, please bring copies of the relevant papers involved in the matter. It would be helpful if you tell your attorney in the tort litigation that you have made an appointment and invite the attorney to the appointment or ask the attorney if he/she will be available by telephone at the time of the consultation. If you have been speaking with a structured settlement broker, please bring any information given to you by the broker. Similarly, you may wish to invite the structured settlement broker to the meeting or to call during the meeting, but at the very least we advise that you inform the structured settlement broker of the meeting.
2. Estate Administration
Please bring with you the original will, if there is a will, and three death certificates. Also, if the decedent was widowed, please bring the spouse's death certificate. If children are deceased and if you have the death certificates, please bring those.
Bring the names, addresses and telephone numbers, to the extent you have these items, of all beneficiaries in the Will, if there is a Will, and, if there is no Will, then the names of all who would take under estate administration, e.g., spouse, children, grandchildren (if spouse and children (or child) who have children are deceased) and, if none of the above are living, then parents and siblings of the deceased, and if no parents and siblings, then cousins, aunts and uncles.
To the extent available, please bring a family tree, and, to the extent available, the addresses and approximate ages of the family and, if deceased, the dates of death. Please start with grandparents and take the family tree through children and children of deceased children. If there are no children, then include siblings. If no siblings, then nieces and nephews. If no nieces and nephews, then cousins, starting with first cousins only. If no first cousins, then second cousins, and so forth. Not every estate requires a lengthy family tree, but it is useful to bring with you whatever information you can collect.
Please bring a list of all the known estate assets including the registration of such assets, e.g., assets in the decedent's own name, assets with beneficiary designations and assets held jointly with another.
Be prepared to discuss whether there might be litigation over the Will and, if so, what might the litigated issues be: e.g., validity of the Will; selection of the executor or estate administrator; distributions; fiduciary responsibility and final accounting; ownership of assets (are the assets joint with rights of survivorship or arguably property of the estate).
We undertake estate administration in New York State, New Jersey and Florida. Mr. Sangerman in is Florida approximately twice per month.
Please be ready to discuss the incapacity of the person for whom the guardianship is anticipated. What is it that the person cannot mentally perform: memory loss, disorientation, inability to make medical decisions, inability to make financial decisions.
To the extent possible, please bring a schedule of all assets, including, names of financial institutions, account numbers, market values and registration, bonds and deeds to real property. Bring copies of recent statements, if available.
Bring a schedule of income, including Social Security statement.
Bring a list of all family members and significant people (including attorneys and accountants) and organizations who should receive notice of the guardianship proceeding. Please include their addresses and telephone numbers.
Bring names of doctors and social workers, if any. If a social worker is involved, then please bring a psycho-social assessment, if you can obtain one in reasonable time.
Please bring with you any powers of attorney, living wills, health care proxies, last wills and testaments, trusts and asset information, including the asset registration.
Bring income tax returns for three years, if available.
If the person for whom we are performing Medicaid planning is in a hospital or nursing home, bring with you the names of the social workers or nursing home admission person. We often can facilitate nursing home admissions.
If you intend for us to complete the Medicaid Application, then, for nursing home, please bring in three years of financial documentation of both the husband and wife, if the applicant is married or the applicant's spouse died within the last three years. If applying for homecare Medicaid (community Medicaid), then we only need to review the assets of the most recent month.
If family members and/or professionals (accountants, attorneys, financial advisors) cannot attend the meeting, but wish to call in, then please give them our telephone number to call the office approximately ten minutes after the beginning of the appointment. (The first ten minutes will be used to obtain some background information).
Please understand that we cannot give legal advice over the telephone prior to one’s becoming a client and any conversation which a prospective client has with office personnel prior to an appointment is solely for purposes of determining whether our office may be appropriate for handling the legal issues presented. Many of the legal issues are more complex than one would initially consider and, therefore, without an appropriate face-to-face meeting, an appropriate legal analysis of the issues cannot be undertaken.
JAY J. SANGERMAN, ESQ.