| Legal Services of G. Winston DeLong
An Onondaga County Law Firm
Client Centered General Practice of Law
Living and Working in the Community
Planning - Cost Effective Protection
The assets you acquire, from homes and cars, bank accounts and personal items, to stocks and bonds, and anything imaginable, are grouped into one term - your Estate. It is a misconception that Estate Planning, otherwise called asset planning, is only for the rich. Indeed, in today’s legal climate, Estate Planning is important for virtually all people, particularly the middle class. Estate planning protects the planners, their loved ones and family, and the assets they have earned.
We have successfully helping thousands of clients plan their Estates:
Estate planning for yourself, your spouse, children and family is integral to peace of mind. Proper planning is cost effective, saving you and your family money in the long term. The benefit is knowing you have done all that is possible to protect your hard earned assets now and in the future, at a cost that is affordable. The alternative is loss of assets, and/or assets left in chaos; that become headaches for your loved ones.
The Tools Used
We employ various tools to protect your acquired assets. Below is a brief synopsis of these tools. Note that this list is not exhaustive, nor does one plan work for everyone. Please consult our office to ensure proper protection for your specific needs.
Free Initial Consultation
We will be glad to provide you with further information to guide you in estate and asset planning. We never charge for an initial consultation, have flexible office hours and ample free parking.
| Last Will and
Oftentimes the question is asked, “Do I need a Last Will and Testament?” If you are over eighteen, if you own a home, if you are married, if you have children, the simple answer is, YES. Without a Last Will and Testament you lose the power to direct your assets and they may be distributed by the state in the manner it prescribes. Does the state understand your family ties, your relationships, your wishes?
Your Last Will and Testament directs your assets (termed your “Estate”) upon passing. You may divide your assets in any manner you prescribe with very few limitations.
Free Initial Consultation
When you consult our office and we have reviewed your circumstances and wishes, we will provide you with a complete plan of action with the associated costs and fees involved. Young adults are surprised how easy it is to draft a Last Will and Testament. We never charge for an initial consultation, have flexible office hours and ample free parking.
Gifts to Relatives, Friends & Charities
You may have specific gifts you would like transferred to specific individuals; those gifts, called specific bequests, are listed in your Last will and Testament. They may be gifts to charities, or heirlooms to be kept in the family, there is no limit. You choose your Heirs and what they receive upon your passing.
Children/Dependants - their future care?
If you have children or dependants, particularly minor children, then the Last will and Testament is a vehicle to see to their care should you pass on. The decision as to who will be Legal Guardian of your children or dependants and who will act as Trustee of the assets left to them until they reach a mature age, is not an easy one. You may have disabled or elderly dependants that need guardianship for the rest of their lives. Our office will guide you through this process with sensitivity to your personal relationship and emphasis on your unique circumstances.
Select a Trusted Executor
In your Last Will and Testament you will also state will administer your estate. This person is called the Executor. It should be someone with whom you have confidence, that will quickly and efficiently fulfill your Last Will and Testament wishes. Your Executor will work directly with your attorney to complete the administration of your Estate.
- Asset Protection
A Trust is a unique, cost cutting document that provides excellent protection for you and your loved ones. It can be used to protect your assets from creditors, provide for you and your loved ones while you are living, and provide for them upon your passing. Because the assets you place in the Trust are not considered part of your Estate upon passing, they will not pass through “Probate”, the term used to describe the process of administering your Last Will and Testament. Thus the Trust can help eliminate the time consuming and expensive Last Will and Testament Probate.
Types of Trusts
The two most common types of Trusts are the “Irrevocable Trust” and the “Revocable Trust”. There are benefits and limitations to each type of Trust created, so please contact our office to choose the right plan for your circumstances.
An Irrevocable Trust will protect your assets from creditors. After the Trust is in existence for five years, you have protected your assets from being relinquished to Medicaid.
A Revocable Trust will also protect you, and give you more flexibility, but it will not protect your assets from Medicaid.
Most often people will place family homes, stocks, bonds, cash and any other assets subject to creditors into the Trust. Your assets remain in your control as long as you live, and are used for your benefit. At your direction, and upon your passing, the assets of the Trust are transferred to anyone you name; these individuals are called “Beneficiaries” and most often are family members.
