Wills and Estate Planning

Wills and Estate Planning

When a person dies, the distribution of property and other assets among their beneficiaries can be a complicated process. Moreso, if there was no will in place when the person passes.

Probate is the process of proving a will in Surrogate's Court after a person dies.


After the will is proven, the court hands the administration of the will to the named executor or executors. The executor's responsibility is to settle debts, pay taxes, and distribute the assets outlined in the decedent's will.


If there is no will, or there is a will contest, and the Surrogate sets aside the will, the court will name an administrator. The administrator will then have the same responsibilities as an executor, except assets will be divided following New York State law.

Matthew Tannenbaum represents the interests of the deceased by working through the probate process. Matthew Tannenbaum also represents family members and potential heirs to initiate a will contest when necessary.


During the process of probate, much of the work is done through negotiation. However, Matthew Tannenbaum is also an experienced and skilled probate litigator representing his clients' rights in Surrogate's Court when the negotiation process fails.

New York State Wills and Estate Planning

It is essential to plan when a person is in a position to leave assets to beneficiaries. Matthew Tannenbaum represents individuals throughout Nassau and Suffolk Counties to document all of their wishes. 

Documentation is accomplished through several forms such as a Will, or a Last Will and Testament, a Living Will, Health Care Proxy, and Power of Attorney.

Together these documents will outline your wishes and assign rights to trusted loved ones so they can speak for you if you become incapacitated.

Last Will and Testament

A will or testament is a legal document that expresses a person's wishes regarding the distribution of property after their death and which person, called an executor, manages the property until the distribution is complete.

Living Will

A Living Will, also called an Advance Health Care Directive, is a legal document in which a person specifies what actions should be taken if they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves due to illness or incapacity.

Health Care Proxy

A Health Care Proxy is a document with which a patient appoints an agent to make healthcare decisions on their behalf when they are incapable of doing so. A person named in the Health Care Proxy can not override a Living Will.

If a Living Will specifies that no extraordinary measures, the proxy can not demand such measures. Even after death, if a Living Will allows organ donation, a proxy cannot override that decision. 

Power of Attorney

A power of attorney or letter of attorney is a written authorization to represent or act on another's behalf in private affairs, business, or other legal matters.

Power of Attorney allows a person to pay bills, make financial decisions, or decide on legal matters on their behalf.

Everyone 18 Years of age or older should complete all of these documents.

These documents are not only for aging loved ones. At the age of 18, a minor becomes an adult and is responsible for their own decisions. 

Parents are no longer legally able to speak for you or make decisions for you. Doctors, educators, and law enforcement cannot discuss matters with parents of anyone who is an adult.

Having documents such as a Health Care Proxy and Power of Attorney will allow parents to speak for their adult children if they come injured or incapacitated. 

Matthew Tannenbaum can help you and your family ensure that all of these documents are appropriately completed and enforceable. 

Protect yourself and your family members. Call the Law Office of Matthew K. Tannenbaum at 516-683-1234 for a free consultation and schedule an appointment.

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"Matthew Tannenbaum can help you to put all of the appropriate paperwork in place so you can rest assured that in the event of an emergency, you will have the legal rights to be informed and to make the appropriate decisions."