Practice areas

Estate Administration and Settlement of Decedents Estate

Our firm handles all aspects of probate and estate administration. Probate is the legal process by which a person's will is allowed by the Probate Court. The provisions of the will dictate how the individual's debts are paid and assets are distributed upon death. Estate administration includes the probate process as well as non-probate transfers of the deceased's assets, such as life insurance, annuities, qualified plans, and trust assets and compliance with applicable estate tax requirements. Our lawyers assist the personal representative of the estate in the gathering, valuation, accounting and distribution of the decedent's assets. We prepare federal and state estate tax returns as well as the appropriate documents in order to release liens on a decedent's real estate. It is our responsibility to assure that all steps are properly taken in order to carry out the decedent's intent in accordance with the law.

Probate of Wills

Probate is a proceeding brought to approve a Will, and appoint the executors to execute the provisions of the Will. While a Will may nominate executors, the executors do not have any official power until their appointment is confirmed by the court. It is always possible that an heir, more formally known as a distributee, could contest the probate of the Will. The Law Office of Gerard Bianco represents clients both in the probate or the contest of Wills.

Drafting Wills

Drafting a will, trust, or other testamentary document is not as simple as filling out a form or arranging for witnesses to sign. Careful, thoughtful estate planning requires a thorough evaluation of assets, family circumstances, long term goals, and ways of ensuring that property will transfer according to the wishes of the deceased, rather than according to actions of the Surrogate's Court. We understand the importance of our clients' time and assets. The law firm turns around requests for wills, trusts, and other testamentary documents quickly and accurately to protect our clients' families' futures and the legacies they intend to leave behind.

Preparation of Powers of Attorneys

A Power of Attorney allows someone else to act on your behalf, while you are alive (even if you are unable to communicate) for various types of matters (but not health issues). So the person you designate as your agent in a Power of Attorney, can pay your bills, transfer your assets and basically act as you would while you are alive. When you die, the agency ends. You may designate as many people as you like as your agent, either to act together or separately. The Power must be signed and notarized. You simply provide basic information as requested, and the our document preparation professionals will do the rest!

Preparation of Health Care Proxies

A Health Care Proxy designates an individual to make health care decisions on your behalf when you are unable to. You may only designate one such agent but you may select successors if that person can't or will not serve as your agent. In choosing such a person, it is better to select someone who lives near to you, who can understand and assess possible conflicting medical recommendations, and who is decisive enough to make what may be difficult choices. Your designee must be at least eighteen years of age. Your spouse or adult child may not always be the best choice. You should be sure to discuss your wishes with regard to treatment with the agent you have chosen and be certain that they are willing to serve. The Proxy must be signed before two witnesses, who will also sign. The witnesses cannot be your agents. If your health care agent is your spouse and you later divorce or separate, that person will not be permitted to act unless the Proxy provides that they can. You may change your agent, by signing a new Health Care Proxy at any time.

Real Estate Closings

Real estate closings bring all interested parties together. They involve the execution and delivery of all necessary documents simultaneously with the payment of the purchase price and the settlement costs of the transaction. While this may seem like a simple process, conducting a real estate closing is a complicated matter and requires a thorough knowledge of the law. Accordingly, sellers and purchasers often turn to lawyers.

Purchase and sale of homes

Buying or selling a home is likely one of the most important financial decisions you will make. There is nothing in the law that prevents you from buying or selling your residence on your own. However, most sellers, and increasingly buyers employ the services of real estate brokers and lawyers to help them navigate through the often confusing world of real estate transactions. The Law Office of Gerard Bianco will guide you through the process, and help you negotiate a price that is right for you. We will also review listing agreements with brokers, offers, and purchase contracts before you sign them to make certain that your requests are met. Further, a we can advise you on financing the house of your dreams.

To schedule an appointment, contact me or call me at 718-748-5975.