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Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy Lawyers in Rochester

A Power of Attorney and a Health Care Proxy, also known as Advanced Directives, are critical documents for a person to have in place. A Power of Attorney allows an individual to name the person or people that they would like to make financial and legal decisions for them in the event that they are unable to.  Most people are unaware of the implications of not having a Power of Attorney. Without a Power of Attorney, if a person is unable to make their own financial decisions, family may have to file for Guardianship in State Supreme Court, which can be time-consuming and expensive. A Health Care Proxy names a person to make medical decisions in the event that the person is unable to. Without a Health Care Proxy, the door can be open to disagreements between family members over the correct medical decision to be made. The documents become null and void when a person passes away.

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Estate Planning and Administration

Rochester Will and Estate Attorneys

“I don’t have a will.” Oh yes you do! New York State law provides for the disposition of your assets if you die without a will. If you have a spouse and no children, you spouse receives your total estate. If you have a spouse and children, one-third of your assets pass to your spouse and two-thirds to the children. And if a child is under 18, his or her share of your estate will be paid to a court appointed guardian (usually the surviving parent) and the assets will be liquidated and converted to cash. The monies will then be placed in a bank account with limited options for investment of the funds. And when the child turns 18 years of age, the funds are paid outright to the child to do as he or she desires. So yes, in fact you do have a will. However, it might not be the one you want!

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Will, Trust, Estate Planning and Administration Attorneys

  • We have clients that come to us before they enter marriage, after having children, or as they age. Our will and trust lawyers work closely with each client to develop a plan that will be suitable for the particular needs and desires of that client. Whether they need a Will, living trust or an irrevocable trust, our will and trust attorneys will lay out the pros and cons of the different options that may suit our clients' needs, while keeping in mind tax consequences for each option to ensure minimize tax liability.   

  • Our estate administration lawyers, along with our experienced and knowledgeable estate paralegals, work to provide guidance to our clients who are the executors, administrators and trustees of the estate or trust to ensure proper discharge of their fiduciary duties. In order to do so, we assist in the probate of the estate, establish estate accounts and establish trust account(s), assist in the liquidation of assets as necessary, and prepare fiduciary accountings, estate tax returns and fiduciary income tax returns.

  • Many individuals never expect to be faced with the reality of needing home care or the possibility of needing skilled nursing. Our Medicaid planning lawyers advise our clients of the various options that exist to be able to protect their hard-earned assets from the approximately $200,000 per year cost of skilled nursing services. We separate this need into two areas: pre-planning and crisis planning. With the former, we always say that the best time to plan is when you don't need to. With the latter, many operate under the misconception that once you enter into a skilled nursing facility, there is no way to preserve your assets. We will navigate you through your best options under either scenario. 

  • This area encompasses powers of attorney, health care proxies, and if necessary, guardianship proceedings. These tools are vital if a client is incapacitated and cannot make financial or health care decisions for themselves. Our law team will provide guidance to you and your family with the hope of avoiding a public, expensive, and often divisive guardianship process. 

  • Clients with significant assets being transferred during their lifetime or prior to death, need careful tax considerations.  Our estate planning attorneys will weigh each option with you. We often use charitable trusts coupled with life insurance planning to maximize both income and estate tax benefits. Our knowledge of this area of planning can be a great asset. Our estate planning attorneys work with our clients’ financial planners and investment advisors to maximize their retirement benefits while minimizing their tax liabilities.

  • We counsel individuals on the estate and gift tax implications of their succession plans, and provide creative strategies to help our clients achieve their wealth succession goals while minimizing estate and gift tax consequences.  We complement these services with our estate administration practice. With integrated business tax, income tax, and estate and gift tax practices, our team provides our clients with comprehensive advice on the full range of options and tax consequences of any investment.


  • Property distribution upon the death of a loved one can be straightforward based on the clear terms of a Will or Trust, and the beneficiary designations for life insurance and retirement accounts. But disputes often arise when disappointed family members, potential heirs, or creditors question unexpected and unexplained wealth transfers, or the suspicious circumstances under which a decedent signed critical documents. Our estate disputes lawyer can assist when these situations arise.

  • Decedent – the person who has died, leaving an Estate to be administered and distributed.  When the Decedent has left a Will, he or she is also referred to as the Testator.

    Grantor – the person who created a Trust as the mechanism for the distribution of assets, either during life, or upon death.

    Beneficiaries – the persons designated to receive a portion of an Estate, a distribution from a Trust, or the proceeds of life insurance, retirement or investment accounts.   Beneficiaries who are to receive a specific amount under the terms of a Will may also be referred to as Legatees.

    Surrogate’s Court – in New York, the specialized court in each county which handles estate proceedings and disputes, supervised and overseen by the Surrogate, a judge elected to that position.

    Executor or Administrator – the individual(s) or bank that is responsible for marshalling and distributing the assets of an Estate.   An Executor is the person named in a Will by the Testator to fulfill this role.  Where there is no Will, the person appointed by the Surrogate at the request of the family to serve this function is called the Administrator of the Estate.

    Intestacy and Intestate Estate – where a Decedent leaves assets but no Will, he has died Intestate, leaving an Intestate Estate.  In these situations, New York provides rules on how the Intestate Estate is distributed among the next of kin who survive the Decedent.   The assets do not simply “go to the State.”

    Trustee – the individual(s) or bank trust department designated by the Grantor of a Trust, or the Testator of a Will to hold, manage, and distribute the Trust assets.

    Power of Attorney – this is the legal document by which a person names another individual or entity to act on his behalf with respect to some all matters, typically when they are physically or mentally incapable of doing so on their own.  The person so designated to act is the Agent – but often is referred to as the POA.

    Fiduciary – any person or institution serving as an Executor, Trustee, or agent under a POA.  A Fiduciary carries obligations and responsibilities to act only in and for the best interests of the Beneficiaries of the Estate or Trust, or the person for whom the Agent is acting.

Client Testimonial

"MCCM [McConville Considine Cooman & Morin, P.C.] has been my choice for attorneys for over 30 years. For a Will and estate planning, they were extremely knowledgeable, responsive and friendly. I couldn't be happier with the relationship."

-A. Michael Hanna