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Trusted Estate Planning Lawyer in Rochester, NY

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Estate Planning Lawyer in Rochester, NY

Creating a will is only one aspect of having a sound estate plan, since it only deals with your probate assets, which are those assets that are in your name alone. At the law offices of Ronald J. Axelrod & Associates in Rochester, NY, our compassionate, knowledgeable, and experienced estate planning team will help you craft an effective estate plan that helps provide you with care and comfort while you're alive, lifetime care planning if you become disabled, and intended distribution of assets for your heirs when you pass.

Our estate planning legal team understands the sensitivity of these issues and will carefully guide you through the estate planning process to insure that you fully understand the all of the details outlined in your customized plan. We also assist executors, trustees, both in and out-of-state, with the administration process, once some has passed through the use of a living trust.

We Assist with All Aspects of Estate Planning

  • Estate Planning

  • Wills and Trusts

  • Probate and Estate Administration

  • Powers of Attorney

  • Living Wills

  • Healthcare Proxies

  • Beneficiary Designation Coordination

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When a Spouse Dies

Things You Need to Know

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Wills and Trusts Attorney

Our law firm has been preparing wills and trusts for our clients for over three decades. 

  • Wills – Creating a will is the responsible thing to do, no matter how little assets you may have. A will is the cornerstone most estate plans and dictates what will happen to your property after your passing. If you fail to prepare a will, your property may be distributed according to New York’s intestacy laws, which means that the court will decide who inherits your probate assets (any assets that are solely in your name at the time of your passing).

  • Trusts – A testamentary trust is a legal document that is often a substitute for a will. It provides specific information about how your property should be managed while you are alive, while you are disabled, and when you pass away.

The legal team at Ronald Axelrod & Associates understands that going through the process of determining how your assets will be divided and your final wishes carried out can be difficult – both mentally and emotionally. We'll help to make the process of creating a will or trust as comfortable and seamless as possible.

Estate Administration and Probate

New York’s probate system is complicated and involves many traps. For those who are unfamiliar with probate, below is a simple definition. 

Probate – Probate is the legal process that transfers title of a deceased person’s assets to his or her heirs. This process takes place in court after someone dies. It involves establishing the deceased person’s will is valid allowing property and assets to be distributed to the person's heirs after paying any taxes or other debts left by the deceased.

At the law offices of Ronald J. Axelrod & Associates, we can help you with every aspect of the settlement of your estate, from administration to handling all probate legal matters including preparing a final accounting. We will work diligently to identify the best legal solutions for you that address your needs, anticipate potential legal issues, and devise a plan to confront them. Our estate planning lawyers and paralegals will professionally handle the administration process, including probate so that you can avoid delays and unnecessary expenses.

What We Do

  • Preparing a Petition to submit the decedent’s Will to the Court to commence the probate process and have the Executor formally appointed.

  • Identifing the decedent’s next of kin and people entitled to notice of the appointment of an executor

  • Identifing and help value the estate assets and validate any outstanding debts.

  • Coordinating with the decedent’s accountant and financial planner to locate assets and identify beneficiaries.

  • Assist in preparing receipts of legacies and preparing final paperwork to close out the estate.

Powers of Attorney

Many people have the idea that estate planning is a way primarily to distribute your assets when they're deceased. But, even more important is to plan for who will make important medical, financial, and business decisions for you if you become incapacitated. Even those who are healthy and young can suddenly become unable to make decisions for themselves due to a serious accident or illness. If you haven't legally appointed a person (or agent) to do this for you, the court may select someone for you. This can result in not having your wishes carried out as you would like. This is why including a power of attorney as part of your overall estate plan is a smart choice.


What is a Power of Attorney?

Simply stated, a power of attorney is a legal document naming a person of your choice to legally make financial and other important decisions for you if you become incapacitated or cannot handle your own affairs. A power of attorney creates a legal relationship in which you are the principal and the person you appoint is the agent. 

There are many different types of powers of attorneys – one-size does not fit all. Our trusted estate planning attorneys can assist you in selecting the right type of legal document that will be in your best interests.

Living Wills and Healthcare Proxies

Ronald J. Axelrod & Associates have extensive experience in handling all legal matters regarding living wills and healthcare proxies. Here are simplified explanations of what is involved in these legal documents:

  • Living Wills - A living will is different from your last will and testament. Your last will explains how you’d like your estate to be handled after your death, and a living will dictates your wishes while you are still alive, but are in an unconscious state or unable to express yourself. A living will answers questions such as what you would like to happen if you can no longer breathe on your own, require feeding tubes, whether you’d like your organs donated after your death, and more.

  • Healthcare Proxies - If you would like another person to help making healthcare decisions for you or on your behalf should you become incapacitated and unable to make medical decisions for yourself, this document called a healthcare proxy would allow someone you name to make these decisions for you. Having our attorneys can create a healthcare proxy for you that will ensure that you will receive the medical care you prefer if you cannot communicate.

Contact us to schedule a confidential consultation with an experienced Rochester, New York estate planning lawyer.

Beneficiary Designation Coordination

Most estate plans fail because of improper beneficiary designations. It is important to regularly review all of your various beneficiary designations whenever you or one of your beneficiaries experience a major life event that would affect who receives your assets when you die. Reviewing and making any necessary revisions to your beneficiaries is an important aspect of your estate plan and shouldn't be overlooked.

Why is Beneficiary Designation Important?

Wills do not override beneficiary designations you have assigned to life insurance policies, retirement accounts, bank accounts and other assets. Therefore, it is vital that you regularly review your beneficiary designations – especially after a significant life change. For example, if you have a will that states that your son is to receive all of your assets when you die, but your savings account still has your ex-spouse named as a beneficiary, your son will not receive those assets.

Our Rochester, NY, estate planning attorneys will assist in coordinating your beneficiary designations so that your assets are distributed to the right people after you are deceased.


COVID-19 UPDATE: We look forward to hearing from you. Due to Covid-19, we are in our office but will be doing the majority of our work with clients via enhanced video conferencing. We want you to feel comfortable and will take every possible precaution to maintain a safe environment, should there be a need for an in-person meeting.


The team at Ronald J. Axelrod, & Associates, Business lawyers in Rochester, NY, will handle all of the legal services you'll need to help your business to succeed.


Ronald Axelrod & Associates is dedicated to helping seniors and their families with their Elder Law concerns and guiding them through some of life's most difficult decisions.


Buying or selling residential or commercial property? Our team has over 35 years of experience ensuring that all transactions are done in a timely and efficient manner.

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