Free Initial Consultation
Creating a Trust is very valuable and should only be done after review of your circumstances and a consultation with your attorney. Please contact our office to make the right choice. We never charge for an initial consultation, have flexible office hours and ample free parking.
| “Life Use” of Real
In some circumstances, a Last will and Testament, or a Trust, will not be the most appropriate form of protecting your home. Another vehicle, the Life Use of Real Property may be the best option.
The procedure is simple. Ownership of your home is deeded over to whomever you designate, but you take back a Life Use. You have full use of the home until passing, but the home does not go through Probate of your Estate because you do not own it at the time of death.
We will review your circumstances with you and help you decide if this is an appropriate step to protect your home from creditors and to protect it for your loved ones.
As much as we do not care to think in terms of “what if . . .”, it is imperative that should circumstances befall you in which you are unable to attend to your own financial needs, then someone in whom you have complete trust can handle those tasks for you. For example, if you were to have surgery, or were to become incapacitated, who will manage your bills, your affairs?
Please note that a Power of Attorney is not only important for older citizens whose health may be failing, but for all ages. Whether you are single or married, healthy or struggling, a Power of Attorney should be in place.
In a Power of Attorney, you designate the person(s) to act on your behalf as your “Agent”, and you set forth his/her rights and duties. The Agent’s scope is as narrow or as broad as you wish.
Free Initial Consultation
Please consult our office and we will guide you through the process of selection of Agent(s) and the duties you wish to grant them. We never charge for an initial consultation, have flexible office hours and ample free parking.
| Health Care Proxy
The Health Care Proxy directs the person you have chosen to make health care decisions for you should you be unable. Your “Proxy” will help the doctors decide the best course of action for your care, according to your wishes, when you are unable. This is not a document for just the elderly or infirm, but for all people, regardless of age or health.
Choosing your Proxy can be difficult and we will walk you through the process to help you decide what is best for you.
It is not uncommon for a person to suffer an illness or injury in which he or she is incapacitated. Perhaps quality of life is at issue. The questions often asked are, “Do I want to be kept artificially alive?” or “Do I want my family’s assets dissipated, leaving them virtually nothing while I have no quality of life?”
These are very personalized and specific questions that involve religious, moral and ethical implications. Only the individual can answer these questions. We will respect your wishes and address them as directed by you.
| Death of
a Loved One - Estate Probate & Administrative Proceedings
Upon the death of a loved one, we are faced with the difficult task of constructing life without them. Compounding this process is the need to address the legalities that attach to their assets (called their Estate) and debts upon passing. Our experienced staff is here to help you through the process by handling the legal aspects with as much care and sensitivity and as little expense as possible.
If an individual dies with a Last Will and Testament, our staff works with the family, and the Executor, to file the Last Will and Testament (along with other required documents) and to administer the Estate. This process is called Estate Probate.
If an individual dies without a Last Will and Testament, the process is more complicated and time consuming. A petition must be filed with the Surrogate’s Court requesting that an Administrator be appointed and the Estate be administered according to the laws of the State of New York. This alone is a very good reason to ensure that you and your loved ones each have a Last Will and Testament.
Free Initial Consultation
In either event we will serve your legal needs and see that the process is sensitive, careing and as efficient as possible. Please consult our office for understand help and guidance. We never charge for an initial consultation, have flexible office hours and ample free parking.
This area of our law practice covers buying and selling homes (real property), leasing or renting real property, and handling such issues as easements, rights of way and property disputes. The DeLong Law Office has handled these legal services for numerous community members for fifteen years.
Buying Real Estate
Buying land to build a home or buying an existing home is one of the most expensive undertakings of our lives.
Buying Commercial Properity
Buying commercial property requires even more attention to detail. We will gladly handle these matters for you.
Selling Real Estate
Selling real property has its own unique issues. We will provide you with the appropriate legal protection and see that the transfer of your property is not painful, is complete in all financial aspects and legally finalized.
Renting Real Property
As a Landlord, you have certain legal responsibilities and duties, rights and expectations. Having helped countless landlords, we have the experience to help with difficult tenants, including evictions, and to guide you to ensure your property is not subject to legal action for lack of attention to duties.
As a Tenant, you have certain rights and duties. If you have a question regarding those rights and duties we will consult with you and formulate an appropriate course of action.
Free Initial Consultation
Please consult our office and we will guide you through the real estate transaction process and ensure you have appropriate legal protection. We never charge for an initial consultation, have flexible office hours and ample free parking.
| Starting a Business
and Business Consulting
Having control over our destiny, having the freedom to make our own business decisions is very American. The entrpreneurial spirit, however, requires protection for the individual involved - most particularly in the areas of taxes and liability. Choosing the right business set up for you depends on your unique circumstances, and the options are numerous and include the following: C Corporation, S Corporation, Limited Liability Corporation (LLC), Not-for-Profit Corporations, Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), General Partnership, Limited Partnership, Sole Proprietorship and Individuals doing business under a fictitious name (known as a DBA). The DeLong Law Office has the practical experience to review your business circumstances, recommend a course of action and handle the legal services required to accomplish your goals. Please consult us to review your situation to choose the best path.
In addition, we will serve as legal counsel to your business if you so desire. We handle insurance issues, employee issues. New York State corporate compliance issues as well as the routine issues facing any business.
It is not uncommon for an individual (or our family members) to receive a Traffic Ticket. These tickets fall under the Vehicle and Traffic Law of New York State and range from simple Violations to Misdemeanors, and occasionally even Felonies. To plead guilty to these Traffic Tickets often involves receiving points on your driver’s licenses and increase the cost of auto insurance substantially. For 23 years, our office has quite successfully provided our twenty-three years legal expertise and experience to:
| Criminal Law
Under New York State Law, crime falls into three categories: Violations, Misdemeanors and Felonies. Having been charged, the Court system can be intimidating and difficult to understand. The DeLong Law office has twenty-three years experience handling these matters for clients, guiding them through the Court system and working with them until resolved.
It is our duty to help you keep your record clean. A mark on your record can result in consequences with long-reaching effects. For instance, if convicted of a simple misdemeanor, it is then difficult to receive financial aid, or apply for a home mortgage or worse, apply for a job. We will do everything in our power and expertise to bring your case to a workable resolution. Please note that every case is different and cannot be compared to another.
Free Initial Consultation
Please contact our office immediately to consult us about your options if you have been charged. We never charge for an initial consultation, have flexible office hours and ample free parking.
DWI - Driving While Intoxicated
In most instances a DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) charge is a misdemeanor criminal charge, it is treated here separately from the Criminal Law section.
0.08 is the law: A blood alcohol reading of 0.08 or above, you will be charged with DWI. It has been our experience that when it happens to most individuals it is a unique and solitary incident. Nonetheless the consequences are severe. A misdemeanor conviction makes it difficult to receive financial aid, or apply for a home mortgage or worse, apply for a job. This is not a route you want to take.
O ur office we will work to see that the charges are either dismissed or reduced to a simple traffic violation. With our clients’ cooperation, we have been successful in keeping their records clean and intact.
Free Initial Consultation
Please contact us immediately if you have been charged with DWI so that we may begin the process and end it as quickly as possible so that you may return to everyday life. We never charge for an initial consultation, have flexible office hours and ample free parking.
Agreements and Divorces
Experiencing marital problems is painful. No one marries with the intention of splitting up or divorcing, so that if it does come to that point we need clear-headed legal advice to help us through the process. On top of the emotional upheaval we have financial issues to address, and if children are involved we experience even further stress. There are choices and there is help.
At the DeLong Law Office we help those individuals who recognize it is time to end the marriage. Our advise is to negotiate a Separation Agreement between the parties. The Separation Agreement is a legally binding contract between the parties, recognized and accepted by the Courts, that addresses any and all issues, including: child custody, child visitation and child support, spousal support, retirement accounts and rights to them, asset distribution, debt distribution. The alternative to a Separation Agreement is to have a stranger (the Judge) who does not know you or your circumstances, deciding after a lengthy and expensive trial who will have what assets and debts, who will have custody and visitation of the children, etc. It makes sense to work those issues out between the parties for financial reasons alone.
We will review your circumstances and draft, negotiate and complete the process of a Separation Agreement for you.
Once a Separation Agreement is in place, we help the parties through the Divorce Proceedings. In New York State there are a number of grounds for divorce, including Adultery, Abandonment, Cruel and Inhuman Treatment, a Separation Agreement filed with the Court for a year. Most recently New York State amended the Divorce laws to now allow for what is termed a “No-Fault” Divorce. That is, no grounds are necessary and the process of Divorce is now simplified. Please note however, we do not recommend any Divorce Proceeding without a Separation Agreement, as those issues of children and assets/debt distribution, etc., must still be addressed to the Court’s satisfaction.
Please contact our office and we can counsel you in the proper approach to your unique circumstances.
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